• Friday, November 28, 2014

FOOD-0-GRAM

Tomatoes

By Rukhsara Osman
 Photo: Shahrear Kabir Himmel
Photo: Shahrear Kabir Himmel

Tomato Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes
Just yesterday I went out to eat and ordered a pasta with fresh tomato sauce. It was disappointing to say that is was too tangy. This is mostly the thing that goes wrong with most fresh tomato sauces. This here is a recipe which is easy, can be used for all types of tomato based recipes and you can refrigerate it for later use.
Ingredients:
6 kg ripe tomatoes
¼ to ½ cup lemon juice
2 tsp salt
Method:
Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a mixing bowl with ice and water and set this next to the stove. Core out the stems from the tomatoes and slice a shallow "X" in the bottom of each fruit (yes tomato is a fruit!).
Working in batches, drop several tomatoes into the boiling water. Cook until you see the skin starting to wrinkle and split, 45 to 60 seconds, then lift the tomatoes out with the slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water. Continue with the rest of the tomatoes, transferring the cooled tomatoes from the ice water to another mixing bowl as they cool.
When finished, use your hands or a knife to strip the skins from the tomatoes. Discard the water used to boil the tomatoes.
Working in batches, pulse the tomatoes in the food processor. Pulse a few times for chunkier sauce or process until smooth for a pureed sauce. If you don't have a food processor, chop the tomatoes by hand. Put in a large stock pot.
Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Continue simmering for 30 to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reaches the taste and consistency that you like.
When finished cooking, stir in the lemon juice.
Let the sauce cool and then transfer it into freezer containers or freezer bags. Sauce can be kept frozen for at least three months before starting to develop freezer burn or off-flavors.

Tomato Jam
This is a very fancy, chunky ketchup-substitute that can be used in all manner of both sweet and savory applications. Its fresh tomato flavor works wonders on burgers or hot dogs, scrambled eggs and all kinds of sandwiches.
Ingredients:
2 kg tomatoes, finely chopped
2½ cups honey
½ cup bottled lime juice
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
Method:
Combine all ingredients in a low, wide, non-reactive pot (stainless steel is best, because if you experience any scorching or burning, you can scrub it easily). Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce temperature to medium high.
Stirring regularly, cook the jam at a low boil until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the heat of your stove, the width of your pan, and the water content of your tomatoes.
Towards the end of cooking, as the jam begins to thicken, reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir. This jam has a tendency to burn at the very end of cooking time, as the sugars concentrate and the temperature level in the pan increase.
When you're 15 or 20 minutes out from the jam being finished, prepare a boiling water bath canner and 6 or 7 half pint jars (the yield will be between 5 and 7 half pints). Place lids in a small pan of water and bring to a bare simmer.
Once the jam is thick and there is no visible water separating out from the fruit, it is done. Remove the pan from the heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. This helps evaporate out the last of the water and will give you a better set when the jam cools.
Funnel jam into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
When time is up, remove jars and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When jars are fully cool, remove rings and test seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
 

 Photo: Shahrear Kabir Himmel
Photo: Shahrear Kabir Himmel

Classic Tomato Soup
Ingredients:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes, puréed (include the juice)
1½  tsp sugar
1 tsp dry thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tip:
Be sure to purée in small batches and crack the blender lid slightly (or remove the centre cap from the lid). Steam can build up once you start blending, and if the lid is on tight or the blender is overfilled, it will spray hot soup all over you and your kitchen. For protection, cover the top with a towel while puréeing.
Method:
In a nonreactive big pot, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the onion and garlic.
Add the broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture to make sure that the flour is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
Let cool briefly and then purée in two or three batches in a blender or food processor. Rinse the pot and return the soup to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary. Serve warm but not hot, garnished with the herbs or dolloped cream.

Tomato dolmas
Tomato dolma actually originates from Turkish cuisine, but us Bengalis know how to give every foreign dish a 'desi' taste. The pinches of powdered spices in the recipe can change its 'originality'.
Ingredients:
6 big tomatoes
1½ or 2 cans tuna fish
½ turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
4 onions finely sliced
½ tsp garlic, finely chopped
3 green chillies finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander or mint leaves
1/3 cup oil
Salt -- to taste
Method:    
Cut off the heads of the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds. Wash the de-seeded tomato shells.
Drain off the tuna fish of any oil. In a bowl, add the dry tuna fish flakes, the scooped out tomato seeds, all the powdered spices, the chopped onions, garlic, green chilies and the chopped leaves. Season with salt and mix well. Saute the mixture in oil on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat when done.
Now, stuff the tomato shells with the fish stuffing. Brush the tomato shells with oil. Place the tomatoes on a dry, flat frying pan. Place the removed tomato head over the individual tomatoes. Cover the pan and let toast till the tomato turns soft, for about 8=12 minutes. You may flip the tomato once, if you think necessary.
Serve hot.
 

 

Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TAGS: Tomatoes Tomato Jam Classic Tomato Soup

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