Category Archives: Italian cooking

Goodbye Summer……..

Wow- here we are, midway through September and I already find myself closing the bedroom window before I go to bed. For most of you, that probably sounds the normal thing to do this time of year, but for us Los Angeleninos, it feels a bit premature. It isn’t unusual to have a scorching September, but it seems as if Fall has come a bit early (well, I guess actually on time) this year. Although I was stomping my feet about summer ending so soon (after all, my friend M and I haven’t filled our quota for beach trips this season) I have to admit that the cool air feels nice. It also beckons me to fire up the oven and really start cooking again.

“X” marks the spot

What better way to say farewell to summer than to take the last of its best fruits and make it into something you can enjoy all year? My parents brought over an enormous bag of tomatoes from their garden, and I spent Sunday morning making a large batch of Mario Batali’s Basic Tomato Sauce (my favorite!). I’d never made it with fresh tomatoes but it turned out great, and I’ll have homemade tomato sauce on hand for the next few months.

Peeled and ready for the pot

First, I cut an “x” at the bottom of each tomato. After blanching them in hot water for a couple of minutes, I dunked them in ice water and slipped the skins off. I opted to keep the seeds in and pretty much followed the recipe after that. I did add a few tablespoons of sugar to offset the acid in the tomatoes, and pretty soon the house filled with the wonderful scent of garlic, thyme and red sauce.

Bubbling caldron of Batali sauce

I don’t have much experience canning (just once) and I didn’t have any jars, so I just filled up some of the Gladware that I had and stuck two in the freezer and one in my fridge, to be consumed with a big batch of whole wheat spaghetti and olive oil soaked tuna later on this week.

I see lasagna, ravioli, eggplant parmesan and pizza in your future………

Although I was wrapping up the last of summer to be saved in my freezer, the process of slowly simmering something on the stove and actually spending a couple of hours in the kitchen made me look forward to all of the cooking adventures that await me in the Fall.