One of my most favorite parts of summer is the taste of sweet homegrown tomatoes. The past few years we have had NONE, NADA, ZIP, NIL. Our friendly neighborhood groundhog has seen to that. He would just devour every little red orb right off the vine (and some green ones too!). So disappointing. This year my DH decided to plant his tomatoes at a different location, an area around a building he rents for his small business. Lo and behold, we had a bumper crop this year!!! We have supplied neighbors and friends with all they could eat and then some; we have eaten BLTs out the ying-yang; we have had fresh mozzarella and tomato slices on bruschetta; we have had tomato slices with our breakfast---well, you get the picture. I decided yesterday I wanted to have that precious tomato love in the coming winter too. Back in the day I would always freeze small batches of tomatoes for use in chili and soups. So....yesterday:
I blanched a few tomatoes at a time in a large pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, then plunged them into a bowl of ice water. The skins come off so easily! Then I cored and cut the tomatoes into 8ths (removing any tough or bruised parts) and ladled them into Ziploc 1-quart freezer bags. I put about 2 cups in each bag, labeled, and stuck them in the freezer. Most will go into this great recipe:
VEGGIE CHILI: Saute about 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper and about 1/3 cup chopped onion in a large pot in a small amount EVOO (Rachael Ray's term for extra-virgin olive oil) till tender. Add 2 cans kitchen cut green beans, 2 cans dark red kidney beans, and 2 cans of peas--all of which have been drained well. Add 4 cups of the tomatoes which have been thawed and chili powder to taste (I use 2 Tablespoons). Let simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes. Enjoy!
For a little relaxation in the sewing room I pulled out these Jan Mullen books. I fell in love with this Australian designer's free and easy techniques the first time I saw her on Simply Quilts years ago. I had been wanting to incorporate a funky sun in a wallhanging and decided to play with her circles ideas. This one was flipped-n-sewn to a piece of batting. I'll use a lightweight interfacing fabric for the real McCoy. But it sure was a fun thing to putz around with!