It’s all Greek to me

So let me start by apologizing for my consuming obsession with food at the moment. All that garden produce we spent months coddling is crying for my attention as the threat of frost bears down nightly. But then there’s life – e.g. work, sleep, tending to children – to contend with, and I have to push my obsession into the spaces of my existence that can accommodate it (read: the weekend).

Here’s a recipe I expect to be doing a repeat on this weekend. We had our best tomato crop EVER this year, so I’ve processed tomatoes in every manner conceivable (sauce, salsa, ketchup, dehydrated, crushed, canned whole, roasted, etc.). When I was looking for a paste recipe, I was drawn to this Greek one (http://greekfood.about.com/od/doityourself/r/domatopoltos.htm) because it entails straining the pureed tomatoes instead of simmering them down, thus you get the same concentrating effect but less nutrition loss. The recipe says you can store it for months in the frig with a little olive oil on top, but I opted to freeze the jars and will refrigerate them as I need them. The flavor is great and versatile enough to be used in all the ways you would typically use paste. AND, best of all, the prep time is nominal.

Ingredients:

4 pounds of well ripened tomatoes, peeled*

1 sweet red pepper (pimiento, red bell), seeded*

1-2 cloves garlic (my addition)

1-2 tablespoons of sea salt

*I dispensed with the peeling and seeding since I have a high-power blender that purees every.

For storing:

sterilized glass jars

extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Pulp tomatoes, pepper and garlic in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a pot and boil for 2-3 minutes.

Place mixture in a piece of tulle (I used flour-sack cloth, available at Nature’s Oasis and various home stores. I first sterilized it in boiling water), and using a strainer, suspend it over a bowl or pot. Leave to drain for 12 hours in the refrigerator to remove all excess liquid.

Transfer mixture to a glass or ceramic baking dish and stir in salt. Warm in oven at 200-210 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Spoon into sterilized glass jars, taking care to avoid creating air pockets, and top with 1/4-inch of extra virgin olive oil (enough to cover completely). Store in the refrigerator or freeze. As paste is used, add more olive oil to keep covered.