This time of year brings so many good vegetables, whether through a CSA box every week with more than you can possibly eat or a garden that is inundating your fridge. Or even friends offer extras from their own gardens. How do you avoid wasting all this goodness as well as stock yourself up for the winter months?
My answer is to roast! Whenever I have loads of extra chard, mushrooms, leeks, onions, zucchini and eggplant, instead of succumbing to feeling overwhelmed, I toss them all into a roasting pan.
Make delicious soup
It is amazing how combining roasted vegetables of all types with plenty of onions and garlic turns them into savory creations. I roast until everything is quite soft and then purée with a little stock if necessary. Freeze the pureed vegetables to use later as a soup base or pasta sauce. Or, to make a hearty one-dish meal immediately, add some evaporated or coconut milk, chopped sauteed vegetables of choice, cooked beans and/or cooked grains or pasta. A great result of this process is that the sauce never quite tastes the same.
A sauce made of mostly tomatoes is great for traditional pasta sauce. Sauce with spicy chiles added makes a good base for chili.
It’s easy to adjust seasonings according to your tastes. Add basil and oregano for an Italian twist; add cumin and chili powder for Mexican; add marjoram, a hint of cayenne and basil for Mediterranean.
Tomato Glut Sauce
I found this recipe years ago from a magazine called This Organic Life and have adapted and used it ever since. Film a large roasting pan with olive oil and cut up about six pounds of tomatoes – this is a great time to use those that have blemishes or splits because you can simply cut that part away. Chop and add one or two cups of whatever vegetables are coming in at the time such as onions, carrots, zucchini, celery and Swiss chard.
If you plan to use a food mill, you don’t have to take out tomato cores. If you plan to use a food processor, core the tomatoes before cooking. I don’t peel or seed my tomatoes but you can also blanch and peel and/or seed the tomatoes if that’s your taste. Throw in several cloves of garlic, some sprigs of fresh thyme, oregano, basil, and parsley. Splash with balsamic vinegar and roast for about an hour. The sauce will cook down and lose a good bit of moisture, and the vegetables will start to caramelize. Run through a food mill, food processor, or simply put in a high-power blender. Salt and pepper to taste, and use immediately or freeze.
Putting food by is always so satisfying!
It does feel good, doesn’t it?