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Member Since 15 Mar 2018
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Topics I've Started

Oven-Roasted Red Sauce

12 August 2018 - 11:24 AM

So, yesterday I made the first batch of my favorite oven roasted red sauce of the season.

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Start with some tomatoes.  It doesn't matter what type, or variety of types, you use.  If you use sauce type tomatoes, or a lot of them in your mix of tomatoes, you'll get a thicker sauce.  I used a combination of a San Marzano and Amish Paste.


Slice them in half lengthwise (pole to pole) and lay them cut side up on a sheet pan or some sort of shallow baking sheet that has edges.  A shallow pan will allow your liquid to cook off more quickly than a deeper pan.  Sprinkle each pan with salt and pepper (I use only coarse Kosher salt), yesterday I used dried Mediterranean oregano, torn fresh Genovese basil, a big pinch of last year's dried Arbol pepper flakes, 3 or 4 whole, peeled garlic cloves per sheet, then drizzled the whole pan with extra virgin olive.

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Roast them at 250F for 4 hours, until the tops are dry and the tomatoes themselves are still meaty and moist.  Yesterday, I got impatient and after two hours upped the temp to 300 for an hour.

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When I want a chunkier sauce, I use the coarsest blade on my OXO food mill to grind the roasted tomatoes.  There were some caramelized bits on the sheet pans, so I used a small amount of really hot water to scrape and dissolve that and put it in the sauce, too.  Since it's just my husband and I, I freeze 1/2 cup portions of the sauce.

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Usually, I have tons more tomatoes to do in a single sitting.  Yesterday, I only did two trays, which made about 5 cups of sauce.  Total, that took about 45 minutes of working time.

A shocking (and hot!) tip for preserving produce

30 July 2018 - 10:00 AM

Last year, I ended up having some unplanned surgery on a knee, right at the peak of harvest.  In my attempts to find a way to preserve the harvest, without "preserving" the harvest, I stumbled on this method.  Not having access to the volumes, I didn't pursue it.  Now that harvest is upon us, I thought I'd pursue the technique.




I've two questions.


1.  Has anyone tried heat-shocking to "hold" your peppers and/or other produce until you can get around to dealing with it?




2.  Does anyone have a copy of "Modernist Cuisine?"  There's supposed to be a complete table on 358-359 of Volume 3.  I'm curious what they recommend for some of the more commonly grown garden veggies.


At this price, even renting it, I'll lower my head and ask if anyone will share the table.


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Salting Sauces

16 July 2018 - 01:00 PM

I didn't want to hijack ShowMeDaSauce's new thread, "Getting this one started today or tomorrow," but here's a question to all you sauce experts, about the temperature at which you adjust your salt seasoning.  


I'm an above-average cook but a novice at hot-sauces. 


Achieving the same "salty taste" in food that is cold takes more salt than the same food that is warm or room temperature.  Potato salad, for example.  A cold potato salad takes way more salt to season it appropriately than a potato salad that is served warm.


Does the same rule hold true for hot sauce making?  If it does, you should take into consideration the temperature at which it will be served when seasoning it?  In other words, if it's going to be held in the refrigerator and served cold, do you taste and season while cold? Does it even matter?

ATTENTION Great Britain Growers! What's a "water butt?"

15 July 2018 - 07:58 AM

Having just read a disturbing article from The Sunday Times, I need to ask any Great Britain growers this question.....


What's a "water butt?"


No jokes, please.  I'm dead serious.  Read for yourself:




If you can't access The Times' site, here's the article:


Homeowners who follow government advice to use water butts to hose their gardens and wash their cars risk exposing themselves to a dose of deadly legionella bacteria, scientists at Porton Down have warned.

They found that 95% of Britain’s 11m water butts were contaminated. Spraying such water from a hose or sprinkler could spread the microbes into the air over a garden, allowing them to be inhaled and to trigger an infection.

“The presence of legionellae in collected rainwater and their aerosolisation through gardening activities like hosepipe use may have important public health consequences,” warned the researchers in a scientific paper.

The findings could prove awkward for Ofwat, the water regulator, which last week said that burgeoning water shortages meant tap water should no longer be used for gardening and washing cars. Rachel Fletcher, head of Ofwat, said water butts must become the norm for every home.

If, however, the scientists at Public Health England’s Porton Down laboratories are right, the widespread use of water butts could cause a surge of legionnaires’ disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is a lung infection caught by inhaling drops of water containing the bacteria and is usually caught in places such as hotels, spas and hospitals, where the bacteria get into the water supply.

Water butts are mostly used to collect rainwater falling from roofs and are often fitted with submerged electric pumps and a hosepipe so water can be sprayed directly onto plants or used to wash cars. Many homeowners use butts to help cut their water bills.

The Porton Down investigation was prompted by fatalities such as that of Stephen Clements, 63, a grandfather from Cromer, Norfolk, who died in February last year after inhaling droplets while cleaning his patio with a hose and broom.

The scientists collected water samples from 113 water butts and found legionella in 107 of them. They then installed experimental butts at Porton Down, using a submerged pump to produce jets and sprays from the infected water.

They found that watering cans and low-pressure sprays released few bacteria into the air but if turned into a fine spray, the number of microbes floating in the air at head height surged, with up to 23,000 legionella bacteria per cubic metre of air.

This weekend the Royal Horticultural Society told the nation’s 27m gardeners to use only clean water to spray or hose their gardens.


Can someone help identify this new weed?

20 June 2018 - 09:38 AM

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Can anyone help identify this weed?  It is new to our community gardens within the past 2 years, and is spreading like wildfire.  It gets a yellow flower on a tall stalk, the mature plant being about 18" tall.  We have quite a few gardeners from India and Bhutan, and I'm wondering if it might be something brought in.  Gardeners who have been here for 15 years have not seen it before last year.