Just minding my own beeswax - chatting cooking, kids, knitting, travel, and life in general

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rotten Tomatoes - Say it Taint So!

Bribery and collusion and the sale of tainted tomatoes?  I'm shocked, shocked to find such hijinks going on in agri-business!  No, not really.  The arrest of rotten tomato, Frederick Scott Salyer, owner of SK Foods for racketeering, fraud and obstruction of justice earlier this month isn't really shocking.  Neither is that he allegedly bribed companies to buy his mold-tainted products.  One more reason to make your own tomato sauce and tomato paste.

If you can sleep, you can make tomato paste....it's that easy. 

Dreamy Tomato Paste

6 lbs. of Roma or plum tomatoes
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Peel tomatoes - cut an X in the bottom of the tomato and drop the tomato into boiling water (don't do more than two or three at time) for the length of time it takes you to sing The Tomato Song (about one minute).  Remove from the water, set aside until they are cool to the touch.  Tomatoes should slip out of their skin when you peel back the X.
Quarter the peeled tomatoes and run them through the fine sieve of a food mill to remove the seeds.  Salt lightly and pour tomato puree into a large shallow roasting pan or onto several baking sheets (with sides).
Place in the warm oven for 2 hours, stir and turn off the oven, leaving the tomatoes in the warm oven overnight.  In the morning, remove from the oven, stir again and let cool completely.  You will have about 2 cups of gorgeous deep ruby red tomato paste.

Song of the Day

The official song of today: Generals And Majors
 An oldie but goodie by XTC.  On my way today, I pulled up to a bus stop and could hear what I thought was someone crying out in pain.  Being incapable of minding my own beeswax, I rolled down the window to see what was going on and realized it was the guy at the bus stop singing along with his ipod.  Some people were not made for acapella, and he gave ME a dirty look.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Simple Pleasures: Tomato Sauce

There are truly just a few things you really need in this world or in the kitchen.  I am learning to keep things simple -- it's so much easier when chaos is reigning supreme!

I'm always taken back to the scene in The Jerk when Steve Martin hits rock bottom and he's leaves saying "And that's it and that's the only thing I need, is this. I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need. And this remote control......."  when I think about the things you really need in the kitchen. Here's my top ten:

 1.  good wine opener
 2.  radio
 3.  pepper grinder
 4.  kosher salt
 5.  long tongs
 6.  wooden spoon with a slanted top (think Gumby’s head)
 7. all-metal sauté pan
 8- inch chef’s knife
 9.  back up wine opener
10.  The Perfect Simple Tomato Sauce

Next time I run away from home, this is what I'm taking this is all I need and that's it.  And my laptop and some lipstick….

The Perfect Simple Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. Tomatoes (best quality you can get), peeled, seeded and diced
Salt to taste

In a large fry pan warm oil over low heat stir in onion and sauté until translucent (no color!), add garlic and cook another couple of minutes, add tomatoes, turn up heat to medium and cook stirring and gently squashing tomatoes against the sides and bottom of the pan.  Salt to taste.

That’s it, stop cooking.  You now have about two cups of a great sauce.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Afghan Offensive

Knitting Olympics 2010 – Going to give it another shot this time.  I’ve started to work on a ‘personal best’ to finish the afghan that my son will take to college with him next fall.  I’ve been starting and stopping this afghan for more than two years.  The last time I stopped, I secretly hoped that if I didn’t finish it he wouldn’t leave and go away….but alas it’s too late he's already been accepted to a couple of schools, and truly I want him to go off to college, afghan or not. 

It’s made up of 12-inch squares of different designs and really provides a true ‘sampler’ experience.  I have gotten very comfortable with cabling and learned many new stitches.  It’s an old book that my mom has been using since 1998 to make wedding gifts for family members. 

The opening ceremonies were nice, and not too over the top.  This turned out to be appropriate after the death of the Georgian athlete.  I puddled up after the Proctor & Gamble commercial “To Their Moms, They Will Always Be Kids” – for my own young man that will always be my little boy and especially for Nodar Kumaritashvili’s parents.

I love k.d. lang, she’s been a fave for many years – I got so into her singing that I missed the row of cable stitches and when I finally realized what I’d done I had to rip out three rows.  Yesterday, she was on NPR talking about her singing, her voice and how her working mom used to pile her and her three siblings into the car every Thursday after work and drive 120 miles roundtrip and sit for each one to have a 30-minute singing lesson, she did this for 20 years.

So for the next 15 days, I’ll be on my own afghan offensive coming to terms with finishing a large project…..not just the afghan but my son too.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blogging without Obligation

I came across a great tag for blogs with a philosophy I really like:  Blogging without Obligation”.  
It releases me from the guilt of knowing I can't post everyday (nor should I, I'm not all THAT interesting) -- but give me the permission to post when I have something to say!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Welcome Back!

In the ultimate display of procrastination, I took a few years off of the beeswax blog to get things done in real time. With more time for myself I am really looking forward to telling tales, swapping stories and getting on with life.