Welcome to my BlogSpot. I have created this blog in hopes of inspiring everyone to cook. I have found my inspiration from living in both Southern and Northern California. My influences in flavors have come from family recipes and meals with emphasis on healthy foods, marrying into an Italian family and the ethnic flavors throughout California. There are so many wonderful memories connected to our family dishes as well as new memories in the dishes that have been recently created. My husband, Randy who is recently retired, has been my biggest supporter and inspiration in our kitchen. He is my taster, my sous chef, and has created some really great dishes himself, which will be added to this blog. It is my hope that you too will be inspired to cook and create your own dishes for your loved ones and enjoy the craft of cooking.

One thing I ask of you is if you print out, email and pass out my recipes, please include my name and link.

Be sure to check out my Sweaty Equities blog about the ups and downs of crafty projects and our DIY remodels.
You can find it at http://sweatyequities.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 29, 2014

Crock-Pot Tomato Vodka Marinara


Our family is blessed with an abundance of tomatoes in the garden. I feel like I need to pick every one of them and not let any go to waste and I also feel that I am becoming a slave to the garden. I like to make everything from scratch and I love the process of canning tomatoes, but not every day! I have blogged about my homemade Vodka Marinara Sauce and everyone really enjoys it. Well, honestly I cannot go through that process every day, because I want to enjoy my summer days and play a little too. The last time I gathered up a bunch of tomatoes it was dusk and I thought to myself, “Why not combine the ingredients in the crock pot and let it cook down overnight”. “I could tip the lid and let the moisture escape and then blend the ingredients in the morning.” I did just that and it came out great. I did this for 3 nights in a row, refrigerating the marinara then after the 3rd cooking, I started the canning process the next morning. It made 9 quart size jars. Tonight I am going to start the process again, only I think I will do 4 batches before canning, as my canner holds 7 jars at a time. Now keep in mind that I have a Vitamix so I don’t need to peel and de-seed each tomato. The Vitamix pulverizes the seeds and peel to a beautiful silky texture. –Reason number 8,432 of why you should own a Vitamix. J
Here’s how I did it:
Crock-Pot Tomato Vodka Marinara.
Pick enough tomatoes to fill the crock pot.
I have learned with time that I can get more tomatoes in the
crock-pot by chopping them up in the food processor prior
to putting them in the crock-pot.

Add in 2 diced white or yellow onions,
3/4 cups Vodka
1/4  Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper –depending on how spicy you like it
2 teaspoons Salt
 1/2 teaspoons Pepper
1-1/2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Basil
3 teaspoons Chopped Garlic
1 Teaspoon Fennel seed
1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1 Teaspoon Granulated Onion
Some Fresh Basil for the Blending

Clean and chop the tomatoes. Combine all the ingredients into the crock pot and cook overnight with the lid tipped, for steam to escape, on high for 12 hours or until almost all of the liquid is cooked down. (If your tomatoes are super juicy, they require even more cooking time with the lid tipped to cook down). My last batch took more like 15 hours.

This is what is looks like after hours of being cooked down. My camera exposure was not set properly so it looks a little pink here, as opposed to the vibrant red and yellow it really was.
Blend the ingredients, adding about 10 Basil leaves and possibly some sugar to balance out the acidity. (taste the sauce first to see if it even needs sugar) I almost always add sugar.

Voila! you have yummy sauce.

Now if you like a chunkier marinara, you can peel and de-seed the tomatoes and cook down the marinara the same way and just use an emersion blender mildly on the marinara to your liking of how chunky you like it.
And there you have it. Wonderful marinara to enjoy with so many things. At this point you can choose to can it, freeze it, or enjoy with the evenings dinner.


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