This past weekend was the annual Creole Tomato Festival at the French Market! There were plenty of tomatoes for sale and I also go to try some tomato, strawberry, and bell pepper sorbet. After telling my grandma about the festival, she suggested that I make my own marinara sauce. Yes, she has all the secret chef recipes stored in her head. Because tomato sauce is so easy to come by, I have never even considered making my own red sauce (or gravy as they say down here) from scratch. But trust me, once you make your own marinara sauce, canned tomato just won't do it for you anymore!
At the end of last week, my classmate Mallory gave me the largest bouquet of fresh basil from her ever growing garden. I had already made a large batch of pesto with it, but I still had some left, so I stewed my marinara sauce with her fresh basil and tossed together a delicious caprese salad. So here are two recipes with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil.
|Creole tomato, strawberry, and bell pepper sorbet|
Homemade Marinara Sauce (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup basil
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. In the meantime, lightly cut crosses on the butt of the tomatoes. Once water is boiling, add all tomatoes into the pot and boil until skin starts to come off. Remove from water and peel off and discard all skin.
2. In a separate sauce pan, heat olive oil. Crush tomatoes into the pan and bring to a boil on low heat.
3. Mix in the basil and allow to simmer for 2-3 hours.
Use this sauce as a base. Try sauteeing with garlic and fresh herbs or vegetables when reheating sauce. Freeze any sauce you don't use for next time!
Tossed Caprese Salad (serves 4)
1 cup fresh bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 cup arugula
1/2 cup basil, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch brown sugar
1. In a small bowl, mix together garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and brown sugar to make the dressing.
2. Toss together bocconcini, cherry tomatoes, and arugula in a large bowl.
3. Drizzle dressing onto the tossed salad and serve immediately.