Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Yesterday I turned some of my garden produce into a summery treat to be eaten in the dead of winter. The roasted vegetable pasta sauce filled the house with a deliciously rich aroma all day long. The recipe comes from The Complete Book of Year Round Small Batch Preserving, which I mentioned before when I made bread and butter pickles. The thing I like about this book, aside from the delicious recipes is you don't have to have 40 pounds of anything, although it is quite easy to multiply the recipes up in case your garden is wildly prolific. You can make just a few jars at a time and my husband loves it because he doesn't get called in to heave-ho any heavy pots of boiling liquid. Here is the recipe:

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce

2 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, unpeeled
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 onions, unpeeled
1 sweet red pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1tsp granulated sugar
1tsp salt

Prepare jars for canning by boiling them in a canner for about 10 minutes. Also boil both parts of the lids in a separate pan. This sterilizes the jars and lids. Leave them in canner until you are ready to fill them.

Place tomatoes, garlic, onions (I halve them) and red pepper on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes, removing the garlic after 12-15 minutes or when soft. Remove remaining vegetables when they are soft and the skins blistered. Let stand until cool enough to handle.

Peel tomatoes, being careful to catch all the juice. Squeeze garlic and onions to remove soft centers. Peel and seed pepper. Place all vegetables in a food processor, process until smooth.

Place vegetable puree in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Add vinegar, oregano, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover and boil for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch of rim. Put lids on jars. Process 35 minutes for pint jars and 40 minutes for quart jars.

*I have found that this recipe makes two pint jars and every pound and a quarter of tomatoes you add you will get another pint. Of course if you increase the tomatoes you must also increase the other ingredients proportionally.

After making this sauce for a few years in the heat of my kitchen I decided to try freezing it instead.  It works wonderfully!  I freeze it in quart containers which is enough for four servings.  Enough sweating already!!!!


Home Canning Help

I have been quite busy this August with friends and relatives visiting and a couple trips to see my parents. While I was socializing and traveling it seems the tomatoes and zucchini kept right on growing and ripening. I found myself with a counter full of them this morning. It is really too hot to make the tomato sauce I have planned for them because our house doesn't have A/C, so I'll be doing that tomorrow morning when it is cooler.

While I was visiting my family I snagged my brother's dehydrator for a couple weeks and am also planning on drying the herbs that are abundant in my garden. I took it without any instructions so went to the internet and found this site that you might be interested in, The National Center for Home Food Preservation. You will find directions for safely canning, freezing, dehydrating, salting and pickling food. I love to can but if it isn't done correctly you really can have unsafe food, so check out this site and happy preserving!


Inspiration vs. Focus

I named this blog Threads of Inspiration and now I'm wondering if I should have left off the -s in Threads. It seems I have had a lot of inspiration lately and now I'm needing some focus. I thought I would show you some of the works in progress that are staring at me in my studio. I'm hoping that making them public will get a few of them completed.

The turquoise and white fabric is a skirt I am making to wear to a picnic next Thursday...this one has a deadline so I'm guessing the waistband and hem will get finished by then. The green fabric is a doll body and I am stitching a separate embroidery (not shown) as a decorative element for the bottom. I could stuff the body while I am waiting for the embroidery, but hey, I should just work on the embroidery.

This little box with wooden balls in it is the beginnings of another doll. I thought I would use this as the torso and attach legs, arms and head to the sides of the box. It is screaming for some vintage colors...I picked up a few color samples at the paint store but they were a little too garish, so I need to do a little research for this.

This embroidery is one I began at the beginning of the summer and I clearly haven't gotten very far on it, but I love the image and I think it will be beautiful when it is finished. I'm debating about what elements to do in stumpwork (a bunch of techniques that give the work a three dimensional aspect). I think the birds in the tree and some leaves in the tree will work well with these techniques. I also plan to put some foliage in the grassy area that is already embroidered, so basically what you see completed will most likely be covered with other elements. That's my plan anyway.

Lastly, is this doll which is mostly completed. The wild heap of illusion you see at her feet is really a tutu that I have to put on her, but I don't want to do that until I figure out what kind of hair or headpiece she will have. So, now you see why I must end this post and get to the studio!!!!


Blessings Dropping

Two days ago I was walking my dog on one of our usual routes. We were about half a block away from a yard that has an apple tree that spreads out over the sidewalk. I wondered what those apples tasted like. There are always apples on the ground but are well past their eating time and I didn't want to pull an apple off of a stranger's tree. I let the thought go and continued on. Just as I got under the tree three apples fell to the ground right in front of me. An offering from the universe! With the first bite of the crisp, sun warmed apple came memories of being a kid eating sour/sweet apples right off the tree. I ate the whole apple and tossed the core into some tall weeds for the animals and insects to feast on. The event reminded me of a quote...

Listen to me.

For one moment quit being sad.

Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.



Back in a Routine

After my last post I got the house cleaned and the cooking done and people started arriving. First my entire family for a Sunday picnic and then a few days later My father in law and cousin Cate stayed for a few days. The day they left our good friend Swasti came for two days. Between the heat and the company I was wiped out when they left!

After that my dad let me know that my mom had been having some difficult days. She is struggling with a hard disease, Lewy Body Dimentia, which is a combination of Alzheimer's and Parkinsons all thrown into one but with a few twists of its own. I went to stay with them for a few days and help with her care and be supportive for my dad.

I'm back now, and although I really enjoyed all of the visiting and was glad I'm living close enough to be able to help my parents, I'm really glad to get back into my routines. I'm planning on spending a lot of time in the studio so you can expect some work-in-progress photos. For now I'll leave you with a photo of a couple of my dolls who are telling me to get in my studio and make stuff!