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How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

However many ways there are to skin a cat, I'd wager there's fifty times as many ways to make tomato sauce from fresh—not canned—tomatoes. The best, though, comes from summertime tomatoes at the peak of ripeness, and layers the deeply sweet flavors of long-cooked tomatoes with the fresh, bright, fruity notes of barely-cooked ones. This sauce achieves that, and is so good, you won't even need to put cheese on top. More

From the Archives: The Key to Perfect Ceviche

@peter I clearly state above that it's Kenji's recipe and in no way have taken credit for it. It's standard practice here to highlight recipes from the archives, and because I wrote the above words, my byline is on this piece of text.

The Magic of No-Bake Desserts: Black Sesame and Honey Puddings

@foodlabfollower Whoops, just fixed that...we don't want people keeling over while using their "mortal and pestle".

Yukon Gold Potato Salad With Tarragon Pesto and Pickled Onions

@Amandarama Eep, not sure I've ever encountered tarragon plants in flower. Taste the leaves, if they seem good, I'd think you could still use them. Don't know about eating the flowers...

Adana Kebabs (Ground Lamb Kebabs)

Hi folks-- just seeing these comments on the salt so I went in my kitchen and weighed out 7.5 grams of Diamond kosher salt, and found it to be about 2 teaspoons, not quite a full tablespoon. I've updated the recipe. If you have a scale, that's the most accurate way to guarantee proper salting, and accounts for variations in salt type and brand (which volume measurements do not).

Why It's Time to Start Making Your Own Sherbet

"Gone fiscing"

I kinda like that! Learn something new every day.

Why It's Time to Start Making Your Own Sherbet

"Though sherbet's been around for a long time, it gets precious little love today. And that's a shame, because when done right, sherbet is just as good as ice cream and sorbet: rich and creamy like the former and refreshing like the latter. If you want the good stuff, you'll have to make it yourself."

Hm, if no one is making good store-bought sherbet, do I smell a business opportunity here?

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

@Maiya That's a good question, I haven't calculated what the minimum size batch should be. My guess is that a pound of tomatoes is too little to divide up here, especially since, once you lose much of the water weight, the yield of sauce will be quite a bit less than the tomato weight you started out with. My 25 pounds, for instance, bade somewhere around 1.5 gallons of sauce. That's a lot (though not if your goal is to freeze it and have sauce all winter long). I'd wager you could do this with as few as 5 pounds of tomatoes, which would make somewhere around 2 quarts of sauce. Maybe you could go even a little lower, but not much I don't think. Truth is though, to go through all this trouble, it's better to make some extra and freeze it than to only make just enough for one or two meals.

@fwilger It's definitely important to be careful with the trays in the oven. I didn't find it too hard to manage, but I made sure to move very slowly and deliberately to avoid spilling. Once the paste thickens, spilling is much less of a risk.

Roasted Fennel Pesto With Fennel Fronds, Toasted Almonds and Garlic

@Amandarama Roasted beets is SUCH A GOOD IDEA.

How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

@engill I just had an email from a reader who said his blender is so powerful it makes the seeds and skins disappear, so I'd imagine blending and then straining could be another route. One consideration is the texture of the sauce: a blender will yield an incredibly uniform, smooth sauce, which in some applications would be a great thing, though I'm not sure I'd want such a silky smooth sauce in all instances. The little bit of texture from a food mill is good, to my taste anyway, when using sauce on pasta for instance.

@jeffcancook A little smoke would be amazing. I don't know if I'd want a huge batch of smoked tomato sauce, since it'd be less versatile, but a small amount would be very fun to play with. Also, in Paul Bertolli's Cooking by Hand, he talks about cooking your sauce over a wood fire, and the added benefit of the subtle smoky flavor that adds. I wish I could have tested that!

@just-eat-it Thank you for pointing that out about the heirlooms, I just adjusted the text a tiny bit to clarify. By way of further explanation here, the tomatoes I bought, including the heirloom plums, were at the farmer's discount bulk rate, under $2/pound (which, at least at NYC farmers markets, is less than what most tomatoes sell per pound regardless of type). So really my point isn't that one shouldn't use heirlooms in a sauce, but that it doesn't make sense to use tomatoes with a premium price tag (which often happen to be heirlooms, but not always). Anyone who can get cheap heirlooms, or grow them at home for free, by all means go for it!

How to Grill Squid: The 2 Tricks You Need to Know

@Pacman1978 Thanks man, appreciated.

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

@Michael The food mill/vegetable strainer will remove skins and most seeds (see steps 2 and 6, which involve the food mill and direct to discard skins and seeds). Also, take a look at the original article that explains the logic behind the recipe in more depth.

@dowellv Tomatoes are nightshades, but research has shown that the leaves are not toxic: in fact, they release molecules that can bind with cholesterol and potentially lower how much cholesterol your body absorbs from food.

How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

@tea-and-syncope A good food mill with a finer straining plate than mine has should keep out more of the seeds, but yes, you could pass it through a mesh strainer to get even more out. Personally, seeds don't bother me too much, so I didn't bother doing a second straining (or going out and buying a new, better food mill).

How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

@geekandahalf The name is Italian, but the company appears to be Swiss.

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

@Katalina76 I bought mine at the Union Square farmers market in NYC, mostly from Eckerton Hill Farm. If you can't find a wide variety, just buy the best, ripest ones you can find. Another thought which won't help this summer but may down the road is to talk to some of the farmers at your local farmers market or farm stand, and see if you can't convince them to try planting a small number of some new varieties. They may say no, but then again they may say yes. Sometimes just knowing there's demand is sufficient to encourage a farmer to try some new crops.

How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

@truffleshuffle I wanted to discuss the food but this piece was getting a little too long so I cut it. The food mill I own, which is the one you see in the picture, I think is made by a company called Dalla Piazza or something like that. Anyway, it's well made but I don't love it...too small and it takes too many turns of the crank to work the tomatoes through; it works but not as well as it could (also, the finest plate on it is not fine enough, which is why some seeds ended up in my final sauce; not a big deal for me, but not ideal either...a finer plate would have kept almost all of them out). I linked to an Oxo one on Amazon, which gets good reviews but I've never used it so can't vouch for it. Honestly, I think maybe the way to go is to buy a restaurant-grade one...they're much bigger and much more powerful, though I don't have a specific make to recommend. Dinky little food mills just don't cut it. I'd love to hear if anyone else has specific recs for food mills as I might replace mine too.

@Ananonnie Agreed, and a 10-minute method has a lot going for it time-wise too.

@gumbercules The paste can definitely be frozen. According to Paul Bertolli in his book, because it's so concentrated it can also be submerged under a layer of olive oil and refrigerated for many, many weeks. As for canning, in theory, yes you can, though you need to take precaution with tomatoes and be sure they're acidic enough to prevent botulism. I don't know if the paste I made qualifies or not.

@DominiqueN A dehydrator would probably work well, though probably take longer given the lower temps. Definitely give it a try and let us know how it goes!

A Beginner's Guide to Canning

@Triomamao2 My first concern is that you didn't fully submerge the jars with water. If you have really good seals on the lids, that's a sign they're under pressure anyway, but it does make me nervous. When you pop the lids, you should hear the vacuum release; if you don't hear that, I'd be very cautious eating them. The other thing to account for is the the overall acidity of what you canned. Chopped vegetables and tomato-based sauces and salsas can sometimes not be acidic enough for safe canning, unless you followed a reputable recipe that accounts for acidity levels. Did the foods contain any vinegar or other ingredient to increase acidity? Tomatoes are borderline, so aren't guaranteed to be acidic enough on their own, though they can be.

Yukon Gold Potato Salad With Tarragon Pesto and Pickled Onions

@mtncook It's "picked", not pickled.

Penne With Melted Vegetable Sauce

@adamzerner Yeah, my pleasure! Ah, I see. I like the chili pepper idea from @adgxv2000 above. You could possibly try some other herbs aside from (or in addition to) parsley, like marjoram or thyme. Other spices...hm, I'm always partial to toasted coriander seed...that might not offend here. The garlic, because it's raw, is somewhat assertive, so that's the main flavor you'd be having to work with. Melted cheese on top certainly never hurts most things. Let us know if you try anything else out and have success!

Penne With Melted Vegetable Sauce

@adgxv2000 Sorry, just seeing your comment now. Glad you liked the recipe!! For vegetables with similar densities, like carrot and fennel, you probably can get away with pairing them up. I do it separately just to make sure each one hits its point of overcooked-ness just right, and isn't depending on another vegetable in the pot. But, yeah, a little efficiency probably won't hurt.

Penne With Melted Vegetable Sauce

@adamzerner You want the vegetables really well done--you shouldn't just be able to smash the potato between your fingers, it should be very very easy to do it. it's better to err on the side of way overcooked, on the verge of what you'd typically consider ruined.

The time is an estimate. What's important is that each vegetable is very well done, and they aren't all guaranteed to hit that point at the same time, which is why I do them separately.

To keep some of the water, just scoop it out beforehand in a heatproof container, then drain.

Not sure what you mean about the last part about seasoning. Aside from salt and pepper?

Hope that helps!

Ideas in Food vs. Rote Grütze (German Red Fruit and Groats Dessert)

@ocean oof, thanks for pointing that out, fixed the recipe title.

And the "humility" is all mine, not the writers'. ;)

Everything You Need to Know to Start Baking Awesome Bread

@AlfredoL This is a good question. According to this formula, it looks to me like the ratios and percentages are all based on the flour always being set to 100%, but I could be wrong. Max will explain as soon as he has a chance to read these comments and respond.

Grilled Squid With Olive Oil and Lemon

@equator180 The squid bodies are actually whole in the photo. The trouble with grilling squid rings is they will fall down through the grill grate into the coals very easily, so larger whole bodies tend to work better. If you had a mesh or perforated grill pan designed to prevent small things from falling below, you could use it here, though you would need to preheat it thoroughly or the squid won't brown well.

How to Grill Squid: The 2 Tricks You Need to Know

@Ghostly I've never tried grilling slow-cooked squid. It might taste good, though it certainly wouldn't taste the same as raw squid that's quickly, since you'd lose all that juiciness.

@DaveinMA Yes, in a skillet the basic principle still applies: if you want browning, you need a dry surface and a rip-roaring hot pan. What's hard about a pan though is that when cooked squid quickly start dumping their water; on a grill, it will fall down onto the coals, but in a pan a pool of squid juice just collects there and then will really interfere with browning.

@Kenji Great (or should I sat, grate tip about the foil on the grate!

How to Grill Squid: The 2 Tricks You Need to Know

@Pacman1978 It's definitely a simple, straightforward topic, there's no doubt about it. You'd be surprised though: A lot of people will try to throw wet squid on a not-hot-enough grill and then wonder why it didn't come out right. Sometimes even simple things warrant a quick explanation.

The Ultimate Fully Loaded Nachos

What does it take to make an incredible plate of bar-style, fully loaded nachos? For starters, at least three kinds of cheese, two kinds of beans, and two different applications of creamy, tangy dairy. It may sound like overkill, but there's a method to this madness. More