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April 2022


Basic Tomato Sauce

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Although tomatoes are not in season at this point in early spring. We feel that we need to publish this recipe because it will come in handy for an array of different recipes in our upcoming posts. We call this a basic tomato sauce due to the few ingredients that it takes to prepare. In this recipe for basic tomato sauce, we used Roma tomatoes. Also known as paste tomatoes, or plum tomatoes are oval-shaped and smaller than beefsteaks. They also have a lower water content compared to other types, with an almost chewy flesh—making them our first choice for sauce-making. These are the tomatoes you’ll see everywhere in Italy, the most famous type being the San Marzano. All other kinds of tomatoes will work great too! The simplicity of this recipe does a great job of highlighting the fresh taste of the tomatoes. On the day that we last made this recipe we went to the local Amish market and found a great price on an end of the season 20-pound box of Roma tomatoes.

Next thing ya know we are freezing tomato sauce for the upcoming fall and winter meals. This recipe highlights the excellent taste of the Roma tomatoes or any other tomato you may find at its peak ripeness. We truly don’t have a lot to say about this recipe except how versatile it is. We make this basic tomato sauce recipe about two times a year all depending on how fast we use up the last batch. You may also use a good quality whole canned tomato. On a couple different occasions, we have used Certified San Marzano Tomatoes brand. We highly recommend this brand, and the sauce turned out just as good as using fresh tomatoes. You will find that when you make this tomato sauce you can use it as-is, in its simplicity over fresh pasta and torn fresh basil as a light meal. Or you can add different seasonings to adapt it to any recipe that calls for a red sauce like meat sauce for pasta, pizza, hotdish, even tomato soup! I (Blondie) have been known to eat the sauce directly out of the pot! The uses for this tomato sauce are endless, and it all starts with this basic recipe.


10 lbs. of Tomatoes

4 nice size Onions

4 sticks of Unsalted Butter

Salt to taste


Remember to inspect your tomatoes and remove any blemishes, soft spots, or rotten spots before washing them free from dirt.

Using the correct knife for the slicing, dicing, or peeling jobs sure does make a difference when it comes to executing a culinary job. One of our most used knifes in our knife block is our WUSTHOF Classic “5 tomato knife. This knife has a nice, serrated edge to ensure the knife blade does not slip off the skin of the tomato when cutting. Another feature of this knife is that it has a fork-shaped tip for coring not only tomatoes but strawberries or any other soft fruit or vegetable.

The box of tomatoes pictured below are Roma tomatoes that we purchased at the Amish market.

A nice size stock pot will work very well for blanching the tomatoes in well salted boiling water for a few minutes until you are able to see the skins of the tomatoes are starting to split and shrivel. At that point you must remove the tomatoes and immerse the split tomatoes in a large bowl of iced water. By doing this it will stop the cooking process of the tomato and make the tomato easier to handle in your hands, so you are able to peel the outer skin of the tomato to expose the flesh.

A great tool to use for the task of transferring the tomatoes from the hot, boiling water to the ice bath is a Spider Strainer Skimmer. You could also use a pair of tongs, but spider strainer enables you to retrieve more than one at a time.

If you choose to use canned tomatoes to make this basic tomato sauce, we recommend using Certified San Marzano Tomatoes brand, the sauce turned out just as good as using fresh tomatoes.

We used two white onions and two yellow onions for this recipe. Why, you ask? We like the different taste profile the two onions give in this very basic recipe. White onions possess a higher sugar content making them a sweeter and milder tasting onion as compared to the yellow onion which has a stronger more pungent onion taste. Using the two together in this sauce, we gain the best flavor profiles from the two types of onions.

At this point in the preparation of the basic tomato sauce the tomatoes should be skinned and ready to be chopped into smaller pieces. In a large stock pot place the four sticks of unsalted butter and the chopped onions over a medium heat to sweat the onions. Stir the onions occasionally to ensure no caramelization of the onions on the bottom of your stock pot. After a few minutes of the onions being sweated you may go ahead and add the chopped tomatoes. Keep your heat at a low to medium setting and let the onions, butter and tomatoes cook down for a very slow but steady simmer for forty-five minutes.

After about forty-five minutes the onions and tomatoes should be at a nice soft consistency. At this time, it would be great if you have a hand blender to emulsify the tomatoes, onions and butter to your desired consistently in the same pot as what you cook them in. We usually blend the mixture until smooth with no chunks of tomato or onion. If you do not have a hand mixe,r carefully transfer the cooked mixture to a blender and blend to desired consistency.

We have found it freezes well, that is why we make a rather large batch at a time so we can freeze and use later. And the Blade does not know how to cook small batches of anything!!

Well, there you have it! We hope you enjoy making this basic tomato sauce. This sauce will be used in upcoming recipes on our blog. Please let us know the many ways you intend to use it. We would love to see pictures of your creations.



Caesar Salad

No phone, a movie, a glass of wine, and some salad;

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Did you know that July 4th is National Caesar Salad Day because it is the birthday of Caesar of the Caesar salad!

The very first time I ever had a Caesar salad was way back in the late 1980s. My boyfriend, the Blade, was employed as the chef of a swanky little restaurant in the downtown area of where we lived. Dinners could dine at the bar that was directly in front of the open kitchen that housed a ten-burner gas stove, a salamander, an Alto-Shaam oven, and a small wall of antique refrigerators. The Blade and his sous chef cooked to order a European inspired menu five nights a week. This little restaurant only seated 40 people at a time, that they liked to turn at least twice in a night. The space was very intimate and fun. Occasionally, I would sit at the front bar and have dinner while waiting for the Blade to get off work. This is the place where I was introduced to a world of exceptional tasting food, wine, and drinks, and got to meet and dine with a few very interesting people. The inspiration for the following recipe for the Caesar salad comes from the memories of having dinner at that little gem of a restaurant so many years ago. I loved watching the Blades sous chef create these salads to order from scratch. To say the least I got a great education by sitting and watching everything going on around me and being able to indulge in world class cuisine. Unless you’re pressed for time, there is no reason why anyone should buy pre-made salad dressing of any kind.

Unfortunately, the first version of this unique little restaurant no longer exists due to a major flood that engulfed the town and wiped out several neighborhoods and businesses. One thing that devastating flood did not take away was a lot of great memories of the first 11 years of our marriage. This business did come back after recovering from the flood but not in the original location. As I have been told, the second location was never the same as the first.

 Some more very unfortunate news to add is while writing this blog post, the owner of the business passed away. He will be missed by everyone who loved him.

RIP Kim.

A Caesar salad is a green salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, egg yolk, anchovies, garlic, parmesan cheese, black pepper, and salt. Some recipes that we have come across call for Dijon mustard, too. We do not add the Dijon mustard to the Caesar salad dressing. It’s just a matter of taste of what you like add it, don’t add it. We have made the dressing both ways, and without the Dijon mustard is what we prefer.

The Caesar salad’s creation is generally attributed to, Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States 70 years ago. He used romaine lettuce because it was sturdy enough to be finger food.


1 tablespoon minced garlic

 5 anchovy fillets

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1-1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese plus extra for garnish

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper


Lettuce Preparation

Ensure your romaine lettuce is thoroughly clean and dry of any water from cleaning it.

Tear or cut into bite-sized pieces.

Dressing Preparation

Mash together the minced garlic, anchovies, salt, and pepper until the mixture resembles a smooth paste. A Garlic press would be a great kitchen tool to help make the mincing of the garlic an easier task.

Put the paste into a bowl.

Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, and the water and blend well

Gradually add in the olive oil, whisking as it is added to form a thick emulsion.

We love using this Dansk wooden salad bowl when we are assembling salads and salad dressings. Not only is it a beautiful bowl, but it is also easy to clean up after use. With these types of wooden bowls, the more use they get the more beautiful the wood becomes. The bowl in the photo above was a wedding gift that was given to us almost thirty years ago!

We buy parmesan cheese and grate by hand using a box grater.

Stir in the parmesan cheese.

Save some of the parmesan cheese for garnishing the salads after plated.

At this time, you want to taste the dressing and adjust the salt and pepper to your preference.

Transfer the freshly prepared salad dressing to a bowl or pitcher that you can use to drizzle onto the lettuce when needed.

Put the desired amount of lettuce and croutons in the same salad bowl that you prepared the dressing in. Add desired amount dressing and toss the lettuce around the bowl to ensure there is an even coating of dressing on the lettuce and croutons. Be careful not to add too much dressing. You can always add more if needed, but you cannot take it away if you add too much.

At this time either refrigerate the salad bowl with the salad in to keep the salad chilled until you are ready to serve it or plate the salads to serve to you and your family/guests. When you plate the salads, be sure to sprinkle a little more grated parmesan cheese on top along with an anchovy filet.


Tid Bits and Tricks

  • The definition of salad is a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients.
  • We keep our salad plates and a few salad forks in the freezer to ensure we always have very cold glass salad plates to serve our salads on.
  • Before you start grating the parmesan cheese ensure that you cut the hard edges from the block of cheese. A good use for those hard edges is to keep them and add them to pasta sauces and soup. These parmesan ends will add another depth of flavor to the sauce or soup you are making. Remember to remove the ends before serving.

Cooking Utensils

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Garlic press
  • Wire whisk
  • A bowl large enough to assemble the salad
  • Box grater
  • Pepper grinder

We hope you try making this traditional recipe for Caesar salad. Unless you’re pressed for time, there is no reason why anyone should buy premade salad dressing of any kind. Keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts where we will be showing you some of our favorite salad dressings.

Bikini weather is just around the corner!