Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tomato Sauce

This time of year the tomatoes from the garden are arriving fast and furious. My husband planted a lot of Roma this season and I can barely keep up with making sauce. This is not a recipe per se, but it is a really good way to tease amazing flavor out of tomatoes and freeze them as a sauce for later use when it's cold outside.

Tomatoes, whatever you have on hand, washed and halved or quartered, depending on the size.
Good olive oil
Sea salt
a little bit of sugar

Preheat broiler to 425 degrees.
Line a sheet pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil.

In a large bowl add halved or quartered tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. You want the tomatoes to have a thin film of oil. Salt to your liking, you can adjust the seasoning later as well.
Distribute the tomatoes into a single layer onto the prepared sheet pan and set in the middle of the preheated oven. Roast for about 15 to 20 min. I let a few spots on the tomatoes get black but not too many. When done, remove tomatoes and pass through a food mill set with the disk with the smallest wholes. Puree tomatoes into the bowl of a crock pot. Discard the skins and seeds left behind in the food mill.
Repeat with all the tomatoes you want to turn into sauce. You can use the same lined sheet pan over again. I like to have at least four or five sheet pans of roasted tomatoes. This will yield pretty much a full, large crock pot.
Add about 1/4 cup of sugar and adjust salt if necessary.
Set crock pot temperature to high and cook for 11 hours uncovered, yes that is correct, 11 hours (it's the longest setting on my crock pot) until the sauce is reduced by about a third to a half. Stir occasionally.
Stir occasionally and make sure your crock pot doesn't burn on the bottom. Mine doesn't but I have the feeling not all crock pots are alike. This is how my sauce is gently cooking for 11 hours.


When done let cool completely and freeze in portions. I don't add spices, onions or garlic to make it more versatile because I can always add it later. Use this sauce when you want to add some intense roasted tomato flavor to your soups or pasta sauces. Enjoy!

Brampton Bed and Breakfast Inn 
Danielle Hanscom
the Chestertown, Maryland broad
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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fresh Summer Tomato Salad

Summer and tomato is almost synonyms. The first of these beauties ripen around the 4th of July and continue giving fruit until frost. There is nothing to compare to the sweet juiciness of a sun ripened warm freshly picked tomato. When we no longer could keep up with an acre garden I stopped raising everything but tomatoes and lettuce. This year all of my tomatoes are heirloom varieties some started from last years seed by my sister Joanna. When I need more than I can grow the Amish stand down the road has plenty more.

This tomato salad is a show stopper. I served it at both of our daughters wedding and folk are still asking me for the recipe.
Aromat and Maggi are both Swiss seasonings. Maggi is a liquid made of the herb lovage and widely available. I found my last bottle in an Asian grocery store where they had shelves of it! Aromat is a seasoned salt and also pretty available.  They add that certain something to this salad.
Notice the beautiful green of these heirlooms. They are sweet and full of flavor.


Fresh Summer Tomato Salad

3 large heirloom tomatoes
1 small onion
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp Aromat (Swiss Seasoned Salt)
½ tsp Maggi seasoning
Ground pepper

Clean, core and slice the tomatoes in ½ inch thick slices. Arrange in the serving dish.
Dice the onion and then distribute over the tomatoes
Chop the chives and parsley and sprinkle over the tomatoes and onion
In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil and seasonings and whisk till smooth. It should be a heavy liquid. If too thick add a bit more oil and vinegar.
Pour over the tomato and onions
Serve room temperature

 Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast
Debbie Mosimann
the Lititz Broad
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Swiss Woods Bee Balm Syrup

July and August... Hot, humid, and crazy busy, at least here in the Mid Atlantic. The farm stands are popping with fresh produce and my roots draw me to freezing and canning like a salmon swimming upstream. Werner says I just can't help myself. He hides the seed cataloges when they arrive in the dead of winter as a precaution. I am just not happy without some kind of a canning garden be it ever so small.
Bee Balm is not necessarily one of the things that comes to mind in that context but let me tell you, bee balm syrup is one of those gifts of nature. It is simply delicious in so many ways. I learned to appreciate this from my sister in law(s) in Switzerland where bee balm is prized. It is so easy! Here at Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast we serve the bright red herby sweet syrup over fresh fruit in martini glasses (fruitini!) garnished with fresh bee balm stamens and a chiffonade of lemon balm.

Let your imagination wander. I often think it would be wonderful to wander around at the end of breakfast with a bottle of Prosecco to drink with the last of the fruit and bee balm juices left in the
martini glasses!

Bee Balm Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 -2 cups Bee Balm stamens
1 Tbsp lemon juice or 1 tsp citric acid

Bring the water and sugar to a  boil
Add the bee balm stamens
Squeeze in the fresh lemon juice or citric acid
Stir, cover and allow to sit overnight to extract all of the flavor and color.
Strain and pour into a bottle. If you are canning it, reheat to a boil before pouring it into appropriate bottles.
If you plan to use it in the next few weeks, cover and refrigerate.

*photo credits: Jenna Strawbridge

Debbie Mosimann
the Lititz, PA broad
Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hot Fudge Sauce

I'm posting this recipe as a Mothers Day tribute to a very special lady.   Not my own mom.   A lady who never had children of her own.    But someone whose life was dedicated to mothering just the same.   My very dear friend Juanita became friend, mentor and confidante to countless young people attending Kenyon College.   She and husband Yauncey opened their home and hearts to them.  They offered a home-away-from-home to young people away from their own families for the first time.  They "adopted" overseas students who found themselves alone during the holidays.   One of their favorite activities to do at the parties they threw for sports teams and groups of students was to make home-made ice cream, the old-fashioned way.    Complete with hand-cranked wooden churn, salt, cream and farm-fresh eggs.    It was delicious.    And even better when served with home-made hot fudge sauce.   Sadly for us, Juanita passed away just before Mothers' Day last year.   But I have inherited her incredible collection of recipes and cookbooks, including the ones for that delicious ice-cream.    If you don't have time to make hand-cranked ice-cream, this sauce is equally as delicious drizzled over store-bought ice cream, pound cake, or fruit.   It's even good for breakfast - make French Toast or Waffles, put sliced bananas over top and drizzle with this hot fudge sauce.   Yuuumm.

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
1 - 12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

You'll need a medium size saucepan.   Melt butter over low heat.   Add evaporated milk, sugar, and cocoa powder and whisk together.    Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low enough to just keep ingredients at a low simmer.    Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.    Allow to cool slightly before use.   Store any unused portion in the refrigerator and reheat before use.   (microwave carefully - just long enough to get warm, but do not allow to re-boil)

The White Oak Inn
Yvonne Martin
The Ohio Broad
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