tomato heaven

I picked the last two ears of sweet corn form the garden last night. They weren’t quite as tender and sweet as the ears from the height of the season, but I’m not complaining. I got them down just fine. And even though I am just the teeniest, tiniest bit tired of tomato sandwiches, I keep right on eating them. As many as I possibly can. Because pretty soon there won’t be any tomato sandwiches. And I know it will be a very long wait until the next one.
sweet corn
I’m getting pretty good at waiting though. My bees have given me plenty of practice lately. That’s right, nine weeks out, and I am STILL waiting to find out if I have a new queen in the mystery hive. The only thing I know for certain is that Freeda’s girls are really putting my patience to the test. The laying workers and/or ill-mated queen that were busy at work a few weeks ago are no longer laying. At last check there was a complete absence of any type brood. I’m still hanging on to a thread of hope that a new queen has hatched and has merely been out and about, taking her sweet time to get settled in. But if there are no new eggs when I check in a few days, I will most likely reunite the queenless hive with the original Queen Freeda and her gang.
After what we’ve been through, all I can do is laugh at the prospect of backtracking and putting them back together as one. But that’s okay. If that’s the case, they will go into winter as a big, strong colony that will most likely be ready to split in the spring. Which means I’ll get to try and do it all over again! I wish I could say with confidence that I’ll have more experience under my belt next time, but I’ve kept bees long enough to know that experience only takes you half way. The rest is a funny combination of great mystery and dumb luck. I respect that.
freeda's hive
The girls have certainly kept me on my toes the past two months. I probably have a little less honey to show for my nine weeks of effort, but it’s a good reminder that I didn’t get into beekeeping so much for the honey harvest as I did just to have some bees to visit with. I’ve spent my fair share of time at the beeyard this summer, and my take-home message for the season is “wait please, be patient.” Pretty good advice, really. And despite everything, there is still plenty of honey to see both me and my bees through the long winter.
Lucky for me, I’ve also got a stockpile of tomatoes. Canned, salsa-ed, slow-roasted, and sauced. It’s nice to watch the pantry and freezer filling up.  On the rare day when I have had one too many tomato sandwiches, I put my tomatoes to work in a 3-ingredient sauce for a fantastically simple dinner. I stumbled across Marcella Hazan’s recipe last summer at Food 52. A find that inadvertently ended my search for the perfect tomato sauce. I don’t see any reason to ever make another sauce. Ever. This is pure, lick your plate, tomato heaven. Although, I did just read about an older, James Beard version of the same sauce that uses garlic instead of onion. I admit that’s a rendition worthy of a try.
I almost always make a double batch of sauce. Whatever doesn’t get slurped up for dinner gets put into the freezer for a cold January night. Having a dozen or so pints tucked away really takes the edge off of waiting for tomato sandwich season. Just as a slather of fresh comb honey on warm toast bolsters my patience for the bees.
tomatoes
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

2 pounds fresh, juicy, ripe tomatoes
1 onion, skinned and cut in half
5 tablespoons butter
salt to taste

Blanch the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for one minute. Drain, cool, and slip the sinks off.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes into a sauce pan. Add the butter, onion, and a big pinch or two of salt. Cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato. Stir occasionally and mash up tomatoes as they cook with the back of a spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing with pasta. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese for the table. Dresses 1 to 1/12 pounds pasta. Freezes well.

pasta and sauce

5 Responses to “tomato heaven”


  1. 1 Anne-Marie September 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks for the bee update! I love them. I agree that Marcella’s tomato sauce recipe is divine. I make it often. Butter makes everything better!

  2. 2 Ella Thayer September 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I know what you mean about getting tired of tomatoes Jill. I’ve had bruschetta more than ever this season and I still have a lot from friends that are ripening; my ever generous friends for whom I am grateful.

  3. 3 Julie Buckles September 15, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks for the sauce recipe. I need a go-to recipe and now I can quit searching. You want to rid yourself of sungolds let me know. I can’t get enough.


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