A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life

Fall Cooking

I always say this blog is about a “Crafter’s Life”, therefore this is how I am getting away with this post about Fall Cooking…and Crafters cook (Crafters also do laundry, wash dishes, floss their teeth, etc. but you would likely stop following my blog if I start posting about those Crafter life activities!)

Recently I was blessed with shared bounty of a friend’s Fall Harvest: Fuji apples and Heirloom-like tomatoes.

So far the apples have become an Apple Crisp and the tomatoes became Homemade Pasta Sauce.

The Apples

This past weekend, during a visit to a friend’s house, I was given a large bucket of Fuji apples from her apple tree harvest:

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Recently I’ve been playing with B&W photography

Arriving home, I gave many apples away to neighbors and friends. However I still had many apples left:

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I asked Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) what he thought I should do with them and I suggested making a couple apple pies (and freezing some). He replied off the top of his head: “Why don’t you make an Apple Crisp?”

I never made an Apple Crisp before but I found a wonderful recipe online at the. Tastes Better From Scratch website: Apple Crisp

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Screen shot of partial image from tastesbetterfromscratch.com/apple-crisp/

Peeling apples is not something I get excited about so I enlisted TTQH to help (he has to work for his “Crisp”):

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The recipe came out excellent and we ended up with a very delicious Apple Crisp, which I served warm with vanilla ice cream.

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The house smelled wonderful as it baked, very “Fall-like” with the smell of cinnamon and baking apples in the air.

Here is a close up of the baked topping (which was so delicious on top of the tender baked sliced apples):

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The Tomatoes

In addition to sharing her Fuji apple harvest, my friend also gave me 5 – 8 pounds of her spectacular heirloom type tomatoes in red and yellow varieties.

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I decided to make my first completely from scratch pasta sauce. I have made pasta sauce from “semi-scratch” using canned tomatoes. I have also made pasta sauce with fresh roasted tomatoes. However, I have never made pasta sauce with fresh peeled tomatoes!

I searched recipes online and found one I felt I could handle from Wellness Mama website – Authentic Homemade Pasta Sauce (Fresh or Canned Tomatoes).

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screen shot from wellnessmama.com/8907/pasta-sauce/

I learned a lot from this recipe including how to remove the skin from fresh tomatoes (dropping in hot water for 10 secs) and using an unsliced carrot to remove acidity from the sauce.

I won’t share photos of my first attempt of putting little Xs on the top of tomatoes, dropping them in boiling water, retrieving them, and then peeling them. Why? Because it looked like a tomato-slaughterhouse in my kitchen until I got the hang of it (several tomatoes sacrificed themselves for the sake of my learning curve on how to peel hot tomatoes).

Here is the sauce during its initial simmering before it spent time with my immersion blender:

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Okay so if you checked out the recipe link I provided and now you are looking at the image above, you are thinking: “Tierney what kind of brown round vegetables do you have simmering in the sauce? I did not see them mentioned in the recipe.”

Well…those are meatballs. I did not make this recipe vegan, I added meatballs and let the meatballs simmer for many hours in the sauce. As you can imagine, and if you like meat, the house smelled absolutely delicious most of the day while this simmering was going on.

Eventually I removed the meatballs:

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And I pureed the sauce using an immersion blender:

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You’ll notice the sauce does not look very red. Actually it is orange-red because the bulk of the tomatoes I used were yellow varieties.

I remembered a sauce tastes even better the next day after the flavors have time to “think about themselves’ overnight, so we waiting until tonight to have wonderful Spaghetti and Meatballs supper! (Now if I could have made my own pasta…)

I am always fascinated by the science of cooking and I loved this new trick I learned from this recipe to simmer a half peeled intact carrot to absorb acidity in the tomato sauce. The 1/2 carrot is removed and discarded at the end.

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Discarded fresh thyme sprig, bay leaf, and the 1/2 carrot used to absorb acidity

I also added a little honey at the end as the recipe’s author suggested to balance the acidity.

I made enough sauce to use for supper tonight and to freeze for a future meal (I froze it without the meatballs).

Okay, so next post, I will discuss and share photos of how I fold laundry (joke).

30 thoughts on “Fall Cooking”

  1. mmm! Jim always grows tomatoes in the summer. Some years he preps some for the freezer, and some years the crop or our timing only give us enough to use as they ripen. This year there was just enough to make a small batch of sauce, too. Nothing tastes quite as good as home grown tomatoes.

    Tomorrow I’ll make a gingerbread, from scratch for the first time. I make most of my cakes (only a few a year!) from scratch anymore, but I haven’t done gingerbread before. I’m considering making one basically as a quick bread. It’s all the same stuff, and the main difference is the shape and the baking time. Guess I should do some more research on that…

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    1. Gingerbread!!! Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering. That would make the house smell lovely too. I will put that on my future Fall baking list. Thanks for your comments and getting me to now obsess about a slice of gingerbread filling my mouth with yumminess 🙂

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      1. I looked at various recipes. Seems like it is just quick bread, usually baked in a flat pan instead of a loaf pan. Anyone can make a quick bread, so how hard could it be? (And I think I’ll make it in a loaf pan. Why not?)

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  2. Always love a few apple recipes this time of year.! Having just returned from Normandy, France where they are avid apple growers, and there’s been an apple festival recently I am keyed up for way more than an apple a day!

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    1. That sounds awesome – what a way to enjoy the Fall harvest – France! I am going to make another crisp along with a pie as well as continue with apples in my oatmeal each morning (still many apples to use up)

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  3. mmmm. I love homemade pasta sauce and meatballs. I’ve never heard of the carrot trick for acidity. I always add a tablespoon of brown sugar for that purpose. Must try this new method. Thanks for the electronic “smells” this morning 🙂 Jealous that you still have fresh tomatoes — I’m craving a tomato sandwich.

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    1. Thanks for your comments and yes I lucked out that my friend pulled her green tomatoes off before the frost at night and they ripened in her kitchen. Some people just give up when we get the first frost but she knew that with patience there would be more tomatoes! I am fascinated by the carrot trick but I still added some honey also at the end for some sweetness to balance. Glad you enjoyed the electronic smells 🙂

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  4. I think I will try the apple crisp recipe this weekend while it’s raining outside! You crack me up…I laughed out loud and Norma and Sadie looked at me like I was a human or something! I was so looking forward to reading about your laundry folding techniques and now my hopes are dashed!

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    1. Thanks for your comments and if I ever do that Folding Laundry post, I will have to find a way to just send it to you personally – ha (as the other readers might question my sanity). I am cracking up as a I write this thinking about posting images of step by step of my laundry folding. I think Norma and Sadie have accepted that you are one of those “humans” lol. I hope you find the crisp as delicious as we did!

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  5. I loved reading about your apple and tomato cooking–can imagine the wonderful smells. I have become passionate about composting my peelings and hope that was the destination for the apple scraps. We always dropped tomatoes into boiling water for easy peeling but had not heard of scoring an X on beforehand. Good idea. Takes a little practice to get the skin loosened but not begin cooking the tomato.

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    1. The X on top seemed to make the peeling easier (once I got the hang of it and stopped with the “tomato slaughterhouse”) when they came out of the boiling water. Yes we compost and have a large closed compost bin out back that we can spin and distribute the composting. Once winter sets in, we let the compost “cook” and leave it be and just put peelings and such in our yard waste container (our town has yard waste pick up and they compost yard was a make compost with it.

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  6. If you ever get ahold of cherry tomatoes, make roasted tomato sauce: a little olive oil, salt and pepper tomatoes for a minimum, add anything you want–Ii add sweet peppers and lots of basil from my garden, and a little garlic. Saute the tomatoes in oil until they start to pop, add other ingredients, tastes like fresh tomatoes. I have one yellow cherry tomato bush and pick a few each day, then freeze the sauce in ziploc bags. I’ve got at least 7 bags in the freezer for the winter.

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    1. Oh my goodness that sounds exquisitely delicious!!!! I’d like to try that in the future as I did have cherry tomatoes in my garden this year but they’re all gone now. Thanks for your comments and for making my mouth water😀

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  7. I love to cook! You did really great putting your resources to work! That is a really cool trick about the carrot. I could almost smell how delicious everything smelled. Beats those room fresheners any day–and healthier too! Great job!

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  8. Hey, even quilters have to eat!

    We went to an apple orchard yesterday and last night I made a pork chops and red cabbage with apples. Fantastic!

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