Tomato Skins, Sugar, Insomnia, Leave-taking, and a Dash of Introspection: It’s All In There*

— Everything but the carrot.

It’s late, or early, depending on how you want to look at it. I’m up. I’m not sleeping. After washing the gunk off some plastic containers, I noticed that the organic tomatoes I bought last week to make tomato sauce are going bad. Might as well do it. The lazy part of me thinks why not dump the whole thing in the crock pot and leave it at that? The Italian in me just can’t do it. So I compromise and douse the tomatoes in boiling water, rinse them in cold and then commence skinning. Hell, while I’m at it – might as well take out the seeds too. As I’m doing this tedious task, my mind is free to wander. How do I make sauce again? It’s been a long, long time and I remember it was a long process. Then I think I should take pictures and blog about it. I’ve had those fleeting thoughts in the past week. I even have some photos sitting on my phone, waiting. For a long while…based on my last post entitled It’s Been Awhile...

I really just want to toss the onions and garlic in the crock pot. Yet, again – I just can’t bring myself to do it. So I fire up the cast iron pan and sauté them. You’d think I knew what I was doing, but this is an ADD brain in the kitchen just trying to get it done. Yet the tedium of the task is soothing, like a tranquilizer. I think about how long it’s been since I’ve been on the computer or written anything. I’ve been flailing since Trifecta closed up shop and then Write on Edge seems to have downsized and then Weight Watchers cancelled it’s Monday morning meetings – my meeting time. And the Y has gussied itself up to become more of a gym and less of a community. I can’t get my son to go anymore because child watch is for babies and Mr. Jimmy’s is gone. (Mr. Jimmy made the best egg sandwiches for the best price, he’s been replaced by a smoothie bar). And my workouts have been uninspired. I’m not working, and maybe I should. All these thoughts race through my head and I consider them all one after the other. It’s not a sense of abandonment I feel; it’s more like I’ve come to a crossroads and it’s time for me to move on. So now I’ve thrown the peeled and seeded tomatoes in the crock pot, added the sautéed onion and garlic, threw in some leftover zucchini from tonight’s dinner, a bit of  salt and pepper and sugar? Do I really add sugar? All the recipes I’ve googled say to, but I never have. I remember watching a friend add sugar to her sauce and asking her why? She said that is how she was taught. I asked my dad about it. My dad who unlike me is a great cook replied: “Yeah, you can do that. It cuts down the acid, but I just add a carrot.” After that, my curiosity got me and I went scanning the grocery shelves for jarred tomato sauce, which I had never, at that point in my life, ever had. Sure enough, sugar was listed as an ingredient. Where I live now, the tomato sauce tends to be overly sweet and this is not a good thing! I would add a carrot. I went rummaging around the fridge. No carrots, how could that be? I just bought them at the farmer’s market yesterday. I remember because the lady gave me a box to save my strawberries then I gave her $3.50 for the carrots and she said the box would be $10. Now, I couldn’t find the carrots. Just like I couldn’t find sleep. Maybe they were in the car, I’ll check in the morning. As I add some sugar to the crock pot, I think of my father. I forgot to call him on Father’s day. Oh well, you reap what you sow. Unlike my mother, who would call me at 11:00 pm on mother’s day to remind me that I forgot to call her on mother’s day, my father will say nothing. Unless, my poor sister happens to call then he’ll complain about me to her. My father, who never taught me how to cook, never taught me a lot of things except how not to cry and how to stick by family come hell or high-water.

Well, whatever – no time to brood. Sauce is in the pot, let it stew for 8 hours while I sleep. Oh hell, I ain’t sleeping anyway let me write this. My last post mentioned how I tried the paleo diet. What an epic fail! Albeit, I lost 4 pounds, but after day 5 of a 30 day challenge I had to quit and detox. My intestines were hurting, physically hurting and well I won’t give you all the horrid details. It had been a long winter and I had become fascinated with all these diet trends. Not, because I wanted to lose weight, but because really I was fascinated by them. Especially one called the Paleo Diet. I mean why call it that? Do we really know how our ancestors ate? We can make suppositions and based on certain data make certain claims, but who really knows what or how they ate? And, I’ve read somewhere, that they had bad teeth from eating all those nuts and evidence of cancer has been found in some mummies. My take away is this. Listen to your body and take everything in moderation. I have found that if I don’t have a complete, balanced meal then I am always hungry! I see it in my son who will eat a whole bag of Goldfish crackers and still be hungry and my husband who just grabs snacks by the handful over and over mindlessly. I keep imploring them to make a snack, have some fruit and a drink with the crackers and sit down for god’s sake! I still don’t count points, because I am doing Simply Filling instead, but now I don’t go to meetings until I find another one. Still, it won’t be the same without my Monday morning buddies. Last night, I made my version of sabu sabu at my son’s request. I don’t have a sabu sabu pot so we do it in the fondue at the table. I’ll post pictures in the morning, along with an update on the sauce. After that, I think I will take a long needed nap and a hiatus from this blog.

Buon Appetito.

*please excuse any typos and grammar mistakes this was hastily typed up  in the wee hours

Ms. M’s crazy ad hoc tomato sauce

About 10 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeded and then cut in half. I actually just squeezed the seeds out by hand over the sink and then threw the tomatoes in the crockpot. Roughly chop one large spring onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Saute onion and garlic in some olive oil until they turn golden, throw in the pot with the tomatoes. Add whatever herbs and spices you prefer and 2 teaspoons of sugar, but if you have a carrot add that instead. Either put it in whole (washed and peeled) and then remove after cooking, or chop finely in a processor and keep it in the sauce. Set the crockpot on low for 8 hours and cross your fingers!

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