Friday, August 29, 2014

Canning Tomato Juice

Good Afternoon!

Woooh! It's been a busy day! We just put our Oysterfest 2014 tickets on sale at Meritage. I have been busily filling orders and making sure to put all of our ticket holders on a spreadsheet so that when they come to check in the day of the festival they are all set!

Sorry for the over enthusiasm. This becomes a huge part of my work day for the next month. The festival is on October 12th and is a day completely dedicated to the bivalve. It is a pretty unique festival for a land locked state  but we end up shucking tons and tons of oysters its pretty amazing.

Now that I am done with my tangent I will get to the task at hand. Teaching you about canning. My family has always canned. My mom and her siblings would always share their goods during Christmas which has always inspired me to can myself. In the past couple years I haven't had the time   to really learn but FINALLY I just decided if I didn't make the time I would never learn. So about six months ago my mom and I made concord grape jam. Canning is definitely a process. Sanitation is the most important aspect of canning and making sure you are keep everything CLEAN!

When canning preservation is the main goal. Successfully preserving foods means that you can keep your product on a shelf for a good amount of time. There are some risks that come with trying to keep your canned product shelf stable and if you can guarantee that you have allowed no outside bacteria to enter that jar during processing you are on your way to keeping your product shelf stable.

To Read More about Canning Click Below...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Hey Everyone!

I have become a cupcake baking machine in the last week. Something you may not know about me was that my online debut actually started with a cupcake blog. A couple years ago I had become the official company birthday dessert creator. I baked cupcakes for everyone's birthdays. I became pretty good at coming up with new and interesting flavors... so I decided to share that with the internet world. Putting yourself in a box like that can become a little redundant and in the last year I have sorta lost my passion for the little cakes. But my brother is getting married in two weeks and I have been recruited to make them for his reception. There are going to be around 250 guests so it is a BIG project. I decided to start them a bit early and keep them safely locked in a gigantic deep freeze at my sister's work.

With all that going on I have been a bit stressed but I had one goal for the summer and that was to pickle! I have always wanted to try and there are so many fun things to find at the farmer's market at this time of year so I really wanted to get on it before summer ended. I started scavenging around to find all the tips and tricks to create the perfect pickles.

I haven't had a chance to taste my pickles since they have to sit for a few weeks before they are optimal for consumption but I am going to combine some of those tips for those of you that want to make your own pickles before the end of the season!

To Find Out More About Pickling Click Below...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Preserving Place + Atlanta, Ga. / Canning Essentials

Hello Readers! 

Thank you for your lovely feedback on my "Why Canning?" post yesterday. I really would love to hear all of your tips, tricks, and any memories of canning. It's a great thing to be able to share with each other. In keeping with our "preserving" theme, today I want to share with you about the Preserving Place. (At the bottom of the post I talk about the essentials that you need to start canning. Be sure not to miss that part as well!) I've mentioned The Preserving Place twice now here and here, and have said that I would tell you all more about it. It's a gorgeous, charming shoppe in the heart of Westside Provisions in Atlanta. Don't tell the rest of Atlanta, but Westside Provisions is Ben's and my favorite. Whenever we have guests come visit us one of the first places we take them to is Star Provisions which is also in Westside Provisions, right around the train track from The Preserving Place. Ben and I first found the Preserving Place when we were walking around Westside Provisions one day, probably shopping and/or eating. We can be caught doing that fairly often. We noticed a store that we hadn't seen before and we went and peeked in the window. The owner happened to be leaving for the day the same time that we peeked in and we started chatting with her. She has an amazing story as she used to be a lawyer working in Atlanta and she decided to go back to her roots and open up the Preserving Place focused on all things preserving. Her family used to operate (and still owns) a very large farm. She moved away from her family farm and re-located to Atlanta. Going from being a fast-paced lawyer to now teaching cooking and canning classes and spending her days in her charming shoppe is definitely a vast change. I asked her this weekend if she is glad for the change and that she opened the shoppe and she said she whole-heartedly is. She said it never feels like work to her and she absolutely loves it. She said that people come to her canning classes in trepidation having fears and worries about the canning process and all the work it entails. She said she loves showing people how easy and enjoyable it is and feels it is her calling to "spread the gospel of canning!" 

To Find Out More About The Preserving Place & Must Have Tools For Canning Click Below... 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why Canning?


Hi Readers! 

Have any of you ever canned or pickled or "jammed" anything? Laura will share some of her thoughts and experiments on this later this week. Do any of you have any helpful tips or tricks? I would love to hear about all of your experiences with it. Please tell us below as I am still very new to the whole idea of canning and preserving. I was very excited about taking a class that I told ya'll about last Friday. Sadly, that class got canceled this weekend so Ben and I did not get to go. Secretly, I was most excited that the former food critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Meredith Ford, was going to be teaching the class. Ben pretty much thinks that I came out of my mom's womb born to be a food critic. Naturally, I was excited to get to meet her and learn from all of her skills. We will be going to their next class, however! In the meantime, Ben and I went over to the Preserving Place in Atlanta to ask some questions and pick up some tools to start canning ourselves. My very first question that I asked Martha McMillin the owner was-- is canning as hard and as scary as it's cracked up to be? I've heard all of the warnings of botulism and bacteria if you don't do canning right. I've also heard that it is so much work to do canning right. I wanted to know the hard core truth about canning from a woman who clearly knows her stuff on all things preserving. She quickly reassured us, and in fact even told us she feels it her calling to enlighten people on the ease and joys of canning and to assuage their canning fears. In no time, Ben and I had an armful of canning tools, two canning magazines, and a heart of confidence that we could definitely figure this out on our own. I'm hoping the confidence is realistic and that we have beautiful jars of canned tomatoes ready for those winter months where "fresh tomatoes" would add charm and flavor to hearty soups and stews. I want to store up while tomatoes are in season now, so that I will still have access to  beautiful, local, organic tomatoes when they are in fact not in season during the colder months. If you're wondering, where we live in Georgia, tomatoes tend to be in season until mid-late October. All of you still have some time to buy some and get to canning yourselves. 

To Learn More About Why You Should Consider Canning Click Below...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding

Happy Friday! 

I barely forgot I was going to post about this today. We have some fun things planned this weekend and then next week my husband and I are going to the beach with some of my family. I'm already looking forward to that! This Sunday my husband and I are attending a 4 hour advanced canning class. I'm so excited. I'm so glad that Ben is not only willing but excited to come to these kind of things with me. How did I luck out in that department, I'm not sure! We loved cooking together in college and it's still one of our favorites. You guys will be sure to reap the rewards and pretty pictures (hopefully!) of our canning class. If you're in Atlanta and haven't been by the Preserving Place yet, it's definitely a must. I will write more about the shop next week, but in the meantime I wanted to post a little recipe for you that Ben and I have been making pretty much daily these days. Laura talked on Monday about Fiber. It's one of those words that is similar to grilled chicken-- to me it sounds just boring and just so healthy. It's over-used and I think every American knows we need fiber, but who really cares!? It's kind of like the whole drinking water thing. You know? Living a healthy natural lifestyle though, one can't escape the need for fiber. I tend to think that we just naturally would get enough of it if we are eating good. And we do. However, when Dr. Shumway came to visit New Orleans and did a health consultation on me and my blood he noticed I wasn't really having good digestion. I take digestive enzymes and probiotics, but when he asked me if I eat a lot of chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds my answer was a definite no. I mean does a not even 1/4 of a teaspoon sprinkling of chia seeds on my smoothies every two weeks count? :/ Hence, Dr. Shumway encouraged me to incorporate more chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds into my diet. Since doing so I've definitely noticed a difference in my digestion and even in other areas of my body. We have come to think of new ways to utilize them, and chia seed pudding isn't really a "new way." Chia seed pudding is almost getting to be the new kale salad-- overused. We even already have a recipe for chia seed pudding on our blog already, that Laura wrote. Not only is it already talked about, but you can even find it in your local grocery store these days in a little container. Have you guys tasted that little container though? I have and I can say I just don't like it, at all. Ben started making chia seed pudding when he was on a candida cleanse and it's become our new daily dessert. Am I allowed to say that his recipe is my favorite?! It is still our daily dessert even though the cleanse is finished. It's sort of the equivalent of the one-ingredient frozen fresh fruit turned ice cream. It's delicious and easy. It's even a tasty breakfast option, and it couldn't be easier. It's seriously easier (and way more exciting) than oatmeal-- even the ones you leave in the fridge the night before. We've made this little pudding for others and I haven't had one person that dislikes it yet. This would be a great breakfast for kids, working moms or dads, or even college students. I mean it's a great breakfast for me and I'm none of those. This was one of my husband's creations and I had him write out the instructions below. I hope you simply just try making this and you will see how scrumptious and easy this is! 

P.S. If you're having trouble committing to this recipe and want to try out the whole chia seed pudding thing before you commit to making it, I can't recommend enough True Food's chia seed pudding. I wrote about True Food Kitchen once before and to date (except for Ben's) their's is the best I've ever had. Make sure you ask for coconut milk whipped "cream" on top. You will be amazing at how delicious this pudding is. It may  be my top favorite restaurant dessert right now, and for me that's surely saying a lot. I know you will love it!

To Read The Recipe Click Below...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Real People Wednesdays: Meet Gabrielle!

Hello Dahhhlings....

No, I've never called any of you readers that or anyone that except for this gal we are interviewing today. A little history: Gabrielle Trudeau and I grew up together in our hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. Our parents were dear friends and we all went to the same church together. While all of our little Sunday School friends were sharing their prayer requests for their dogs to live longer and for the neighbor down the street who they only see once a month and for the "hidden request" that was such a big deal that they couldn't share with the class (I mean really, when you're in 2nd grade what possible hidden requests could you have that are so soul bearing or too embarrassing to share with your other Sunday School girlfriends?!)... while all of that was happening and we were sharing all our our prayer requests for our dogs and learning our memory verses, Gabrielle and I thought it would somehow be so fun and enticing to hide underneath the table of our class and pretend that the Sunday School snack of apple juice was instead beer and that our paper that we rolled up was instead cigarettes. We thought we were so fannnccyy. We cocked our (fake) cigarettes up into the air and called each other "dahhhling" and pretended to get drunk off of the apple juice-- I mean beer. We had a lot of other adventures outside of the Sunday School classroom that included me breaking her eye glasses, randomly going Christmas caroling way after Christmas had already passed because we missed Christmas (?), and eating homemade hummus at her house when hummus was definitely not a trendy daily snack for the average family. I'm pretty sure my dad had to convince me it was "sour cream" just so that I would try it. Some of my most comical memories of us are sitting under the table pretending to be Audrey Hepburn (maybe that was just me. hah) with our cigarettes titled in 
the air and our beer in the other profusely saying "dahhhling" over and over again when there was not a reason to do so.  I'm not sure how long we continued these charades, maybe they stopped once our elderly pastor caught us pretending to smoke and get drunk and we thought our lives would be over once he knew that we thought it was fun to pretend such things. Don't worry, this isn't an episode of that Amish tv show.  The story ends well and no we never got excommunicated from our church or our families, thank God. We had amazing families, both of us, and we also had an amazing church that we love. The only not so amazing part of this story is that Gabrielle and I don't live close to each other anymore to gallivant around together and to live natural, wholistic lives together. We do exchange recipes over  the phone and such, but the main unfortunate factor is that we can't go to our local Farmer's Markets with our cute baskets (such as her's above) in tow along with our green juice and/or  bake French Macarons together for an afternoon activity. In our "older years" we have both come to absolutely adore cooking (as you will see in her gorgeous instagram pictures below) and we both love being "healthy." We have similar views on health, even though as you will learn Gabrielle is a full-time nurse working with Modern medicine daily! You don't meet many nurses who also lead natural, wholistic lifestyles in their minuscule spare time. I mean really, nurses are some of the most hardworking women I have ever seen so if anyone would have an excuse to not have time or energy for living healthy, it may be them. They do horrendous (in my opinion dealing with strangers' bodily functions would be pretty horrendous) tasks and on top of that they give a lot of emotional support to families who are hurting and wanting medical answers for their loved ones. I cried the day my grandfather left the hospital when we said goodbye to our nurses. I felt like they had become my Aunt's who give me hugs and presents all of the time. I cried a lot saying good bye to them. And this is coming from me, a girl who was administering more natural care to my grandfather then the doctors and nurses even were. So, if Miss Gabrielle can find the time and energy to live naturally and cook from scratch, then so can all of us. I love what Gabrielle shared below, and I especially love my dahhhlling friend. She makes me laugh every single time I'm with her. I just wish we could be neighbors one days and have babies at the same time and apply essential oils to our kids every morning together. Without further adieu...

Meet Gabrielle Trudeau~

1. Describe your journey with healthy eating and living:

Eating well, natural remedies and the “natural” way of doing things is how my family has done things from the beginning. Growing up we didn’t drink soda, eat bright colored cereals loaded with sugar or bologna.(unless we were at mommos house or it was a “special occasion”) We didn’t get any immunizations that weren’t totally necessary to actually attend school. My dad made us drink fish oil as kids. My mom would make our friends drink water before having anything else to drink and they “had” to try the salad or veggies. How embarrassing, right? My parents have always been very health conscious and I guess you could say it sort of rubbed off on me. I think as a child I didn’t love the idea so much because I wanted gushers, fruit rolls ups and lunchables with fake pepperoni...but now that Im an adult and buy groceries and cook for myself and can see the benefits, I wouldn’t have it any other way. At times I get teased for eating so well, (and trust me, I indulge..when I make a dessert, I buy organic and natural as much as I can. If Im out and want ice cream, I have it). Healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a diet where I feel the need to torture myself and drink fresh juices day and night. Food is only a portion of what we put into our bodies and a way we can take care of them. Instead of taking medication, I use essential oils or natural home remedies. Avoiding products with additives and chemicals, I buy or make them naturally. People seem to forget that skin is an organ, what you put on it goes into the body and can either do help or harm. Wholesome living may not always be cheap or convenient but I would rather spend money to enhance my life and help prevent disease rather than try and remedy problems later in life.

2. You're a nurse and many people think that modern medicine and natural medicine are opposites. How do you think about these two things? I know both are big parts of your life.

To Read More About Gabrielle's answers Click Below... 

Monday, August 18, 2014


Happy Monday Readers!

I am still super excited about the increased interest in gut health we have been seeing in the media. It seems as though every publication I pick up has an article dedicated to the correlation between gut health and illness. I just find it so fascinating.

I graduated with a degree in nutrition and our main focus in most classes was the digestive system. One of the reasons I really loved my degree was the emphasis we put on gut health and how to really keep yourself happy and healthy.

I think the biggest questions are where do I obtain a healthy stomach flora and how do we keep it diverse and plentiful. As I had said in my last post there is scientific data showing that American's have the least diverse stomach flora. This is due to the lack of whole foods and fiber present in most average American diets. Most of the processed foods found in the grocery store tend to be partially digested. Partially digesting the food allows some foods to have longer shelf lives which keeps them shelf stable and can keep the foods from going bad. Some of the work your GI tract would normally do is now done for you, which then keeps your microbiota from staying busy. Once this has happened your gut bacteria tends to get bored and eventually some of it dies off and all the other bacteria have to pick up the slack and eventually become tired. Continual ingestion of these foods is essentially putting your flora on strike and without work or food they become angry and sick. It's a terrible state for your body to be in and allows it to be more susceptible to foreign invaders that can cause inflammation, infection and illness.

There are many ways to increase the diversity of the microbiota but the best place to start is replacing some of those already digested foods with whole foods that contain lots of fiber.

To Read More about Fiber and it's benefits click below:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How to Make Essential Oils

Hey Everyone! Lovely week here in Minnesota. It seems like everything starts to slow down in the restaurant business around this time. It is a nice time for everyone to get out of their homes and enjoy the summer one last time before the leaves turn and the temperature drops.

Besides winter our seasons are pretty quick here in Minnesota. As I have mentioned about a dozen times since May, I am growing some pretty wonderful herbs. I got a little excited during planting season and really went all out on my little planters. In the past couple weeks I have noticed they are getting a bit drab in color- I think this is due to the fact that they are out growing their pots and I really need to start using them so that they don't die. It is always so weird with edible and usable plants. You plant them, baby them, make sure they are happy and healthy and then you cut them all down. Obviously you cut them and use them to make wonderful things but it always saddens me a little to see them either away. I have a problem with holding onto things longer than they should be held on to... Now because I haven't been using the herbs in fear I would use them all, they are dying because I am not using them. It is a vicious cycle.

I feel a bit silly talking about my strong need to hold onto my precious plants but I think that most people feel that way about the things they have created around themselves. I feel the same way I felt when I got my first drastic haircut. It took you so long to grow it and it will take time for it to grow again but you always know there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is not the end of the world it is only plants and there is still a bit of time in the season for them to make a small comeback. It is now time for me to give up my apprehensions and just mow some of them down.

To read along and find out how to make your own essential oils click below.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How To Remove a Tick with Essential Oils

When I first started using essential oils it was a little while before my grandfather was sick. I hadn't researched much and I just used them here and there, primarily for my epsom salt baths. My grandfather got sick and I knew I needed to apply essential oils to get his kidneys back functioning since they were taking him off of dialysis. Both my husband and I began researching like crazy about all of the in's and out's on essential oils, all of the rules, and all of the protocols. There wasn't any way that I was going to use them blindly for my sick grandfather. I wanted to know every rule, every potential danger, and every correct way to use them. We stayed up at night reading and researching for hours. I could write many posts on essential oils and all of the information that we learned about them. However, this week we are chatting casually about essential oils. This isn't an overview or extensive discussion about them, just some quick tips, recipes, and common household tricks for using them. Using essential oils in our daily lives can seem daunting at the beginning especially if you've never used them before. However, I've come to find some really quick, easy ways to use them in my daily life that provide for really easy solutions and remedies for common life & household issues that may arise.

To find out the fastest and by far easiest (no pain for any party involved) way to remove a tick click below.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Essential Oil Bug Repellent + Mosquito Bite Relief

Last night my husband and I went to sleep much later than is normal for adults to go to sleep on a work night. We had just crawled into bed and I was starting to fall asleep when all of the sudden I screamed. My husband jumped up and was like "what's wrong??? What's wrong???" A bug had bitten me on my arm and my hand when I was drifting off to sleep and the sting of it woke me up. The itching was up and down my arm and I wanted to claw my skin out. My husband ran downstairs and retrieved our Clove Bud Essential Oil. I don't know what I would do or how I would survive these summers without it! When I was a little girl my mom used to call me Chicken Pox because I would have red marks and circles all over my body from mosquito bites. I inherited the whole seducing mosquitoes everywhere I go quality from my dad. He is the same way. We've all heard the saying it's because I'm "just so sweet." Whatever. Honestly, that gets old real quick and you become everything but sweet when you're getting bit every time you walk outside. The only thing that has helped me this summer is essential oils. Years ago I would try everything from creams to ointments. Nothing subsided that nagging itch. I tried the hot spoon method... nothing. Clove bud has consistently taken the itch away almost immediately. I've been mesmerized. Last night I had my husband running down the stairs to go get it as quick as possible. It's amazing to have that on hand, and to know I'm applying something onto my skin that is only good for me and not harmful whatsoever. There's no chemicals, no drugs attached. It's just pure and it actually supports my body in it's job to heal itself. 

Not only have I found this amazing little trick for mosquito bite relief, I've also come to find a way to prevent the bites when I know I will be outside. 

To read more and find out how to make your own (it's super easy!) kid-friendly bug repellent click below...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Danielle's Weekend Favorites

Hello Readers! Happy Friday! I am going to be posting soon about learning to listen to your body as Laura mentioned. It's such an intricate topic that it deserved a little more time writing about it. I am working on that now. In the meantime, I wanted to pass along a few ideas for your weekend. I love how Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom gives her picks every Friday. Today I laughed when reading this one that she shared.  As we head out into our weekends, below are a few of my weekend picks...  

To read along and see my weekend plans and favorites click below. There's one at the end that may be surprising... 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Real People Wednesdays: Meet Nate Uri of Prohibition Kombucha

Happy Wednesday readers!

I met Nate while exploring the local treats at the last North Coast Nosh. I was skeptical about trying his kombuchas because I often find them a bit overly sweet and sour but I decided to be optimistic and took a sample. I can't describe how happy I was that I decided to bite the buillet and give it a try. It was like nothing I have ever tasted before- it was elegant, smooth, and extremely balanced. He had explained to me that he takes pride in the way he creates his kombucha. He focuses on creating a graceful tea forward product. The balance comes from his attention to detail and sharp pallette. Ever since that night I have gone out of my way to get my hands on his kombucha. I really like that it's available on tap and that it has a lower sugar content than most other bottles kombuchas. Prohibition Kombucha is available at local co-ops and groceries, along with at the Verdant Tea House on Franklin. After reading this I would have a hard time not wanting to run out and grab a bottle myself and I hope you all feel the same!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do, and how it all started.

I had been working in Tech for many years and desperately wanted out. I mean, it pays really well, but being strapped to a computer 10 hours a day producing something I couldn't touch with my own 5 senses became really unfulfilling.

I've been cooking since I was four years old growing up in Tokyo, and got really serious about it when I moved back to the U.S. in late 1992. Having also had the incredible fortune of being exposed to high end cuisine & wine in Europe and the cheapest, greasiest, street food all over Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand, I've simply always been curious how to make everything myself and to share that knowledge and experience with others.

I've worked as a wine taster, commercial brewer (won a GABF Gold Medal ahem-ahem), food educator, and a TV cooking show host for Fired Up Food on Outside TV. I also have my own craptacular internet cooking show called Hot Date With Nate .

With Prohibition Kombucha I finally discovered a chance to combine everything I've learned into one really great project - and that I could make a real difference. The Twin Cities had never been exposed to this kind of Kombucha, served on tap in grocery stores and caf├ęs, and certainly nothing that tasted like this.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Human Microbiome Project

Last Thursday I stumbled upon and article in the Star Tribune, our local news paper here in Minnesota, that uncovered some new facts about how our natural stomach flora might be playing a big part in our overall health.

I have always been extremely interested in microbiology and living in a household where holistic health in our everyday lives we have always talked about good bacteria and healthy gut flora. When infectious disease was the leading cause of death, bacteria became the enemy. Before antibiotics we can see that certain colonies of bacteria had enough power to wipe out entire populations because our bodies are great incubators. Certain bacteria can spread quickly and kill the bacteria already present in the body that is there to help protect you from foreign invaders. Once this happens the bacteria that is growing starts to take over and can inevitably start to shutdown our body systems.

Over the years we have introduced certain antibiotics to help keep these fast growing invaders from growing in the body by creating an environment that seems to be deadly for these microbials. But by doing this we tend to kill off our natural defense system again just like the invading bacteria has done and the results can sometimes be almost as damaging. It seems that the most important part of keeping our bodies in check is to keep our natural flora healthy and strong so that it has enough defenses to keep foreign substances from attacking our body. This is where our good bacteria and microbiota start to play a crucial part .

Friday, August 1, 2014

Black Krim & Basil Tomato Sauce

So, besides our farmer's markets the star of this week is the tomato. Laura posted yesterday about some of the wonderful health benefits and nutrients tomatoes have to offer us and our bodies. One of the farmers at Morningside Market told my husband and me about a specific heirloom tomato that is a favorite of his -- the black krim tomato and a wonderful, rich tomato sauce that they make with them. He said black krims are hands-down his favorite tomatoes to eat and he waits all year until they're in season. I was sold as soon as I heard him say that. We bought 5 black krims. I figured I would make the sauce the farmer told me about and see how I liked them. Needless to say, the next week I feverishly searched the list of ingredients for the upcoming week at the market to make sure they would have more black krim tomatoes. My husband and I went bright and early and bought 15+ that week. These tomatoes really stand on their own, and I don't even love tomatoes. I remember my grandmother biting into tomatoes like an apple when I was a little girl and I remember wondering how she could like them so much. I found myself lightly dusting some salt on them this week and biting into these tomatoes, eating it the same way. There is a hint of a smoky flavor along with it's bold taste that draws you in. It makes you want to take one more bite to see just what that flavor is and to enjoy the taste. As soon as I tasted them I quickly began dreaming of what dishes I would be able to make with these beauties-- BLT's, tomato and burrata salad for picnics, gazpacho, and salsas that would build upon that smokey flavor. I did make the tomato sauce Farmer Mark told us about and I cannot even describe this tomato sauce. I have another pot simmering on my stove right now as I type and I can't wait to enjoy the velvety, rich, and deep flavors this evening for dinner over our farmer's market baked spaghetti squash topped with fresh corn and basil from our yard. One of the delightful aspects of this sauce is that it is by far the easiest tomato sauce I've ever made with fastest labor time. No cutting x's on the bottom and blanching them or roasting. I've done all of those methods, and as great as it makes you feel to slave over sauce like an Italian grandmother the taste doesn't even compare to this sauce. The simplicity of this recipe really exalts the ingredients and allows them to speak for themselves in a simple, non-pretentious way while making them look and taste nothing short of glorious. The only thing to keep in mind is that this does simmer on the stove for a few hours. You will almost forget it's there except for the smell drifting through your home. This is a wonderful sauce to make for company or your husband. When my husband tasted it that night I was wondering if he would politely wonder where the meat is. Instead he paused and said, "Danielle, this is the very best tomato sauce I've ever tasted in my life!"  That type of response along with knowing the valuable nutrients you're feeding yourself and your family makes for a lot of satisfaction in cooking up such a wonderful, nutrient-dense meal for your family. We served it over spaghetti squash from our farmer's market and topped it with fresh corn off the cob also from the market garnished with the basil from our garden. It would be delightful with fresh pasta as well. I know I will be making big batches and filling mason jars, stocking up on this sauce to freeze for the coming winter months! Enjoy! 

4-5 black krim tomatoes
1/3 cup of either olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion 
4 cloves of garlic
15 leaves of basil 
Water to cover the tomatoes half way
Few dashes of Cayenne
Salt + Pepper 

Prepare your ingredients: core your tomatoes (*but leave the skin on*), chop your onion. (you can either dice it or slice your onion into slivers. The onions will cook down immensely, so it doesn't matter how you chop them. As for the garlic- just chop it, don't mince it.)
Heat the olive oil and/or coconut oil in either a deep cast iron or enamel dutch oven. After the oil is warmed, sautee the onions for a few minutes. (This will take at least 5 minutes. You want to develop a rich flavor by cooking the onions down without burning them of course.) Just before the onions are finished cooking add the garlic to the pot to sautee for a minute. Don't let the garlic brown.
Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes-- you can use black pepper as well.
After the onions and garlic have been cooked down for a minute (without browning or burning) place the tomatoes that have been cored, cored side up, in the pot.
Fill with pot with filtered water so that it reaches just below the half way point of the tomatoes.
This will end up being about 1-1 1/2 inches of water. 
Sprinkle with salt and pepper once more.
Cover and simmer for 5-7 hours.
Half way through the cooking process, turn the tomatoes in the pot, putting the core side down.
If you are in a rush, it can be cooked in as little as two hours, but I highly suggest the longer cooking times to develop all of the flavors of the sauce. Either way it will be delicious.
5 minutes before the sauce is finished, add in the chopped fresh basil and sprinkle with salt and a few dashes of cayenne pepper.
At this point, I take my immersion blender and blend a few times in the pot to ensure all of the tomatoes have broken down and to develop that velvety feel. If you do not have an immersion blender, you could use a food processor or blender. You may have to blend in batches here and there, but it will be lovely any way.
Taste for seasoning. You might want to add some dried oregano and or a few drizzles of olive oil if you are used to the jarred tomato sauces.
You can garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve over a bed of spaghetti squash or pasta. Our favorite way to enjoy this black krim tomato sauce is to serve it over spaghetti squash with fresh corn off the cob and green bell pepper on top garnished with fresh basil. Sometimes we even add a few links of fresh Italian sausage from the Farmer's Market as well. 

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