Sunday, September 12, 2010

Waiting for the Sauce

How much of human life is lost in waiting.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I sit here waiting, I started to contemplate all the time that one wastes in a lifetime waiting.  Waiting to graduate, waiting for the next best job, waiting for Mr. or Miss Right, waiting for the tomato sauce to finish canning...

For those of you who have canned, it could be a whole day process, depending on what you are making.  Today, I made tomato sauce.  My day was spent skinning, de-seeding, chopping, cooking, milling, simmering, and then canning tomatoes.  It is the end of my day, and, after waiting about an hour, the tomato sauce just came out of the canner.  An hour ago, I was tired, and I wanted to be done.  But I waited that last hour.

Is the wait worth it?  I believe so.  I finally figured out how to make a good sauce, and it will be enjoyed in the middle of winter.  But, like so many other things in my life, I hate waiting.  I need to be doing.  I make the time go by faster by keeping myself busy doing something else. 

Is that good?  Sometimes, yes.  You can get much accomplished while waiting.  You can enjoy the now while waiting.  A friend of mine is waiting for that million dollar check to come in the mail.  She first told me about this check about a year ago.  Knowing positive thinking will bring that check, she stays encouraged daily and laughs. Yet, at the same time, she is working hard to meet her needs for today and enjoying life to the fullest right now, but not giving up on that check arriving one day.  So, accomplishing other tasks and claiming a positive outcome are two positive things about waiting.

When is keeping busy not good?  When you need to rest.  God said "Be still and know that I am God."  Be still - don't do anything, just believe that He is.  It could be a time of rest, of relaxation.  A time to rejuvenate yourself, so that when the waiting is over, you are refreshed.

So, the next time I need to wait, maybe I'll try just waiting instead of doing.  Maybe then I won't wonder why I just totally exhausted myself to the point that I have no idea why I'm thinking about waiting and that this post may not make any sense.

Side Note:  When you put your life on hold, waiting for the outcome you want to be fulfilled from the waiting, life doesn't always give you what you want.  Sometimes God is telling you "No, that's not the direction I want you to go."


After years of trying, revising, and cooking tomato sauce, and then not being satisfied with the results, I think I finally figured out the trick of making delicious tomato sauce.  The recipes always say to cook until thick.  Well, my husband and I would strain the tomatoes with a tomato strainer, put it in a big pot, stir, and stir, and stir a million times more, and after around 8 hours of cooking and stirring, the sauce may be at the consistency that we like (or almost there).  Our sauce always turned out tasting acid-y and burnt.

When I started to make tomato sauce this year, I looked at that big pot, and I started to think that maybe the surface wasn't big enough to evaporate the liquid in a shorter period of time.  So, I tried a good pan.  I took out my Pampered Chef 12" Covered Skillet, put the chopped tomatoes in it, and put the temperature up high, stirring ever minute or so.  When the liquid came to a boil, I turned down the burner to a medium heat, and continued letting it boil (still stirring).  The liquid evaporated, and, in about an hour, I had about half the liquid.

I then poured as much of the tomatoes and liquid as I could in my canning food mill.  I let the liquid drain, and returned it to the skillet to let it thicken some more.  As it thickened, and I stirred, I put the tomatoes through the mill.  When the liquid had reduced to a thick sauce, I added the really thick tomato sauce, and then added the rest of the ingredients to the skillet and put on simmer for about an hour so that the flavors would blend into the sauce.  After around 2-1/2 hours (compared to more than 8), my sauce was done and tasted oh so good.

I discovered that the secret of making good sauce was the pan you used!  Even though I am partial to Pampered Chef products, any good skillet will do, you just want to make sure it has a big surface and a thicker bottom.  This may be a small investment, but it's well worth it.  We use our skillet at least 3 times a week for regular meals.  If you are interested in the pots and pans I sell, email me and I will send you a link to my website.


Italian Tomato Sauce
makes about 5-6 quarts, depending on desired thickness

30 lbs or 24 cups tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded, and chopped
3 cups onions, chopped
2 cups green peppers, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced, OR 2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs. and 1 tsp. of each - basil, oregano, Italian seasoning
1-2 Tbs. brown sugar (to taste)

Take the tomatoes, and follow the directions above.  While it's thickening, saute onions, green peppers, and garlic until onions are transparent.  After sauce has thickened, add remaining ingredients except sugar, and simmer for about an hour.  Add sugar, and simmer 5-10 minutes more.

Can or freeze according to instructions found in canning books.  If canned, don't forget to add the lemon juice - 2 Tbs. per quart.

Aunt Janet

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It!