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Food for Thought: We Say Tomato

The good news? We harvested 60+ lbs. of Roma tomatoes this year.  Bad news?  I'd have to puree them in my little food mill as I did last year. It's a nice enough tool but just not up to processing that kind of volume.  The plates clog up and have to be removed and cleaned, then re-installed.  It just takes forever.

But this time around I found something robust enough for heavy tomato lifting.

It was the Victorio Food Strainer, pictured above.  It's sturdy, has a large hopper, doesn't clog and does a really nice job.  As I told Nancy, I ran about 30 lbs. of Romas through it in less than 90 minutes.  That included washing the tomatoes, cutting into quarters, processing, breakdown and cleanup.

It took another three hours over low heat to cook the juice and pulp down into the puree you see above.   I steeped it with a few sprigs of tomato leaves (no, they're not poisonous) that I'd also frozen.  I find that they add a little herbal tomato flavor boost.  Next morning we bagged it all up and it was back to the freezer.

Nancy Leson also scored well  in the tomato department this last weekend at her local Goodwill.  "There it was – light shining down – Laaaa – a tomato-red Kitchenaid mixer.  I plugged it in and it worked really well.  I figured twenty bucks!  I'm going to use this to harvest its parts." 

I only hope that Kitchenaid's driver's license confirmed that it was a registered parts donor.

Nance also found some of her favorite real tomatoes this weekend.  "Some really gorgeous little sun gold and red cherry tomatoes. They're sweet as candy.  I just slow roasted them for a couple of hours at 250 on a lightly oiled sheet pan.

Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX
Nancy's oven-dried cherry tomatoes

Once they reduced down I just scooped 'em up, put 'em in Ziploc bags and froze those.  So in the middle of the winter when I want a lovely little sweet tomato sauce with some pasta – Boom – I'm done."

"You say tomato, I say bourbon and Coke." – Drew Carey

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.