Tag Archives: tomato

Tomato Paste RULES!

Fresh fresh fresh…my )(*$)#&(.  Chefs have been using tomato paste (and making it – but YOU don’t do THAT please!) to enhance everything from seafood to beef dishes to sauces for millenia.  Tomato reduction contains umami!  We all have recipes in our collection that call for a teaspoon or a tablespoon of tomato paste.

What to DO with the other 4 ounces (or 10 depending on the can you get?  It comes in tubes now that will store in the fridge for forever, but you pay a premium.  Lula’s Catering ‘s method is – buy a can.  Put a piece of waxed paper or a pastry sheet on a cookie tray, dollop the whole can out in tablespoons on the paper, throw the sheet in the freezer for a few hours, pop it out, bag it up, and throw it in the freezer to have at the ready for the next YEAR.    You’re welcome! For weekly tips and tidbits to help you in the kitchen you can go HERE.

Canned Tomatoes are a GOOD Thing!

A fresh tomato is FABULOUS coming right from the garden – raw, sunkissed, warm, or thrown into a pan with some fresh basil till they pop … but we can only have that about 3 months out of every year.  The next best thing is a good CANNED tomato – which is picked and packed at its ripest and freshest.

Until not so long ago, the prized “San Marzano” tomatoes were the cans of choice amongst cooks in the know.  But, this was just a region in Italy where good “meaty” tomatoes were grown, and now the same variety comes from California as well.

The best quality canned tomatoes usually come whole, rather than diced or pureed. This is generally because whole tomatoes have to be “pretty” – it’s easier to throw in a bruised tomato to the chopper – it won’t be detected by the eye all diced up. Whole tomatoes have to be handled more carefully for exactly this reason as well – so they’re given a bit more love going into the machine.  It’s just as easy to make sauces from whole canned tomatoes as it is to make them from crushed or puree – just one more step.  Either throw them into the blender or use an immersion blender before you start your sauce.

What do you have alot of?

Luscious, warm, juicy, brilliant, sweet tomatoes… go to www.lulasforlunch.com and click on Seasonal Selections for an EASY recipe that will help you use 2 of your abundant garden items right now!!  And…just for my blog babies, check out the recipe below that will help you get rid of that most delicious of all weeds…MINT!!


¼ cup minced onion                        sauté low heat 1 tsp butter 10 min no browning


1 can broth


1 can water                                         add both – btb  then simmer


¾ cup frozen peas or fresh          add at the simmer, maintain for 5 min


¼ c mint leaves                                 add, maintain for 3 min




Dump all in blender, whir till smooth as possible, return to pan through fine mesh sieve (or china cap if you have one)


1/4c to ½ c heavy cream                stir through to desired viscosity and taste




Dash  cayenne, salt                         correct seasoning




Chill at least 2 hours.  Serves  4

What in the heck is a Tomatillo?

It’s NOT a baby tomato – though it looks like one!  Tomatillos are a berry in the same family as eggplant and potatoes (nightshade) – as are tomatoes.  They are a fruit.  They have a husk, and keep really well.  Longer storage requires removal of the husks first, then in the fridge in a paper bag.  Tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked, and are the key ingredient in salsa verde.  In the store, look for tight husks, not wrinkly ones.  We use tomatillos in a variety of recipes (not just Mexican!)  Check out our Roasted Pork Loin with Mango Salsa on the menu – that’s one!  www.lulasforlunch.com