goldensauce

So speaking of CSAs, ours recently gave us a bunch of yellow tomatoes (along with red tomatoes and grape tomatoes), and while my first thought was yellow tomato cake! and then, maybe fried yellow tomatoes! it was Tim who suggested turning these tomatoes into one of those things tomatoes do best: sauce.

Golden tomato sauce.

yellow tomatoes

I don’t know how sauce works in your household, but in ours, it goes something like this:

1. Prep the tomatoes (i.e., boil water, remove the stems of tomatoes and score an x at the bottom, plop them in the pot for eight seconds, remove and cool, peel off skins like they’re a loose jacket; chop)

2. Saute garlic and olive oil in a skillet, sometimes with onion, sometimes without

3. Add chopped tomatoes, maybe with basil or maybe with wine

4. Add salt

5. Cook for a while and watch and season to taste, adding sugar or honey or herbs or spices or whatever you need until it tastes the way you like.

goldentomatoes

It’s not complicated, not even as hard as putting together a blog post if we’re being honest, but it works. Every time. And with golden tomatoes, it works so well that it makes you look like you’re really smooth in the kitchen, like you’re doing more than just that basic, mindless thing you usually do to pull together sauce, the mellow and sweet flavor of the fresh tomatoes doing all the work while you go about your business washing the dishes or talking to your husband about weekend plans.

peeled tomatoes

Golden tomato sauce is the kind of thing I absolutely love. Like a back-pocket secret. Something you can do or make that is low on effort and high on value, so when you’re done, the reward so far exceeds the journey that it’s almost not worth talking about. Like when you turn your shrunken maxi dress into a sundress that gets complimented just because you cut it, with a scissors, in two seconds flat; or being told you have a ‘trendy’ dining room with mismatched chairs when actually you just picked your chairs because they seemed cute and easy to paint and, mostly, were under $10 each; that quick and easy pie crust recipe that always turns out flaky; the morning smoothies that use up leftover lettuce and too-ripe bananas and kale.

And the way I see it, when you do one of these too-easy, still-impressive things and someone comes to you, eyes all wide and admiring, asking how you come up with this stuff, you have two ways you can respond: (1) smile or (2) tell them the truth.

Which do you do?

yellowtomatoesauce

I mean, think about it: When someone’s impressed at your handmade pillows or golden sauce, it feels good. You know something. You did something. Victory! So sometimes it’s kind of nice to just smile and nod and bask in that praise and say, oh, it’s nothing, leaving the other person to wonder at your talent and wish they had it, too. I think there are generations of cooks who did this, who told us younger folks that some people just have it and others don’t and, sorry, kid, maybe you’re one of the don’ts.

But I don’t buy it.

spooning sauce onto toasts

Because sure, it’s fine to keep our back-pocket secrets, fine to make our sauce and watch people eat it and feel good—but that doesn’t change the fact that our wedding ideas came from Pinterest or that the origin of a recipe came from our grandmas. Just like we learned our secrets, other people can learn them, too, which is why I’m a little averse to phrases like “good cooks” or bad ones.

Why is it that we think calling someone a bad cook should make us a better one? Why do we need to put down someone else’s ability in order to feel more confident of our own? Why can’t we instead join together, all of us, bloggers and cookbook authors and home chefs and grandmas, and trade secrets and share stories and grow?

Is that crazy? Maybe.

sauceoncheesetoasts_closer

Or maybe, when one of us shares our secrets, even if it’s a little one, it gives another of us the courage to try. And maybe in the process, the both of us take another step forward towards that kind of sharing-and-growing-together world of cooking and eating and living that we all want to be part of, the kind where we’re all rooting for each other, not competing, the kind where cooking is just mostly fun.

Maybe I’ll start—with golden tomato sauce.






Golden Tomato Sauce

This makes a pretty small batch of sauce, probably enough to cover three cheese toasts (toast thinly sliced sourdough with mozzarella until the cheese melts; top with hot sauce; divine!), but we built it around the amount of tomatoes we had. It’d be easy to double or triple as you like.

Ingredients:
1 pound golden tomatoes
Olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
A few sprigs of fresh basil, torn into small pieces
Salt

Directions:
PREP TOMATOES
I like to peel tomatoes by boiling a pot of water; washing the tomatoes, removing their stems and scoring Xs at the other ends; plopping them in the pop for eight seconds; removing and cooling; then peeling off the skins like their a loose jacket. Then all you need to do is chop them roughly.

SAUTE GARLIC & OLIVE OIL
Saute garlic and olive oil in a skillet until the garlic is soft.

ADD TOMATOES, BASIL, SALT
Add chopped tomatoes, torn basil and a few hefty shakes of salt.

COOK DOWN
Cook down for a while, until the sauce is the consistency you like (for us it was about an hour); adjust seasonings as you like.

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn

    I hear you sister! One of my favorite quotes is, “There are no new ideas, only new ways of making them felt.” Same applies to cooking and recipes – new people, new scenarios, different ingredients, different kitchens, different sentiments, but we’re all working from the same cookbook, if you know what I mean. Maybe I should change the quote, “There are no new recipes, only new ways of making them taste.”

  2. angela@spinachtiger

    We have a very similar food aesthetic which is why I like your posts. We are growing yellow tomatoes and waiting now (hoping) for the next batch. The heat has wrecked our season a bit. We had so many right before it got really hot. I would love golden tomato sauce.

    1. Shannalee

      I know, this heat has been something and I’m sorry to hear it’s been rough on your garden! Hopefully with all the rain we’ve been getting this last week, the tomatoes will be able to revive.

  3. Sharon (a Great Grandmother)

    I don’t do the CSA because I’m single but now I’m thinking about looking for 1-3 people to share in one. What I do have going for me is an organic Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning in the parking lot of a church next door to my building. Not many people in my building are really in to cooking like I am. Today, I bought more tomatoes (didn’t see any yellow ones today – I have seen purple heirlooms and other colors in past weeks), okra, Kirby cucumbers and SC freestone peaches. Last week I bought tomatoes, raw honey, peaches and sweet red/purple onions. Gazpacho was definitely in order. I make it at least once a week when good tomatoes are in season. Wonder what yellow Gazpacho would be like? Wonder if the toast and Golden Sauce would be as good with Chevre as it is with Mozzarello?

  4. Helene

    Every single time I read one of your new posts, I just think to myself how cool (for lack of a better word…) you are and that’s just the truth. I gotta say, such a kindred spirit. You are so generous in your posts, in your responses, so open. Being fairly new in the blogging world, that sense of sharing and community was something I didn’t expect to find. Everything’s already been done (in cooking and elsewhere), so might as well share, and I really believe that spirit is what pays off in the end (probably no instant gratification in the land of the honest and the giving). So many thanks for that honesty and openness :-)

  5. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes

    I think a lot about what you wrote in this post. It´s funny how the thought that just one explanation or `secret´ can mean so much. There are so many things that come together to make anything happen, that any secret is only a tiny bit of it. It´s impossible to copy everything, so it´s impossible for anyone to do exactly what another person is doing.
    The tomato sauce is great and I will add a bit of honey to it! Love your header, I think I already told you so.

  6. Bethany ~ twoOregonians

    Gorgeous! Your pictures make me want to just take a giant bite. I adore this year’s traveling adventures, but I sure do miss fresh veggies. We’re in the southern hemisphere right now, too, so no summer produce for us. Enjoy those golden little juicy jewels. Thanks for the digital serving : )

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