Baked Tomato Sauce (back story)

all-recipes3 I felt a little trepidation making my baked tomato sauce and serving it to a friend who grew up in Italy.  I actually made the sauce as an accompaniment to taste test some zucchini pasta which I cut in different sizes.

Zucchini Pasta - Two Different Shredders

Zucchini Pasta – Two Different Shredders

KAMUT pasta:
I also served Kamut pasta* as a comparison to the zucchini pasta.  The zucchini pasta had no votes and it was agreed that it would be a palatable side dish  but the baked tomato sauce got rave reviews.  I was told that in Italy they do not make tomato sauce in the oven.  My friend told me that Italians will cook their sauce  on the stove top but don’t bake anything in the oven unless absolutely necessary so they will not heat up the house.  They tend to grill their meat as well. Again no oven to keep the heat down.  I pulled out my edition of  “The Silver Spoon” which is a major Italian cookbook , a kitchen reference work originally published in 1950. silver-spoonIt was only translated to English 10 years ago.  This would be similar to our “Joy of Cooking”.  Indeed there was no reference to a baked tomato sauce in this Italian cooking bible.  When you bake the tomato sauce the tomatoes take on a concentrated sweet flavour  almost like sun-dried tomatoes or tomato paste.  It is really delicious.

This recipe has anchovies which I hate.  You do not tasted the anchovies in this sauce.  It disappears and just adds that mysterious taste that is referred to as umami.  Now you know what umami tastes like if you didn’t before.  This is it.  Another guest was an anchovy hater as well but loved the sauce and didn’t notice the anchovies.

HAT2FOOD TIP: When I researched baked tomato sauces, some recipes strained the tomatoes for a smooth texture. Since all my guests raved about the chunky tomatoes, I always serve my sauce in the yummy, chunky version. You can use this sauce for spicy minestrone soup, Italian meatloaf, poached fish, chili, rice and ratatouille.

*Kamut is an ancient form of wheat. While its probably lower in gluten than modern wheat, it still has gluten in it.

Dirty Dozen ~ Don’t Panic Buy Organic!

When  should you buy organic!
You might wonder if the nutrients in organic food are higher than those in non-organic food. We assume they are higher.  Especially since they cost more to buy.  But, it is not always the case. Crop-Duster Spraying FieldSweet bell peppers have about the same amount of vitamin C in both camps; organic and conventional produce.  Tomatoes rank slightly higher on the organic side. Potato farmers will not eat conventional potatoes. They grow a small crop of organic potatoes for themselves.   Some potatoes farmers will  go on record to say that there is no difference.  Of course he would say that. Farming is big business.  I noticed the younger farmers support organic while the older farmers didn’t.  Why is that? What we are really talking about are pesticides.  Do we spray our produce with poisonous chemicals or not.  It all began 4,500 years ago in ancient Mesapotania,  where the first known (organic) pesticide was elemental sulfur dusting.  In 1959,  the dominant arsenic spray used to preserve the orange groves in Florida was on the decline as organic sprays were emerging again.  We were still left with residual arsenic in the soil and other synthetic pesticides are still being used.

All fruits and vegetables are good but some are better than others.
Download this FREE Brochure. Paste it on your fridge and give to your friends. Keep a copy in your wallet for your grocery shopping trips.  Your friends and your body will thank you for it.—> CLICK HERE-(to download/print the PDF). It’s fantastic!

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) have generously provided us with this excellent shopping guide. dirty-dozenThey studied 46 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables over a ten year period and have listed the ones with the most pesticide contaminants and those with the least amount of pesticides.Their so-called “Dirty Dozen” have the most contaminants and it would be best to buy organic produce in this category. The clean fifteen has the least contaminants in both organic and conventional produce. YAHOO!

Results: You can drop your pesticide exposure by 90% when you follow the EWG guidelines.   I always bring my “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen” chart to the grocery store with me.  When I didn’t see blueberries on their short list, I went to the EWG site. mr-potato Blueberries don’t have to be organic. I can buy conventional blueberries.  Visit to rate your plate.
White potatoes have such a high amount of  pesticides that the potato farmer will not eat them but have a separate potato patch for their family consumption.  The interesting Michael Pollan film “Botany of Desire” (available on YouTube) explains this in length.

Let us  examine the tomato. tomatoesFood chemists at the University of California have found that organically grown tomatoes have significantly higher amounts of vitamin C than their non organic counterparts.  (see organic vs conventions chart below).  My favorite tomato is the Kumato (green/purple) tomato from Spain. I really like the taste. It reminds me of tomatoes when I was a kid. Kumatoes are not genetically modified but a cross breeding of tomatoes and are grown hydroponically.  Note: GMO ( genetically modified organism) produce; using genetic engineering techniques  were designed build a better tomato and thwart pests. They do not have to be labeled in your grocery store either and may have unknown allergens.

Sweet bell pepper are so tasty. You can munch on them like an apple. The amount of vitamin C is about the same for both organic and non-organic peppers. But the non-organic sweet bell peppers are sprayed many times during its growth cycle. We are looking at 49 possible carcinogens, nine suspected hormone disruptors and nine neurotoxins.  They are on the “DIRTY DOZEN” list.peppers_mini

Pediatricians Don’t All Agree

A new report claims that organic food does not have “any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits.” Conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the report recommends that pediatricians take the findings of the report into account when giving nutritional advice to parents. from

A study showed that on average organic produce had 27% more vitamin C, 21% more iron, 27% more magnesium and more than 13% more phosphorous than conventional produce. These can be referenced in Dr. John La Puma’s book “Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine“.

Organic chart provided by organic_chart_conventional
Stay tuned for more “organic” recipes from Simply Splendid Food.