Archive for October, 2009

Resist the Box: Pancakes

stack of pancakes
I’ve been wondering lately about pancakes.

Why, for instance, do the majority of Americans use box mixes when homemade pancakes are almost as fast and easy to make?
Why do most people think the first pancake is inedible and should be thrown out?
And why do people press on their pancakes when they’re making them?

An inquiring mind wants to know.

I should clarify that when I say pancakes, I mean the traditional American variety that is usually served with maple syrup. Baked apple pancakes and lacy Swedish pancakes are noteworthy, but are not on today’s agenda. No, when I crave pancakes, I want good old American flapjacks.

Why you should ditch the box mix
Pancakes– also known as flapjacks, hot cakes and griddle cakes — are part of the quintessential American morning meal. They’re made in diners, fire houses, home kitchens, school cafeterias, and most other places serving breakfast throughout the country. But if they’re so beloved, why do most people resort to using box mixes? I realize these mixes are supposed to be faster and easier than cooking up a batch of homemade pancakes, but honestly, from-scratch pancakes just taste much better than anything you can make from a box mix. They are also easy to whip up and take only about a minute longer to prepare than “quick” mix pancakes.

Yes. One minute more. That’s it. I’m not lying. Although you can make super fancy pancakes — the kind where you need to separate eggs and then fold beaten egg whites into a luscious thick batter — these extra steps are in no way necessary for mouth-wateringly good pancakes. You also don’t necessarily need buttermilk to make your pancakes. Sure, buttermilk gives the pancakes a tangy flavor that is worth the effort of buying a carton of the stuff, but if you’re deciding to use a box mix simply because you don’t have buttermilk on hand, then just use regular milk. Another option is to let a teaspoon of lemon juice sit in your milk for a few minutes to mimic the buttermilk flavor. It’s surely better then the water most mixes require as a wet ingredient.

In addition to the usual preservatives and hydrogenated fats you find in most boxed mixes, what you’re paying for is really just flour, baking powder, and a little salt. You can easily toss these together in that minute I was talking about earlier (or less time). After that you just mix in eggs and milk or buttermilk and your batter is ready to go. That’s it. Easy peasy. Oh, and far cheaper than buying anything premade.

And, if you feel you really need something premade for hectic mornings, just mix up and a big batch of the dry ingredients in a Ziplock bag so you only have to add egg and milk when preparing later.

first pancake

Why the first pancake can be delicious
Now for the idea that you need to toss out the first pancake: ridiculous. For some reason people assume the first pancake will not live up to your pancake expectations and so should be thrown away. In Pieces of April — that 2003 film starring a young Katie Holmes looking pretty edgy for the future Mrs. Cruise — Katie (a.k.a. April) refers to herself as the first pancake, which alludes to her feelings that she doesn’t think her mother loves her as much as her younger siblings.

Poor sad sack Katie, I mean April, is so so wrong about first pancakes. Maybe her mother (the amazing Patricia Clarkson) made a soggy first pancake, but that’s probably because she didn’t preheat or own a seasoned cast iron pan. If you use one of these (or a cast-iron griddle) and simply heat the thing to make sure it’s nice and hot before you pour in your batter, you should have a wonderful first pancake.

Preheating is really the key here, although using cast iron also helps. Most other types of pans don’t regulate heat as well as cast iron and also aren’t as flat on the bottom. Cast iron, however, radiates heat beautifully and so creates the perfect atmosphere for batter to crisp up and cook perfectly. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can purchase one almost anywhere (from Williams-Sonoma to Target or Ace Hardware) for around $30 and you can use it to cook pretty much everything from pancakes to stews and even cakes.

ready to flip your pancake

Tips and Tricks to Making Pancakes
The first general rule is please, oh please, don’t press on your pancakes after flipping. I am always amazed when people do this. Why press on something when you want it to be fluffy? It also doesn’t make it cook any faster. Leave the spatula alone and just hold on for a minute or two while the pancakes cook. You’ll have fluffier and airier pancakes with a little patience.

Don’t over mix your batter. Although leaving small lumps may make you a bit uncomfortable at first, stirring or whisking too much will make your pancakes rubbery. Stir just until ingredients are incorporated and then stop. Smooth batter equals bad pancakes.

Grease your pan with butter, which gives the pancakes a crisp buttery finish. Be sure not to add more than a thin coating of butter to the pan, however, as you simply want to prevent sticking. Too much butter or oil can make the pancakes soggy.

Wait until the air bubbles are mostly popped before you flip your flapjacks. Once you pour the batter into your hot and greased pan, the pancakes will start to cook from the underside up, causing air bubbles to form in the cakes. You can tell when to flip by just watching the air bubbles. If they are evenly popping all over the pancake, you can flip. If not, then you may end up with a bit of a batter disaster in your pan.

For consistently-sized pancakes, use a ladle to scoop the batter out. If you don’t care if some flapjacks are larger than others, you can use an acrylic bowl with a pouring spout (which is what I use).

Cast iron pans can get pretty hot over time, so be sure to lower the heat if your pancakes seem to be getting darker than golden brown.

Try not to use overly thick batter, which usually results in a slightly burnt outside and underdone inside. If your batter seems too thick, just thin with a little milk until your batter pours easily from the ladle or bowl.

rolled up pancake with jam

Playing with your pancakes

As great as pancakes are, it’s fun and yummy to spice things up a bit. Here are some alternate serving and cooking ideas for making pancakes that you might like:

  • The most obvious here are blueberries. Mix them in and cook. Yum.
  • Cut bananas or apples into 1/4-inch pieces and mix into the batter.
  • Add chocolate chips to each pancake. I like to add these once the batter is in the pan as they can sometimes clump up in the batter. Plus you can make happy faces with them this way.
  • Add a bit more milk to the batter than normal so you can make crepe-like pancakes. Spread jam inside and roll up. Top with powdered sugar.
  • Cook berries in a pot with some sugar and spoon onto pancakes instead of syrup.
  • Cook bananas or apples in a pan with butter, sugar, and cinnamon and serve on top of the pancakes.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of pureed pumpkin plus a little extra sugar to the batter for pumpkin pancakes.
  • If you’re in the mood for something savory, add some crumbled bacon to the batter and then top with maple syrup when they’re done. Bacon with syrup is a great combination.

However you make them, resist the box.

buttermilk pancakes

Pancake Recipes

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Enough for four people


If you don’t have white whole wheat flour, just use 1 cup white unbleached flour

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (I like the King Arthur brand)
1/2 cup white unbleached flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (or one cup regular milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice if you don’t have buttermilk)
1/2 cup whole milk (omit if using regular milk instead of buttermilk)
1 egg

1. Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Whisk your egg into your buttermilk and/or milk and then mix into the dry ingredients being sure not to overmix (leave it a bit lumpy).
3. Heat a cast iron pan or griddle on medium heat and wait until the pan is nice and hot.
4. Add enough butter to the pan to lightly grease the surface (don’t add too much. You can always add more butter to your pancakes later).
5. Pour in enough pancake batter to make3-inch round.
6. Wait until the bubbles in the batter are popping throughout the pancake.
7. Flip the pancake and cook for another minute.
8. Gently set pancake on plate and serve with whatever you want.

Other Recipes
Easy Buttermilk Pancakes — I’ve used this recipe numerous times. You can easily make only 1/3 of the recipe (i.e., 1 cup flour, 1 Tbsp sugar, etc.) for a small week-day morning breakfast).

Fancy Weekend Pancake recipe
— This recipe takes more time as you need to separate the eggs and then fold the egg whites into the batter. The process makes the pancakes incredibly fluffy with a nice crispy exterior, so it’s worth the trouble if you have a leisurely weekend morning.

Related posts:

Easy Breakfast Recipes

Perfect Scrambled Eggs
Stuffed Challah French Toast with Berries
Blueberry Muffins
Nut and Fruit Steel-Cut Oatcakes and Strawberry Oat Squares


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Vietnamese-Style Pacific Halibut

vietnamese-style halibut

Let’s face it. Leaving one’s comfort zone is intimidating at best and often downright scary. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing — traveling to a new place, trying a different career, or cooking food from a different culture — entering into the realm of the unknown can sometimes seem like more trouble than it’s worth.

This is why I avoided cooking any type of Asian food for years. My childhood training in my mother’s Italian kitchen made dishes like prosciutto pie, homemade ricotta cheese, and handmade pasta seem easy compared to delving into the unknowns of curries and fish sauce. I preferred sticking with olive oil instead of trying peanut oil. It didn’t help that I never even tried real Chinese food until I was in college. When I was a kid, Chinese food equaled Chow Mein Night, where the chow mein came out of a can and was served with Uncle Ben’s minute rice — mom kept the arborio for risotto and rice balls. I loved Chow Mein Night mostly because we were allowed to eat our dinner on trays in the living room while watching TV, but was always left feeling slightly queasy at the mass of baby shrimp and stringy vegetables on my plate. (My friend Shirley, on the other hand, grew up in an alternate Korean universe, where they would occasionally have Italian night. This meant her mother would cover the kitchen table with a red-checked tablecloth and serve spaghetti with jarred marinara sauce on top. We were destined to be friends.)

Yet once I was introduced to Asian cuisines, they topped my list of favorite foods. I distinctly remember eagerly trying hot and sour soup for the first time. I was in a little strip mall restaurant in Goleta, a town just outside Santa Barbara where I went to school. I was fascinated with the lovely shapes of the tree ear mushrooms and couldn’t get enough of the mixture of vinegar and black pepper. And then there was the Kung Pao, General Tso and so much else, the flavors waking up taste buds I never knew I had. It was all very tame stuff as far as Chinese food goes, but the experience was enchanting and completely eye opening to me. I didn’t explore Thai, Korean, Japanese or Vietnamese foods until after college when I lived in L.A. Again I started with docile dishes, but soon graduated to sucking shrimp heads that had been cooked in spicy sauces. Yum.

But as much as I came to love eating all types of dumplings, savory noodles, and curries, I never really tried my hand at cooking anything more basic than stir-fry until after I had my kids nine years ago. By this time I realized that making dumplings was a lot like making raviolis, and simmering Asian sauces was no more difficult than the multitude of Italian dishes I had made over and over. So I was excited to receive a copy of Food Made Fast Asian when I was working on some Williams-Sonoma books. Inside were easy instructions for making everything from dry-fried string beans with pork to Thai green curry shrimp and lemongrass pork. After trying a few dishes out on my family, I began to feel more confident using fish sauce, hoisin, coconut milk, and peanut oil. I then branched out and tried Asian recipes from other sources, and finally started to experiment on my own. It took a while, but I finally gained enough confidence to vary ingredients and spices to suit my family’s tastes instead of blindly trusting unknown and untried recipes each time.

Following is a dish I created one day when I had fresh Pacific Halibut and a hankering for something made with fish sauce and lime juice. I wanted some crunch so coated my marinated fish in corn starch and then fried until crispy. To add extra flavor, I combined soy sauce, fish sauce and lime with a dash of sugar and then simmered the already-cooked fish in it. If your family can handle some heat, I recommend adding some chile paste to the mix. The dish is simple and uncomplicated to make and an easy way to work in some fish sauce if you’ve never tried it before. I call the dish “Vietnamese-style” simply because fish sauce and lime are often used in that country’s recipes. But let’s be serious, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I am in no way an expert on Vietnamese cooking — or any Asian cuisine for that matter. But we all have to start somewhere. I am unabashedly in love with Asian foods and eager to make them at home, much as my friend Shirley, who was raised on kimchi, now makes some fantastic pasta dishes.

How about you? Still stuck in your cooking comfort zone or have you stretched your repertoire and tried dishes that were once foreign? I’d love to hear some stories.

simmering your fish

Vietnamese-style Crispy Halibut

Serves: 4 people

Although Pacific Halibut works great in this recipe, feel free to substitute another type of fish fillet. Almost anything should work, including shrimp or scallops.


1/4 onion
2 Tbsp ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp water

Crispy Fish

2 lbs Pacific halibut cut into fillets
1/2 cup corn starch
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

Finishing Sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp sugar
chile paste to taste (optional)

1. Puree the onion, ginger and garlic cloves for the marinade and then mix in the soy sauce, fish sauce and water.

2. Cover halibut with the marinade and refrigerate for at least one hour. When ready to cook, scrape the marinade from the fish.

3. Heat a large pan until it’s hot and then add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 tsp sesame oil.

4. Gently coat each halibut fillet with corn starch and then lay in the hot oil. Fry for 2-4 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of your fillets) and then turn. Cook the other side.

5. In a separate pan, heat the finishing sauce ingredients until everything is combined and the sugar has disolved. Turn off heat.

6. When all fillets have been cooked through, lay the fish in the pan with the finishing sauce mixture, turning the burner onto medium heat. Gently sauté the fish in the sauce for about 30 seconds on each side and then serve.

7. Serve with steamed or fried rice.

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Don’t forget your local farms, Mr. Bittman

As evidenced by my ode to Mark Bittman last year, I’m a fan. But I was disappointed with his article in last week’s New York Times Magazine, titled “Faster Slow Food.” Although I agree with the general premise of his piece, I was sorry to see that he didn’t promote the idea of using local farms and CSAs as shopping resources. Here’s the letter I sent to the Times today on the subject:

Normally I see eye to eye with Mr. Bittman’s philosophies on cooking and shopping for food, but in last week’s “Faster Slow Food” article, I found myself shaking my head. I agree that Mr. Bittman’s hopes for easier shopping through the use of “computers, including hand-helds and smartphones” so “we can make our preferences better known to the people who bring us the food we buy and eat” is something we should strive for, but hoping to find these solutions through large online grocery stores is not the answer. Why should be promoted in the article and local farmers and CSAs ignored? Many local farmers are striving to update their own distribution and ordering systems to create real local and organic solutions for customers who live nearby (often in cities). At this point, we all know that shopping locally guarantees that shoppers get the freshest foods available, which are usually organic and have the fewest food miles to boot.  What people may not know is that these farms often strive to personalize their services: one of the  local CSAs I use in the  Bay Area offers shoppers the option to state preferences in their account, so if you really hate broccoli, it will never be delivered.

As an advocate of local food, Mr.  Bittman should have mentioned that the convenience of shopping online doesn’t mean you have to abandon shopping at your local farm.

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Beer Battered Fish and Chips

beer battered lemon

For years I searched for the ideal fish and chips. Journeying 45 minutes away to a restaurant a friend of a friend swore by, or hanging out in a shop decorated with sticky vinyl chairs and soggy fries, I was on a mission. My hunt for the ideal fish and chips — crispy on the outside, steaming hot and tender inside — became increasingly elusive. Sure, I would occasionally stumble upon a place with decent and sometimes quite good platters of fish, but these were far and few between and hardly ever in the Bay Area. The sad truth is that there is more awful fish and chips out there than not.

Now I suppose I should explain that when I want fried fish I’m looking for the beer-battered variety. The type you would find in a first-rate British pub (although I’ve eaten bad fish and chips in the UK as well, so the problem isn’t just here). I want my teeth to bite into a perfectly crunchy coating that gives way to a delicate flaky center. I want to taste the beer in the batter and I don’t want my mouth to feel like an oil slick.  Bread crumbs are not an option and curses on whoever tries to pawn off breaded fish with potatoes as fish and chips. Here is an example of the horrors that lie in wait.

bad fish and chips

So a few years ago — after being served the soggiest bread-crumby fish I had ever encountered (and paying close to $15 for it) — I decided to make my own fish and chips. I was happily surprised to find that making truly decent battered fish is both incredibly easy and straightforward. And, as is the case with all home cooking, you can control the results: want it really crispy, fry a little longer; interested in smaller pieces, cut them up; in the mood for a hearty batter, use dark beer.

Another benefit to making your own fish and chips is that you can easily batter and fry up some lemon slices to go with it. These are a heavenly way to garnish the dish and after trying them at your own fish fry, you’ll never want to eat fish and chips without them again.

If you are lucky enough to live near a restaurant with wonderful fish and chips, I am happy for you. But if you’re like me and you don’t, I am here to tell you that you can make homemade fish and chips that will taste better than almost anything you can buy in a restaurant or pub, and cost a fraction of the price.

The recipe I use is tried and true. I’ve made it more times than I can count, and it has never failed me. Before you start, however, there are a few basic tenets to consider concerning frying the fish and also making and eating it.

fish fry

Basic frying rules to get under your belt

1. If you don’t have a fryer (which includes most of us), use a non-reactive deep pan that can hold enough oil to submerge at least half the fish. I use my trusty large cast iron pan and it works great.
2. Use an oil with a high burn rate. I like to use canola oil. Don’t use olive oil as it will scorch and flavor the fish.
3. Do not overheat your oil or it will burn the batter. I usually start the pan on medium high and slowly work my way down to medium and then medium low as the pan continues to heat the longer you fry.
4. Do not underheat your oil. Frying your fish in underheated oil leads to the batter sliding off the fish. Not a pretty sight. I’m not sure what the actual temperature of the oil should be, as I don’t have a thermometer, but you can test the oil by placing a small teaspoon of batter in the oil. If it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the pan and sizzles nicely, you should be good to go.
5. Use a fry screen if you have one as it will help reduce splatter and keep your stove from becoming a complete mess.
6. Be sure to gently lay the fish into the oil so you don’t spatter it onto your hand (which really hurts!).
If you follow these rules, you should be in good frying shape.

General rules for making and eating fish and chips

1. Dark beer gives the dish a more complex flavor while lighter beers are more subtle. Choose whichever you prefer.
2. Look for meaty white fish. Please don’’t use Atlantic cod as it’s endangered and, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list, we’re “fishing the last 10% of this population.” Other great choices are Alaskan Pacific Cod and Pacific Halibut. I’ve also made it with catfish, which worked well.
3. Try to use fresh fish instead of thawed frozen, which tends to taste dry.
4. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel before seasoning and dipping in the batter.
5. Serve with malt vinegar, which perfectly accents the beer batter. If you don’t have any, try fresh lemon juice.
6. Consider making your own tartar sauce by mixing good mayonnaise, chopped up sweet pickles, and a little horseradish.

As for the chips, I bake them. Yes… you heard me. I bake them. They come out crispy and seasoned perfectly. Best of all, my potatoes are not reduced to the sad fate of sogginess which often happens with home fried fries. Here’s my recipe.

beer battered fish

Homemade Beer Battered Fish

Serves: 4 people


6 – 8 medium-sized pieces of white fish
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup beer
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Enough oil to fill half a large non-reactive pan (about 1 cup)


1. Pat fish dry and lay on a plate. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in pan.
3. While oil is heating, mix flour, beer, salt, pepper and thyme in a large bowl. Whisk until everything is fully incorporated. The mixture should reach the consistency of pancake batter. Add more beer if necessary.
4. When oil is hot (test using method #4 in the frying rules section above), coat two pieces of fish in batter and then gently lie them in the oil. Be sure to fully coat the fish and be careful not to splash oil on yourself.
5. Cook fish until it is crispy and a rich brown color. Pick up each piece of fish with a fork and gently turn them over. Cook on the other side until done.
6. Drain fish on a plate lined with paper towels and fry the remaining fish pieces.
7. Serve hot with malt vinegar and battered lemon slices (recipe below).

Beer Battered Lemon Slices

Makes: 6 slices


1 lemon cut into 1/4-inch slices (not including the ends)
Leftover batter and oil from your beer battered fish


1. Remove seeds from lemon slices.
2. Coat slices with batter.
3. Lay lemon slices in the hot cooking oil and brown on each side.
4. Remove from pan and serve with fish.

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The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Preserving Tomatoes

early girls
This is a tale of three girls: an early girl, a dirty girl and a lazy girl. The early girl definitely did not get the worm. She is a luscious ripe tomato with the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. The dirty girl is often hot and has her own natural beauty…she’s Dirty Girl Produce, an organic farm located near Santa Cruz and the grower of those beautiful tomatoes. And the lazy girl? Well, that would be me, but that’s a longer story…

Now I’m a girl who loves home-canned foods. Bell jars that have been meticulously sterilized and then lovingly filled with someone’s recipe for apricot jam, apple butter, and raspberry jelly make my heart go pitter pat. When someone shows up at my house with a gift of handmade preserves, my esteem for them grows and like the Grinch, my heart grows 10 sizes, bursting with appreciation for their efforts.

I have also been known to do some canning of my own. For years, an old and decrepit apricot tree sat in my backyard, looking scragglier by the year, but producing the sweetest apricots with just a hint of tartness. By far the best apricots I’ve ever eaten that produced the best jam I’ve ever made. Thick and sweet, it lay perfectly on freshly toasted challah or in a tart pan. We had so many apricots I made two to three dozen jars of jam each year in addition to making numerous tarts and simply eating tons fresh. We gave away apricot jam at Christmas to family members and neighbors and then had more to keep for ourselves. But then about three years ago, spring arrived and hardly any buds bloomed and the branches lay half naked in summer. We got 5 apricots that year. The next year, the craggy limbs lay bare — our apricot tree was dead. I’ve since searched for apricots worthy of canning, but haven’t yet found them.

But our apple tree survives, albeit in an even craggier state than the apricot tree seemed to have ever been. Poor tree has fire blight and although I keep saying I need to cut it down, I can’t bring myself to actually do it (or, rather, ask my husband to do it). So this year, I am grateful to still have my usual bags of apples ready to be turned into apple butter, waiting in the basement.

box of early girl tomatoes

What does any of this have to do with the lazy girl? Everything. After years of canning apricots and apples, I’m tired: tired of peeling, tired of sticking produce in a food mill, tired of hot water baths, and tired of sterilizing jars. I love the results, but not the work. So when I bought a 20 lb box of Early Girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl Produce this last weekend, I knew I couldn’t bear to can them when I would just have to break out the canning equipment next weekend all over again to turn those apples into apple butter.

So what do you do with 20 lbs of tomatoes and a can-not attitude? What do you do when you have no desire to stand over a boiling pot of tomatoes in 90 degree weather? You roast and freeze. That’s right. I let my oven do most of the work and then after that, I’m letting my freezer do the rest.

roasting tomatoes

The roasting idea came from an amazing plate of roasted tomato risotto Kim Laidlaw recently made for me (from her own box of Dirty Girl Produce Early Girl tomatoes). Roasting had given the tomatoes a caramelized intense sweetness that I wanted to replicate. So, after seeding and then roasting most of my tomato haul with some olive oil and freshly minced oregano, the tomatoes were concentrated down into their essence. Each tomato was bursting with a deep summer tomato flavor and the kitchen was filled with a sweet heady aroma. I added in the cooked juices from the seeds and stirred to create a deep red sauce. After it cooled, I ladled equal amounts into Ziplock bags and then set the lot in the freezer. The perfume of summer and sunshine now stored and ready to be used in sauces and stews this winter, accomplished without me burning myself on a hot jar or pressing even one tin lid.

Next week, I’ll can; but this week, I’m happy to be lazy.

roasted early-girls

How to make frozen roasted tomato preserves
1. Wash and dry your tomatoes.
2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees if using a convection oven and 400 degrees if not.
3. Set up a work area with the following:

  • Your washed and cleaned tomatoes
  • Pans lined with aluminum foil that have been greased on the top side with olive oil
  • A fine-mesh colander set atop a large bowl
  • A cutting board
  • A knife

4. Remove any blemishes or bruises from the tomatoes and then cut each one in half.


5. Gently squeeze the tomato halves into the colander so the seeds fall inside.
6. Set the tomato halves on the lined baking sheets, cut side up.
7. Sprinkle extra virgin olive oil, kosher or sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and freshly minced or dried oregano or basil onto your tomatoes.
8. Bake for 50 minutes if using a convection oven or 1 hour if not (or until the tomatoes are cooked through, being careful not to burn them).
9. When the tomatoes have only ten minutes to go, place the juice from the bowl into a pot and slowly boil with some salt and pepper for about five minutes.
10. Remove the pans from the oven and scrape the tomatoes into a small pile using a wooden spatula and then spoon them into a large bowl.

finished tomato sauce

11. Add in the cooked tomato juices and stir.
12. Let cool until room temperature and then ladle into quart-sized freezer bags that have been labeled with the date and contents.

tomatoes bagged and ready for the freezer

13. Set bags in the freezer until ready to use.

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