Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Healthy Habits: Homemade Stewed Tomatoes

Now, why would you stew tomatoes yourself when you can buy them quite inexpensively at any supermarket? One taste, and you'll see that there is just nothing like homemade. If you've got a big tomato harvest or picked up a basket at the farmers market or your local food co-op, you'll love this recipe.

I'll just apologize right now for not having a picture. I'm still trying to get in the habit of remembering to take pictures of everything I make (seems to be a difficult habit for me to form, but I'm trying). I had these stewed tomatoes cooked and stored away in the fridge before I even realized I had not taken a single picture. Instead, you get pictures of hearts and tomatoes (that I found on google images), because I like hearts and I like tomatoes. I console myself with knowing that if you like stewed tomatoes you already know what they look like.
These stewed tomatoes are made in a pressure cooker. Remember your mom's pressure cooker...an unstable pot that looked, and sounded, like it could blow at any second?! That was my memory and impression of a pressure cooker until a couple of years ago. I came across a bunch of recipes for a pressure cooker that all sounded really good. I wondered why anyone in this day and age would use one of those horrible pots. I remember watching the little steam valve jiggle around, looking like it was going to jump off the top of the pot, while the steam was spraying into the air, looking and sounding like a small steam engine. As a kid, it was kind of a scary contraption.

So I began to research pressure cookers. I was completely surprised to find out how much they have evolved in the last two decades. The latest generation of pressure cookers operate with a spring loaded valve (often hidden from view), do not release any steam vapor when in use, and often have two or more settings. With the use of current technology, pressure cookers have become lighter, quieter, safer and much easier to use. (There's even an electric pressure cooker available).

So...I bought one. Let me just say...Chicken Cacciatore in 20 minutes, (INCLUDING prep time) that tastes amazing, is AWESOME!! Now I'll have to make Chicken Cacciatore so I can take a picture and post that recipe. It alone made it worth the purchase.

But back to tomatoes. I am a HUGE fan of stewed tomatoes. I love heating up a can and eating it like a bowl of soup. I guess it kind of is soup, isn't it? But homemade anything always tastes so much better and doesn't have preservatives (or anything else my body doesn't need) in it. Especially when it only takes 5 minutes prep time and 5 minutes cook time.
So here's the fabulous Stewed Tomato Recipe...

What you need:
3 Cups Quartered Fresh Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Celery
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley or 1 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Spray a pressure cooker container with cooking spray. (Butter flavored cooking spray is good here). In prepared container, combine tomatoes, celery, and onion. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Place cover on cover and bring to LOW pressure over medium heat. Lower heat to stabilize pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, wait for pressure to be released, remove cover, and stir.
Makes 4 (3/4 cup) servings.
32 calories per serving.

What kitchen tool do you own that has evolved a great deal since the time you first saw your mom use one?

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