As I write this a super typhoon is approaching the Philippines and all of southeast Asia is having some unusual weather. Paired with the natural seasonal cooling, we are experiencing our third day of near constant drizzling rain. Usually, at this time of year, it will rain (hard and heavy) for about an hour in the afternoon or for several hours overnight. But, it is strange here to experience a day where you find yourself under constantly misty skies.
My youngest has little to no recollection that this was the normal weather pattern for much of the year when we lived in Seattle. Having moved to Thailand when he was two years old, he doesn't remember days spent in the drizzle. He looks out of his Bangkok bedroom window and says, "Let's just wait it out mama. No sense in getting wet." While my daughter, being slightly older when we moved, has strong (and fond) memories of the rain and is approaching Bangkok's unusual rainfall with typical Seattle-ite gusto declaring it a perfect 'color at the coffee shop sort of day'.
With a firm grip on his spiderman umbrella, my son agreed to the coffee shop outing as long as his favorite matchbox car could come too. A big stack of coloring books and the diminutive car journeyed with us. We sat at the window and sipped hot cocoa as the rain continued to drizzle down. My daughter constructed roadways with crayon borders for her brother's car while he intently instructed that he needed a stronger curve or a longer path to race on.
We eventually returned home for a day of play, crafting and ongoing big batch cooking projects. By dinner time, the freezer held twenty new glass containers of fresh tomato sauce ready to be dispatched for pizzas, pastas and consumed as is for tomato soups in our near future. And, by bedtime, everyone in the house was still smiling and happily exhausted from a fun day. While I tucked my son into bed he looked at me and said, "Let's hope it rains again tomorrow."
Cooking in Thailand, entry no 90:
There are hundreds of variations on this recipe available. But, especially since moving overseas and not enjoying the tomato sauce brands available to us, this recipe has become a staple to keep on hand in our freezer. We use it on our homemade pizzas, on top of pasta dishes and paired with grilled cheese sandwiches as a garden fresh tomato soup.
12 large yellow onions
8 heads of garlic
3 cups of water
1/2 cup of olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
2 kilos of tomatoes
3 large bunches of fresh basil, leaves removed from stems
1 generous pinch of red pepper flakes
Off of each head of garlic, slice the upper 1/4 off and discard, creating a flat top. Place all heads of garlic into a double layer of aluminum foil, lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Wrap tightly and place into a 200 degree F oven for one hour. Remove and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the cloves from the garlic skins.
In a very large stock pot, add the garlic and all of the onions, roughly chopped. Add a bit of olive oil and cook until very light golden in color. Add tomatoes, remaining water, remaining olive oil, the red pepper flakes and several generous pinches of salt. Cook at a low simmer, stirring occasionally for one hour. Allow to cool.
Working in batches, place the sauce into a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to another large pot and continue until all of the sauce has been blended. Finely chop the basil leaves and add to the blended sauce. Taste and add salt as needed. Pour into glass jars (leaving a bit of room), top and place into the freezer for later enjoyment!