Vegan MoFo Day 8 – Gratitude…and a secret family recipe to share my gratefulness with you!

There are days when I am overwhelmed by waves of gratitude. I am able to look beyond the artifice of the superficiality our consumerist-bulimia so often imposes upon us. This shallow egotism, to which we are unwittingly yoked, is so often subversive and hidden… just discreetly clouding to the corners all that is really who we are… our substance, our essence. Who we are is of course the decisions we make, the choices which delineate diets… our politics, really. The life we live is the best suited spokesperson for what we believe in, and there are moments of serendipity where we can feel that what we’re doing is in harmony with what we want to be.

I’m so grateful for …

twirling through the forest trails

the last of the summer berries

some of the last tomatoes I’ll be buying before next Spring

the amazing aroma of garlic frying in olive oil, just waiting for the above tomatoes…

Very gratefully feeling better, I was able to set aside some time to enjoy my family, make a few litres of what my family calls “Garlic Gravy”, which is just the most amazing and most simple tomato sauce. I’ve got a good amount in our deep-freezer for Winter cooking. I never buy jar sauce, ever. I do, however, during the winter months, buy canned tomatoes. But my great-grandmother Antonia’s “Garlic Gravy” needs fresh tomatoes to really shine. This is our family recipe, but it is so terribly basic that you might be thinking, “she’s got to be kidding, this isn’t a tomato sauce recipe…”. Oh yes, it is. Let me reassure you…

Great Grandmother Antonia’s Garlic Gravy

this is for just a normal amout of sauce, for lasagne or for a pasta dinner…

  • 2 to 3lbs vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 bulb of purple or pink garlic, or just normal if you can’t find them
  • fresh parsley
  • about 30cl or a 1/4 of homemade ketchup or a few tablespoons of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Now here’s the deal kids – cut up your garlic and tomatoes BEFORE you do anything else. Seriously. I have begun this thinking I could chop tomatoes like the wind, only to find that my garlic is burned and that my haste made nothing but waste.

So, once everything is all cut up & ready, cover the bottom of your pot with olive oil and heat it on high until it’s just terribly hot. Add your garlic, and while stirring it, *very* slowly begin lowering the temp, being very careful to not burn your garlic. If it looks even a little brown, get your pot of the burner NOW! Continue sautéing your garlic until you just know it’s about to brown on you and add your tomatoes. Now turn that heat back up until it begins boiling. Don’t forget to stir from time to time. Bring the sauce down to a simmer, and let it go, uncovered, for about a half an hour. Add your ketchup, parsley, and add your salt and pepper if you need, and let it go for a few more mintues. That’s it. Sometimes I leave it with the chunks of garlic and tomato, sometimes I blend it up and it looks just beautiful. The taste will bluff you, because you’ve done nothing incredible, but your sauce will taste as if you did.

I’ve never met my great-grandmother. She passed away before my parents were married – she was in her 80s, outside working in her garden (she chopped her own firewood until the end) when she suffered a what would prove fatal stroke. Despite all her talents, she never quite mastered English (she was Croatian), and she took coins from her pocket to communicate to the paramedics that my mum worked at “Penny’s” department store, and that’s how they knew to call her there. I feel very close to her despite never having seen her – genetic memory? – and feel so greatful that she shared this recipe with my mum, who shared it with me when I began making my own food, about two years ago.

What are you grateful for?

I’m so thankful to be a vegan, and to have wonderful, nutritious vegan foods to eat, and fabulous blogger pals like you!

23 thoughts on “Vegan MoFo Day 8 – Gratitude…and a secret family recipe to share my gratefulness with you!

  1. We are looking for FAMILY RECIPES for a TV pilot and your story is inspiring. If you or someone you know (within the U.S.) who has an amazing secret (or not-so-secret) family recipe that has been handed down from generation-to-generation, that is “to-die-for” or has made them well-known within their town or community, (snacks, appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, or desserts) and they are willing to share the recipe’s long, rich history within the family, along with sharing the actual recipe itself, then contact us immediately, so that they can be filmed for a new TV series. Send us a short paragraph about the family, their background, the name of the dish, a brief description of the recipe, its food category (see list above) and most importantly contact info with a working phone number. We will contact you within 24-36 hours. Please contact us by e-mail ASAP and put “Family Recipe” in the subject line.

  2. Pingback: Pizza Party Daring Bakers Style! Vegan MoFo Day 30 « Musings From The Fishbowl

  3. what a beautiful post! your such a wonderful person…before i go on and on about what i’m grateful for…let me start by saying i’m grateful for you!! through your blog you’ve gotten me to think about food in a way that i’d stopped a few years ago when i got a debilitating diagnosis…many food intolerances and ibs…i had to take so much of what i loved out of my diet..and have been afraid to put them back…but everytime i come here i think maybe just maybe my body is healed enough that i can try “trigger” foods again…one day i’m sure.., so thanks

    i have to say that today i was on my way to the post office, and sitting there with just my thoughts, no music…it struck me with how grateful i am for my home. so many people are loosing their homes and in this economy our pocketbooks have been hit hard too, lots of things will have to change, but we still have our home. how lucky and how grateful am i? words cannot say!

    now your great grandma’s sauce…it sounds wonderful and i think i may be trying it this month…although unfortunately for me, i can’t handle the garlic…but man how i miss the flavor…like i said earlier…one day!

    thanks lady…you brightened up my night!

  4. I’m so grateful I know YOU! The recipe sounds delicious… my dad’s special tomato sauce is so simple but delicious as well– I really think that with tomato sauce, the “less is more” theory really holds true. You can try to jazz it up with sugar or wine or other ingredients, but the best sauces are the ones that really let the tomatoes do the talkin.

  5. Great recipe and great post, in general! I love the sentiments you shared about feeling close to your great-grandmother.

    I try not to buy jarred sauces, but I do sometimes. I’ll give this sauce recipe a try and maybe I’ll never buy jarred sauces again!

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! Old family recipes are the best, and this really sounds amazing! I love fresh tomato sauces that are heavy on the garlic.

    And ShellyFish, we’re grateful for you for a) sharing this sauce, and b) making us all stop for a minute to think about the finer things in life.

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