Try Something New for a Sunday Night Dinner

by: EJ on 12/09/2012
Posted in: Food

John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist send this recipe for slow-simmered tomato sauce, cooked to perfection over a wood stove. John and Lisa are the owners of Inn Serendipity B&B and the tireless authors of Farmstead Chef, ECOpreneuring: Putting Purpose and the Planet Before Profits and Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life.

Thanks to the freezer -- completely powered by our 10 kW Bergey wind turbine and .7 kW photovoltaic (PV) system -- we’ve found an appropriate use of technology that optimizes the efficiency of our summer harvest while providing a rich, thick tomato sauce for pasta or pizza. As we write about in our books Farmstead Chef and Rural Renaissance, we freeze whole tomatoes at their peak ripeness in the summer, cellar our leeks and dry store our onions and garlic.  We've found making and canning sauce in the middle of the busy and hot summer months a little too much to take on.

But in the middle of the winter, we let the ingredients simmer away atop our woodstove for a July-like treat that warms the farmhouse with delicious aromas of simmering sauce.  Regardless of whether you call it self-reliance, self-sufficiency, resiliency or a "prepper" mode of operadi, using our locally abundant wood supply to both heat our home and cook our food makes ecological and economical sense.  When we avoid using our electric stove, we boost the electricity credit we bank with our local utility.  Just for the record, if there’s a call for tomato sauce in the summer or early fall, a slow cooker serves as an energy-efficient standby; we can plug ours into an off-grid .5 kW PV system we also have on site.

To boost your self-reliance, especially if you have a Lopi Endeavor woodstove to cook with like we do, here's our recipe for a slow-simmered tomato sauce to use in your preparations, or celebrations, this month!  Sustainability is not about subsistence and bare survival.  It's about thriving on nature's abundance -- in terms of both food and energy.


Recipe:  Slow-Simmered Tomato Sauce (vegan)

From the Farmstead Chef cookbook 

Yield: 2 cups.


4 lbs. tomatoes, skins peeled (about 8 medium tomatoes)

3 c. onions, chopped (about 3 medium onions), or leeks as a stand-by

6 cloves garlic, minced

½ t. salt

2 T. fresh basil (2 t. dried)

2 T. fresh oregano (2 t. dried)



•  Defrost tomatoes that were frozen whole, peeling outside skin.  Drain off as much water as possible.  Sauté onions with garlic.  When onions are soft, add tomatoes in chunks, stirring often to mix.

•  Add herbs and seasonings, stirring often and allowing moisture to slowly simmer off. 

•  Cook this sauce down until it’s thick for a flavorful pasta sauce.


Simmering tomato sauce for spaghetti or pizza.  (John D. Ivanko/


Links to the rest of the series:

Day One: It's the End of the World as we Know it...or is it?

Day Two: It'll all turn out in the end.  Or will it?

Day Three: Collecting Rainwater

Day Four: Building Awareness of your Surroundings

Day Five: The Beginning of the Gaian Calendar

Day Six: Conversation Skills You Needed Yesterday

Day Seven: Permaculture: How I'm Preparing for a Local Future

Day Eight: Peak Oil Advice from German Poets




blog comments powered by Disqus