June 10, 2010

When I was little I used to make bread with my mother during every school vacation. Between multiple risings and long baking time, the recipe we loved best took all day to make, so we only ever had enough time to devote to the task when school was out, be it Christmas break, Spring break, or Summer holiday. Whenever I find my grown-up self having enough time to bake a batch of bread (and it's been a while) I think of this and smile. It makes something as relatively simple as homemade bread seem so special--like a treat.

While the apartment filled with the smell of yeast and baking dough, I also simmered a batch of marinara sauce, made with basil and oregano from the windowsill pots (trimmed and thrown in the sauce pan in a desperate attempt to keep them from taking over the place, Jumanji-style). Here's the recipe I worked with--it's simple enough that you can do pretty much anything you want to it. It also freezes well.

Homemade Marinara

+3 tbs. butter
+1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
+1 28 can diced tomatoes
+1 onion, diced
+5 cloves garlic, diced
+1 6 oz. can tomato past
+2 tbs. fresh basil
+1 tsp. fresh oregano
+2 bays leaves
+1 tbs. brown sugar
+2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Melt butter in a large pot and add onion and garlic and cook until very soft and starting to caramelize. Add tomato paste and cook until paste begins to darken, about 1 minute. Add the herbs, bay leaves, brown sugar, and vinegar and simmer on medium-low with the lid on slightly ajar for ~1 hour. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed, then remove bay leaves.


  1. Such a beautiful looking day, Maggie. That is one of the things that always makes me miss my mom is baking bread. I love the sweet- tangy smell of the yeast in the air.

    Your bread looks lovely~

  2. You seriously have the most beautiful blog ever. And I utterly adore your cooling rack, please tell me where to get one!

  3. Ella: there is a funny story to this cooling rack. My mother has one like this and I've always loved it, especially compared to my own plain metal one. So when I saw this rack at the thrift store in between risings of this very batch of bread and snagged it! So I apologize, I cannot tell you a store to buy it from. ;)

  4. i love the smell of baking bread in the oven...and the bread looks so wonderful Maggie