Cooking with Private Chef Marisa Franz | The Kitchen in Missoula | Enjoying your Organic Produce | Week 5

Cooking with Private Chef Marisa Franz | The Kitchen in Missoula | Enjoying your Organic Produce | Week 5

Week 5 | Friday | August 14, 2015

The Kitchen in Missoula, takes your culinary expectations to new heights. They provide awesome food at reasonable prices for events and weddings.

The Kitchen In Missoula

The Kitchen In Missoula

Private Chef Marisa Franz shares her cooking expertise with us about how to use the food you get in your CSA share, from the Farmer’s Market or what you grow in your own garden!

What to do with all those Tomatoes?!

I figured since it’s the middle of August we can talk about tomatoes! What are we going to do with all of our tomatoes?

I don’t actually have that many this year, but everybody else I know has an excess of it.  You want to be able to can them all and they don’t seem to ripen at exactly the same time, that you need them all to. So it’s always like do I have enough ripe to can enough salsa or make tomato sauce

I just did this this morning, I went out and picked all of my roma tomatoes, cause I had about a dozen of those, and my heirloom tomatoes and a couple of golden cherry tomatoes. I cut em all in half, put them in a cast iron pot, a smaller Le Creuset pot, it has a lid, it’s pretty exciting!

So I cut about a dozen tomatoes in half, and tossed the cherry tomatoes in whole. Then I sliced a red onion in half, horizontally, kept it intact. The root part was intact if that makes sense? I peeled off the outer layer, put the half of the onion in whole. Added a stick of butter, a couple of sprigs of oregano tied with kitchen twine so they’re easy to pluck out. And maybe a tablespoon of spicy tomato paste? It’s been simmering since about 9 o’clock this morning, its the most simple of tomato sauces you can do. In the winter time I like to do it, smells the house up really nice up. I hate that I have to use store bought tomatoes sometimes but to what are you gonna do?

Or you can use a can of san marzano plum tomatoes. It’s just a super simple tomato sauce recipe. I like to pour it over goat cheese polenta in the winter time, it’s this creamy delicious comfort food thing.

I just turned stove off, and I’m gonna let it completely cool. It’s been simmering 3-4 hours, but you could simmer for as little as 45 minutes. I’ve definitely come home from work at 5:30 and had this on table by 7:00.

What I like about it is you can just put it in the pot, and you literally don’t have to touch it, So you can go about your evening, and then whip up some polenta or noodles really quickly and you have dinner. The major time commitment is just simmering, it’s not you actively doing anything in the kitchen. Which is my favorite kind of meal to cook on a weeknight!

Do you want to briefly explain how to cook polenta and maybe what it is for listeners?


Polenta is basically corn meal, go to the bulk food section, buy corn meal. It’s a cup of polenta for a cup of water. Stir stir stir till you get this pudding like consistency, I’ll throw a log of goat cheese and stir till the goat cheese is melted. It’s super good!!!!

You just make it on the stove top. It’s super simple.  I’ll do braised short ribs, over polenta, red sauce, meat balls, anything over polenta. It’s a great substitute if you don’t want to eat a lot of pasta. It’s gluten free!!! It couldn’t be simpler, kind of like grits, you need try it from scratch once. I’ve only had it buying it from that log, I was like it’s ok, but I’m not super excited about it. Then I tried a recipe that did stove top with the goat cheese in it and it was incredible!

If you wanted it toasty, it’s kind of a creamy porridge, but a savory porridge. What you can do too, is take a sheet pan, like a cookie sheet, and put a piece of parchment paper, and pour your polenta on it, flatten it out, and let it cool, then you can cut it and you can cut it into circles, or squares, or triangles or really whatever geometric shape floats your boat (like hearts) and then just fry it in butter on the stove top.

Do you put garlic in with your onion?

No, but you could. You could throw a shallot in with the red sauce, salt n pepper, a head of garlic. What ever you want to do. That’s the beauty of simple recipes to kind of make them your own. I’ve definitely thrown a shallot in before instead of a red onion.

do your polenta, cut it, let it cool, fry it in a little butter olive oil so you know you have a nice crisp brown crust. Then you can have that under your red sauce.

I love and I hate tomatoes, cause you have to do something with them so quickly. And sometimes the best thing is to just slice and sprinkle sea salt.


Salsa is a great thing to make in the summertime and it’s quick and you can make it to your liking.

All you really need to do is chop up a little:

  • tomato
  • red onion
  • jalepeno – leave the seeds in if you like is spicy
  • chop up a little cilantro

That will make a really nice little salsa,  use it for dinner tonight.

Do you put vinegar in it? 

Nope maybe a little lime juice, so it’s more like a more like a Pico de Gallo

It’s really it’s all the way you taste … it’s totally up to you.

What else can you make with tomatoes?

I make a ton of red sauce so I can take it out. I don’t can it, I just freeze it, lay it flat and once it’s frozen you can stand it up on it’s side. When you take on eo of those out it’s the perfect amount of 4-5 people. It’s a great way to portion it out. I like to make meat balls in a batch. If your only cooking for one or two people and you shop at Costco. I don’t know how to make a recipe for one or two people, I make it in bulk no matter what. You know your freezer is your friend! Being able to take stuff out of your freezer.

I have a big wedding I’m catering this weekend. My upright freezer in our shed is full of cupcakes and cake. And I had a wedding a few weeks ago too. So a lot of what John and I have been eating this summer is stuff I made last winter.

the other night I took out some Zuppa soup, its’ like italian sausage, some tomatoes, and some nokii in it. It was the perfect amount for like two bowls of soup?


why turn the oven on when its like a hundred degrees

cleaning out the freezer because I know I was gonna put like 500

still good

i just spent about 2 hours pitting 10-20 lbs of cherries

put parchment down, quickest way to freeze cherries,

dump into a bag, gonna get freezer burn no doubt

leave cherries in freezer in

date them,

gonna be just like

go to costco buy blueberries blackberries

peaches, hucks are in season,

why not buy or pick all you can right now,

fresh awesome stuff

it’s easy if you have freezer space why not do it

I drink a smoothie everyday for breakfast

easy to scoop

Had a huge windstorm hurricane force winds, trees down powers still out, radio station

brother is in Cal on Fire

posted a picture on facebook, I’m like oh crap

I hope nothing though his house,

all he lost was some sunflower stalks

peacehes off his peach tree

aaron lets him

30 peaches off his tree

I havae no idea what’s in my CSA this week. I have not gotten it yet, we got a precursor.


If you like what you heard on the Organic Gardener Podcast we’d love it if you’d give us hopefully a 5 star rating on iTunes so other gardeners can find us and listen to. Just click on the link here:

If you have any comments, questions, guests you’d like to see, or topics you’d like us to cover please send us any feedback positive or negative. We’re here to serve our audience and we can only improve with your help!!! Thanks for visiting Mike’s Green Garden changing the world one garden at a time.

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