To answer a question I was asked--to skin fresh tomatoes w/o roasting them, pour boiling water over them & let them set a minute, the skins will slip right off. If you're only doing a few, you can scrape the skin w/a knife blade & it sort of bruises it & also makes it easier to peel. Mom's Italian Tomato Sauce 3 stalks celery 1 bell pepper 1 onion 3 cloves peeled garlic 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 (12 oz) can tomato paste 1 large can tomatoes (or 10-12 fresh peeled) 4 cans (12 oz) water salt & pepper to taste 3 tablespoons sugar (start with 1 & then add to taste; some people like their sauce sweeter than others) 1 teaspoon sweet basil 1/4 teaspoon baking soda fresh finely chopped mint if you can get it. Saute' onions, bell pepper, celery & garlic in olive oil. Add tomato paste, stirring often for about 5 minutes. Add rest of ingredients, let come to a boil, lower fire & cook 1-2 hours, add liquid if it gets too thick. Serves 4-6, easy to double, freezes well. Meatballs 3 pounds ground meat 3 ounces Italian breadcrumbs 4 eggs 4 ounces grated Romano cheese 2 medium chopped onions 3 cloves finely chopped garlic 2 stalks finely chopped celery 1 tablespoon sweet basil a generous dash of salt & pepper finely chopped fresh mint if you can get it. Mix all ingredients, shape into balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; turning after 15 minutes. makes about 20 meatballs. freezes well. Family variations: Johnsonville hot or sweet Italian sausage grilled is a nice substitute for meatballs. Pepperoni slices also make a nice & different variation. You can add fresh mushrooms or artichoke hearts or black olives & change up the flavor if you like. We like to add fresh basil leaves when we have them; remember you need to use 2-3 times as much as dried basil if you do so. For the smoked tomato sauce, as I said in my tomato soup post, line a baking pan w/tin foil, toss tomatoes & peeled garlic cloves with olive oil, a pinch of thyme & basil, & roast at about 450 for about 30-45 minutes--until they start to char black slightly. Then remove & slip the peels off the tomatoes & squeeze the garlic paste out of the cloves & add that to your sauce. In a time crunch; I've started with Paul Newman's Sockarooni or Ragu 7-Herb for my 'base' & added the smoked tomatoes & garlic & it came out very well. Hope this helps; any questions please PM me & I'll try to answer in a logical form!