In case you haven't heard, Deb from Dinner Tonight and Margaret from A Way To Garden have been hosting a cross blog food fest every Thursday for the last few weeks and this week is all about Tomatoes. I am so down with this topic but before I go on I have two complaints for Deb and Margaret.
- The Tomato should have been first because it's way more awesome than even, *gasp*, sliced bread.
- The Tomato deserves an entire week! How can one possible sing the praises of the glorious tomato in one day?
I cannot remember when my love affair with the tomato started, but I know I've loved them longer than any boy, pet or favorite pair of shoes. From the plain old tomato sandwich to the runny-nose inducing Arrabbiatta sauce, the tomato is the most versatile delicious food ever. They are great served raw or cooked and even though I don't have a prostate, they are good for your prostate!
When I started growing my own tomatoes last year, my tomato love affair morphed to new levels as I tried new varieties and made things that I struggle to justify purchasing ($$) at the grocery. Here's what I'm doing with my tomatoes these days.
The Basic Tomato Sammich (see actual tomato sammich here)
Spread mayonnaise liberally on 2 pieces of good quality whole grain bread. Place thickly sliced tomatoes (choose meaty ones like Brandywine) on bread. Sprinkle salt and pepper on tomatoes. Enjoy sandwich with plenty of napkins to wipe the tomato juice from your chin. Mom, I still haven't forgiven you for growing me up with salad dressing instead of mayo. It is because of you that I missed out on 30 years of tomato-sandwich-goodness. Shame on you!
Place whole ripe tomatoes and whole ripe jalapenos on heated barbecue grill until skins of tomatoes break away from the flesh. Peal skin from tomatoes and remove core, then throw them in the blender and pulse to chop. Pour blended tomatoes in bowl then add one coarsely chopped tomato (with skin), thinly chopped jalapenos (be sure to remove the seeds or you'll catch on fire), the juice from 1/4 of a fresh lemon, salt and pepper, a couple tablespoons of white vinegar and whatever fresh herbs you like (try basil or oregano or cilantro). Chill the salsa for a couple of hours before serving so that the flavors marry. This recipe came from a Mexican girl I work with who makes the best salsa ever. In the words of my future father-in-law "this is perfect salsa! Not too hot, it's just right."
Cut ends off of paste tomatoes like Roma, San Marzano or Heirloom Sausage tomatoes (I grew sausage for the first time this year). Cut tomatoes in half long-ways. Place on food dehydrator far enough apart that the tomatoes are not touching. Dry until leathery. Place in jar and fill with olive oil. I adore sundried tomatoes on homemade pizza but rarely buy them because they are so expensive. I plan to dry enough to last the entire year so goodbye expensive store bought sundried tomatoes!
Give Away Tomatoes
One of my favorite things to do with my tomatoes is give them away to people who love tomatoes but don't grow them. I send small sealed bags of cherry and grape tomatoes with my guy to work where he gives them to his favorite tomato loving coworkers. The best part is writing "organic cherry/grape tomatoes" on the package.
I could go on and on about the great things you can do with the magical tomato but in the interest of time I'll stop here and send you over to Dinner Tonight for more tomato-awesomeness. I'm off to dehydrate my next batch of tomatoes before work!
What's your favorite thing to do with tomatoes?