Sunday, August 30, 2015

You should have seen the pile yesterday.

Of all of the helpful hints and little tricks of the food trade that I have learned in my life, none beat the hint of making a winter tomato from the grocery taste more like a real tomato.  The hint, you ask – slice the tomato or chop it or however you are going to use it and then salt it.  Leave it out at room temperature at least an hour or more before you use it.  I also pepper mine and depending on what my recipe is I add herbs.  I add basil or marjoram if using in an Italian recipe.  If I am making salsa I add cilantro.

You see, when the grocery store puts their tomatoes on the chill rack, the winter tomato which didn’t taste like a tomato to begin with, loses all of it flavor.  I think they probably have some rule and regulation about keeping produce cold or some other idiotic law that some idiotic politician came up with.  And this politician has never eaten a real tomato to boot and doesn’t have a clue about tomatoes.

I am writing about the almighty tomato because I just had one and it was so good I had to dart to my computer and write about it.  It was a beefsteak tomato from my garden.  I had picked it a couple of days ago.  My tomatoes are not being good puppies this summer.  The vines are almost all dead and the few tomatoes I have are turning brown and rotting on the vine.  I have to keep vigil watch over them to save what I can.

I have to admit here that I have a pantry full of food.  I am a food hoarder as I have told you before.  Yesterday I made fresh vegetable soup and canned it for my winter pleasure.  (Did you know you have to process soup for 55 minutes?  It is truly a labor of love.)  I made seven pints and tucked them away to cool overnight.  I made 7 quarts of tomatoes last week and 6 pints of spaghetti sauce the week before.

So, I am not lacking in the tomato department.  I have enjoyed all that I wanted.  We have had BLTs at least once a week for a couple of months.  I have made salsa several times.  I have made my cherry tomato salad with feta several times.  I have had beef steaks with bleu cheese and ranch several times.  It is a wonder that I don’t turn into a tomato.

I am much like my father and I hope what happened to him in his later years doesn’t happen to me.  His system grew to hate tomatoes.  His mouth would break out in blisters if he ate one.  He had to give up ketchup, spaghetti sauce, the works!

I thought that I would share some recipes today:

Tomato feta salad
Toss a bunch of cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes in a bowl with four or five chopped basil leaves.  Add chunks of feta cheese.  Top with Italian dressing or that wonderful raspberry vinaigrette.
Bruschetta salad
Quarter a bunch of cherry tomatoes or chop some regular tomatoes and toss with four or five basil leaves.  Add chopped parsley, chopped onion, marjoram or oregano.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Top with Italian dressing and put that on your little bread toasts.  A little bit of bleu cheese is very good also.

Beefsteaks with bleu cheese
The hubster had this in Kentucky at a restaurant once when he was there on business.  He said, “You have to make this.”  We have been making it every year for some time.  I always grow one beefsteak tomato.
Slice a bigass beefsteak tomato and put on a pretty plate.  I have a green square plate that looks so nice.  Top with salt and pepper to taste.  Not too much salt because the bleu cheese is salty.  Crumble bleu cheese over the tomatoes.  Allow to sit at room temperature at least an hour.  Top with ranch dressing and serve.  Don’t be surprised if your eating guests lick their plate.

Grilled tomatoes
Cut the top off the tomato and get a grapefruit spoon and dig out the guts.  Chop this with finely diced onion, garlic, parmesan cheese, a Tablespoon of dry bread crumbs, some chopped basil and a dash of oregano.

Put all this stuffing back into the tomato and grill on a piece of aluminum foil until warm through.

As a child my mother never really did much to our tomatoes.  She just sliced a big plate full and we ate them.  She never made stewed tomatoes and I have never had them in my life.  I think I am going to research this and come up with a recipe for stewed tomatoes because I never met a tomato I didn’t like.

PS  My girlfriend’s family did eat stewed tomatoes and they called it “train wreck”.  Don’t you just love that?

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