Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stuffed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice...

Tomatoes are hee-eeere. The great thing about tomatoes is that they are useful in bazillions of preparations. Here's the top ten ways to go through the tons of tomatoes in your garden:

10. Salsa. My friends Dij and Henry Malin let me can salsa with them when I was in high school and it was the best salsa I ever ate. I asked for the recipe but Henry wouldn't give it up. When he passed away, I asked Dij and she gave it to me. No, I am not going to share their salsa recipe. You'll have to get your own. Bonus: Get rid of jalapenos and onions too!

9. "Sundried" tomatoes. Anything that takes 50 huge tomatoes and turns them into something that will fit in a ziploc bag is a miracle. Want to know why "sundried" is in quotes? Because the climate around here is normally too humid to dry tomatoes. Halve romas, remove stems, seeds and liquid. Put wet side up on a baking dish sprayed with oil and dry in the oven at 140 degrees F for 6-12 hours until the squishy parts have dried up- tomatoes should not look burnt. Or put the trays in your car in a hot sun- supposedly this works but I bet your car smells like tomatoes forever.

8. Tomato juice. Because nothing says Bloody Mary like fresh tomato juice. Here's a recipe for tomato juice.

7. Tomato water. Because you are too fancy for tomato juice and want to make tomato water martinis. You yuppie.

6. Tomato sauce: Paste tomatoes are best for this because they cook up better but you can use any kind of tomato. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 2 minutes. Squeeze tomatoes out of their skins into a saucepan and simmer for an hour. Simmer long enough and you'll make tomato paste. Of course normal people add seasoning or sauteed onions and peppers. But plain tomato sauce is the primordial ooze from which a lot of other foods evolve.

5. If you have a lot of tomatoes, you can try canning. Mwah hahhahahaa. Canned tomatoes are great in stewed tomatoes. To make stewed tomatoes: Empty a jar of canned tomatoes into a pan. Add a few tablespoons sugar and stir. Push a few slices of bread into the liquid. Don't stir. Heat. Eat. It's old-timey and kind of gross but delicious with mac 'n' cheese.

4. Potluck! A nice tray of fresh-sliced tomatoes, especially pretty heirlooms, is totally gorgeous and a great way to dump a load of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I keep seeing "heirloom tomatoes" as a first course at the restaurants around here and let me tell you, that's not a lot of tomatoes for 8 bucks. Go fancy and add fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar to make Caprese salad.

3. Stuffed tomatoes. Get extra points if you stuff them with tomato product. Example: rice mixed with tomato sauce and peppers.

2. Hey neighbors! Who left that basket full of tomatoes on your porch? I'll never tell.

1. Throw them at bad performers. This is a classic use of tomatoes that unfortunately involves "wasting food," which is a cardinal sin in my family punishable by being forced to eat more tomatoes. So wait until they rot and then throw them.

1 comment:

Amy S said...

Ha! What an excellent post. Too bad my laggard tomato plants refuse to produce any fruit. Now I have nothing to throw at bad performers :-(