Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Too many tomatoes???

My good friend David wrote: "I have a wife and I impulsively bought a bunch of heirloom tomatoes this weekend. Too many. I have about 10 medium sized ones and have no idea what to do with them. Any great ideas???" David and Helen

There is a lot that can be done with tomatoes; at the end of the season, when all of my 23 tomato plants give me a plethora of different sizes and colors, we eat a lot of tomatoes; and I make a lot of sauce; stacking container after container into the freezer to use throughout the winter months. But 10 medium tomatoes won't make a lot of sauce; so here's a couple of other ideas that might interest you.

First there is the Caprese Salad - so good when made with fresh heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and some fresh basil, drizzle a little fine olive oil over the top and it's sunshine in your mouth.

Caprese Salad (Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad)

3 large heirloom tomatoes, use a variety or all the same, each sliced thickly into 4 slices
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 slices
8 large basil leaves
4 tablespoons fine extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded, (optional)

On individual plates, place one large tomato slice, top with basil and a slice of the mozzarella, repeat finishing with a tomato slice. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with additional basil, if desired and serve. Makes 4 servings

LindySez: Did you know that you should never store tomatoes in the refrigerator? It's too cold and makes them mealy. Always store them on the counter top, away from the sun, stem side down. And give them some breathing room. Don't crowd them and pile them on top of each other.

Here's another idea: How about a lovely delicious BLT? Since I'm a bacon lover, and a fresh tomato lover, and love bread...well, it's a gimme.

Fry some nice apple wood bacon, toast your favorite bread, slather on the mayo, some iceberg lettuce (this is a fine use for iceberg lettuce, you really need that crunch) and thickly sliced tomatoes...Delish...

Are you feeling ambitious? How about a tomato preserve? It's great spread on crackers with cream cheese, or crostini with some beautiful soft ricotta. Or how about on that summer barbecued burger?

Tomato Preserve

1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon powder (I highly recommend fresh, store unused ginger in the freezer in pieces so you can take out what you need when you need it)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced (remember to use gloves or use the wash hands touch your gum trick to make sure you don't rub those hot oils into your eyes, nose or other sensitive places)

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan; bring to a boil; stir well. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture looks like a thick jam, about 1 hour or so. Taste, adjust seasonings. Cool the mixture, then put into a covered container, refrigerate for up to a week.

Makes about 1 pint.

LindySez: Hope that helps Dave and Helen.

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