Monday, August 27, 2012

Tomato Love

By Shareholder Heidi Barr
My first day of being a working share member at Henry got crops, I helped stake tomatoes. The stakes seemed massive at 6 feet next to the tomato seedlings standing 10 inches at best. A mere 10 weeks later the tomato plants have eclipsed the stakes and the tomatoes are coming by the hundreds of pounds.
Today, receiving 7lbs (small share) – 14 lbs (large share) of tomatoes had us all talking about what in the world we would do with them.  I realize I have no shortage of plans for mine and as I look over my abundant portion of the harvest, I can hardly choose where to begin.
Here are a few of my tomato eating plans. Aside from the first suggestion being first…try these in no particular order.
Rush home and eat a warm ripe tomato straight, like an apple, probably standing over the sink and letting the juice drip where it may. This is best if the tomato in question is still warm from the sun on the farm.
Make very thin slices of a large tomato and lay them on buttered toast for breakfast.  More than one layer is good and I like un-salted butter. I sprinkle the tomato with either sea salt or sugar depending on my mood.
Cut a tomato into wedges, slice a cucumber, thinly slice ½ a red onion, put them together in a bowl, add a generous amount of rice vinegar and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar, mix it up and enjoy.
An Open-faced sandwich with sliced tomato and cheddar cheese broiled to a bubbly crispness has been a favorite of mine since junior high. A close second being grilled cheese and tomato.
I love a sort of bread lasagna I heard about on the radio one day. Layer in a baking dish stale bread, sliced tomatoes (several varieties make it colorful) plenty of fresh basil smashed (to release flavor) and fresh mozzarella sliced. Squeeze the juice of 1 or 2 super ripe tomatoes over this and top with grated Parmesan. Bake at 375 until cheese is melty and delicious looking. Let stand and cool for a while before serving. This is great at room temperature as leftovers.
There are the traditional Greek salads, the always-delicious Caprese salad not to mention the simple green salad with plenty of tomatoes – of course.
You can sun dry them, fire roast them (on the grill),stew them, can them, blanch them and freeze’em. Make salsa fresca, Ratatouille, bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich, stuffed tomatoes with tuna or chicken salad and of course gravy, as my south Philly Italian neighbor ladies used to call it, otherwise known as tomato sauce.
Happy tomato season. Isn’t it grand?

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