Archive for tomatoes

tomato sauce

Posted in vague recipes with tags on September 7, 2009 by thatwasdelicious

Lilli told me that she had made tomato sauce the other night from fresh tomatoes. The result, however, was not as pleasing as she thought it would be given that she was working with delicious, sun-warmed, straight from the garden tomatoes.

Now, in the Italian restaurant that I worked in we would make the tomato sauce first thing in the morning. It would go into a big pot on  the stove and sit there gurpling all day long. So, my first thought was that perhaps Lilli’s tomato sauce had not had enough stove time to get all of those acidy tomato-y flavors married to the garlic-y, basil-y, onion-y flavors.

My second thought was blanching.

I have heard/read somewhere that blanching fresh tomatoes before using them in a sauce is the perfect way to get rid of some of the excess water that will make a tomato sauce bland and to break down the tomato so that it becomes more sauce-y. This afternoon, I put it to the test. I took two tomatoes, cored them, and dropped them into boiling water blanching them until their skins started to split. Then I slipped the tomatoes out of their skins and squeezed out the insides and seeds. I heated a skillet on the stove, put in some olive oil and some garlic (just still the garlic started to sizzle) and reduced the heat to low and put the tomatoes in. I let the tomatoes sit on low heat while the pasta boiled and added salt, pepper, and some fresh basil at the end. The result was a fresh tasting, tangy, tomato sauce.

So. Time on the stove can be fudged. Blanching cannot.


Posted in vague recipes with tags on August 24, 2009 by thatwasdelicious

I don’t know what has been happening in the fields around Philadelphia this summer, but forces have come together to make for fantastic tomato harvests. The markets have been filled with wooden crates of heirloom tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors:

Squat deep purple-red tomatoes, round marble cherry tomatoes, (my favorites) globes of green tomatoes with bright yellow stripes, firm yellow-oranges, lumpy reds, sharp shiny Romas, sitting in their crates in the sun.

What has happened to these beautiful tomatoes….?

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Parsley

*A friend was throwing himself a party. On the menu: braised beef shoulder, roasted lamb with a yogurt marinade (I know that cumin, coriander, and red pepper were involved but there were many other components of the marinade), and roasted pork shoulder with a spice rub (clove being the predominant taste, but there were also whole cloves of garlic tucked into the shoulder. So I made this salad:

A bowl of roughly chopped tomatoes (I bought as many different colors, shapes, and sizes as I could find) with finely chopped (like you would for tabouli) parsley (a largish bunch). Tossed with lemon juice, Chalua’s Hot Sauce, olive oil, salt, generous amounts of freshly ground pepper, and a splash of Vermont Maple Syrup to taste. Mix together and let sit several hours before serving.

The tomatoes and parsley that went into the salad:

Tomato Salad with Sole

Roma tomatoes chopped and seeded. Splash of olive oil, bit of salt and pepper, and feta cheese. Sole kept simple: drizzle olive oil on top, sprinkle salt and pepper on top, squeeze juice of half a lemon over the fish and then place thinly sliced red onion and lemon wedges around the fish. Bake until flesh is white and tender and serve over a pile of tomato salad.

Lilli’s Corn, Quinoa, and Tangy Yellow Tomatoes

*Lilli and Matt have moved into an apartment in S. Philly. It is in a neighborhood that has lots of gardens all filled with basil and tomato plants. Matt has found himself an abandoned garden plot that he has been reclaiming from the mosquitos. There were some renegade tomato plants in the garden plot producing beautiful yellow tomatoes–firm and tangy. Lilli invited me over for dinner one evening and put together….

Quinoa with fresh corn cut raw from the cob, chopped yellow tomatoes (about half of which went into our mouths rather than the salad because they are so good) cumin, Bragg’s, salt, pepper, and olive oil. We debated putting basil in the salad but then decided to just serve the tomatoes with a little basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Pulled Chicken with Tomatoes and Peppers

Put one large onion (finely diced and sauteed), pieces of chicken (with bones and skin) browned, a bottle of Kenzinger, big, fatty red tomatoes (blanched then skinned and de-seeded), and about four different varieities (depending on how spicy you want it) of peppers (broiled until blackened, then peeled, chopped, and de-seeded) all in one pot. Some water added to cover the chicken pieces. Let the pot sit on the stove all day. Removed the chicken bones, shred the chicken, return to pot. Serve over rice, sopped up with good bread,  or in blue corn tortillas with raw cabbage, fresh cilantro, lime juice, avocado and of course, fresh tomatoes.

Tomato Sandwich

*I was bequeathed homemade mayonnaise with garlic and capers which inspired this sandwich

Fresh baguette, garlic and caper mayonnaise with sliced green tomaotes (the little guys that I mentioned at the beginning–they are tangy and faintly lemony). Oh, and fresh ground pepper. I think that this would be just as good with salted butter….

Mmmmmmm…….time to go to the market.