Monday, September 8, 2014

Tomato How To's

How to grow tomatoes:

Buy them*.
Plant them.
Ignore them.
Harvest them by the bushel.

Done it twice now.  So I'm kind of an authority.

Note:  Does not work for any other living thing.  Especially basil plants and those cute little flower pots from Trader Joe's.  For them, Sharon = Death.

How to eat tomatoes:

Straight up is good.  Really good.

Or, you can make the big ones into tomato jam.

Recipe from Fine Cooking, modified not at all.

The jam is fresh and sweet and tart, a little spicy, and perfectly tomato-y.  Don't be tempted to add onions or garlic or herbs or fancy vinegar.  Let it be, and it'll taste exactly like summer. Amazing on burgers.  Like, ridiculous.  

You might attempt Gazpacho.  I did.

This recipe, a riff on one from Alton Brown, needs more work.  The flavors were spot on, but the texture was a little too much like salsa.  I should have followed along with this great video, from Judy of Two Broads Abroad, or tried making this recipe from Serious Eats.  Next summer!

With full confidence, I can recommend that you make the baby ones into warm tomato vinaigrette.

Tangy, bright and wonderful, I made this last year and it's now in permanent rotation.  The very simple recipe is over at Bon Appetit. Ladle it over roasted potatoes, grilled fish, a steak, or a frittata at breakfast.  Or be like me and slather it on top of fresh focaccia bread.

I insist you try this salad/salsa number with feta cheese and mint. (Recipe follows)

Despite the onset of September, there's no sign of summer slowing down around here. Instead, it seems to be getting hotter, if such a thing is possible. That means there are still a few juicy, ripe tomatoes to be had**.

Find them.
Eat them.

Don't forget, you can always check out the Recipe Box for even more tomato ideas.

Minted Cherry Tomato and Feta Salad

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: none!
  • Fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes
  • Greek Feta cheese, in a block, not crumbled
  • Fresh mint
  • Green onions
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
This recipe is completely adjustable based on how many tomatoes you have and what you like in your salad. Essentially, wing it until everything tastes wonderful.
  • Rinse and halve the tomatoes, and place in a bowl.
  • Drain the feta cheese, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Add those to the bowl with the tomatoes.
  • Finely chop a handful of mint and the green onions, and add those to the bowl, too.
  • Drizzle the whole thing with some good fruity olive oil, and squeeze some lemon juice on top as well.
  • Stir to combine everything, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

* Once again, the elves at Tomatomania bred such hearty little seedlings that even I was unable to foil their takeover of my planter bed.
** It also means that I cannot take two steps without breaking into a very unattractive total body sweat.  I'm grossing myself out here.


  1. Tomatoes have another trick. They replant them selves! I have a yellow pear tomato that shows up in a different part of the garden every year. All by itself. GREG