Monday, August 24, 2009

Like Tomatoes from Heaven!

We have tomatoes coming out our ears, no one's complaining! By nature's good graces, our home crop is really producing a ton of tomatoes... Then, by the good graces of friends and yoga students, we have also been given many lovely tomatoes. It's like tomatoes from heaven!

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes! What a bounty!! Made pasta* with some of these, made a pizza, gave some to my parents, and am making Polenta with Fresh Corn & Cherry Tomatoes tonight. At this point, every meal MUST be tomato centric, or it's crossed off the list. These tomatoes are SO sweet, they are practically like candy... and frankly, they are better in salads than on pizzas. It's just weird to have something so sweet on a pizza.

(*My friend Fabrizio's cherry tomato pasta method: 2 cipolline, sliced thin, sauteed in olive oil. Add cherry tomatoes, saute until a few of them soften and pop open. Add the basil and cooked pasta. Enjoy!)

An early crop from about 2 weeks ago: Early Girls and Purple Cherokees...

... some of which became this big bowl of Pico de Gallo salsa. We had the salsa over some nice, easy tostadas. Perfect for lunches and quick dinners.

On top of my bountiful home grown supply, my wonderful friend Jane gave me a WHOLE crate full of her amazing organic dry-farmed tomatoes (technically, these are "seconds," but they are totally rad). She and her husband are farmers, and this is one of their great specialties. They are the best tomatoes I've ever had in my life. They tend to be on the small side, & the skin is a little tough, but inside... they are so incredible: the deepest red color, packed full with sweet tomato flavor. They are a delicious snack as is, and they are also great for cooking. I was about 2/3rds of my way through the box when I finally got around to taking a picture of all these babies.

What to do with such riches?? I gave some to my relatives, some to my friend JJTWH, made a pizza, made pasta sauce... and then got a bit more resourceful (and I still have some left!):

Dehydrated! I did two big trays. They took a long time (using a 150 watt light bulb in the oven), and were sticky to get off the sheet, but they turned out great...

I got about 4-5 cups of dried tomatoes in the end.

Also, some canning. 100% pure tomatoes. So delicious. I'll save these for the darkness of winter, when a blast of late summer tomatoes really lifts the spirit!

We were invited to a lovely little housewarming party, so I brought along two big platters of bruschetta... food of the gods. A combo of my tomatoes, Jane's tomatoes, and some that were a gift from a yoga student!

Yesterday I picked these two lovelies: a HUGE and beautiful Pineapple Tomato & a beautiful Purple Cherokee - my two favorite heirloom varieties, both of which are doing really well at home. I'm so happy!

They became: Pasta with Roasted Shiitakes and Tomatoes, from "Voluptuous Vegan." This is SUCH an incredible recipe. Wow. I've made it before, and had forgotten about it. The shiitakes are roasted with some olive oil and shoyu (soy sauce). Then there's sauteed garlic, fresh tomatoes, and tons of basil... with the shiitakes mixed in at the last minute. Also, check out the cool weirdo pasta shape! I got it on sale somewhere, and they were really great.

Along with the pasta, we had a simple side salad: tomatoes, cukes, yellow pepper, red onion, & parsley. Yummo!

We're right in the middle of this great tomato blitz... so you can definitely expect some more tomato-rich photos to come! May you also be blessed with many tasty tomatoes this summer!

Gardening Note:
This year I planted 6 varieties: Sungold Cherry Tomato, Early Girl, Pineapple Tomatoes, Purple Cherokee, Beefsteak, and Isis Candy Cherry Tomatoes. Pineapple, Sungold, and Purple Cherokee and probably my 3 favorite varieties I've ever tried, and I'm really happy that they are doing so well at home. The Beefsteak is turning out to be a dud, but I"m okay with that. I was the least attached to that one. So far, the Sungold and Early Girl have been super prolific, with Purple Cherokee just chugging along and pumping out a few good sized tomatoes each week. Luckily, the Isis Candy & Pineapple are just starting to come in... so all 6 varieties didn't ripen at once.

18 comments:

  1. Holy Tomatoes!!!

    Seriously, that is a lot of beautiful tomato goodness you've got going on there. I love the creative ways you decided to use them, especially that pasta - YUM!

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  2. Oh wow, I'm so jealous of your tomato bounty - beautiful!

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  3. tomato explosion!! this is so amazing. i have four or five tomato plants in my backyard which i feel very soon will produce more fruit than i know what to do with. these ideas are so great!

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  4. The Bruschetta was delicious Amey!

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  5. Wow! What great ideas for tomatoes. The pico de gallo salsa sounds wonderful:) Makes me want to go eat yummy vegan mexican food.

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  6. Wow! What great ideas for tomatoes. The pico de gallo salsa sounds wonderful:) Makes me want to go eat yummy vegan mexican food.

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  7. Anonymous5:30 PM

    I love the cherry tom with corn polenta recipe, Amey! We have eaten it over and over this summer. Oh goodness, yum!

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  8. Oh, I'm so jealous! Our heat and draught made for a very short tomato season here and I miss them so much. I love the purple cherokees too!

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  9. I am waiting for my tomatoes to be picked. I only planted 10 plants but they are over flowing with tomatoes. Enjoy them.

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  10. Such incredible tomatoes! They are beautiful--and I bet they taste great, too. Our summer has been so awful my two plants together are only yielding about 6 tomatoes!!

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  11. I am jealous. I've only gotten two tomatoes, and a couple cherry tomatoes this year. Maybe I'll get more soon.
    That is so many tomatoes. I wish I had friends willing to give up their tomatoes.

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  12. Ooh, I'm jealous of your crazy tomato luck! I wish someone would give me a crate full, and I wish I had the ability to grow tomatoes in my yard (never had luck in the past, so I gave up this year). I love those Cherokee purples!

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  13. love those tomaters! they look so tasty!!!

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  14. Love, love, love all the pictures of tomatoes! They make me so hungry. I love heirlooms and wanted to buy some at the NYC greenmarket in Union Square. They said they'll be selling them up to the first frost, which may be the 3rd week of September. I'll have to stock up!!!

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  15. Oh yummy tomatoes! Salsa, please!! Hey, you should head over to Diann's spot for some good news!! :o)

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  16. gosh I need gardening tips with my tomato. I planted it from a seed from a tomato I got. It is about 4 inches tall now for the past 2 months. Why is it not growing???

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  17. wow those tomatoes look amazing, i can't wait for summer to arrive here in the southern part of the globe.

    what do you do with dehydrated tomatoes? i am very curious.

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  18. Anonymous1:29 PM

    Hi Amey,

    I used your bruschetta instructions last night with excellent results! I have to say that I had no idea the garlic would melt into the toasted bread at the right toastiness. It was like magic. Mine wasn't totally authentic because I has one of those Judy's breadsticks, which are whole grain, but it turned out great.

    Thanks for posting! Oh, and I have concluded that beefsteaks don't really work here. There some guy in my neighborhood who does grow them, but I suspect he uses chemicals :(

    jen e.

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