This meal is actually from a couple of weeks ago... but when I realized that MoFo was coming down the pipeline, I started snapping pictures of everything I ate - figuring that there would be days like today when no one would want to hear about a piece of baked tofu for breakfast and random leftover veggies for lunch...
So, a little while back, I had my parents and my aunt Laura and her partner all over for dinner and then to see some of the paintings and drawings I did during my art course in Italy. I wanted to make something special, and I decided to use my precious home-grown tomatoes to show everyone just how much I actually love them.
Sometimes I feel like Golum out there in the tomato garden, greedily cherishing each little red orb;
chanting "my precious, my precious..." in a creepy little voice over and over
If there's One Food that says "summer!" to me, it's definitely tomatoes. Especially home-grown tomatoes. The last couple of years I've been dry-farming my tomatoes, which basically means you just water them when you plant them, and never again. The result is fewer, smaller tomatoes that are packed with the flavor of 6-7 regular tomatoes. They are so amazing! And sweet! and super dark red! Before I left for my big trip to Italy, I was feeling sad that all the tomatoes would ripen while I was gone. But, happily, upon my return, I saw that there were still loads of tomatoes left for me. There were even enough that I could lighten up on my greedy-Golum tendencies and share my tomatoes with my loved ones.
This idea was inspired by the Salad Samurai cookbook, but I went my own way with it. First, I made a big batch of my favorite tofu ricotta. Then I grilled up a bunch of eggplant slices, and sliced some tomato halves, piled on a generous dollop of tofu ricotta on each one, and topped with a fresh basil leaf. These look so cute, they were very tasty, and extremely easy.
Like me, my aunt and her partner are also vegans, but they are also really committed to a no-sugar, no-oil, no-salt diet ~ which is not how I typically cook. They pretty much never make exceptions, which means that when we have family meals, they usually just bring along their own food. I wanted to try my hand at cooking for them, even though I don't usually cook that way. I made them some tomatoes too - just tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.
It was sort of a funny turning of the cards. Usually, if I am going to someone's house for a dinner, I will just offer to bring my own food. Sometimes, they will be eager to try to cook something for me, and I am always so grateful because I never expect it. Recently I went to a friend's house for dinner and they had found some vegan recipe online, because they were totally not used to cooking vegan. She was nervous about whether it had turned out or not (in the end, we all agreed that it was pretty good). It was funny for me to be on the other end, hosting someone with a more restricted diet than my own and feeling nervous about whether or not they would like it. ha ha!