Tomatoes ... so many types - so little time! Nothing says "summer" to me like a ripe juicy tomato. Not the uniform red variety in the grocery store - the lumpy odd shaped colorful "heirlooms" you find at the farm stand in July, August and September. Just pick one up at the Farmer's Market and take a long deep inhale. Earthy, fresh ... then taste it ... tangy and tart. (sigh ... )
I love eating them and cooking with them. Tomatoes are another of those ingredients that can be used in a myriad of ways ... raw, baked, fried, stewed, dried, crushed; in soups, pasta, salad and sauce - as the star of a dish or the supporting cast.
Tomatoes are a hearty plant and one of most popular vegetables grown at home, aside from perhaps basil and rosemary. You can plant them in your yard or even in a pot on the patio. As a matter of fact I have a cherry tomato plant growing on my patio. I think we will be lucky to have a dozen little tomatoes when all is said and done - but who cares? I think it's fun growing them.
Tomatoes are high in Vitamins A & C, low in calories and a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant that fights free radicals. Tomatoes were first cultivated in South America and then made their way to Europe in the 1500's thanks to the Spanish explorer Cortes. They quickly spread to Italy and Britain in that same century; then off to Asia in the early 1800's. It's hard to pinpoint when we first started growing tomatoes, but it seems that the first mention of the fruit (as it botanically known to be) was around 1700.
This week I have three easy ideas for your farm stand tomatoes: raw, baked and sauced. First, the simplest and completely up to what you want in it: a salad. I joined Larry this past weekend on his trek across the county to meet up with a friend, and took a side track to the Ossining Farmers Market. It's a small market with a nice selection of vendors. Everyone had tomatoes of course, so I bought a few from each.
To read the rest of my blog post and to see my easy recipes using tomatoes click here.
For information on my upcoming Cooking Classes at Tarry Market click here.