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Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

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My little garden is a well planned garden.  It’s a lot of work but it’s completely worth it.  In comparison to other people’s gardens, my garden is small, efficient and in my opinion, for its size, it kicks some serious butt.  By the time spring rolls around, I know exactly what is getting planted and where.  What’s even worse is that I am extremely picky about the tomato plants that I grow every year.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Bruce.  I have limited space so I have to choose my plants wisely.  I make a list and I stick to it.  When it comes to tomatoes, I like a variety of shapes, colors and flavors.  This year I chose Green Zebra, Early Girl, Pineapple, Sun Gold, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Sweet 100, Lemon Boy, Japanese Black Trifele, Mortgage Lifter, Caspian Pink and Moskovich.  That’s my list and I’m sticking to it.  Until today…

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I prefer to do my gardening early in the cool hours in the morning.  I hand water my plants everyday and inspect every one for pests or other possible plant problems.  Everything that I grow is organic and free from pesticides or sprays.  Sometimes, the veggies that I grow are not as pretty as store bought but I don’t care.  Pretty is not everything.  What’s important is that what I grow in my garden is safe for my family to eat.

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My tomatoes are ripening and I just realized that have an alien specie in my garden.  The tomato that you see is not what I intended to plant.  This little unripe tomato completely threw my well planned orderly universe on it’s side.  This tomato was supposed to be a Green Zebra.  Green Zebras are my son’s favorite.  That is why I planted two plants.  This is no Green Zebra and frankly, I was a bit miffed.  Either someone switched tags at the nursery where I bought it or the seeds were switched at birth.    Fortunately I have a backup.  As for the alien specie, it took me about an hour of internet time to figure this one out.  This tomato is called Stupice.  Yes, Stupice.  Go figure.

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One of my favorite ways to prepare tomatoes from my garden is to oven roast them.  It’s easy to do, they taste freakingly amazing and once they are roasted, they are so versatile.  Just toss them in your favorite pasta dish or blend them up for a delicious sauce.  They also taste great on pizza, in soup or even in scrambled eggs.  The possibilities are endless!

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Just toss the tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper.

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And roast them…  Roasted tomatoes are seriously delicious.  As for the Stupice tomatoes,  I don’t know why I was having such an issue… Stupice have a wonderful sweet and tart tomato flavor.  It’s highly likely that Stupice will find a place in our little garden next year and possibly in the many years to come.

Ingredients:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut tomatoes in half or into large chunks and remove the tops.  If the tomatoes are small, then there’s no need to slice them. Gently squeeze out some of the seeds.  Toss lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper.  Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet (for easy cleanup).  Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the size or variety of tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes start to shrivel and get a bit of color or until your liking.  Remove from oven, let cool and toss in the refrigerator.  Use within a few days.  Can be frozen for later use.  Note: if you don’t like the skins on the tomatoes, just pull the skins off after cooking.  They pop off pretty easily.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Radish Sesame Salad

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Radish Sesame Salad

Every year, early in the spring I plant radishes from seed in my little garden.   Since my garden is so small, I tuck the radishes rows between some of the slower growing vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage in order to utilize precious garden space.  Radishes are amazingly fast and easy to grow.  All they need is water and warm spring days.  Within 3 weeks after sowing the seeds, I am able to harvest crunchy little radishes for salads and snacks.

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Thin sliced crunchy red radishes…

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My Radish and Sesame Seed Salad is one of my favorite ways to prepare fresh picked radishes from my garden.  It’s vibrant in color and has wonderful Asian inspired flavors.  Next time you plant a garden, try sowing a few radish seeds.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients

  • 3 cups thinly sliced red radishes
  • 2 Tbs Mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • fresh cilantro, green onion or chives for garnish

Thinly slice the radishes with a mandolin or sharp knife.  Set aside.  In a medium sized bowl whisk together the Mirin, sesame oil, rice vinegar, black sesame seeds, ginger, garlic and salt.  Add radishes and toss.  Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for about 45 minutes.  Garnish with fresh cilantro, green onions or chives.  Makes 4 servings.

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Spicy Watermelon Salad

Spicy Watermelon Salad

I just love hot and spicy food.  I can’t even think of even one hot and spicy dish that I don’t like.  Whenever I go to a restaurant and I have the option of choosing the heat level of my food I almost always choose 9 out of a scale of 1 to 10.  1 on the scale means very mild.  10 on the other hand, means it will burn a hole in the sidewalk.  I generally choose a 9 because I still want to be able to taste my food :).

Every time I order hot and spicy food, my sweet husband Bruce looks at me as if I am completely out of my mind.  I look back, smile at him and think to myself that mild food is not an option.  He should know me by now.  I warned him about this little detail many years ago.

Sambal Oelek

If you don’t know or never have heard of sambal oelek before, sambal oelek is an extremely hot (and delicious) Asian chili pepper paste.  Sambal oelek is always a staple our refrigerator and I could not even imagine doing without.  Sambal oelek is not for the faint of heart or is something that you can pack in your child’s lunch.  Simply put, sambal oelek is a delicious condiment that is to be respected.

My Spicy Watermelon Salad is made with bright red watermelon, spicy sambal oelek, sweet chili sauce, sour tamarind paste and lime juice.  It’s easy to make and only contains 5 ingredients.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups watermelon balls (seedless)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbs  sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek (or to taste)

Begin by grabbing a medium sized bowl.  Whisk together the lime juice, sweet chili sauce, tamarind paste and sambal oelek.  Taste and correct your heat level.  Using a melon ball tool, make 4 cups of melon balls.  Add watermelon balls to your sauce.  Toss to coat.  Chill the salad if necessary.  Makes 4 – 1 cup servings.

 

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Spicy Strawberry Salad

Spicy Strawberry Salad

Many people when they think of strawberries they conjure up images of sugar and spice and everything nice…  I don’t.  When I think of strawberries, I think of them as the sassy little bad girls of the fruit world.  Of course strawberries are pretty and sweet however, they are feisty enough to stand up to hot and spicy flavors like nobody’s business.  Strawberries are cool…

My Spicy Strawberry Salad is reminiscent of an Indonesian hot fruit salad also known as Rudjak Manis.  My Spicy Strawberry Salad is made with fresh picked sweet juicy strawberries tossed with fiery sambal oelek, sweet Indonesian soy sauce, ginger, tamarind, and brown sugar.  If you have wimpy friends, you can control the heat by adding less sambal oelek.  Next time you pick or purchase a pound of fresh strawberries, try this easy to make exotic salad.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, cored and sliced
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (chili pepper paste)
  • 2 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 Tbs water

In a bowl whisk together the sambal oelek, brown sugar, ginger, tamarind and water.  Add the strawberries.  Toss to coat and refrigerate for about an hour to let the flavors marry.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  If you don’t like it too hot, then use less sambal oelek.  Makes 4 servings.

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