Tag Archives: green zebra tomatoes

Rustic Tomato Marinara

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First of all, I owe my family, friends and coworkers a big huge apology.  You see, I will not be giving away my excess homegrown tomatoes from my garden to them ever again.  It’s not that I don’t like to share or that I am a stingy person or that I like to hoard my garden produce.  It’s just that I need the tomatoes because I have learned how to make my own homemade Rustic Tomato Marinara Sauce from scratch. And in my opinion, this Rustic Tomato Marinara sauce is worth apologizing for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The key to this delicious sauce is freshly picked, perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes.  This bucket full of lemon boy’s, early girls, green zebras, pineapples, mortgage lifters and a handful sweet millions was used in my Rustic Tomato Marinara.  What makes this sauce “rustic” is that I did not peel the tomatoes or seed them before tossing in the pot for cooking.  I say, so what, who cares?  A stick blender takes care of the tomato skins and as a result there’s very little waste and a fantastic tomato flavor.

20140816_092203 (1024x731) copy

My Rustic Tomato Marinara is one of those recipes that works better by taste and feel rather than following the recipe exactly.  Why?  Every variety of tomato is different and some cook faster than others.  Also, you can add whatever blend of spices and herbs you like.  If you like it spicy, add some red pepper flakes.  It’s all about you and your taste. The next time you have an overabundance of tomatoes, make some Rustic Tomato Marinara.  Enjoy! Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon tomatoes (about 5 pounds, quartered)
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup wine (I used red table wine)
  • 1 cup fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • about 2 – 3 cups water
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 – 2 Tbs sugar (optional)

Grab a large pot and saute the onions in the olive oil until they turn translucent.  Meanwhile, wash and remove stem scars from tomatoes. Quarter the tomatoes, making sure that all the tomato chunks are somewhat uniform in size.  Add tomatoes, wine, water, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper to the pot, Cook on low uncovered for 2 – 3 hours, stirring often.  Add garlic near the end of the cooking process.  Using an immersion or stick blender, blend sauce until smooth or desired consistency.  If the sauce is too watery or thin, cook the sauce longer to reduce or if it’s too thick, add more water.  Taste your sauce, add sugar if necessary.  The purpose of the sugar is to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Correct your seasonings.  Remove from heat.  Use sauce immediately or cool and put into plastic containers to freeze for later use.  Makes about 2 – 2 1/2 quarts.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

The nights here in Southern Oregon have been crisp and cool.  It won’t be long before we see the first frost of the season.  And once the frost hits, my garden is pretty much done for the year.  When I walked outside this morning I noticed that my tomato plants were still loaded with tomatoes.  Tomatoes that will not ripen on the vine because it’s just too cold outside

Well, let me tell you what.  These beautiful green fruits are not going to waste or get tossed in the compost bin.  As a matter of fact, these unripe tomatoes will be put to good use as delicious Fried Green Tomatoes with Smoked Paprika Aioli.

A variety of unripe green heirloom tomatoes.  I’m sure going to miss my tomatoes this winter.  There are very few things better than a fresh picked tomato out of the garden.  Chocolate is one of them.

A green zebra heirloom tomato. The interesting thing about green zebras is that they are still green in color when they are fully ripe.  I know that this one is not ripe due to the firmness of the fruit.  When making Fried Green Tomatoes be sure to use ones that are completely unripe.  If you use ripe tomatoes, you will end up with a gooey mess.  Trust me, don’t go there.

Slice your tomatoes into half inch slices.  Discard (or compost)  the tops and the bottoms.

Three hot and crispy yet moist in the middle slices of Fried Green Tomatoes with my Smoked Paprika Aioli.

Got green tomatoes?  Make a batch and dig in…  They’re easy and delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 unripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Begin by using unripe, unblemished fruit.  Slice into 1/2 inch slices and toss the tops and bottoms.  In a small bowl whisk together the eggs and milk.  In another bowl mix together the panko, corn meal, salt and pepper.  Heat a nonstick fry pan with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan with about 1/2 inch or so deep with oil.

Dredge tomato slices (both sides) in flour, dip in egg mixture and then dip in the crumb mixture.  Repeat for each.  Place in fry pan and fry both sides until you get a golden color.  Don’t over crowd the pan.  Drain on paper towels.  Finish again with a light sprinkle of salt.  Serve plain or with Smoked Paprika Aioli (recipe below) or even some spicy sriracha sauce.  Makes about 3 -4 servings.

Smoked Paprika Aioli

  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste or to taste

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl.  Store covered in refrigerator up to 3 days until ready to use.

Note:  This aioli can be used on crab cakes, grilled fish, and even potato fries.  I like it on hamburgers too!

Green Zebra Pico De Gallo

 Green Zebra Pico De Gallo

Bruce and I were out of town for nearly a week on a trip to the Southwestern portion of the United States in the small desert community of Aguanga, California.  It’s about 20 miles southeast of Hemet and is nearly 2,500 feet in elevation.  It’s pleasantly rural and has some stunning high desert views.  We spent 5 amazing days with family and friends.

View across the valley…

Some prickly cacti…  The spines are crazy sharp.  Note to self… Don’t touch.

More cactus.  This one had small symmetrical bunches of reddish colored spines.

This plant is called a red hot poker.  The blooms are a beautiful orange red color.  They thrive well in the hot desert sun.

Succulents in a pot.

Agave cactus.

Thunderstorms over the valley.  There was plenty of thunder and lightning during our stay and when it rained, it poured…  The views across the valley were lovely, even when it rained.

Bruce and I got home late Sunday night and the next morning before I left for work, I found bunches of ripe tomatoes in our garden.  When I say a bunches, I mean at least a gallon of fresh tomatoes.  I picked at least 6 varieties before I headed out to the office.  When Bruce and I left on our trip, all the tomatoes on the vines were unripe and not ready to be picked.

Tomatoes are my favorite vegetable (technically, a fruit).  Every spring I make it a point to plant some of the wildest looking tomato plants that I can find.  I have pink tomatoes, black tomatoes, orange, green, yellow, and a couple of local red varieties.  When I plant tomatoes, Green Zebras are always at the top of my list.  I love the Green Zebras because they are deliciously mild in flavor and they always make for a uniquely colored tomato dish.

Do you see the pretty dark green stripes and the light green skin?  With some of these fresh picked Green Zebra tomatoes, I decided to make a simple pico de gallo to serve with chicken soft tacos and crunchy tortilla chips.  Pico de gallo is a fresh, uncooked Mexican salsa usually made with bright red tomatoes, white onions, peppers, lime and spices.  I decided to make mine with my Green Zebra tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, lime, jalapenos, garlic, salt and pepper.  It’s easy and delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used Green Zebras)
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs minced jalapeno (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Cover and chill for about an hour before serving.  Makes about 2 cups.