Tag Archives: heirloom tomato

Rustic Tomato Marinara

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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.

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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.

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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.

Golden Gazpacho Shooters

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Every summer there comes a time when I have “almost” too many tomatoes growing in my garden.  Don’t get me wrong, I will eat fresh picked tomatoes with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It’s just that by mid summer they seem to ripen all at once.  I have limited freezer space at our home so that’s when I share the bounty with family and friends.  I could not imagine a single summer without home grown tomatoes in my garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeirloom tomatoes and nasturtiums

A few of my tomato plants.  I plant them in sturdy metal tomato cages to keep them growing upright and from falling over.  I also trim the leaves at the base of the tomato plants so all the energy in the plants gets redirected from growing leaves to tomato production.  Did you notice that I cram my plants in a really small space?  No patch of precious real estate ever gets wasted in my garden.  What you see here are early girls, lemon boys and my all time favorite, pineapple tomatoes.  I also planted nasturtiums at the base of the tomato plants.  The nasturtium flowers are edible and have a wonderful peppery flavor.  The bright colored petals are great for garnish or in salads.

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Whenever I head out the side yard to my little garden, my buddy Gromit is sure to follow.  He’s such a comical creature.  While out, he goes on what I call “cat patrol”.  First, he runs straight to the front gate to make sure that there are no uninvited guests in the area and then he follows the perimeter of the fence to ensure that the yard is cat free.  He thinks he’s such a tough guy.  It must be that spike collar of his…  I feel sorry for any unsuspecting cat that happens to be in our yard when he flies out the back door.

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A bucket full of fresh picked garden goodies.  The lemon cucumbers, yellow peppers and tomatoes will be going into my Golden Gazpacho soup.  The remaining heirloom tomatoes and peppers will be oven roasted and tossed in the freezer to be used at a later date when the tomatoes and peppers are no longer in season.  If you happen to have a bunch of heirloom tomatoes that are yellow or orange in color, be sure to set some aside to make some golden gazpacho.  If you love tomatoes and never had gazpacho before, you are in for a real treat.  Gazpacho is an easy to prepare chilled tomato soup that is Spanish in origin.  It’s wonderfully light, refreshing and delicious.  It’s like sunshine in a shot glass!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds vine ripened yellow or orange tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2- 3 lemon cucumbers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • big pinch of cumin (or to taste)
  • Garnish with tomatoes and basil

Rinse and remove skin and seeds from the tomatoes.  Cut into quarters.  Peel and chop the onion.  Slice lengthwise and remove the stem and all the seeds from the yellow pepper.  Wash, lightly peel and quarter the lemon cucumbers.  Peel garlic clove.  Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth.  Chill well before serving.  Pour into bowls or into shot glasses for elegant mini appetizers.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes and/or basil.  Makes about 6 cups gazpacho.

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Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARoasted Heirloom Tomatoes

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

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!