Tag Archives: tomatoes

Green Bean Tomato Salad With Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreen Bean Tomato Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

I’ve never seen purple colored “green beans” at the grocery store before and when I saw the seeds for the Trionfo Violetto Beans in one of my seed catalogs earlier this spring, I knew that I had to grow them myself if I wanted to try them.  When it comes to planting vegetables in my little garden every year, I try to grow plants that tend to be uncommon or hard to find at the store.  As for the Trionfo Violetto beans, they certainly fit the bill…

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A big handful of fresh picked Trionfo Violetto Beans.  I absolutely love the dark purple color.  What’s so interesting is that when you slice them, they have a vibrant green center.  While picking my beans one morning, I was startled to see a large purple and green dragonfly sitting on a stem in the middle of the vines.  I’ve seen dragonflies in our backyard around our koi pond but never on the garden side of the house.  This one was big!  Its wingspan was easily 4 inches across.  I did not have my glasses on so I was way closer to the dragonfly than I would have liked.  As soon as I recognized what it was, I pulled my hand slowly away from the beans (taking care not to freak out, scream at the top of my lungs and wake up the neighbors) and ran straight back into the house to grab my camera.

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I was amazed that he was still there in the same spot when I got back! I was fortunate to snap a few photos before he flew away.  He was camouflaged extremely well and was very similar in color to the bean plants.  I’ve been out to the garden several times since and unfortunately I have not seen this beautiful dragonfly again.

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Do you see what I mean about the Trionfo Violetto Beans?  They are really beautiful and very unusual.  What I found is that once you cook the Trionfo Violetto Beans, they turn green just like a regular green bean!

In addition to the gorgeous Trionfo Violetto Beans, I grew some Kentucky Wonder Green Beans.  The Kentucky Wonder variety of bean is similar to the type of green beans you will find at the grocery store.  They are your basic “all purpose” green bean.  You can put them in salads, cook, can, or freeze them.  They are easy to grow and produce an abundance of smooth green pods.  I have to say that for the first time growing pole beans, I was fairly successful with strong plants and a decent sized crop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreen Bean Tomato Salad With Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

My Green Bean Tomato Salad with a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette can be made with pretty much any variety of green bean.  In this recipe I used the Kentucky Wonder green beans and cherry tomatoes that I grew in my garden.  The Green Bean Tomato Salad With Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette is wonderfully tangy yet slightly sweet.  The bright colored tomatoes make this vibrant green bean salad a stunning side dish. It’s easy to make, fresh and delicious.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans trimmed and cut into 1″ sized pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs champagne vinegar
  • 1 Tbs shallot (minced)
  • 2 tsp mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Begin by boiling a medium sized pot of water with a big pinch of salt.  Add the green beans and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Don’t overcook.  If you do, your beans will look gray and not a pretty bright green.  As soon as the beans are done, immediately place them in a medium sized bowl of ice water.  The ice water stops the cooking process and cools the beans.  Remove ice cubes and drain well.  Meanwhile whisk together in a small bowl, olive oil, champagne vinegar, shallot, mirin, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.   Taste and correct your seasonings.  In a medium sized bowl lightly toss the beans and tomatoes with the Dijon vinaigrette.  Add to a serving dish and serve chilled.  Makes about 3 servings.

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

Stacked Caprese Salad

Stacked Caprese Salad

Here in Southern Oregon when the weather is hot outside, I try not to turn on my stove too much or even use my oven.  I don’t like living in a hot house nor do I like writing unnecessarily large checks to the power company.  During the warm summer months I like to cook our meals back out on the barbecue and serve fresh cool salads on the side.

This morning as I was checking out my garden, I noticed that I had quite the crop of heirloom tomatoes.  One of the first things that comes to mind when I have a bunch of tomatoes is making a simple Caprese salad.  I just love the flavor of fresh picked tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and herbaceous basil.  I like to drizzle the Caprese salad with olive oil and finish it with fresh cracked pepper and coarse salt.  It’s simply delicious.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 8 heirloom tomatoes (about the same size as the bocconcini)
  • 4 – 5 balls of fresh mozzarella (bocconcini)
  • fresh basil
  • pepper
  • salt
  • olive oil for drizzling

Begin by slicing your tomatoes and the bocconcini.  Stack the tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and salt.  Garnish with additional basil and maybe a fresh edible nasturtium flower.  Serve.  Makes 8 little salads.

Green Zebra Gazpacho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you happen to have an abundance of tomatoes, make some gazpacho.  Gazpacho is a wonderful chilled soup made with ripe uncooked red tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, onions, peppers, garlic and other ingredients.  Gazpacho has its origins in Spain however my version is somewhat similar but with a champagne vinegar and an obvious green tomato twist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Zebra Tomatoes are my all time favorite heirloom tomatoes.  I plant several of these tomato plants in my little pocket garden every year.  When green zebra tomatoes are ripe, they are a gorgeous light green color with dark green stripes rather than the traditional all red color.  They are mild in flavor and are suitable for many dishes.  Mix these with other tomatoes in a dish or on a salad for a “pop” of color.  If you have a bunch of these little green tomato gems, be sure to make this gazpacho!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds green zebra tomatoes
  • 1/2 English cucumber cubed
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 bell pepper (quartered)
  • 1 avocado (quartered)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 c. cilantro
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/8 c. olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbls. champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper or to taste
  • garnish with cilantro sprigs and chopped red and yellow tomatoes

Begin by peeling your tomatoes.  The easiest way is to drop the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds and remove.  Then core and peel.  Toss the tomatoes into a food processor and buzz it up but do not puree.  You want to have some small pieces in the soup.  Put the tomatoes in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and repeat.  Mix ingredients together and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or overnight.  Before serving taste and correct your seasonings.  Garnish with cilantro sprigs and chopped tomatoes.  Makes about 8 servings.

* Note:  Go ahead and use red tomatoes if you like.  I did not make up the rules and I purposely chose green tomatoes for the visual effect.

Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every year for the past seven years I have planted tomatoes in my little pocket garden.  When we first moved into our home, my husband Bruce built me a couple of raised garden beds on the side of our house.  I have tomatoes and other vegetable plants tucked into those garden beds and every available space in our yard that gets over eight hours of sunlight everyday.  It’s now near the end of summer and for the size of my little garden, I am happy to say that I have quite the bumper crop of tomatoes.

Lemon boys and green zebras are the heirloom tomato varieties that I have chosen to use in my Indonesian inspired chicken curry.  I love the vibrant yellow color of the lemon boys in the sauce and the gorgeous green stripes of the green zebras as a garnish. My chicken curry is made with succulent chicken thighs, yellow tomatoes, Indonesian soy sauce, onion, coconut milk and fragrant spices.  Serve this flavorful curry over steamed rice and garnish with green onions and sliced tomatoes.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into large pieces.
  • 1 white onion chopped fine
  • 3 large yellow tomatoes (lemon boy) peeled and quartered
  • 2 Tbls. Indonesian soy sauce
  • 6 oz. can coconut milk
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground lemon grass
  • 1/2 tsp. galangal powder
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • a big pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • water
  • 1 Tbls. canola oil
  • garnish with thin sliced green onions and chopped green zebra tomatoes

In a large hot saute pan, cook the chicken in the canola oil over medium high heat until a gorgeous golden color.  Add your onions and cook until translucent.  Add the tomatoes, soy sauce, coconut milk, spices and a cup of water.  Cook covered until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened (about 30-40 minutes).  Add more water if necessary.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Serve over steamed white rice and garnish with sliced green onions and tomatoes.  Serves 6.