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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Time to look up tomato recipes

The big beefsteaks are coming in heavily now, so much so that I'm not minding sharing some with the little furry or feathered thieves who have been helping themselves to some of this abundance.

This morning I picked at least  4 of the Brandywines from one plant,  as well as a few other beefsteak types, and cherry tomatoes. I also harvested a few cucumbers, some beans, serrano chiles and lot of Italian frying peppers, so an Italian sausage hero with fried onions and peppers looks like it will be on the dinner menu again, in a couple of days.

Lunch today will be marinated eggplant bruschetta. The eggplant has been marinating overnight, so all that garlicky, oil and balasamic marinade, herb goodness can really permeate the eggplant. I think dinner is going to be a pasta using those cherry tomatoes with some mushrooms, zucchini, some golden bush beans, and summer squash - in other words, a pasta primavera using some of the days harvest! I'll add a bit of some cream, and spice it  up a bit with some pepperonici pepper flakes, fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan reggiano. A nice Villa Antinori should go well with it, or maybe something a bit lighter. I'll let our in house wine steward, my husband Jim choose.

Tomorrow I might just make a gazpacho for lunch. I love it. Jim tolerates it; but I'm sure he will survive having it once a year, even if it means I may once again hear "cold soups are not a favorite of mine".

Time for me to dig up some price labels. I'm doing a little show/sale with other members of my women's club luncheon tomorrow and I have to price and pack some of my pottery.  I've been a member for two years and have never attended a single event or meeting, so it's time to at least meet some of my neighbor ladies and have a lovely lunch at the Rogue Valley Country club. Jim said since I've been working too hard lately, he wants us to go out for dinner tomorrow. Sounds like a good plan! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Tomato bruschetta

I have tomatoes coming in in droves, so we've had tomato bruschetta and tomato sandwiches for lunch the past few days, as well pastas made with all the cherry tomatoes. Cucumbers are also coming in faster than we can eat them and that's only from a couple of plants - the same with the beans. With all this abundance, I'm having to adjust my meal planning.

I've already frozen a bunch of beans with more to go, and other than cucumber salads and raw cucumbers for dips, I can't think of anything else to use them for. There aren't enough for pickles and too many for fresh eating, so I'm giving the excess away to friends and neighbors.

This is how I make my tomato brushetta. It's great for lunch or as an appetizers. Cut up a small bowl of ripe tomatoes into about 3/4 to 1 inch pieces Salt and pepper to taste. Add a touch of extra virgin olive oil, and a tiny touch of red wine vinegar, (it should have a slight tart taste like a mild vinaigrette),  a generous amount of fresh basil leaves that have been chopped, and a generous addition of shaved parmesan reggiano cheese pieces. Toss, and let sit to macerate while you prepare the bread. Cut 1/2" slices of some crunchy, loaf bread, like French, Italian or sour dough, which is what I use. Toast them under the broiler (I use my toaster overn for this, so I don't have to turn them), then brush one side with extra virgin olive oil and rub each oiled slice with cut pieces of fresh garlic.

I just put a basket of the bread out and put a spoon with drain slots in the bowl of the tomato mixture so everyone can serve themselves. The first time I made this was for an appetizer and my husband loved it so much that he kept eating more and more and that became dinner that night. After that I just started making these as a summer lunch or as an appetizer with drinks when porch sitting with friends.  It's really delicious. You can add your own little nuances - maybe add some pignoli nuts, or some drained, rinsed capers, or top each serving with a couple of pieces of anchovies,  for a more savory experience,