Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

After a very slow and late start, the tomatoes are coming in quickly. It looks like last night’s hail storm didn’t do as much damage I was worried it had and the tomato harvest will continue.

I have quite a few bags of frozen pureed tomatoes already put up and haven’t really made a dent.  My process is pretty simple, I wash the tomatoes, halve them to make sure there are no surprises inside, puree them, add to a zip bag, and freeze. They are good for up to a year, although I’ve never been lucky enough to get enough to last season to season. Maybe this will be the year. 🤞

And last night, I diced up a couple of the Park Whoppers and added them to pasta, with some parmesan, dried oregano, and basil. There would have been fresh basil, but between the downpour, the hail, and the wind, I did without. LOL

It was yummy. Nothing beats fresh tomatoes.


 

Finally Harvesting From The Garden

Despite an early start to all my seedlings this spring, harvest is late this year. Finally pulling enough tomatoes to do something besides adding them to salads and making my favorite Cucumber Tomato Salad. And a handful of jalapenos were ready this morning.

Every year there must be salsa, and this year I added some dried Mexican Oregano to mimic our favorite restaurant’s salsa. It definitely took my usual recipe up a notch.

I’m still waiting for my tomatillos to be ready for a nice salsa verde.

Peaches have been perfect this year, so Peach Salsa and Peach Chutney are on the menu.

Fresh salsa on the right and pickled jalapenos on the left.

Fresh and Easy Salsa

  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 green onions
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ to 1 bunch cilantro, remove stems
  • 2 to 4 jalapenos*, remove stems
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • dash of lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano

blender or food processor

In blender or food processor, add all ingredients and coarsely chop until blended well**.  If you can make a day ahead, it gets even better.  Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week.

*depending on the heat you like, if you prefer milder, you can substitute green chilis, which are also in season right now. I’m roasting some tonight to freeze.

**If you prefer a chunkier style salsa, you’d be better off chopping vegetables by hand.

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I’m bummed about the late harvest, but I’ve had a very busy few weeks, so I guess it’s a good thing. I’ll have to start freezing tomato sauce by the weekend.  How do things look in your garden?


 

Tomatoes: So Close

These shall be protected from the troublesome Trixie

These are Park Whoppers, still small, but it’s early in the season, and these set not long after I transplanted them.

These are the San Marzanos – a hybrid variety that should top out around 2-3 plump inches. Continue reading

September Grilling: Cantanzaro Chicken and Tuscan Panzanella Salad

Tonight’s menu features the Cantanzaro spice mix. Cantanzaro is a city in Italy.  So there are a lot of herbs this Italian girl recognizes: marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. And garlic, lots of garlic. But the kicker is the lemon and lemon peel.

It’s all very fresh for late summer/early fall harvest and great for grilling. Then I’ve added a fresh take on how to use the last of those fresh tomatoes. And just because I’m feeling ambitious, I included Gelato recipes.

On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken Breasts
  2. Grilled Potatoes and Peppers (recipe here)
  3. Tuscan Panzanella Salad (recipe here)*
  4. Gelato (recipes here)

*the recipe calls for bread bowls, but with this meal, I served it over a bed of bibb lettuce.

Continue reading

Garden Fresh: Summer Salsas

The tomato harvest has been lackluster this year. Weird weather has caused the fruit to be small and slow to ripen. Some I’m afraid are not going to ripen at all. The San Marzano, which should be about the size of a Roma, look more like cherry tomatoes. Early Girls are anything but early and no bigger than golf balls. And I have to wonder what the Park Wonders would look like in a good year – beefsteak size for sure. Flavor has been great on all of them, so I take comfort in that.

Since the jalapenos are not only abundant this year, but incredibly hot, I decided to try and roast them to bring out a bit of the sweetness. It wasn’t all that successful, but I did manage to make a couple of jars of pickled jalapeno and freeze them to use sparingly in cooking over the winter. Continue reading

Summer Salads: Caprese Pasta Salad

This week is all about pasta salads…just not your typical pasta salads. Although, since tomatoes are ripening, most will probably have tomatoes in them. LOL

This one is a regular at the dinner table. Visiting local farmer’s markets offered me the chance to change this dish up with flavored fettuccini pasta a couple of times.

Pasta Caprese

  • 9 oz linguine or fettuccine
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 oz cubed mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan and large serving dish Continue reading

Farmer’s Market Dinner Menu: Garden Fresh Pasta

It’s my favorite time of the year for cooking when I can choose fresh ingredients from my garden or the farmer’s market. It so easy to toss pasta with fresh produce and have a quick, light dinner.

On the board:

  1. Garden Fresh Pasta
  2. Steamed Zucchini
  3. Crusty loaf
  4. Sliced Peaches (add a touch of sugar to bring out the juices)

Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed garlic (start with one, add more as desired)
  • 4-6 medium to large tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves – more as desired
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (I like a cute little leaf called ‘pizza oregano’) – more as desired
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes if you desire some heat

saucepan & pasta serving bowl Continue reading

Garden Bounty: Bring On The Heat

The garden is finally starting to release its bounty. But those jalapenos? I cannot believe how hot they are. I cut into one, planning on adding it to my Cucumber-Tomato Salad (I’ll post the recipe tomorrow) and the fumes about knocked me over. I actually removed the seeds and ribs – something I rarely do, because I love spicy –  and it was still muy caliente!

It’s been a slow start, but I think we are getting into peak harvest. I’m off to buy some Palisade Peaches – I have some great recipes for peach season that we will revisit.

Until then…

x-posted at Annie Demoranville