Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CSA 19: Tomato, tomato, tomato

Aka: A Tomato (or Two) a Day, is the CSA Way
Or perhaps an alternate title, No Tomato Left Behind
Or maybe, Attack of the Organic Tomatoes
Or the most fitting, You Say Tomato, I Say Please for the Love of All That’s Holy No More Tomato!

I thought the zucchini’s were bad in July. Oh geez, how I long for the days when I was obligated to eat 5 zucchinis a week, now that I’m faced with 8 full sized tomatoes and a pint of cherry tomatoes a week (that's just an average - last week I got 14 - that's right 14 tomatoes in one week!) My two tomato a day habit is wearing on my patience (I probably wouldn’t mind so much if I didn’t despise tomato seeds and tomato gook, which means the cutting of a tomato involves a lot of work, wet messy work, to remove these bits… my dish rag, left in the sink for day, damp, actually sprouted – SPROUTED. Can you imagine my surprise coming home from work, glancing in the sink and seeing something growing?) Its been weeks now that I've been getting at minimum 5 or 6 full size red tomatoes and a pint of golden cherry tomatoes.

I have made tomato sauce, tomato & beans, sauteed tomato, tomato and chard, tomato salad (more then once my lunch has consisted of various cut tomatoes and some cheese) and tomato salsa. All of which were lovely meals individually, but collectively they are bit much.

I’ve spoken before about how I often wonder about the origins of recipes, how the very first incarnation of certain food combinations came about. The more I entrench myself in eating locally and seasonally the more I come to realize many of the modern recipes we have and love probably have less to do with certain foods going well together and more to do with certain foods being seasonal together. Tomatoes and peppers for example. Sure who doesn’t love a tomato sauce with some bell pepper cooked into it? Or a lovely tomato and pepper salsa? Or even just a big salad full of greens, fresh tomato and chopped bell pepper? But phooey to the idea that these recipes started due to their deliciousness. These combinations came about because tomatoes and peppers ripen at the same time. After all rhubarb would probably taste wonderful with peaches or apples, but who ever heard of peach & rhubarb pie? No one. Because strawberries and rhubarb ripen together, a full month or two after peach season is over and 3 months before apples make an appearance.

Tomato and Chard, with pork
1 pint cherry tomato, halved
6 chard leaves, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 [boneless] pork chop, cubed
Olive oil, butter,
Salt & pepper

 Melt the butter in the oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes (be careful to not let it burn).  Add the chard and cook another 2 or 3 minutes until it wilts and brightens in color.  Add the tomato and the pork and season with the salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 6-8 minutes until the pork is cooked through.  Enjoy as is or over rice (or any grain).

1 large tomato
½ pint cherry tomatoes
1 [sweet] pepper (either bell, or long)
1 hot pepper
½ onion or 3 shallots
Handful of cilantro or parsley (or a mix)

Wash and prepare the veggies (pull the outer layers off the onions; remove the stems from the peppers and tomatoes, etc).  Put everything in a food processor and pulse about 4x for about 5 seconds each time.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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