Hey, what’s this player doing here?! Click it to hear the author narrate this blog post.
This morning I picked one last San Marzano before yanking my spent tomato plants from the garden. It was a beautiful overcast day with the temp in SoCal finally dipping to a reasonable 75 degrees. I basked in the raindrop I thought I felt while standing outside coated in sunscreen.
This year I was blessed with some excellent tomato harvests. When I left for my Italy vacation in May, the little tomato plants I had stuck in the ground in March were just starting to get big. Many already had fruit on the verge of ripening. The thought of being away from them for 16 days was dispiriting. I was comforted only by the prospect of traipsing through Tuscany clothed in something cute and mildly practical, sipping local wines, and taking in the astounding scenery alongside my beloved. Continue reading Caprese Summer→
What do you do when your garden has blessed you with pounds and pounds…and pounds of tomatoes, more than you can possibly eat? Gazpacho is one answer. Or you can share. But let’s start with gazpacho so you don’t have to. Well, not yet anyway. Not until garden production gets so out of control you dream you are a tomato and you’re going bad.
There are as many ways to make gazpacho as there are varieties of tomatoes. My Garden Fresh Gazpacho recipe calls for fresh, in season tomatoes. I don’t like commercial tomato juice and I find it an unnecessary addition under ideal tomato circumstances. Can’t grow ‘em? Can you make it to a farmers’ market? During the summer I hope you are surrounded by tomatoes.
My gazpacho is on the mild side. I prefer a balance of spice and flavor and avoid palette-crushing volumes of peppers, onions and garlic. I want to taste my damn tomatoes. If you prefer things a little closer to hellfire, then by all means, increase your favorite ingredients. Be sure to have a tall, icy, alcoholic beverage on hand to quench your hot self.
I peel and seed my tomatoes. This is the most labor-intensive part of gazpacho preparation. It sounds psychotically difficult, but it isn’t. Wear an apron.
My Garden Fresh Gazpacho recipe yields 4 servings. It’s a great starter or side dish to your grilled shrimp or fish. Serve it topped with fresh cilantro, avocado, and a turn of the sea salt grinder. If you’re serving this to others (you know, sharing) set out the hot sauce and your lucky guests can customize their experience. Some like it hot.
If tomatoes are in season you may want to opt for fresh over canned in recipes. And if you love tomatoes this is a great excuse to spend quality time with them. Wear an apron to protect your pretty dress from flying tomato chunks. If this is the first time you’re doing this your kitchen may end up looking like something out of the last scenes of Django Unchained. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go on YouTube and search for Django Unchanged shootout. WARNING: this is super duper violent so grab a stiff drink and your blanky.)
To this day I cannot eat salsa, garden salad or marinara without pondering the storied existence of the hopeful tomato. My father was quite the storyteller when my sister and I were kids. This is one tale that I cannot shake. Just the mention of it makes my sister six years old again.