Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tomato: the Fall Struggle

My passion for tomatoes is something I freely divulge. Now that the last summer tomatoes are gone I have been left with a deep loss. A less imaginative soul might curl into a ball and cry. I, however, am going to make it through the winter a tomato winner. How? Roasting, broiling and toiling, that's how.

An alternative to fresh sweet slices in the morning is steamed tomatoes dressed with olive oil. Eat with crusty bread, hummus and black coffee. If you're short on time, use the microwave, it handles this task very well.

Additionally, spruce up your pasta dish by improving on your jarred pasta sauce. I like to slice a garlic clove, some onion and whatever other veggie I have in the pantry. I used beats last week to great success. Saute all in pan with olive oil, italian spices and salt, when everything is browning add cherry tomatoes that have been split open. Let their liquid reduce. Add sauce and stir letting it warm. This makes even Ragu taste pretty amazing. Also, you have to let your pot of water boil for the pasta, so it's not adding time to meal prep and the return is well worth it.

You know those sad pale tomatoes they try to sell you as edible produce in your super market? When you don't have a choice and you have to take them home, here's how to pop some flavor back in. Slash them, put them in the broiler. Take them out and dress with oil and vinegar. Yum!

Also, check out Mark Bittman's recipe for tomato jam. Even though he posted it at the end of summer, it works now because the theme here is that whenever you cook a tomato you intensify the flavor, and that's really the problem we're trying to solve. Fall tomatoes aren't kissed by the sun the way summer tomatoes are.

Okay, well I leave you to check on my carrot soup. Please don't let the season go by without roasting or otherwise engaging the delicious root vegetables that are the real crown jewels of this season.

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