Tomatoes Archive

Sunday, July 25, 2010

summer succotash with bacon and croutons

succotash with bacon, croutons

[Er, croutons not pictured.] Here’s the thing: If you told me you were serving succotash with or for dinner, I’d inwardly groan. People, I’ve had all sorts of succotash — a summery stew of corn and lima beans, often with tomatoes, yet still so bland that no added butter or cream saves it for me, and when adding butter and cream don’t save something for me, you know something is terribly wrong — and can’t think of one that I wanted to run home and make for myself. It might be because it’s usually in the off-season, when the above come frozen and no, it’s just not the same. It might also be because I once had a roommate that would open cans of succotash, not drain it, heat it in the microwave and eat it straight and guys, it’s been many, many years and still, my stomach turns. Don’t ever live with me. I’m a jerk.

corn, limas and cranberry beans
split cherries

But this is different. This was a midsummer dinner dream, the result of another bleachingly sunny, sauna of a day when I staggered around the market and realized if I put this stand’s corn and that stand’s shell beans and those purty tomatoes together, I might make a succotash that was worth writing home about. I wondered if you could pork it up. I wondered if I could pass it off as a main course. I came home with the haul of all hauls and discovered, as I often do, that Gourmet (moment of silence) had beaten me to it more than a decade ago. I love it when they do that.

lima beansspeckled and pink cranberry beansmmm, sweet crunchy corntomatoes, so fresh and so sweet

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, July 18, 2010

scalloped tomatoes with croutons

scalloped tomatoes, seriously

The Food Network had the audacity (I am joking, a little) to air an episode of Barefoot Contessa in which she makes a “scalloped” dish with bread cubes, garlic, basil, Parmesan and the brightest most summer-bursting-forth, musta-tasted-like-the-heavens-above, thanks-for-rubbing-it-in-guys tomatoes over the winter, when there was absolutely nothing I could do to bring this dish into my kitchen. It wasn’t fair. It felt outright mean. For people as berserk about summer tomatoes as I am — people who avoid them in the off seasons, when they’re tomatoes in name only — being reminded of that which is as impossibly far off as the notion that there are days in the summer that are so hot, we actually long for the kind of weather that requires Gore-Tex and hot cocoa. It’s basically crazy talk.

basil, tomatoes and bread
grated parmesan

Well, that day is today. Seriously, every time I arrive at the market during this wretched July, I am so hot, I’m almost dizzy (Do I remember my water bottle? Of course not. Do I feel like a tool for whimpering over the heat while carousing with people who work in fields all day? Um, yup.) and I cannot remember a single thing I had meant to buy because the sun, it’s like blistering my brain and ooh look! Tomatoes! Ah, summer, that’s why I keep you around.

tasty tomato-ness

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

classic cobb salad

cobb crazy

When I am considering recipes I might share with you all, there are a lot of foods that I arbitrarily rule out. Sandwiches? Nope! With rare exception, who needs a recipe for slapping things between two pieces of bread? Fruit salad? Oof! No! Again, unless you’re doing something fancy-fancy to it, I’m pretty sure people can find their own path to chopped fruit in a bowl. So when I got to thinking about making an old-school Cobb salad a couple months ago, I quickly rejected it because given the Cobb salad’s ubiquity on lunch menus everywhere, who doesn’t know how to make it?

this salad needs bacon

As it turns out, someone does not. Last month, at a restaurant in New Jersey, both my mother and I ordered Cobb salads, my mother the “small” version, along with a cup of soup, and myself, the regular one, with no soup. When the waiter brought out a bowl that was a third the size of the table, I groaned and tried to shuffle objects around on a table to accommodate it. “What is up with these ridiculous portion sizes?” I complained, as usual. Oh, little did I know, people! Little did I know, because the waiter next brought out a bowl I can barely describe. Imagine the bowl you would take down to make a salad for 12 people, or a vessel large enough for this guy to take a nap in, or this bowl, with a diameter so staggering that it would only fit if partially hanging off the table. This was my entrée Cobb salad.

And within those acres of iceberg, not a speck of bacon was to be found.

i love iceberg lettuceromainecubed chicken breastavocado

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, January 17, 2010

tomato sauce with onion and butter

tomato sauce with butter and onion

I could no longer resist this sauce, and frankly, I don’t know why I even tried to: food bloggers obsess over it, and they’re not a bad lot to base a recipe selection upon. Adam of Amateur Gourmet fell for it five years ago. Molly at Orangette raved about it over two years ago, with a bonus approval marking from Luisa at Wednesday Chef. Then Rachel Eats fawned over it too, and Rachel, you see, she lives in Rome right now — I want to be in Rome right now — Rome, where you can get authentic, perfect tomato sauce a zillion places every single day. And yet she stayed in and made this one. That sealed the deal.

tomatoes + onion + butter
telephone cord pasta

So what is it with this sauce that it moves people to essays over it, tossing about exclamations like “brilliant!” and “va-va-voom” and promises that “something almost magical happens”? Is it garlic, a slip of red pepper flakes, a glug of red wine or a base of mulched carrots, onion and celery, as so many of us swear by in our best sauce efforts? Is it a spoonful of tomato paste or a pinch of sugar? Is it the best olive oil money can buy? It is none of these things, not a single one: It is butter. And an halved onion, cooked slowly as the sauce plops and glurps on the stove, then discarded when it is done.

love these tomatoes

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

roasted tomatoes and cipollini

roasted tomato and cipollini

You were so enthusiastic when I recently told you about that cubed, hacked caprese I throw together a lot in the summer, I am clearly overdue to tell you about one of my other, favorite “tossed together” meals. Except that while I really like that caprese salad, this roasted tomato and cippoline dish is something of a religion to me: my obsession with it borders on fervor. I don’t understand why I can’t run off with it.

small roma tomatoes

Though the players may seem familiar — there go those white beans and peak-season tomatoes again! — after “roasting the hell out of them” (the directions I usually give friends when they ask how I made them), they become something else entirely. Sometime so delicious, tears well up in my eyes remembering the last time we got to eat this. Like I said, I get a little carried away.

cipollini onions

Continued after the jump »


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