A Bushel, A Basket...

>> Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cyndee just kinda laughed at me..."You wanna buy how many tomatoes?"

I had just finished reading my favorite new book by Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I had never given much thought before to where our food comes from or how buying close to home can effect so many people both locally and globally. I had never given much thought to it until I read this book.

Which is why I found myself at our local farmers market buying two bushel baskets of tomatoes, a bunch of bell peppers at $.83/lb (not $3.99 like at the grocery store) and 14 beautiful ears of corn. All of which are either in my freezer or in the process of being in my freezer for the upcoming winter. I only wished I had started earlier in the season, but there's always next year.

So for the corn I used these directions. It was so easy I wondered why I hadn't figured it out sooner and why everyone doesn't do this.

All I did to the peppers was brush them with a little olive oil and grill them. Threw them in Ziploc bags and threw them in the freezer. Now we can have locally grown peppers, that cost a fraction of the price I would normally pay, all winter long. We will use them as a topping on homemade pizza, in pasta, and they will be great in veggie quesadillas.

But the best thing of all is the tomatoes. I bought two big baskets of the most glorious fruit the summer has to offer (in my opinion). I recently discovered , through my Cooking Light magazine, how to roast tomatoes. They were delicious. I served them bruschetta style with goat cheese and fresh mozz. Everyone seemed to really like them. Then I was reading one of my favorite blogs one day, The Perfect Pantry, and came across this recipe for roasted tomatoes. Oh My God, they are even better! You roast them at 200 for 10 to 12 hours! They are amazing!! The flavor of the tomato quadruples. You just have to plan ahead and make sure you will not be needing your oven for anything else that day, because they do take ALL day to roast. Anyway, this is what I will be doing with most of my many tomatoes I purchased at the local farmers market. I will roast them to perfection and then throw them in the freezer. We will use them on pasta, with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. On bread with fresh mozzarella. Or maybe a roasted tomato basil soup, wouldn't that taste good in January? This morning I had them with scrambled eggs. The possibilities are endless!

Someday I hope to live on enough land that I can have my own vegetable garden, and fruit trees, and chickens for farm fresh eggs. But until then I am happy to support our local farmers that make it possible for us to be able to taste summer all winter long!

Here is another wonderful tomato recipe in case you don't want to freeze them all. It is from our local paper, Harbor News. Every week there is a column called A La Carte written by Lee White. I can always find seasonal yummy recipes here.

Skillet-seared tomatoes with Gruyere (or Parmesan)
From Molly Helms of East Lyme:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 ripe tomatoes, halved
2 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere or Parmesan cheese

Oil skillet. Place tomatoes cut side down in hot skillet and cook about 10 minutes. Turn tomatoes over and divide parsley, garlic, sugar, salt and Gruyere onto the 10 tomato halves.
Cover and cook until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!!


Lydia September 30, 2007 at 2:20 PM  

I'm so glad you've discovered the secret of slow-roasted tomatoes! Just wait until the middle of winter, when you pull a couple out of the freezer to make bruschetta or a pasta sauce. You'll feel just like it's the middle of summer -- and you'll be the envy of all of your friends!

Sarah October 8, 2007 at 11:05 AM  

Lydia- glad you found my blog! We have already made good use of the roasted tomatoes! I am looking forward to them in the winter though. I enjoy your blogs so much!

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