You Say Tomato, I say Dinner

 

As far as I am concerned, fresh ripe tomatoes are the true harbinger of summer, and, well, let’s just say summer is definitely here. Now, I know that it’s not exactly difficult to think of things to do with a tomato. I asked one man at the market on Saturday what his plans were, and he seemed shocked that I even had to ask. “They’re going on the burgers, of course,” he said. Of course, the burgers– and the salad and the gratin and the pasta sauce and the stir-fry… I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe you don’t think that you need four more things to do with a tomato, and I understand why you might think that. The thing is that you’re wrong.

Don’t believe me? Then you obviously haven’t tried making your own barbecue sauce with our cherry tomatoes. If you’re not making it yourself, you don’t know how delightfully fresh BBQ sauce can be– and you’re probably getting more preservatives and sugar than you think. Aaron cooked up this really awesome sauce for dinner the other night, and I think that you’ll be pleased by how easy it is to make and how deliciously sweet it is for having practically no added sugar. It’s good for meat (or so I’m told– and on this note, I think the kids might even like to dip chicken nuggets in it)), and it’s great with grilled veggies, potato pancakes, and polenta.

Aaron’s Cherry Tomato BBQ Sauce

ingredients

  • 4 small purplette onions
  • 1 small head of garlic
    • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup demarra sugar
    • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4-1/2 cup oil, butter, meat fat, or margarine
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp ground chipotle peppers

    Use a food processor or blender to puree the tomatoes. Add the onions and garlic and blend until all the ingredients are finely chopped and mixed, adding vinegar as needed. Pulse in the remaining ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a medium sauce pan and cook, stirring on medium heat until it reaches you favorite consistency.

If you’re not in the mood to fire up the grill, though, you can follow Theresa’s lead and make pizza sauce and freeze it for later. The great thing about this dinner is that all you have to do is pull out your pre-made sauce, buy (or make) a dough, and cut up your favorite toppings. And, because you’re using fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, the sauce is easy as pie (so-to-speak): you don’t really need to add anything fancy to it. The recipe is simple, so there’s also plenty of room to tweek it however you like. Personally, I have a credo about these kinds of things: More garlic, a pinch of lemon. If you’re not in the mood to cook ahead, though, our favorite pizza of the night was the one that Theresa slathered with pesto (though I think olive oil or any tapenade would do) and then cooked with fresh sliced tomatoes. What I’m trying to say is that you can be lazy and/or creative, and everything should still be delicious.

Basic Pizza Sauce

ingredients

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion or 2 small
  • 2 lbs of ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • salt, pepper, and seasonings to taste

Saute onions and garlic in oil until onions are translucent, add salt, add tomatoes, and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally until everything has cooked down. Add any fresh herbs and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add lemon if desired. Slather on pizza!

My favorite recipe of the week has to be this one that Kayla made and sent to me. It’s hearty, delicious, and the perfect thing to find waiting for you after you’re finished packing up a CSA pickup on a cold and rainy summer night. It’s good with rice, quinoa, or some of Mark’s bread (if you have any left from Tuesday pick-up by the time you have time to cook. …we don’t always.) It doesn’t look like a lot in this picture, but it’s really freaking awesome.

 

Spicy Lebanese Stew (from The Tomato Cookbook by Christine France)
Note: Contrary to the title this is NOT a spicy dish. It’s flavorful, but actually pretty mild. Next time I make it I will probably add more seasoning

ingredients:

  • 3 large eggplants, cubed
  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 14 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 7 oz fresh tomatoes
  • salt and ground black pepper

* I substituted fresh tomatoes from the canned

Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave in the sink for 30 minutes to allow bitter juices to escape. Rinse with cold water and dry on kitchen paper. Drain the chickpeas and put in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and summer for 1 hour until tneder. Drain.

Heat oil in a large pan; add the garlic and onions and cook until soft. Add the spices, stirring for a few seconds. Stir in the eggplant to coat with the spices and the onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

I also made this kind of stupid dish where I hollowed out a lot of medium-sized tomatoes and stuffed them with pesto and egg. I followed this basic recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, but I substituted basil pesto for the romaine and had a bit of trouble with our oven. The result was OK, but if I had to do it over again, I’d follow Deb’s advice and also be sure not to cook the eggs to the point where the yolks harder. I think that the beauty of this recipe would be in the running yolks. On the upside, the tomatoes really are the star of the show in this dish, so maybe that’s something and you could probably put the stuffed tomatoes on top of a fresh green salad if you wanted to be gourmet about it.

Also, I was too lazy to edit this post, so please excuse an typos that do occur. (I was getting hungry! Can you blame me?)

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