Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All My Food Tastes Like Tomatoes Now

Finally, the tomato plants are doing their darnedest to finish up.
Which means we have a lot of incoming. We roast some for sauce, we eat some salted for fresh salad, we toss some into minestrone.
Today we performed a "dry" minestrone. Technically, it's a braise. Not too much liquid, though.
It's based on an old recipe from Deborah Madison, one we've made so many times we don't even look at the book anymore. Shoot, I forgot to throw in a bay leaf today. No matter; we had sage and oregano from the garden.
It's still October, so I get to brag that everything in this dish, including possibly even the salt, was local. But that's not the point.
The point is that this was a perfectly seasonal meal, made with lovingly grown vegetables.
It is simple, tasty, satisfying, roasted in the oven at (sigh) 350 for as long as it takes.
A splurt of olive oil
Cherry tomatoes
Small potatoes
Yellow crookneck squash
Mild chile peppers
Peas (OMG; still fresh from Iacoppi Farms)
Fresh cranberry shelling beans (slightly precooked)
Vegetable stock
Herbs, salt, yadda (including ground homegrown hottish chile pepper)


Dagny said...

Slap a leg of lamb on top of that all and you don't even need the olive oil.

The Spiteful Chef said...

I got yelled at about local food in my Product Knowledge class today. By an old German guy. Someone who is CLEARLY not local.

Anyway, you should can those babies. Then during the cold of winter you can remember what the sweet taste of sunlight and freedom felt like.

namastenancy said...

Or you can dry them? I remember my Lebanese great-aunts drying all sorts of fruits and vegetables in the little village where my family originally came from. Sun dried tomatoes sure sounds good to me. Or some sort of frozen for sauce and soup when the weather finally turns cold. OH - and I need to add that you are invited to my Open Studios next weekend - October 25 & 26 from 11 to 5. Address 689 Bryant St at 5th.

namastenancy said...

OR how about Tomato Jam (from the NY Times). The seasonings are very Indian-like and you could change them to be more Mediterranean if you wished.

Tomato Jam

1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1 jalapeƱo or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.

Yield: About 1 pint.

Chilebrown said...

With this weather you will be harvesting tomatoes till December.

Sam said...

next year I need your salt. I promise it won't kill me.

dancingmorgan mouse said...

I trust you're being an ant not a grasshopper with your bounty.
And Dagny is right, lamb cooked on that, long and slow, would be fantastic.

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

Eating local would be much easier if I didn't live in the Province of Tundra and Despair. Oh, wait, that's Saskatchewan. We had our first snowstorm of the season yesterday. On October 20. You read that correctly. The few brave cherry tomatoes that I still had clinging to the vine in a show of valiant effort have been cruelly snatched by the winter winds. Or the squirrels.

cook eat FRET said...

it is your point
it is your point
it is your point

i've got your number...

having sufficiently made my point, that really does look kinda beautiful...

what;s the deal with local salt? are you playing with chemicals?

Nikki said...

I like that last pic (#1 isn't bad either). Very pretty.

Brittany said...

Beautiful. And delicious as well, I'm sure. Everything all local and homegrown makes food taste better.

I used the term "locavore" to my husband the other day. He then put it on the list of words I am banned from using in his presence. Right along with "feng shui" and "Oprah"

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: Aw, jeez, that sounds good. Mammal fat.

Spitey: Yow! Mid-winter. Starving. Open jar... summer food!
Don't worry, we have loads of frozen tomato sauce. But I'm liking the idea of canning this entire melange.

Nancy: We talked over drying them, but we're not super crazy about dried tomatoes.
Dried fruit, though: Oh yeah! (Oh, wait. Tomato = fruit. Heh.)
Thanks for the open studios invitation.
And thanks for the tomato jam recipe! How kind of you. xx

Chilebrown: Last year I had tomatoes until January. Yee!

Sam: My "possibly" local salt was kosher from Cargill, which still has salt ponds in the East Bay. But, yes, I need to do another genuine salt harvest from the Pacific.

Morgan: I am totally being the ant, with a side of grasshopper. Burp.

Tina: In your case, then, I suppose it's all about preserving and planning. SNOW!!!??

ceF: I guess it is my point, but I will still be doing this in November. Because I can.
Yes, I harvested my own salt from the ocean a few years ago. I'm scared to eat it.

Nikki: Thanks! Amazing how different the Before and After can be. Which is why cooking is fun.

Brittany: LOL! The quote of the day.
I'm not allowed to say "limn" at my house. Or "Palin."

Greg said...

I'm not sure my system could handle that much healthy food all in one dish.

Rachelle said...

Where do you get local salt???

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: Take baby steps.

Rachelle: Well! I harvested ocean water and boiled it down a couple of years ago. But I'm afraid it might be a little impure, so I don't use it much.
Actually, the Diamond kosher salt I buy is probably produced in Newark, CA. Maybe. Don't know for sure. But if it is, it's local.