Archive for July, 2009

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

The KC Tomato Times Edition #7

I hope everyone is getting their share of heirloom tomatoes from the garden these past two weeks!  It took three trips to the house this weekend to get all of our tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash and beans in!

Needless to say…we’re eating fresh veggies every day and are always looking for delicious ways to use lots of tomatoes!  We’re big fans of Thai and Indian cuisine and have made some awesome curries with eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes.  On Friday we had some Bruschetta that was out of this world…if you’d like to try some I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

First start with some of your favorite heirloom tomatoes…Box Car Willie and Brandywine were the star of the show this evening.  Dice them up and put in a bowl with some fresh basil chiffonade, some balsamic vinegar, a few dashes of olive oil, and some salt and pepper to taste.  Toss these together until they look like this:

While this is soaking in the juices,  take a couple of bulbs of garlic, chop off the top, brush with olive oil and roast them in a 350 degree ven until they are brown and carmalized like this:

Squeeze the garlic out into a bowl and mush it with a fork to make a spread…you can mix in some butter if you’d like.

While the oven is on, you might as well make some french bread!  Home-made is best, but the kind in the can works in a pinch…if you aren’t hungry by now you must have just eaten a Thanksgiving Feast!

While the bread is baking, slice up some fresh mozzerella or even better use some goat cheese.  We were out of goat cheese so we made do.

Now to put it all together!  Put a small smear of the garlic on a slice of bread, top with a half slice of cheese or a smear of goat cheese (you really need to try this with goat cheese!), and then PILE ON the tomato vinegar mix that has been soaking in it’s juices for a while.  Don’t be bashful…pile it on!

I’m very much a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but a huge plate of this and I forget about (well…almost forget about) protein.

In the next week or so I hope to blog about how to process tomatoes with a food mill and some canning tips to preserve your harvest to use all year long.

We’re less than a month from the KCTTTT…please RSVP as soon as you can so I can plan for a crowd.  We’ve got 27 so far…the more the merrier!

Until then…happy gardening!

James

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Color is the Key

Kansas City Tomato Times

Edition # 6

Well, we’re finally turning from green to red and all of the other colors of the rainbows in our KC gardens!  I trust that my E-vites went out ok for the August 22nd Tomato Tasting Event, but if you didn’t get one, feel free to click the link and RSVP.

KCTTT E-Vite

One big question a lot of gardeners have this time of year is “When do I pick X?”

When it comes to tomatoes…pick them AS SOON AS THEY START TO BLUSH!  When the tomato changes from green to any shade of red or purple or yellow, the plant is done with it.  The plant actually makes a seal at the stem so no more nutrients go into the fruit.  This fruit is now “vine ripened”.  Don’t wait another second…pick it!  Take it in the house and put in a pretty bowl on your table for everyone to admire.  DO NOT PUT IT IN THE REFRIGERATOR!  Cold ruins the flavor!  Keep it out of direct sun and heat and in a few days the fruit will change completely to it’s ripened stage.  Grab a knife and the salt shaker and have at it as you like!  If you leave the fruits on the vine after they change color, you might as well put out a signal flare to all the squirrels and other critters in your yard to come and have a snack.  Pick at first blush and you’ll have way more tomatoes than the critters.

When it comes to peppers or eggplant…pick them whenever you want.  Leaving them on the vine will allow the walls of peppers to get thicker and they will develop more sugars and in turn a more sweet fruit.  They may also change to other colors and develop different flavors as the age on the vine.  If you pick them sooner, the plants will respond by producing more flowers and in turn more fruit.  You may choose to do a little of both…leave a pepper plant alone and allow the fruit to develop to full maturity.  The rest of  your plants, pick as many of the peppers off as you can and the plant will get more and more vigorous with production.  As for eggplant…don’t let them get too big or they may get tough and the seeds may become too big.

Here’s a picture of my harvest for the week…I hope you like the colors of my garden!

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