Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Tale of the Monster Tomato: a 2011 Harvest Story

This has been a difficult gardening season. For starters, the weather here in the Midwest has been blazing hot--I think 21 or 22 days of July had 90+degree days with a heat index of 105-110. I wish I were joking. I can't imagine what my Southern pals have been doing. This kind of weather essentially shuts a plant down and they won't grow or absorb nutrients properly, so you get things like blossom end rot if you're lucky enough to get many fruits at all!

I had a feeling we would sell our house this Summer so I grew just about everything in containers. It's really the way to go and you're less likely to have to fight a soil borne disease. Shown in the photo above is one of my prized fruits of the season. I tried striped Romas this year and would you LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT FRIGGIN' TOMATO? To the left is a normal Roma. I didn't really do a great job at taking the photo because the striped one was opulently gargantuan. I think the reason it was so freakishly huge is because I had to chuck a bunch of fruits that had blossom end rot, so once I gave the plant extra nutrients to help the deficiency, it put a ton of energy in giving me that big one. I thought it would be mostly water too, but no--the flesh was bright red and flavor was so intense I thought I'd cry. I did not take a picture of that. I sacrificed both for a lasagna I made earlier this week. What's your favorite kind of tomato?
This photo was from my first harvest this season. Unimpressive, but it was my own food. I cannot emphasize enough how badass it is to grow your own food. It is a huge way to stick it to The Man: you're reducing the carbon footprint by growing local, you're learning a new skill and less dependent on the existing screwed up food system, and gardening is fun. The Man doesn't want you to have fun, The Man is much happier when you're miserable and eating from the $ menu. True Dat.

I digress. This is a food blog and I need to bring on the recipes, right? I've been working on a super secret project for the past few months, so my food porn photos are a bit sparse. No worries, this blog has been around long enough where I can start posting some old recipes for new readers who don't want to read my entire blog history.

Readers, I give you Jewbacca's Ass of Fire Salsa. I've edited it to make it a bit better.

  • 1-2 lbs of heirloom tomatoes--I really prefer Gold Medal, Big Boy, or Brandywine.
  • 2T of red onion, finely chopped
  • 1T Ms. Dash chipotle flavor
  • 2t lime juice
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro, less if you want. dried can be used here, but you're just cheating yourself. Seriously, it's 99cents a bunch on the off season.
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano chiles de-seeded and de-membraned *in a pinch i've used chopped pickled jalapenos, about 1/4 c. worth
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/4 t chili powder
  • 1/4 t cinnamon-(YES cinnamon)
  • 1 t of dried garlic, or one clove of fresh-finely chopped
  • 1/2 t salt or 1 t of bragg's liquid aminos
  • a few splashes of Frank's or your favorite hot sauce
Wash and chop those 'maters, draining off excess tomato juice. Psst, save the juice for another recipe! Add all other ingredients together and store in the fridge for 3 days. If you have any left after that time, shame on you. No--seriously throw it in the freezer and use it later for Spanish rice or an enchilada casserole.

Don't forget, you have until midnight TOMORROW to enter my granola giveaway contest! I pity the fool who doesn't enter. I have three entries so far.

No comments: