Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer Love

Okay, so I am having a love affair. A love affair with all of the fresh produce coming from the garden (I can't even say 'our' garden, because my husband has done all the work and deserves all the glory). And I have never experienced anything like this. We have loads and loads of tomatoes, giant zucchini the size of footballs, and more cucumbers- giant, yellow, bumpy, crisp and delicious- than we could ever handle.

We have shared, we have swapped, we have used them for payment (for having my wetsuit repaired but that's another story), we have baked, and we have eaten until we are blue in the face. But if there was ever a food that's good to eat in such excess, it's fresh produce from your own backyard. And having this bounty of freshness, and not wanting it to go to waste (I HATE SEEING FOOD GO TO WASTE!), has led me to try a bunch of new recipes. For today, I wanted to share some of my favorite tomato recipes. The first is from my mother-in-law...a super easy no-cook pasta sauce that will fill your kitchen with the scent of garlic and basil. We tossed it with pasta and then ate it on fresh bread the next day.


1 pound tomatoes (or about 6 large) skinned, seeded, diced*
3-4 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 Cup fresh basil - minced
1/2 Cup fresh parsley - minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 Cup parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup olive oil

*tomatoes are easily skinned if you set them in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes and then drop them into ice water. The skin usually pops and is easy to peel off.

Mix all the ingredients and let stand covered on the counter for several hours. You can add extra tomatoes or different herbs if you have them. I didn't have parsley so I just added more basil. You can also add additional salt to taste. It doesn't have to be exact. Recipe can be doubled easily. If you don't use it all, store it in the refrigerator for the next day. You will probably devour it within 24 hours.

My other great discovery during this week of summer produce decadence has been slow- roasting tomatoes. I tried this recipe from Molly Wizenberg, author of "A Homemade Life," pretty much one of the best books of all times. She dedicates a whole chapter to these tomatoes, plucked from her garden, cooked long and slow with olive oil and coriander, and reappearing concentrated and flavorful. And, yes, she is a good enough writer that a chapter about slow-roasted tomatoes reads like a novel that you can't put down. Her recipe is posted on her blog. Now, I'm not normally pushy, but when it comes to this recipe, I want to yell and jump up and down and demand that all of you try it. These tomatoes will leave you speechless. I was eating them like candy, layering them on bread, and draping them over pasta.

And, finally, if you're in the Ventura area, Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark is hosting a "Pick-Your-Own-Romas" event on September 5th and 6th, from 6am to noon. Pick-Your-Own Romas are 20¢ per pound. Already picked Romas are 40¢ per pound. Call (805) 529-3690.


Anonymous said...

Your recipes sound amazing, as always! Also, I am eagerly awaiting 'A Homemade Life' to come in the mail--I ordered it weeks ago, and it seems to have gone missing from a particular seller on I am none too pleased, but very excited to read it if/when it finally does arrive! :)

Ventura Food Happenings said...

So glad you've ordered, it will be well worth the wait. You'll have to let me know what recipes you try. I've heard the chocolate cupcakes are to die for, and I'm curious to try the bread with butter and radishes. Enjoy!

Annamarie said...

Chef Nathan at Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro is cooking up delicious fresh foods - Come, taste and enjoy
516 State Street SB

PLWB 805-962-1455

Ventura Food Happenings said...

Thanks, AnneMarie. I've heard about some cool things going on there (blue cheese ice cream, is it true?)...will have to check it out.

chickengirl said...

Hey there. Are you interested in home canning? Canning tomatoes is really simple and has beautiful results. You can also can homemade salsa and it makes great presents!
I love your website. Come over to my place and cook sometime!

Ventura Food Happenings said...

Hey, Chickengirl. No, haven't done much canning - honestly I'm intimidated by it. But sure love any new ways to use all these tomatoes. Do you have any favorite canned tomato or salsa recipes I could start with?