Let’s Talk Food: Too many tomatoes

  • Courtesy photo

Did you throw some tomato seeds in the garden and now have more tomatoes than you can eat in one day?

We had that situation after we threw some rotten tomatoes under the tangerine tree. Now the vine is crawling up the tree, so we are easy to pick.

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We have cherry tomatoes in abundance, and made wonderful pasta sauce with them.

First, you must remove the skins of the tomatoes. Make a slit on the top for easy removal of the skin, then place them in a pot of boiling water. Leave them in there until the skin begins to wrinkle. If they do not, you might want to turn the stove on and heat the water up.

Then, remove the tomatoes from the water with a sieve and remove the skins.

Here is Martha Stewart’s recipe for cherry tomatoes with spaghetti:

Spaghetti with Tomato Saute

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 pints cherry or pear tomatoes

Kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

Large pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving

12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated, or 1/2 cup

1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese

Small fresh basil leaves, for serving

Place tomatoes in boiling water, remove skins, drain. Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are just beginning to break down, 5 minutes. Add red-pepper flakes and season with salt. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta and return to pot. Add 1/3 cup pasta water, tomato mixture and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Cook over medium heat, tossing, until pasta is evenly coated, 2 minutes, adding more pasta water as needed. To serve, top pasta with ricotta, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with more red-pepper flakes and basil.

•••

If you have just enough tomatoes for a salad, here’s an excellent one to try:

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Cherry Tomatoes and Feta

Serves: 8

1 cup quinoa

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and diced

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved through the stem

2 cups medium-diced feta cheese, or 8 ounces

Pour 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and 1 teaspoon of salt, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until the grains are tender and open (they’ll have little curly tails). Drain, place in a bowl and immediately add the lemon juice, olive oil and 1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

In a large bowl, combine the green onions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add the quinoa and mix well. Carefully fold in the feta and taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

•••

If your harvest is abundant, like 10 pounds or more, canning is a great alternative for use later. As a guide, figure that 3 pounds will fill one quart.

Canned Tomatoes

12 pounds tomatoes

4 teaspoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons lemon juice

4 sterilized quart mason jars

To peel tomatoes: Place all tomatoes in boiling water. When skins begin to retract. Remove them from the water and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking and loosen the skins. Peel the tomato skin and cut out the stem.

Press peeled and cored tomatoes firmly into prepared jars until there is only 1/2 inch air remaining at the top. Once jars are prepared, add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in each quart jar.

Place lids and rims on jars and tighten.

Prepare a large boiling water bath in a stockpot. Make sure water is deep enough to completely cover the jars. Once the water has come to a boil, arrange jars on a wire jar rack and lower into water. Allow jars to process in a water bath for 45 minutes. When processing is complete, remove racks.

Place on a heat proof surface. Cover jars with dish towels and allow them to sit for a few hours at room temperature to cool.

•••

I love rice bowls for a simple meal. They need to have the carbohydrate, protein and vegetables in them to make it a complete meal. Beans are a good source of protein, as well as a wonderful source of dietary fiber.

Rice and Black Bean Bowl

Serves: 4

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed, warmed in microwave

1 1/2 medium avocado, divided

4 tablespoons cilantro, divided

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup corn kernels

2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup tortilla chips

In a blender or mini food processor, combine 1/2 of an avocado, 2 tablespoons cilantro and lime juice. Blend until the sauce is thin. Add water if needed.

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In four separate bowls, evenly divide rice and beans, tomatoes and corn. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of avocado and cilantro. Add 1 tablespoon crushed tortilla chips to each bowl.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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