Tomatoes Green or red, they're good!
A pretty good meal can be made great during summer months when you add a few tomato slices to the table.
What could be better than sitting down to a wonderful meal of fresh peas or butterbeans, creamed corn, fried okra, cornbread and sliced tomatoes? Not much comes to mind. I think I'd rather have a meal like this than to sit down to a good seafood dinner. Now, mind you, I won't pass up a good shrimp bowl, but I do love a good ole summer vegetable meal.
With tomato season in full swing, you may be getting tired of tomato sandwiches (I can not imagine this one) or sliced tomatoes with your peas. If you are, the recipes in this column today may give you something to spruce up the beautiful, red vegetable (or is it a fruit - there is a lot of controversy over this one).
I came upon this recipe several years ago. I'm not exactly sure where I got it, but I've used it and have gotten pretty good reviews. It's kind of like a BLT only you eat it with a fork on a plate. It's good either fresh out of the oven or even cold. It may sound a little odd to you (I know it did to me), but I truly believe you'll be pleasantly surprised.
1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust
4 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
One-half cup chopped fresh basil
3 green onions, thinly sliced
One-half pound bacon – cooked, drained, and chopped
One-half tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
One-half tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
One-half cup mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In alternating layers, fill pastry shell with tomatoes, basil, scallions, bacon, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper. In a small bowl, mix cheese with mayonnaise. Spread mixture over top of pie. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil from top of pie and bake an additional 30 minutes.
If you have an abundance of tomatoes, the first thing you need to do is Call Me! I can never get enough tomatoes in my diet. If you're feeling like Weeza from Steel Magnolias and have grown more than you can eat (or want), pass them out to your friends - it's what Southern women do!
An abundance of tomatoes will give you an opportunity to try something new. I remember one year during my youth, my family raised more tomatoes than Carter has liver pills, so we made ketchup. Yep, we sure did. Wasn't as good as storebought (I thought) but we sure did drown a lot of French fries in that stuff.
Here's a recipe that you might find interesting. This version calls for plum tomatoes, but substitutions work good in this recipe.
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups coarsely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
One-third cup distilled white vinegar
One-half cup dark corn syrup
One-fourth tsp. ground cloves
One-fourth tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. mustard seeds
One-half tsp. ground celery seeds
1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
In a large heavy pot heat the olive oil over moderate heat and cook the onion until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, corn syrup, cloves, allspice, mustard seeds, celery seeds, salt and pepper stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Pass the mixture through a food mill into a bowl and return to the pot. Bring the mixture back to a simmer and cook until very thick, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Allow the ketchup to cool. The ketchup can be sealed in sterilized jars and kept indefinitely.
If you want something very different on the dessert table, this sweet pie may be just what you're looking for. I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it does sound intriguing.
Green Tomato Pie (sweet)
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
2 cups sliced green tomatoes
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
One-half tsp. ground cinnamon
One-half tsp. ground nutmeg
Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Sprinkle over sliced tomatoes, coating them. Pour into pastry lined dish. Dot with butter or margarine. Cover with second crust, fluting edges. Cut three or four slits in top to allow steam to escape. Bake at 375 degrees. for 35 to 40 minutes.
Thanks to all you folks who read this column and make comments to me at the grocery store. It makes me happy to know that some of you get a laugh out of the column and sometimes find something interesting to cook here as well.
Next week I plan to share some of the recipes I've received from readers of this column. It's not too late to add your two cents. If you have a recipe or tip you'd like to share, I'll be glad to pass it along. Just send your information to me by email at email@example.com. I'll be happy to hear from your!
Until next week, Happy Cooking!