Post # 130 Garden Fresh

June 17, 2013 at 4:07 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 130 Garden Fresh

Something happened last week that was so so good.  I went out to the garden kind of early.  It’s gotten very hot here.  Our daily temps are now ranging near 110, so if I’m going to do anything outside during the day, I really need to do it before 10am or in short bursts.  So I was rooting around the tomatoes.

First, you may recall just a few weeks ago, the garden looked like this:

Garden 01

See those two small tomato plants on the right?  Well, here’s what they look like now:

garden 05

It doesn’t show scale, but they’re about three and half feet high, and have spread all over the place.  The cherry tomatoes have stayed small, and hidden under the Goliaths.  The plum tomatoes are in front where the purple dragonfly is.  I’m very happy with the progress.

As the plants grew, I watched them very closely.  It’s been a long time since I’ve grown tomatoes in the ground, and had a large patch of them.  One of the Goliath tomato plants had three tomatoes on it when we got it, and I was hoping they’d ripen up and be good eating.  One them actually did, you might recall the post called Why Did This Tomato Split?  The other two did something I’ve never seen before.  One of them actually rotted from the inside.  It was pressing against the tomato cage and I reached down to move it so it could grown properly.  It came off in my hand and this icky spoiled green mess came off in my hand and covered it with that smelly goop.  Pretty nasty.

I tossed it over the back fence into the alley then rinsed off my hand with the hose.  I looked at the other tomato and it had started to spoil, so I pulled it off and tossed it, too.  I was seriously disappointed cuz as you know, I love tomatoes.

So, Farmer Joe goes along, fertilizing the produce and watering twice a day and feeling a certain amount of pride.  Blossoms appeared and little green tomatoes showed up.  Slowly they grew and eventually started looking like they were real tomatoes.  Funny thing, while that was happening, the other tomatoes were doing the same thing.  While I was watching the goliaths, the plums and cherries, even the seedlings, were putting out blossoms and fruit.

garden 06

See the three orange tomatoes there?  Those are the first plum tomatoes ripening up, hopefully in time for me to make more salsa fresca this weekend since we’ve got company coming.  And if you look around the picture, you’ll see many more blossoms and green tomatoes.

But getting back to the neat thing that happened last week.  I was looking through the goliaths to make certain there weren’t any more spoiling on me.  Tomatoes are notorious for hiding.  Since the plant is green, and unripe tomatoes are green, they’re almost as difficult to see as chili peppers are.  When I saw a flash of red, I assumed it was the tomato cage I put in to help the plants grow.  If you look in the picture of the plum tomatoes above, you can see the red cage.

So I kept looking around, and made my way back to where the red was.  I took a closer look and there was a full, ripe, red tomato!  It had grown on the plant since I put it in, from blossom to green fruit to full ripe!  I put my hand out and it almost fell into my palm.  It wasn’t huge, but it was large enough to fill my hand.  It was perfectly formed, no splits, no green parts even at the stem.  It was the photo-perfect tomato.  Too bad I didn’t take a photo.  I showed FiL and he grinned, almost as proud of it as me.

“You should eat that for your lunch, all by yourself!” he said.  “You’re the one who worked so hard at it, you deserve it.”

I like warm tomatoes, but I really like chilled tomatoes.  I also like grilled salmon and I happened to have a piece of salmon in the freezer.  It was still a little early for my next meal, so I put the tomato in the fridge and put the salmon in a ziplock bag and into a large bowl of warm water to thaw out.  Once everything was ready, I had this:

salmon lunch

Here’s how:

Heat your grill while prepping the food.  Heat the grill for at least five minutes, but longer if you can.  While the grill is heating, brush extra-virgin olive oil on both sides of the salmon so it has a very light coat.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  When the grill it hot, clean it with a scraper, and lightly brush it with olive oil.  Place the salmon on the grill with the skin side up.  Grill for three or four minutes (I grilled for four minutes per side, but I don’t like sushi.)  While the salmon is cooking, cut the tomato into bite-sized wedges.  When the salmon has cooked on the non-skin side, carefully flip it to the skin side.  Grill for three or four minutes.  While the salmon is cooking on the skin side, drizzle a scant teaspoon of olive oil over the tomato wedges, and lightly season with salt and pepper.  I used fresh ground salt and pepper.  Place on the plate.  When the salmon is ready, put it on the plate and top with either seasoned butter, or olive oil and salt and pepper.  Then eat it.

Look at how red that tomato is.  It was the perfect lunch and I enjoyed it immensely.  Try it some time.  Wonderful stuff.

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