Post #653 Everything’s Coming Up Tomatoes

June 27, 2019 at 6:51 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #653 Everything’s Coming Up Tomatoes

Apologies to Ethel Merman, but it’s so great to see this.  I brought the dog in from his morning walk on Monday around 6am-ish, and glanced at the tomato plants as I always do.  This is what I saw!

I was so excited!  I wasn’t certain I was going to get any given the strange weather we’ve been having, but it hasn’t seemed to hurt the plants at all.  Just put the growing season back a little.  I guess.  I’m not from around here, and any memories I have of this area are over half a century old.

From age 5 to age 11, we lived in upstate New York, and the town is only about 5 hours from where I’m at now.  We lived in an apartment that was the top floor of a large house.  It had a big front porch, and a good sized screened in back porch.  Must be where I developed my love for front porches.

All the neighbors loved the neighborhood kids.  We were a large group and wandered around in a pack of varying sizes depending on who wanted to do what at any moment.  One lady had a vegetable garden and it was from that garden that I learned to recognize the various growing stages of many vegetables.  For instance, I learned that new peas were sweet and could be eaten in the pod.  As they grew, the pods toughened up but the peas were still tender and sweet.  Eventually, they were totally inedible in the raw state and had to be cooked.

String bean, aka green beans, were edible in the pod at any stage.  I still eat them raw once in a while when I wander through the grocery store.  People give me odd looks, but they taste good.  Raw potato tastes good, too, but I don’t recommend eating a lot of it unless you’re used to eating raw veggies.

It was the tomatoes that it was hardest to keep me out of.  She had several varieties and took time to explain what each one was for.  Cherry tomatoes were for salads to dress them up.  They could be eaten in one bite.  Roma, or plum tomatoes were best for sauces, like spaghetti, and soups.  Beefsteaks were the big ones that were sliced onto sandwiches, or diced into sauces when you wanted chunks of tomato floating around.  She showed me how to prep them (never letting me get my hands on a knife), and how to preserve them.

I learned that green tomatoes taste terrible.  Unless you sliced them, dunked them in batter, and fried them in lard.  Sprinkle with salt, or parmesan cheese, or layered between slices of bread, and fried green tomatoes become a rustic delicacy.  I also learned (not from her but later on) that green tomatoes can add a tartness to jams, salsas, curries, and other relishes for a different impact.

So, when I saw my first little bundle of cherry tomatoes, I started my own celebration.

I love tomatoes in nearly every form but one.  I cannot abide tomato soup.  I don’t know what it is, but I haven’t willingly eaten a bowl of that since I was around 6.  A friend who shares my passion for tomatoes and I were sitting at work discussing tomatoes and he conjectured there was not a single sandwich that was not enhanced by the addition of tomatoes.

Then he looked at me and said, “Oh, there’s one.”

I looked at him for a minute and said, “Well?”

“Peanut butter and jelly.”  We both laughed for a while and I thought that was it.

Until a few months ago, when I discovered tomato jelly.  Haven’t tried it yet, but I’m told it’s jelly like any other and would be great on a PBJ.  Not gonna try it any time soon.

So, now that I have tons of tomatoes on my little plant, I have to wait for the greenies to ripen.  And hope the squirrels don’t get them.  Oh, and I checked the San Marzano when I got home tonight.  I got some!!

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So, recently a Facebook friend (well, actual friend since we worked together for several months) posted a pic that she got from somewhere:

It’s a hand written recipe card retrieved from someone’s mom or grandmom and it’s a no-cook cheesecake.  You know how much I love those forgotten recipes buried in someone else’s archives, so it’s no surprise that I grabbed this one quick.

Cheesecake is another thing I like a lot.  My preference is for the dense, cooked, New York City style cheesecake, preferably with a thin layer of sour cream on top, and blueberry sauce, or cherry sauce.  Or chocolate but that’s pushing things a little with the sour cream and all.

The recipe is simple and involves lemon jello as the stabilizing agent.  Cream cheese is whipped with sugar; evaporated milk is whipped till fluffy.  Everything is combined gently and poured into a 13×9 inch pan, or barring that, two 9 inch pie plates.  Both of these have a graham cracker crust, so if you wanted to skip that step and just buy the graham cracker crust in the pie tin, it might be a little easier.  Then it just sits in the fridge for hours until it’s firm.  It sounds like it should be good.  And I can see where changing up the flavor of jello could make this a different flavored dessert.  I’ll be making it this weekend so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Feel free to share this post far and wide as you choose, and send any questions my way that you like.  Oh, one update.  When I posted that series of questions from my friend, she found finally found jicama in the store and got some.  She likes it!

And as always,

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