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Seasonal Highlight: Tomatoes

Posted Oct 10 2010 4:57pm

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My once-a-week blogging schedule has me a tad behind in the “seasonal highlight” department, but I’m actually still seeing tons of tomatoes at the farmer’s market these days so I won’t feel too bad about it.

Tomatoes don’t need too much explanation—they’re very common in the US and we can get them all year round. However, we cannot get good tomatoes all year round. I actually grew up hating tomatoes. I made my mom cut up tomatoes on the side rather than tossing them in with the salad because I thought they were mushy and tasteless.

That’s because they were. I grew up in Connecticut, and locally-grown tomatoes were just not a commodity to be had. I suppose there are farmer’s markets in my hometown now, but all this local-and-organic buzzword nonsense was still considered actual nonsense back in the day, so we were stuck with the mealy tomatoes from the A&P.

I still remember Dad (or was it Mom? Probably both.) commenting on my tomato-hate at the dinner table: “She only hates tomatoes because she’s never had a good one.” Never a word so true! Lucky for me, I have had many, many good tomatoes since then, and these are just a couple things I’ve been doing with them.

We’ll start with the ugly:

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This is a red lentil-vegetable stew I made with basically everything that looked good to me at the farmer’s market that day. It didn’t come out great, so I won’t post the recipe, but you can bet there were some beautiful tomatoes in it…

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…along with just a couple other things…

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I may have gotten carried away. In every sense. The veggies were totally over-cooked, but it was edible enough, especially with the addition of my favorite multi-grain baguette from Stew Leonard’s .

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Semi-fails aside, I couldn’t let tomato season go by without repeating my Tohini Soup . This is one of my best recipes, if I do say so myself, and when I made it again recently I began to wonder why I don’t eat it every damn day.

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Alongside, I had a glorious massaged kale salad topped with Mezzetta sweet cherry peppers  and a goat cheese sandwich with…more tomatoes.

Speaking of goat cheese…

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Trader Joe, will you marry me? Surely I owe you my first born for selling goat cheese in individually-wrapped ounces. My sandwich and I love you.

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Sorry, I may or may not be more tipsy than I was when I started writing this, seeing as I’m rather emotionally attached to Trader Joe at the moment…I have no idea how this wine glass ended up on my desk…

But it wouldn’t be a proper seasonal highlight post if I didn’t have a new recipe for you, so let’s forget about the failed and recycled ones and move on to something cute:

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Mini heirloom tomatoes! Because everything is cuter in miniature.

Using these and my free sample of Buitoni’s Wild Mushroom Agnolotti (thank you, Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program!), I made a dinner that gave me pretty much everything I could ever want on my dinner plate.

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Pasta-Veggie Explosion

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 lb mini heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ~1/4-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning and/or oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated parmesan cheese for topping

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Directions:

  1. Prepare agnolotti per package instructions
  2. Grate/spiralize/shred zucchinis and divide between 2 bowls
  3. Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium
  4. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes
  5. Add tomatoes, herbs and S+P, stirring constantly
  6. When tomatoes are tender to your liking, turn off the heat. Divide agnolotti between the two bowls of zucchini and then top each bowl with half of the tomato mixture. Sprinkle parm on top.

Serves 2

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You say “tomato,” I say “ohmygodthisisdelicious.”

What have you been making with tomatoes this season?

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