Recipes for fresh ‘maters
I’ve been loving the evening rains (even the huge dunder and blitzen Sunday night which zapped my computer), the hot blue days and, as always, the delicious bounty from the Farmers Market every Saturday. Tip: Get there early!The tomatoes are just starting to get just right, with the heirlooms being the best of the best, but if you don’t want to spend $5 to $6 a pound, the regular home growns will work just as well in the following tomato recipes.Baked TomatoesPeel tomatoes by dropping them into boiling water for a few seconds, holding under cold water and pulling off the skins. Cut them in half sideways, using as many tomato halves as will comfortably nestle in your baking pan. Sprinkle the upturned halves with salt, pepper and a bit of sugar.For four or five tomatoes (8 to 10 halves), mix half-and-half bread crumbs (Italian crumbs are good) and parmesan cheese – half a cup or more total – and sprinkle that mixture over the tomatoes.Press a clove or two of garlic into half a cup of olive oil, stir it up well and spoon evenly over the crumbs.Bake at 400 degrees for an HOUR (this is not a typo), serve hot, warm or cold.GazpachoYou can get everything except the celery at the Farmers Market.In a blender, chop a half cup each of celery, green pepper (hot or not), onion and cucumber. Add three tablespoons each of cider vinegar and olive oil plus salt and/or hot red pepper to taste. A small can of spicy tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix makes it easier to blend.At the end, add four or five peeled tomatoes, enough to make the mixture bright red. You can make this anywhere from very chunky to almost liquid. Good with avocado pieces.Canned TomatoesThis is so easy to do and in the winter, when you’re craving a real tomato, the tomatoes are great right out of the jar with salad dressing.Buy a big canning pot downvalley, one that holds seven quarts. Canning jars are available in the local grocery and hardware stores.Sterilize seven wide-mouth quart jars (boil 12 minutes in the canning pot), then fill with peeled tomatoes. A quart holds about five tomatoes. Add one tablespoon of salt, put on lids, boil covered in the canning pot for an hour and you’re ready for winter.Betcha can’t stop after just one batch!Su Lum is a longtime hungry local who reminds you to cook Olathe corn in the husk in the microwave for five minutes. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.