Two weeks ago, my Dad took out the tomato plants in the garden to make way for the cold weather veggies (yes, we still had tomatoes on the vine in October!). Already, I can see lettuces, snow peas, dill, and cilantro sprouting in the newly planted beds. This post is a memory and tribute to my Dad’s summer tomatoes which were the stars of the garden this year. We were literally drowning in them!
My Dad’s tomato plants grew over 6 ft. tall this year. They were truly killer tomatoes. My Dad had to construct some fancy supports for the plants so they would not collapse under the weight of their fruits. For 2 months, we harvested 2-3 times this amount of tomatoes every other day! It was insane. D. actually got tired of eating tomatoes!
Please don’t crucify me when I confess that I don’t actually like tomatoes! That is, I don’t like eating them like apples, raw out of hand. I will, however, eat tomatoes in all other forms: dried, roasted, sauces, salsas, ketchup, soups, etc. Here are some of the ways I enjoyed cooked tomatoes this summer.
Tomato onion tart: This recipes uses a lot of cherry tomatoes and it looks pretty too.
2 onions, sliced
6 oz. grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
Puff pastry or pie dough for 9″ pie
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Roll out dough 1/8″ thick and put into tart pan.
- Saute onions in olive oil or butter until caramelized, about 45 mins. I used the slow cooker method and cooked the onions ahead of time.
- Put the tart pan on a baking sheet. Poke dough with a fork to prevent it from puffing up, and bake for about 15-20 mins.
- Fill the tart shell with caramelized onions and sprinkle with a layer of cheese. Arrange cherry tomatoes cut side down in concentric circles starting with the outer circle and working your way in towards the center of the tart. Bake tart for 30 minutes at 375F until tomatoes are starting to shrivel and brown. Cool tart for 10 mins. before cutting and serving.
Curried ketchup with eggplant fries. This is for my eggplant loving friends (you know who you are). The ketchup recipe is from the Food Network and the eggplant fries are based on Martha Stewart’s zucchini fries recipe.
I also made Indian curry.
Roasted tomato soup is a recipe that was passed along to me by M. The recipe uses 3 lbs. of tomatoes which was great. I made at least 4 batches of this soup in 2 weeks! This soup was my Mom’s favorite way of enjoying our summer tomatoes and basil.
My friend T. loves tomatoes and never refuses a share of our bounty. When I asked her what she liked to make with her tomatoes, she replied, “Hello!? Tomato beef chow mein!” It’s been so long since I’ve eaten beef that I have totally forgotten about this dish! I made tomato pork chow mein based on this Tomato beef chow mein recipe. This was so easy and delicious that I made it 2 days in a row. I rarely make the same dish twice in one month–2 days in a row is unheard of in my kitchen!
Slow roasted cherry tomatoes: This is one of D.’s famous sandwiches which he created out of fish sticks, a ciabatta roll, sliced jalapenos, and some of my slow roasted cherry tomatoes.
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Whole gloves of garlic, unpeeled
Herbs such as thyme or rosemary (optional)
Preheat oven to 225°F. Halve each tomato in half arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet along with the cloves of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, just enough to make the tomatoes glisten. Sprinkle herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
Bake the tomatoes in the oven for about three hours. The tomatoes should be shriveled and dry, but with a little juice left inside. Use them right away or let them cool, cover them with some extra olive oil and keep them in the fridge.
Lastly, I had to try my hand at making homemade basic tomato sauce. I regret to say that I do not have a good tomato sauce recipe though I feel that every cook should have a good tomato sauce recipe in their cooking repertoire. The best tomato sauce I ever had the privilege of tasting was made by my friend B.’s mother, who is Italian. Her recipe apparently is very simple but I have not succeeded in reproducing it: tomatoes, basil, and garlic (and possibly Parmesan cheese?). I do not know how she makes it taste so good (not too sweet and not too tart) but my friend B. claims it’s the tomato grinder she uses on the tomatoes! In any case, I was very disappointed in my own tomato sauce which I adapted from Tyler Florence’s marinara sauce recipe. While it looked and smelled delicious, it was surprisingly tart! I used the sauce to make a lasagne which ensured the sauce did not go to waste.