Too Many Tomatoes!
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on August 7, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
A few years ago I downsized on the amount of tomato plants I grew. Although I only have a small raised bed in which to plant tomatoes, I would continue pack in a number of tomato plants.
These days I generally only plant two or three varieties. One of my favorites is Lemon Boy. This is my fifth year growing Lemon Boy, a sweet, medium-size, non-acidic fruit. This variety has good disease resistance and is a HEAVY producer. I get at least two or three times the amount from Lemon Boy as any of my reds grown along side.
By August, growing even two tomato plants has provided me with a bountiful harvest. Unfortunately at some point in August, you can't even GIVE AWAY tomatoes. Even though I preserve ("can") tomatoes, salsa and juice... sometimes I just need to use up the few pounds I have sitting on my countertop. Thus, August continually finds me searching for new ways to prepare the extra tomatoes. Here are a few of my favorites.
Roasted Tomato Soup
You'll never want to have canned soup again!
1 pound peeled, coarsely chopped tomatoes
Preheat oven to 450º F.
Spread tomatoes onto a baking sheet, drizzle with half of the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Roast 15 minutes.
While the tomatoes are in the oven, sauté the celery, carrots, shallots and garlic in 1T. olive oil over medium-low heat. 12-15 minutes
Remove tomatoes from oven and add to the vegetable sauté. Add chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer 20 minutes over med-low heat until vegetables are tender. Approximately 20 minutes.
When all vegetables are soft, puree using either a blender stick, blender or food processor until smooth. Using a fine colander or strainer, strain out all remaining seeds or hard vegetables. Return to pan. If serving this soup warm, add cream, top with basil and serve immediately.
If you prefer a cold soup, like a gazpacho, add some chopped tomato and cucumber. Either way, a good homemade crouton on top is great.
Lemon Boy Sweet Tomato Chutney
This is a lovely, long cooking item to make. The spicey fragrance fills up the house.
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
Puree the chopped garlic, ginger and 1/2 cup of the vinegar until smooth (I use the blender stick).
In a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed, place the tomatoes, the rest of the vinegar, the sugar, salt and cayenne pepper (or, if you prefer, add the cayenne at the end, a little at a time, stirring and tasting as you do so).
Bring to a boil an add the puree.
Lower heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until thick.
Add the almonds and the raisins and continue to simmer and stir another five minutes.
Cool completely. Spoon into half-pint jars and refrigerate.
Makes 2 1/2 cups.
I’ve cut the sugar in half from the original recipe. The cayenne balances the sugar, but if you don't like spicy, add it slowly and keep tasting. We've used this chutney on meats and just on crackers. It's good with cream cheese. In fact, I've made a dip before using it and cream cheese.
Tomato Onion Pie
Although this recipe doesn't use up that many tomatoes, it's still good as a meal with a nice green salad.
1 small sweet (Vidalia) onion, diced
Begin by pressing the piecrust into a 9-inch pie pan and browning it in a pre-heated 350º F oven for about 8 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and layer the sliced tomatoes on top of the browned crust. Now toss the basil and diced onions over the tomatoes.
In a separate bowl, combine cheddar, mozzarella, mayonnaise and bacon; spread the cheese mixture evenly over the tomatoes, basil and onions.
Bake the pie at 350º F, uncovered, until gold brown. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Liam's French Tomato Tart
This tasty tart recipe comes from my friend Rogue_Designer.1 Baked Basic Butter Tart crust with cracked pepper added.
Thinly sliced and peeled tomatoes, air dried a bit to get rid of some excess water.
Salt, pepper, olive oil
Spread Dijon mustard on the bottom of baked crust.
Line with a Swiss cheese (Gruyere, works nicely).
Place peeled and slice tomatoes on top. Add pepper and olive oil, on top (just a touch) salt to taste.
Bake at 325º until cheese is melted.
Fresh basil chiffonade on top is nice too.
When there aren’t enough tomatoes to can but still too many to eat fresh, I turn to one of these three recipes. This year I'll try the fabulous Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe from "critterologist"!