Tag Archives: tomatoes

tomato rosemary quiche

One of my all-time favorite coffee shop breakfasts is a mini tomato rosemary quiche made by a local bakery. Someday I hope to master my own slightly healthier version. We are still working through our tomatoes, so I decided to give this master crustless quiche recipe a try.

Of course I went and added crust to the crustless quiche recipe. Isn’t a crustless quiche a frittata? I like both of those dinner options, but we had an extra cream cheese pastry dough made with whole wheat pastry flour waiting in the freezer.

For fillings, I used a cup of aged white cheddar, 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary, and 4 small tomatoes, sliced and left sitting on paper towels to absorb excess liquid while I prepared the other ingredients.

This dinner was a hit with the whole family. Now that we are starting to get eggs, it’s time for y’all to tell us your favorite egg recipes!

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And I will eat them in the rain

And in the dark.
And in a tart.

Of course I’m not talking about green eggs and ham. I’m talking about the tomatoes that won’t quit. Before we get to the tart, a few memorable tomatoes.


the tomato monster


jaune flamme and chocolate cherry tomatoes, both delicious beyond words


most of the tomatoes we grew are average sized and then there’s this guy


for scale

And now for the tart.

The recipe is this French Tomato Tart from David Lebovitz‘s blog. Except instead of the tart dough in that recipe, I made a whole wheat cream cheese pastry dough. I’ve been dying to try this. I gave it a whirl with whole wheat pastry flour in this cream cheese pastry dough recipe. This turned out better than I expected, even using lighter neufchâtel for cream cheese. The pastry was so good I saved the scraps and made us a homemade Pop Tart with some of our preserves for dessert.

note from Jess: I worked an insanely long day the day this tart happened. I came home to find this delicate morsel waiting for me. It was unspeakably good. I can’t even talk about it, except to say that you should Definitely make this recipe.

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Filed under food, garden

Extended tomato season

I don’t think it’s any secret that we love growing tomatoes. We live in the pacific northwest, so growing a single tomato requires luck, strategy, the right tomato varieties, cooperating weather and maybe a little magic. Our backyard tomatoes are treated like precious treasures.

In 2009, by some fluke, we harvested more than we could handle. It was insane. Our tomatoes were their own kingdom.

In 2010, we suffered some major challenges and I harvested exactly one cherry tomato from a raised bed of blighted tomatoes. Two contributing factors were terrible weather and us not realizing our new front yard got so many visiting deer. And then we got late blight! Ha ha… I can laugh now. This year, I planted tomatoes in many places so they couldn’t share their blight. We picked out something like 14 varieties of tomatoes to stack the odds against most conceivable tomato maladies. We tucked tomatoes into containers, self-irrigating planters, and mounded bed systems. It seemed like we were behind all season, but that’s why gardeners should keep records. Our first 2011 tomato ripened only 17 days after our earliest 2009 tomato, despite our record-breaking cold, wet spring. We’re regularly harvesting lots of tomatoes every week now. Our weather is stuck in a low-gear of summer; daytime temps have been in the 70s, nights are in the 40s or 50s. It’s not ideal for growing tomatoes, but it’s enough extra time to vine ripen them. I don’t know how long this weather will last, but I’ll keep harvesting as long as they keep ripening. We’ve been eating a lot of pico, TLT (tempeh+lettuce+tomato) sandwiches, and canning sauce, salsa and tomato jam for the dark days to come.

Our kitchen counter:

Isis Candy cherry tomatoes:

Jaune Flamme tomatoes:

We wouldn’t complain if the tomatoes just kept coming at a steady pace until Christmas.

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Filed under fall, food, garden

tomato jam is the jam

We finally got around to making homemade tomato jam, and I think we are in love. I can’t recommend this recipe from Food in Jars enough. Sticky, sweet tomato goodness with a hint of cinnamon and clove. It takes an hour + a half to cook down, but simple to throw together. No blanching, peeling or deseeding required!

My new favorite thing is cheese and crackers with a dab of tomato jam. A tomato jam grilled cheese sandwich ain’t bad, either. And I see some tomato jam glazed tofu experiments in our future. I think we need to make another batch ASAP.

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Filed under canning

What we did for Labor Day weekend

Well, besides going to work.

We tackled 30 pounds of tomatoes. The canning is only picking up momentum around here. And who can blame us when you can get organic tomato “seconds” grown on a nearby farm and picked the same day for $1.50/lb? The farmer even met us at the co-op for the exchange.

We experimented with some different peppers in the salsa we put up. This, of course, only inspires us try homemade hot sauce next.

apple peppers!

And while we’re trying out peppers named after other produce, how cute are those Bulgarian carrot peppers? Added to the growing list of “things to grow next year.”

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tomatoes for breakfast

For me this time of year is what being a gardener is all about. I love having an abundance of food from our yard that is so flavorful you can make a few simple ingredients taste incredible.

We were out of bread this morning, so no eggs in a nest. I glanced over at the growing pile of tomatoes in the kitchen and breakfast was born: heirloom tomatoes and basil from the garden, a drizzle of olive oil, S&P and two poached eggs on top. Perfection!

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food happening in our yard

Time for an early September garden check in. Oh my god, can you believe it’s September?

Time to start plotting what to make out of these adorable sugar pumpkins!

We have a steady stream of patty pan right now.

Then we have this one patty pan that mysteriously turned mostly green. It’s from the same plant as the others.

There are one or two tomatoes ready everyday, but not a giant pile of them yet. Good thing we are ordering 30 or 40 pounds from a local organic farm to can so we can enjoy ours fresh.

These are possibly my favorite tomatoes – green zebras!

the mixed bed of green onions, leeks + peppers

We’ve got ground cherries in the front and backyard, and we’re starting to get a taste of them. I’ve got plans for them so I hope they ripen soon.

Our watermelons didn’t get planted out in time, and didn’t do so well when they were inside, but this little guy is still trying to make a watermelon. Aww.

This is not food, but the Japanese maple we planted out in July is thriving. This gives me hope for the dozen or so dwarf fruit trees we plan to attempt to plant in our yard soon.

What are you eating from your yard?

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20 x 20

Things are happening in our community garden plot!

Probably the biggest surprise: the artichoke starts that nearly died when we first planted them out are looking like they might actually produce! Last year our artichoke plants at home in containers never produced any food, probably because we didn’t choose a sunny enough spot for them. Our new plan is to dig these up before winter and store them in the garage in pots. We’ll see.

We’ve got a ton of green tomatoes over there. FINGERS AND TOES CROSSED!

Corn. Probably not going to happen this year but the sight of it still makes us happy.

Soy, corn, and volunteer borage gone wild behind. Our borage makes our plot very popular with the bees.

amaranth

nasturtiums and zucchini (and maybe some weeds)

Jess has some interesting plans for this calendula

Jess’ favorite gloves

the view from our neighbor’s plot

the food bank squash plot

So glad I finally hauled my camera over there on a day I wasn’t going to get covered in dirt.

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Tomato Update

This is the most photogenic, ripe part of our tomato harvest so far. We have about 3 giant shopping bags of unripe or less-perfect tomatoes, which we did not photograph. Krista sent home a big bag of these with her mom last night (hi, Deanna, I hope they are delicious!) During the big harvest event, we found a ton of tomatoes that had been eaten by bugs – or worse, BIRDS! I am 99% certain that the bird damage has occurred since we moved the dogs to the new house. When the pooches patrolled the backyard, none of those birds would have dared to touch our bounty. So, let this stand as evidence that our dogs, as ridiculous as it seems, are officially working dogs. Living scarecrows, if you will. And I will throw 20lbs of wasted 2lb pink Brandywine and Great White tomatoes (I weep just thinking about it!) at anyone who says otherwise.


Here are the pups, hard at work.

You can really see the variety of the heirlooms coming out now that they are all ripening at once. It’s thrilling in the biggest nerdy way to see so many types of tomatoes that we grew ourselves. The pink ones just started ripening, and added a whole new level of excitement to the harvest of the orange, yellow, red, purple, and green. I think with this tomato harvest of fancy organic, heirloom varieties, our garden just paid for itself.

We have the (un?)enviable position of finding ways to eat 30 lbs of tomatoes. I have suggested that we preserve them, but with 1 house to unpack and another in the process of being cleaned, time is our greatest commodity. So last night, we made pizza. We used trader joe’s crust, tomatoes from our garden for the sauce, another tomato & two types of pepper from our garden (sweet Italian & Big Bomb semi-spicy) as the toppings. It was delicious. I mean, these tomatoes are ridiculous. In a good way.

Here’s a special outtake of Levi & Clementine hanging out with the tomatoes.

Last night, Levi asked for dessert. It’s pretty funny because our house is such a disaster area (we just moved! go easy on us!) we were lucky to make dinner at all. I told him he could have tomatoes for dessert. He was not at all opposed to this, although he bargained for permission to snack on a crunchy sweet Italian pepper as well. I think he ate 3-4 tomatoes and a pepper for dessert. I never would have gone for that as a kid! (Right, Mom?)

A lot of people have been asking where we got these tomato plants. I just bought a dozen from this website back in April or March. I babied them on a sunny windowsill for about six weeks, hardened them off, and planted them out on Mother’s Day weekend, which I am told is the standard plant-out day for heat-loving veggies in this region.

Also, here’s a gigantic

“TAKE THAT”

to everyone who says you can’t grow tomatoes very successfully in the PNW! Although we did get unreasonably lucky with the hottest summer we could have hoped for, I think our raised beds would have produced a pretty decent harvest anyway, since they keep the roots so toasty.

I know I owe a post about the new house! It’s on its way!

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backyard bounty

we’re in the position of eating tomatoes with nearly every meal. a few days ago, levi ate them instead of dessert. (don’t tell him, he might think they are dessert!) this is a bowl of a couple different kinds of tomatoes, maybe a cherokee purple and a mysterious red tomato. we have about 5 different kinds of red tomatoes, and i can’t tell them apart. Moskovitz, Rose, Nepal, Pruden’s Purple, Eva Purple Ball, all kinds of red tomatoes we never stop to identify. in addition, we have black, green, red, orange, and yellow tomatoes. i even found a giant Great White buried in the jungle, but it had some unfortunate rot.

then, the most exciting thing happened today — i saw a wonder light beginning to ripen! the wonder light tomato is yellow and shaped like a lemon. it has a very distinctive look. it’s supposed to be good in salsa. i haven’t seen any green zebras, and i really expected to get some. maybe The Stick that we gave up on back in May was actually the green zebra. the brandywines are starting to ripen, too, thankfully. they are so gigantic and heavy, they are dragging down the entire plant. yes, we caged it, but they often grow over a pound PER TOMATO. completely absurd.

we are starting to get ground cherries, too, finally. we’re growing Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries (aka Husk Tomatoes) at first i found one ground cherry every other day, but i found 5 or 6 today. maybe tomorrow we’ll get 10. these precious gems are related to the tomatillo, but they’re smaller, about the size of a marble. they taste like a tomato had a baby with a pineapple, with a little bit of vanilla. they are an heirloom – recorded in horticultural literature as early as 1837 in Pennsylvania. you can read more about ground cherries on wikipedia. i’d like to offer to share our harvest, but we have eaten every one of them as soon as they have fallen. we have about 6 of the plants, and i was hoping to get enough to make jam or pie, but the plants can’t even keep up with our snacking needs. we have to grow more next year, no question about it.

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