Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Heirloom Tomato Fest . . .

"First Tomato Harvest of 2006" . . .

"Tomato Garden" . . .

Today was the first day of a real tomato harvest. Not just one tomato here, another over there, but full on picking from more than one plant. We have over 64 heirloom tomato plants total! According to Ander, this bounty will be "just enough" for the family and some selected friends. LOL! He loves that fact that we have such an abundance. Since most of plants are heirlooms, they are best eaten fresh and don't really withstand preserving. Most are a high-moisture, low-acid content. But for our season's purpose, we put up a handful of jars. We still contact local tomato farmers to order several bushels for the "true" canning project.

"Insalata Caprese" . . . The upper left tomato slices are of "Black Krim" and the slices nestled between mozarrella are "New Ladies". Caprese was dressed with a drizzle of cold first pressed extra virgin olive oil, fleur de sel and fresh cracked black pepper. Basil leaves garnished the dish and added the essential herbal backnote.

In honor of my sister,LJ, who loves to walk through the garden and snack on the vittles, I made a Caprese salad to compliment our al fresco dining last night. Nothing fancy, just simple. Sliced tomatoes, basil, fresh mozarrella cheese and a fine quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. I noticed fresh "burrata" was going for $14.99 for a mini-diameter sphere at our local market. I think I'm gonna make my own. Fodder for a future post...hmmmm.

"Cherokee Purple" . . . Ander's proud and joy!

"New Ladies" . . .

"Green Zebra" . . . How do you know when the "Green Zebra" is ready? We pick them when there's just a kiss of sunshine yellow on their shoulders.

"Russian Black" . . .

"A basket to fill . . ."

"New Filly wants to join the Fest". . . She's only a few weeks old and has grown beside the tomato garden. She keeps hoping for a hand-out, but it's a No, No .

Life is a banquet, my friends.


Anonymous Ivonne said...

Who knew that there were so many different types of tomatoes! And that caprese salad has my mouth watering ...

8:11 AM, August 23, 2006  
Anonymous Sean said...

Yum-ola! Nothing, but nothing, beats fresh-off-the-vine ripe tomatoes. The smell alone is worth the price of admission. Caprese is one of the most sublime applications, though a little olive oil and salt is sufficient for me.

Last weekend Cam and Anita made us a lovely caprese with some heirlooms, a lovely burrata from Cowgirl Creamery, oil, salt, basil and some fabulous toasted bread crumbs for crunch. To die for.

1:27 PM, August 23, 2006  
Anonymous payal said...

64?!?! Ok, Anni, we're coming over to YOUR house for all things tomato! I love caprese salad drizzled with a fantastic extra virgin olive oil. I grew up in NJ, so tomatoes were abundant and delicious in the summertime. The tomatoes and salad look delish!

8:01 PM, August 24, 2006  
Blogger anni said...

Ciao, Ivonne!

According to Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit devoted to preserving agricultural diversity, there are more than 3,000 varietals of tomatoes! Imagine! Sadly, several vegetable varieties have disappeared from seed catalogs at an annual rate of 6%. Thank goodness for heirlooms. We save seed every year and germinate them the next season.
Tomato picking is grueling. My fingers are already stained just from a couple of days of harvesting. I don't mind. It's a good thing (a la Martha).

I love your visits. Thanks for stopping by. I wish I could send you some of this wonderful bounty! I'm working on the Bay Laurel like a maniac on a mission! LOL!

Anni :-)

8:57 PM, August 24, 2006  
Blogger anni said...

Ciao, Sean!
Got your lovely note. Now, how did you know I loved Paris?
Yumm...Cam and Anita did good! I'm still gonna make my own "burrata".
These "maters" are so divine. I wish I can share them with everyone. You would love these with your basil. How are they doing?

Anni :-)

9:01 PM, August 24, 2006  
Blogger anni said...

Hello, Dear Payal!

I guess that's why NJ is called "The Garden State". I once knew a Food Scientist that was a big tomato growing, obsessed, gardener. He would brag about his soil testing, pH balancing and such. We just use good old fashioned compost and chicken manure.
Let's plan to meet soon so you can have some to enjoy! Picnic in mid-September? It'll be the beginning of harvest for some vineyards!

Anni :-)

9:08 PM, August 24, 2006  
Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Holy Tamalie...those are fabulous tomatoes - I love green zebra! but I could be happy with any of them.
What's your nearest airport, I think I need to fly somewhere.

7:47 PM, September 07, 2006  

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