Well almost. As tempting as it sounds to replicate the annual Spanish Tomatina Festival, where revelers take over the city to enjoy a city-wide tomato fight in Bunol, Spain, I usually like to find a slightly more productive use for the fruits. Although we certainly have enough ammo to participate, and it does sound fun.
No, we like to eat our tomatoes. And there is nothing that compares to fresh home-grown tomatoes. The mass-produced grocery store varieties don’t even compare.
Every May, I put about 30 tomato plants in our garden, consisting of about 8 to 10 various varieties. And every July, as the plants start to fill out the garden I begin to think that maybe I went a little overboard. And every August my concerns are validated as we harvest bowl after bowl of the juicy fruits on a daily basis. That’s where we are now.
So what to do with these juicy little fruits?
Our entire diet from the beginning of August through about the mid to end of September is basically a vehicle for tomato consumption. Salads, burgers, sandwiches, morning bagels, omelettes – you name it. Tomato me up.
Sheila and I are both afficianados of good bar food. I’m not talking about the frozen breaded fried stuff, but rather good simple recipes using fresh ingredients. Two recipes in particular that are staples in our house during tomato season are our home-made nachos, and bacon bruschetta.
Lucky for you, I’m in a sharing mood, so here’s our recipes:
15-20 whole garlic cloves
5 large bell peppers (it’s also the heart of pepper season right now, so feel free to play around with other pepper types too!)
10-15 jalapenos (depending on your taste for spice)
2 lbs of ground beef
2 cups of black beans
Tortilla Chips (Our local market makes homemade chips -- Nothing compares!!)
Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes
Chop up the onions, peppers and garlic and sauté in olive oil. Add ground beef and black beans, and continue to cook until meat is cooked.
On a large cookie sheet, place an ample of amount of chips atop a piece of foil. Layer with cheese, the cooked “slop” (We love this term for a lot of dishes, as unattractive as it may sound), more chips, cheese, slop, etc.
Cook at a low temperature in the oven for about 5 minutes – just enough to melt the cheese. Slide the whole aluminum foil sheet, chips, slop and all, right onto a large serving plate. Once it’s on the plate, dump a boatload of sliced tomatoes and the sliced avocado on top. MMmmmmm. Yummy nacho-y goodness. Enjoy!
** This recipe feeds a lot! You’re going to have leftover slop most likely. The more the merrier. That means you get to have more nacho dinners (and use up more tomatoes) in the days to come.
1 lb bacon
Basil (Oh yeah, it’s basil season too!)
Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.
This recipe is so easy it’s ridiculous. Definitely our go-to dish for picnics and get-togethers. And if you happen to be a vegetarian, just omit the bacon – still awesomely delicious.
Cook up the bacon and let cool. Slice and chop up an ample amount of tomatoes and put in a serving bowl. Take about two large stalks of basil and cut up the leaves into the bowl with the tomatoes. Cut up your bacon into small 1” pieces and then add a spoonful or two of the diced garlic. Pour about ¼ cup of olive oil over the whole bowl, and toss thoroughly. Serve on some toast points, and you’re good to go!
So those are just two of the many uses for tomatoes we enjoy during this bountiful time of year. If anybody else has any good suggestions, I’m all ears.
"One day there were three tomatoes walking down the street, a mama tomato, a daddy tomato and a baby tomato. Baby tomato is walking too slowly, so the daddy tomato goes back, steps on him and says 'ketchup!' "
– Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction