Meatless Monday: To-MA-to, To-MAH-to

I have a lot of tomatoes. Fresh, farm and garden grown (not my own garden, unfortunately).

I will confess here: I am a complete tomato snob. If I cannot trace a tomato directly to the farm or garden from which it came, I don’t buy it or use it. All my tomatoes come from my CSA, acquaintances’ or my neighbor’s gardens, and farmers markets. I get my tomatoes at the peak of tomato season in the summer, and then I’m done — done — with tomatoes for the rest of the year.

Because those red things in the grocery stores in December? Those are not tomatoes. (And, no, I have not read TomatoLand, about which I am curious, but I’m not sure given the way I already feel about winter “tomatoes” I should read it. Yea or nay?)

I made gazpacho on Saturday, and I cut up a bunch more to garnish our soft tacos with for dinner that night, and I still have a lot of tomatoes.

The gazpacho is delicious, though.

I have two more tomato recipes to get to this week, but first:

Gazpacho
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

4 cups tomato juice (divided)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mustard*
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon white sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine 2 cups of tomato juice with all the other ingredients, and pulse until well-combined, but still chunky. Transfer into large bowl (I used a big Tupperware container), add 2 more cups of tomato juice, and use an immersion blender on low to blend.

*the original recipe calls for tarragon, but I didn’t have any, so I subbed dried mustard. The OR also called for parsley, but I didn’t have that, either, and just skipped it. Still completely delicious, and it’s going to be part of my dinner for the rest of my week!

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The next recipe is my favorite tomato recipe EVER — EVER. It’s from Smitten Kitchen, and the link from my blog to the recipe at Smitten Kitchen is here, but I’ve reproduced it below, and if you love tomatoes and have a lot of them, run to your kitchen — yes, RUN — and make this right now. Seriously I have been waiting for my CSA tomatoes all year just so I can make this, and I will sit up late eating it directly out of the Pyrex container with a spoon.

No, I’m not sharing. Go make your own.

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Adapted, only slightly, from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it, only slightly, from Ina Garten

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread from a loaf of Italian or French bread (no crust; just tear the white into 1-inch pieces. If you like it pretty, you can cut it into 1-inch dice)
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (in my experience, this is about 9 medium tomatoes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.
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And then for Thursday night’s Back To School picnic (which, WTH, BTS?), I want to make salsa. If you have a favorite recipe, leave it in the comments. If you have any other tomato recipes that are must-trys, send ’em my way. The tomatoes have just started rolling in, and I love them prepared just about any way possible.