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!

++

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.
++

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.

7 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: To-MA-to, To-MAH-to

    • Bluz, Bluz, Bluz. *shakes head in disappointment* A big red (or pink or yellow) ripe summer tomato is a thing of perfection.

      And, let’s recall, I’ve removed the possibility of meat from all my days. MWAHAHAHA.

      😉

  1. Great ideas. FYI – washingtonpost.com food section is also posting great tomato recipes for summer. On another summer vegetables note, I made a great vegetarian corn chowder over the weekend – corn is found in abundance right now and so tasty in a soup! Hannah and I stir-fried vegetables and tofu last night. I liked the flavor of the dish but not the consistancy of the tofu. Is there a way to sear it so the tofu has a “meatier” texture…not so squishy?

    • I will check those out, thank you!

      Tofu: the key is what kind of tofu you are buying. You want tofu packed in a plastic tub with water, probably firm or extra firm. If you are going to use tofu in a recipe like stir fry, you want to drain it and then press the water out of it. The best way to press it is between two plates (or a cutting board on the bottom and a plate on the top) with some sort of weight on the top (a hand weight or a canned good). The bottom surface should have a couple of paper towels on it. You can press it for 5 minutes or an hour — the longer, the “drier” the tofu will be.

      You can also freeze the tofu first. Unpack it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, freeze it for a couple of days. When you are ready to cook with it, let it thaw, press out the water, and cook.

      Either of these methods will give the tofu a firmer texture. You do not want to buy “silken” tofu. that’s for like dips or smoothies and such.

      Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s