1 Weekend, 2 Tomato Recipes

September 4, 2008 at 4:03 am (Napa Valley) (, , )

Ahh, Labor Day.  The mark of the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  No more wearing white, no more skinny dipping, and definitely no more massive Coors Light consumption because it is way too hot to drink anything else.

I kept getting the question “What are you doing for Labor Day?  Going anywhere fun…to Bass Lake, to the houseboat, to LA?”  And I repeatedly answered “Nope don’t want to fight the crowds, staying as local as possible.” 

Friday and Saturday I pretty much stuck to the plan, but by Sunday I was ready to do something

The Minkie

The Minkie

different.  So I packed up the Minkie and some low key clothing and headed east on Highway 12 to H-town to visit my parents and Popo and Grandma.  (H-town is my pet name for the town I grew up in Hughson, CA…a special place about 10 miles down Highway 99 from Modesto).

First thing on my agenda was not the usual visit to El Super Taco for a Green Sauce Enchilada, but visiting a local fruit/veggie stand to purchase a ton of tomatoes.  The agenda for the afternoon would be tomato pickling…I had been inspired over the last couple of weeks by various tomato recipes I had seen in various magazines and articles and had decided that this would be a good time to try some.  (I don’t think my mom and Grandma didn’t know what they were in for!) 

Pickled Farm-Stand Tomatoes with Jalapenos
Food & Wine, August 2008
2 C rice vinegar
1/2 C light brown sugar
2 t salt
2 C EVOO
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 t fresh ginger, finely grated
2 t mustard seed
2 t ground black pepper
2 t ground turmeric
2 t ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 # tomatoes, cut into wedges
8 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
4 jalapenos, thinly sliced into rings

1.  In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, brown sugar and salt to a boil, stirring.  Remove from heat.
2.  In a medium skillet, heat the oil.  Add the garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, black pepper, turmeric, ground cumin and cayenne pepper and cook over low heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes).  Carefully pour into the vinegar mixture.
3.  In a large heatproof bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions and jalapenos.  Stir in the hot pickling liquid and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours.
Serve with:  grilled steak or chicken, also crusty bread to sop up the juices.
Note:  Since we had mass amounts of tomatoes we tripled the recipe and it still turned out lovely and because we were making so much we actually “canned” the tomatoes.  We did this by sterilizing the jars, filling the jars with the tomato mixture and then topping the jars off with the hot pickling liquid.  Then sealed the jars shut and let them cool to room temperature.  Wha, la!  A taste of summer ready for the dreary winter months!

After the days work we were inspired to make something with the remaining tomatoes the next day.  So after dinner we perused through my ear-marked magazine pages and Internet print outs.  And finally decided we would make Tomato Jam. This recipe we also tripled and “canned” so that we use the jam at a later date.

Tomato Jam
The New York Times, August 20, 2008
1 1/2 # ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1 C sugar
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
1 T Fresh grated minced ginger
1 t ground cumin
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1 t salt
Red Pepper flakes to taste
1.  Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam (about 1 15 minutes).  Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use.  Will keep up to a week, unless you preserve it by “canning”.
Yield:  About 1 pint

Needless to say it was a super productive 2 days and I got to have some nice visits with my family.  Minkie got to run free and I got to eat Mexican food.  Sometimes it’s the simple things that just put a smile on my face.

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