Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ingredient of the Day: The Lovely Tomato (aka Love Apple)

This year, we were lucky enough to be given these canned homegrown tomatoes from C's Dad. (He also makes us mini pizzas with an amazing tomato sauce that is a reduction of the clear liquid that he saves from the tomatoes during canning<---HOT tip that; hope he doesn't mind me sharing his secret!) ;0)

Did Ya Know?: the forbidden fruit in the Bible was never specifically named as an apple. Perhaps it was a pomegranate (of Persephone fame) or maybe it was a tomato!?! lol. They were originally called love apples. Also, Brits first thought the tomato was poisonous (the leaves certainly are...) A number of people are allergic to tomatoes. The plant is in the nightshade family, which includes the Tobacco plant--and of course eggplant, peppers... [More about the history of the tomato here.]

Much thanks to this site for this photo.

Apparently, the peak of tomato nutrition is "achieved on the vine just hours before they are overripe" so growing your own is the very best. (Source.) The thing I find most interesting about tomatoes: they taste better (and are better for you) canned. Tomatoes are one of the best foods for flavour without low-fat, and with vitamins. They're rich in Lycopene: an antioxidant. (The canning/cooking process actually makes the good stuff more accessible to your bod!) More here.

If you're a purest and you want to avoid tinny taste, you can can your own in glass canning jars like my F.I.L. I haven't done my own canning for a couple years (we keep meaning to have a canning party--maybe this summer...) I have to try canning a little-known tomato gem that my mouth keeps remembering (and missing!): my Bam Bam's (my Grandma's) pickled whole green plum-tomatoes. I'll post the recipe here, if I can coax it out of her--and if I can get it to work well. ;0) I don't blog recipes until I've tried them, but in case you can't wait: here's a few links for pickled green tomatoes.

And here is a recipe I have tried (and love love love!) It's an unbelievably EASY snack or appetizer:

Tomatoes with cheese & fresh Basil:


(store out of fridge to retain the best flavour & texture.)
Cheese of choice:
Havarti, Mozzarella or Bocconcini
Olive Oil (Your favourite) & Balsamic Vinegar (dark or white)
Salt & pepper (fresh ground)
Fresh Basil
(or Oregano, Cilantro or Thyme)

Super-dee-duperdy EASY Assembly:

1. Slice tomatoes.

2. Add Havarti or your cheese of choice (room temperature cheese is loverliest!) I love Havarti (but you can use any cheese that you enjoy. This is inspired by friends of ours who make it traditionally--and fabulously--with Mozzarella or Bocconcini.)

3. Season (salt & fresh pepper to taste.) Sprinkle chopped Basil and drizzle on a great olive oil. (I like to garnish with extra Basil leaves, so people who really like Basil can just add their own.) You can even use Oregano or Cilantro leaves instead--they're are also natural pairings for tomato. Thyme is good too! I finish by adding a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar.

Enjoy! :0)

More of my favourite recipes with tomato:

Salsa (of course)--Which is also great in seven-layer Mexican dip
or Taco Supreme Salad

Fresh Salsa & Roasted Almond baked goat cheese (yummmmmmmmy!)

and of course it's great in curries, chili, and spaghetti sauce. (Recipes to follow in the new year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

tomatoes cheese and herbs what a great combination love momp