Thursday, August 23, 2012

August is Tomato Month

So I wrote an Ode to Blueberries earlier in berry season.
But I can't forget about the other wonderful super-fruit, tomato.

Check these delicious heirlooms from my backyard.

As the season progresses, the colors change as different plants fruit at different times. The pink ones are my personal favorite, as their low acid-high flavor profile is very agreeable. There would be more pink in this picture, but I am constantly snacking on them, sprinkled with salt and eaten out-of-hand. The others have their special characteristics as well, and combining them makes it all the better.

But here we go for recipes I've gleaned and deemed acceptable. You will not find a bread salad with tomatoes here. There will be no gazpacho. There will be no fresh salsa. You shouldn't need someone to tell you how to make salsa. You shouldn't be eating bread salad unless you're in Italy. Just saying.

Cherry Tomato and Vanilla Bean Preserves - Saveur suggests this is perfect with a triple cream goat cheese. I'm inclined to agree.

Tomato Confit - Also called Preserved Tomatoes, this dish looks great, and I'm sure would be fantastic with crusty bread and hummus.

Tomato Butter - Yeah. Maybe the easiest preparation in the line up. This will make toast and eggs magical.

Pickled Tomatoes - For those with a craving for an Eastern European style meal. Get some dark bread and hot smoked fish. Have some green borscht and sour cream while you're at it.

Tabbouleh - Great time of the year for this fresh herb powerhouse.

Tuna and Tomato Tartare - This just seems amazing. Having a few friends over and want to impress them? This.

Quesadillas with Squash Blossoms, Bacon and Tomato - God this sounds awesome.And you know what? No one needs a recipe for quesadillas. It's the idea that I want to share here.

Roasted Tomatoes - Grill some fish, cut up some crusty bread, and serve these tomatoes. You're welcome.

Roasted Tomato Risotto - Save this recipe for later in the season when creamy risotto is the perfect start to a long, beautifully chilly fall evening.

Tomato and Herb Tart - Puff pastry; tomatoes; Gruyere. Yes. Please.

Oven-Dried Tomato and Olive Tart - Because one tart is not enough. Puff pastry, olives and goat cheese make this tomato tart a winner. Please don't even think about using canned olives.

KETCHUP - Yeahhhhh. They call this tomato jam. But we can all see from the recipe, this is clearly ketchup. Have you had homemade ketchup? It's freaking fantastic.

Ketchup! - There's more than one way to skin a cat. Or a tomato. This recipe for ketchup involves more ingredients. Doesn't necessarily make it better - just different.

Okay you get it right? Okay good. Make some food. Or make your friends make food. Just make sure there's tomatoes involved. It's the season after all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Old Friends

I've long loved double pan fried noodles. A dish introduced to me by my sister, who has been an advocate of this crispy, saucy meal for years.

Never a disappointment, this dish is one of my all-time comfort foods. I split this one with my sister earlier in the summer and the two of us polished off the whole plate. Just looking at it makes me feel good (and hungry.)

Thin, crispy fried noodles are tossed with meat, vegetables and brown sauce to create a myriad of textures and flavors.  Some of the noodles have become soft and limp with sauce, while others are still brittle and crispy. Bok Choy lines the plate, holding the sauce well, while providing a green crunch and multiple textures itself. The stalks crunchy and toothsome - the leaves soft and pliant. Snow peas, straw mushrooms and bamboo shoots round out the vegetable portion of the dish, with soft and meaty pork filling the protein component.

Another great aspect of this, is that it is generally very consistent from restaurant to restaurant. Of course some places make it better, but overall the concept and execution are the same.

I've found that cheaper restaurants have a disagreeable sauce laden with cornstarch and not much flavor. These places should be avoided for all their dishes.

This is one of my all time top comfort foods. What are some of yours?