Thursday, August 7, 2014

I'm Cooking with Tomatoes These Late Summer Days

Fat, gorgeous, red and beefy.  
Tomatoes seem to be everywhere these days.  I'm finally getting a few off my vines!  At the farmer's market yesterday, the growers were asking me for extra Project Mana crates and stuffing them full of ripe and juicy tomatoes to give to the hungry.  Even the supermarkets have beautiful organic and heirloom tomatoes in August. 

Fifteen gorgeous but broken tomatoes from the farmers market

Last week I received a tomato bonanza at the farmers market.  After picking up the vendor donations of full-to-bursting crates of every kind of gorgeous produce for Project Mana, I noticed my favorite tomato lady walking toward the trash can with a saggy carboard box full of slightly smashed tomatoes.  Now folks, these were not your ordinary tomatoes, but a beautiful, colorful mix of ruby red, orange and summer golden heirloom tomatoes perfectly ripe and plump. These turned out to be all the tomatoes that customers had dropped on the ground during that day's market.  Hey, I'm not proud, especially when it comes to  beautiful produce.  Plus, I know how to use a faucet!  I asked her if I could have the boxful and she gave it to me, but only after extracting a promise that I would cook up something wonderful with it. 

Well, wonderful is what I did.  This simple packed with summer flavor and gorgeously red smashed tomato soup became a family meal for both my household and Debbie's crew who were visiting down at their Tahoe cabin.  And it couldn't be easier to make.  Grab yourself a basket full of the ripest possible farmer's market tomato seconds and make up a batch for your family.  My lot raved about this soup.

Smashed Tomato Soup (Sooooooo easy!)
By the way, I served this with organic chicken sausage, sliced fresh farmer's market cucumbers and delicious homemade pear and ginger muffins

·        1 onion chopped
·        15 mixed variety smashed or very ripe tomatoes, cores removed
·        generous handful of fresh roughly chopped basil
·        salt and pepper
·        balsamic vinegar

Simply saute the onion in a generous dollop of olive oil.  When translucent drop in the 15 tomatoes and smash them up further with a wooden spoon.  Add basil and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until tomatoes are softened and heated through.  Puree most of the soup in a food processor leaving some unprocessed to create a hearty texture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle in balsamic vinegar to taste. 

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