20 Aug

So, it turns out that I can grow tomatoes after all.

Just very, very slowly and one at a time. I’m a deliberate ‘mater farmer, obviously!  Little Roaslita has some amigas, but the plant has a touch of something. I’m just hoping that now that the weather is so hot and dry that she can hold the nasties (and the crows) at bay.

And while I’m excited at the promise of some real homegrown tomatoes to snack on, if you can believe it I’m actually sad that I don’t have any more green tomatoes.  Just as I was finishing up a batch of green-tomato ketchup¹ (the final four plants I had in the garden succumbed to the blight), flipping through a cookbook while the cans boiled, I came across a recipe for green tomato pie².

Oddly enough, the recipe sounds a bit like the Shaker Lemon Pie that you were all exclaiming about on my last post.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it at the end of the summer when those farmers that have actually been able to grow tomatoes this year will be off-loading their greenies.

But while this year I’m a minimalist tomato grower, I’m a maximalist with everything else.  We have squash the size of your arm, and some the size of your head.  The eggplants and peppers are so leaden with fruit I’ve had to stake nearly every one of them.  And then there’s the beans.

Have you ever seen a plant more beautiful than Blue Coco?  And not only is she beautiful she’s also versatile. You can eat the beans young as haricots, you can eat them when they’re fat as shell beans, and you can dry them and save them for winter bean-eating as well.  And lucky me, I have them coming out of my ears!  Also coming along are a few other shell beans and two varieties of green beans.

And since I figure everyone else out there with a garden (or with friends who garden) is likely nearing that panic time of ohmygodwhatamIgoingtodowithalltheseveggies?! I thought I’d share a few recipes I’ve ginned up that use copious amounts of produce.

Blue Pasta Salad.  Boil some whole wheat rotini.  When tender, drain and return to the pot.  Add a bit of chopped onion, a smidge of garlic and half of a thinly sliced hot pepper.  And then add blue cheese. A few chunks will suffice, we’re mainly going for an aroma here, not an overwhelming goopiness.  From here, toss in whatever you’ve got.  Leftover grilled squash or eggplant would be divine, as would sundried tomatoes.  I used some cooked Blue Coco beans (to further the blue theme, obviously), a huge squash diced and lightly sauteed and great handfuls of shredded lacinato kale.  When all the veggies are in, season with salt, olive oil and vinegar.

Squash Quiche. Caramelize some onions, add garlic, half a hot chile and squash sliced thinly.  Cook until just tender and add lots of herbs.  Layer into a pie crust and add your favorite quiche mixture (mine uses eggs and kefir, yum).  Bake until golden brown and puffy.

Shaker Green Bean Salad. Blanch and cool some green beans.  Toss with lettuce, thinly sliced nasturtium leaves, a small handful of small nasturtium pods (pickled would be nice) and fresh summer savory.  Dress with your favorite dressing.  I used one flavored with horseradish mustard and it was outstanding.

Pseud0-Mexican Green Beans in Crema.  Sautee thinly sliced button mushrooms with onion, garlic and a hot chile. Add green beans and season with a little lime juice and a few chopped chipotles in adobo and cook until tender.  Take off the heat, add a pinch of fresh cilantro,  and lots of crema.  Seriously, this is ridiculously good and would be the perfect accompaniment to this dish of Lisa’s, maybe dressed up with a little pork.  Mmmmmm ….

And then a few from the archives:

If you do happen to have a bumper crop of tomatoes, try this Polenta Tomato Tart.  Super easy and very delicious.

Carrots coming out of your ears?  Why not make a Zippy Morrocan-esque Salad and some Summer Sparklers.

Too many cukes to count?  There’s always the Dilly Kirby Ditty Salad.

Mad at your squash?  Stuff them!  You can do it In-A-Pinch or Deliberately.

Have a mess of mint?  Putting it in your drinks is so last year, why not make a Pistou and serve it over grilled scallops.

Beaten by beets?  I associate Pickled Red Beet Eggs with Easter, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

So, I hope that helps with any vegetable-induced freakouts you might be experiencing right now.  We’re taking another week off to spend up at the house, so I’m hoping that will help put a dent in our ever expanding produce glut.  I’m finally going to tackle the 20+ pounds of blackberries currently hogging every inch of space in the freezer, and I’m looking forward to canning some squash pickles, eggplant pickles, beet pickles, cucumber pickles and Dilly Beans.

So, do you have a good recipe to share?  Leave it in the comments.  Or tell us what you’re drowning in. Maybe someone has a great idea!


1 Green Tomato Ketchup (adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s The Joy Of Pickling).

Combine 1 gallon of pureed green tomatoes (briefly boiled and then passed through a food mill), 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, 1/2 cup (or more) hot green chiles, 2 garlic cloves, 2 cups cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon pickling salt in a big, non-reactive pot.  Bring to a boil.

Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar.

Put in a small muslin bag 1 good Bay leaf, 2 tablespoons corriander seeds, 1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries and a piece of cinnamon broken into pieces.  Add this to pot.

Cook, stirring frequently until thickened.  Turn off the heat.  Squeeze the spice bag to extract all the flavors and pass the mixture through the fine sieve of a food mill.  Return to the pot, taste, add more brown sugar if necessary and bring to a boil again, and cook, stirring frequently until the ketchup mounds nicely on a spoon.

Ladle the mixture into clean, hot pint or half-pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace and process in a boiling water bath.  Store jars in a cool, dark place.

² Green Tomato Pie (from Evan Jones’ American Food: The Gastronomic Story).

1 recipe for Pie Dough (maybe this one or this one)

6 medium-sized Green Tomatoes

2 tbs Butter

1 cup Sugar

1/2 tsp freshly ground Allspice

1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon

1/2 c Cider Vinegar

1 tsp Flour

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Slice the tomatoes paper thin.  Push the pie dough into a tin and dot with butter.  Add the tomatoes in layers, topping each layer with some sugar, some spices, some vinegar, a bit of butter and a sprinkling of flour.  Roll out the remaining dough and cover pie.  Crimp edges and trim crust.  Cut a vent into the top crust or form a chimney with the dough scraps.  Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375°F and allow to bake a further 35-40 minutes.  Serve slightly warm with a wedge of good, farmhouse cheddar.

I can’t wait to make this. If you’ve ever tried Green Tomato Pie, please let us know what it’s like.


One Response to “Bounty”

  1. Anh August 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    Such a beautiful post! :)

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