In the share this week:
- heirloom slicing tomatoes – brandywine, cherokee purple, striped German
- Sungold cherry tomatoes
- paste tomatoes
- red and yellow globe tomatoes
- grape tomatoes
- green beans
- zucchini and summer squash
- red and green bell peppers, including Cubanelles
- ancho/poblano, jalapeño and Hungarian hot wax peppers
The Raw and the Cooked
Every August, when we get the first few ripe heirloom tomatoes, I try to enjoy them as simply as possible. Sliced thickly and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Layered in a beautiful BLT. Maybe drizzled with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar and gobbled down raw with fresh mozzarella.
But then the tomato deluge begins. By the third week of August, the paste tomatoes are ripening in earnest, and the grape and globe tomatoes turn red and deep yellow. Add those to the pounds and pounds of big, juicy heirlooms and cherry tomatoes that are ripening every day, and we’ve got a serious tomato situation on our hands. Luckily, it’s also a delicious one!
When life gives you tomatoes, cook them! Roast them, stuff them, bake them in a pie. Layer them, can them, blend them into soup. Honestly, there’s no wrong way to prepare a vine-ripened, peak-of-season tomato. Just lots of excitingly right ways.
Roasting Your Way to Happiness
The weather has been amazing recently — sunny and relatively cool without a trace of humidity — which means it’s safe to use the oven again. One of the easiest ways to create a rich and flavorful tomato-based dish is to roast the tomatoes first.
Our favorite roasted tomato recipe by far is Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes with Pasta. To create the sauce, you cut a bunch of tomatoes in half and scoop out their guts into a bowl. Into that same bowl, you add minced garlic, basil, parsley and bread crumbs. Mash the mixture into a thick paste and spoon it back into the tomato “shells.” Drizzle the stuffed tomatoes generously with olive oil and bake at 400F until nice and soft, at least 30 mins. The softened stuffed tomatoes can be stirred right into freshly cooked pasta for an instant sauce.
We tried a twist on this recipe the other day. Inspired by a recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook — graciously gifted this summer by my sister-in-law Holly — we decided to use the stuffed roasted tomatoes as the topping for toasts, not pasta. Here’s what the roasted tomatoes look like before being mashed into a thick sauce…
And here’s what the finished dish looks like — thick slices of toasted bread topped with white beans, roasted tomatoes, and some roasted peppers, onions and zucchini. (plus lots of parmesan cheese and fresh basil)
World’s Best Tomato Soup
Strong words, I know. But while you’re in the mood for roasting tomatoes, you just have to make roasted tomato soup. Serve alongside grilled cheese sandwiches to achieve “dinner hero” status.
Cream of (Roasted) Tomato Soup
- 4-5 lbs of tomatoes, quartered if really big
- half a yellow onion, sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic with the skin still on
- olive oil
- 2 to 4 cups of stock or broth, depending on how tomato-y you want it (beef is best, but veggie and chicken work, too)
- 1 tsp of sugar (optional)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, yogurt or sour cream
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Generously oil the bottom of a large glass baking dish, then toss in the tomatoes, onion and garlic to coat with oil
- Roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic in the oven until tomatoes are nicely blackened and very soft, about 30 minutes
- Meanwhile, bring the stock to a simmer
- Let the tomatoes cool slightly, then lift away the charred skin (tongs are helpful here) and remove skin from roasted garlic
- Add tomatoes (with all their juices) and onion and garlic to the simmering broth. Let the flavors blend for 5 mins.
- Blend the soup with a hand blender or regular blender. Add sugar to taste, then stir in cream or yogurt.
Stuffed Peppers, Sweet and Spicy
Stuffed peppers are a staple dish in many cultures. A hollowed-out pepper makes the perfect container for ground meat, rice, veggies, cheese, or even more peppers! In the CSA share this week you’ll be getting several types of peppers, some sweet and some spicy, but all eminently stuff-able.
First, a pepper primer. You all know what a jalapeño looks like. That’s the only really spicy pepper we hand out. But here are two milder “hot” peppers you’ll be getting this week that are great for stuffing (apologies to the Internet for the stolen stock images):
The most popular way to stuff banana peppers is with a flavorful combo of spicy Italian sausage, cheese and bread crumbs.
The classic Mexican preparation of poblano peppers is Chiles Rellenos (stuffed peppers), filled with cheese before being battered and fried to a crispy golden brown. An easier, healthier version simply stuffs the poblanos with a mixture of black beans, corn and cheese. Ground beef taco filling is another excellent addition.
You’ll also be getting a few sweet peppers this week, a combination of red and green bell peppers and pale-green Cubanelles.
There are lots of great ways to stuff a sweet pepper, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Grilled Stuffed Peppers
- Ground Beef and Rice Stuffed Peppers
- Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Stuffed Pepper Soup
And Now, for Your Recipes…
A big “thank you!” to CSA member Amanda for sharing this recipe for a fruity tomato-nectarine salad she found at The Splendid Table!
Nectarine, Tomato, and Basil Salad with Torn Mozzarella
- 3 nectarines
- 10 oz tomatoes of mixed sizes and colors
- 8 oz buffalo mozzarella, drained of whey
- leaves from 1 large bunch of basil
- salt and black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
CSA member Jared not only made the Galia melon agua fresca again (!), but accompanied it with a creamy and crunchy tomato pie. Here’s a solid tomato pie recipe from the Food Network.
You might want to hold on to this recipe for Tomato and Corn Pie from CSA member Emily for another couple of weeks when we have more fresh sweet corn.
Keep your dinner pics and recipes coming!