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Posts Tagged ‘Tomatoes’


Tomatoes are coming in and that means it’s time to make some fresh salsa! Ready to head into the kitchen to make a real tasty treat? Put on some Latin music and let’s get started!

Ingredients

5 fresh tomatoes
2 jalapeno peppers
1 pasilla pepper
1 bunch of cilantro, wash well and chop
1 medium onion, chopped
3 limes, juiced
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Start with fresh tomatoes.

Start with home grown tomatoes

Slice the tomatoes and then cut into cubes. Place in a glass mixing bowl.

Tomatoes cubed and in a glass bowl

Cut the peppers from top to bottom and remove the seeds. I usually wear gloves when I do this as the oils from the peppers will burn if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Add to the tomatoes and stir to blend.

Tomatoes and the chopped peppers

Add the remaining ingredients. Let this sit in the refrigerator for a day or two before using. Stir this up occasionally. It will then look like this:

Salsa after sitting for a couple of days...

I use my salsa in other foods, like guacamole, burritos, quesadillas, soup, and I also use it with just plain tortilla chips. Want a good Spanish rice? Use a couple of spoonfuls in the water before cooking!

Have a great Thursday, and thank you for stopping by!

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As promised last week, I am finally going to divulge what it is that I do with green tomatoes! At the end of the growing season, when the rain starts to come in, whatever is left on the tomato plants, once hit with rain, will split and rot. Instead of wasting these little gems, I pull them all and clean them up.

Green tomatoes fresh from the garden

Once dry, I let them sit for the week in a brown paper bag. Then it is pickling day! I’ll bet you thought I would be making fried green tomatoes! I love pickled tomatoes! And green tomatoes are the best pickled! If you decide to try this, then let me tell you this takes a while, but the results are well worth it!  I use a dill pickling mix as I like the flavor the best.

I use pint jars. And I use the Ball brand Kosher Dill Pickle Mix. So are you ready to head into the kitchen? I am!

We are going to go in phases for this post, so bear with me! The first thing to do is sterilize the jars. The Ball Jars that I buy include the jar, the jar ring, and the lid. Place the jars and the rings in an empty dishwasher. Set the dishwasher on the rinse cycle. The water and the heat from drying are enough to sterilize your jars without having to boil them all in water. Set the lids aside as there is another process for that. The jars are sold by the dozen, and I do the dozen even though I might not use them all.

Sterilize the jars and rings

While the dishwasher is sterilizing your jars, cut up the tomatoes. Cut the stem end off and the flower end off. If you do not you can unknowingly add bacteria to your pickles. This is the same as you would do if you were pickling cucumbers, which I did look for but could not find. Here are what the tomatoes look like once they are all cut up.

Cut up those green tomatoes

I cut the larger tomatoes into eighths, and the smaller in half. The really tiny tomatoes I leave whole.  Aren’t they pretty?

Then get your pickling juice ready. I follow the directions on the pickling mix I buy. Today for 8 pint jars I used the following:

6 cups of water
3 cups of vinegar
3/4 cup of pickling spices

Now you have a bunch of things to do at this point. First, set the heat to bring the pickling juice to a boil. Start water in a saucepan to boil to sterilize the lids. And fill up your processing pot with water that should cover the jars once the jars are added. Set this to boil.

Next, fill your jars. I add 3 shakes of chili flakes, 3 cloves of garlic for each jar, and 3 sprigs of fresh washed dill. Then pack in the tomatoes as tightly as you can. When the pickling mix boils, turn the heat off and add it to the top of the jar leaving a 1/4″ space. Wipe the jars clean making sure to also get the grooves and top of the jar. You want a tight seal so your food does not spoil.

By now, the water with the lids should be boiling. Turn this off. There is this unique device with a magnet on the end that allows you to pull these out of the pot without burning your hand. Pull one out, set it on the jar, then place the ring on and tighten.

Jars are ready for processing

By the time all the jars are filled, lids on and sealed, the water in your processing pot should be boiling. Add one jar at a time to the rack that comes with this unit. One jar per space. The water should cover the jars.

Jars are processing

Boil for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and using the special tongs for this type of process, remove the jars and set to cool.

Jars are cooling

As the jars cool, listen for the seal to take effect. You will hear a popping sound, and you will see that the lid has sunk in. This can happen anywhere from a half hour to a couple of hours.  Let the jars cool completely before handling.  Any lids that have not popped, place in the refrigerator. They will be ready to eat in about two weeks.

The sealed jars can be used after sitting for about 3 weeks and you can store these for up to a year. I usually refrigerate them a day before using them! They make an unexpected and delightful appetizer for the holidays, or a gift for those holiday baskets.  If you do not eat them all before the summer, they are a perfect compliment to your summer BBQ!

Now, go out and have a great Monday!

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Even though the summer season has passed, there are still green plants growing in the vegetable garden. Yesterday was a day spent of getting rid of the dried corn stalks, and pulling up plants that will no longer produce. There was a lot of weeding too as I was putting in cauliflower and brussel sprouts. The broccoli just needed to be trimmed back. And, there were so many green tomatoes that I picked a huge bag, mostly green but not all! Here is what I brought in…

Green tomatoes

And, more green tomatoes

The larger green tomatoes

The entire tomato bounty

So, what does someone do with all these tomatoes, you ask?

Well the larger of the tomatoes will be ripened on the counter with an apple to aid the process. To see what happens with the rest of these tomatoes, well, you will just have to stay tuned!  I will be featuring a post using these green tomatoes this coming weekend!

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Anyone who has grown tomatoes knows that they seem to take forever to set the fruit and when they do, the gardener and cook will stand there waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the fruit to develop and ripen. My plants are well over 6 feet tall, and this year is the first year that I have to race against the ground squirrels to get to my tomatoes first! It is a bit disheartening to see a beautiful tomato and then to reach under to grab it only to discover half of it, in the area you cannot see, is missing! Oh well! At least I am picking some tomatoes!

In the seed packet of the mystery tomatoes were about 12 different varieties, and I seem to have 5 of the 12! Heirlooms are not always the prettiest of tomatoes although they can be packed with flavor! They have unusual shapes and cracking along the shoulders and seams that run along the bottom. So let us take a look at what I have got going here shall we?

Heirloom tomatoes

I know that I have here a Rainbow and the Black Krim. I think that the other tomato in this shot is the Arkansas Traveler. They all look pretty when sliced open.

Pretty slices

Here is another shot including a yellow tomato that I think might be a Golden Sunburst. I also have a smaller yellow/orange tomato, which did not make the photos in this blog as they were all eaten!

Another shot of the mystery tomatoes

Now I am not an expert on heirloom tomatoes, so if you think I have misnamed something please let me know. I will be using these tomatoes for another post where I make a salsa that I am planning on using on a pizza, which will be yet another post! Stay tuned!

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With the hot temperatures for the last week, we needed something cool to eat. What could be better than a huge tomato stuffed with chicken salad? This is another easy recipe. If you make the chicken salad early in the day, then the flavors will have a chance to meld…Here is a preview…

Preview

Let’s dive in, shall we? This serves two.

Ingredients
2 cans of chicken, chilled
3 stalks of celery
2 good slices of onion
1 TBS Mrs. Dash
Chili flakes
Mayonnaise
2 large tomatoes
Green salad

Drain the juices out of the can of chicken and add to a mixing bowl. Break up the chunks to shred the chicken.

Break up the chicken

Next chop up the celery and the onion and add to the chicken. Stir until well combined.

Combine in the celery and onion

Next add the Mrs. Dash and stir well.

Add Mrs. Dash

If you want a bit of heat, add the chili flakes. Let this sit in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat.

When ready to serve, remove the stem end of the tomato. Next, slice the sides being careful not to cut all the way through. Open up the tomato so that it resembles a flower. Using a spoon, stuff the tomato with the chicken salad between the slices and then spoon more on the top. Set this on top of your salad and serve!

Stuffed tomatoes!

I hope that you enjoy this easy salad! To change this up, you can also prepare a tomato and stuff it with bay shrimp!

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I had bought a mixed packet of heirloom tomatoes seeds. I have dubbed the bed my mystery tomato patch because I have no idea what I have growing in my garden other than the fact that they are heirlooms. So, I am asking you, my readers, to see if you can help me to figure out either from the flowers or the fruit, what I might have growing in my garden. Would you mind helping me?

OK, here we go: This is the mystery patch of tomatoes. Each main stalk is about 2″ in diameter. And here is what they look like.

The mystery tomato patch

I really do not think this helps, but I tossed it in anyway!

Now I will give you a progression of photos. Not all the plants have fruit, but I will give you a photo of the flower, and if I have fruit, a photo of the fruit. Maybe you can help me identify my plants…hoping…hoping…hoping…

Here we go:

The flower on mystery tomato #1

Mystery flower on tomato #2

The fruit on mystery tomato #2

This tomato is about 2″ across the shoulders.

The flower on mystery tomato #3

Flower on mystery tomato #4

Mystery tomato #4 fruit

This tomato is about 1/2″ across the shoulders.

The flower on mystery tomato #5

The flower on mystery tomato #6

The fruit on mystery tomato #6

This tomato is about 3″ across the shoulder.

All the tomatoes were started the second week of April. The plants were planted in the ground late May.  Gee, this sounds like one of those math problems.  If the tomatoes were started in April, and were big enough to put into the ground in late May, and the growth rate varied by the nth degree, on the road of travel, where are each of the tomatoes at with the end of week #10?  :-D

Would you possibly be able to help me identify any of these tomatoes? I sure hope so, and I am hoping that I at least have one red tomato!

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My little upstarts have been going gung ho! Today I noticed that tomatoes are coming up as is the Love in the Mist! It is so exciting to see the changes in the seedlings. I will be donating some of the many plants to the community garden that feeds those in need. The last photos were taken 4 days ago, and here is what it looks like today!

Left side of the greenhouse

Right side of the greenhouse

Corn

Beans, cucumbers and squash

Potatoes

Zucchini

Isn’t it amazing to see the difference after 4 days?  Check back again to see the progress!

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