Cocktails Anytime

Tomato, Tomahto, Potato, Potahto

With summer in full swing, and sadly, even coming to an end, I’m eager to use all the wonderful fruits and vegetables of the season. In california, the tomatoes have been divine this year! Just sweet as candy! I’ve always been such a fan of Elizabeth Lamont’s blog and new I had to blog about her when I saw her post about all the fabulous ways to use tomatoes. From a classic pizza recipe, to an innovative sandwich recipe, to even step by step instructions on how to bottle your own tomatoes, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Here are a few of my favorite recipes using the succulent vegetable.

 

BBT SANDWICH (Bacon, Basil, Tomato) 

Photo and recipe courtesy of My Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 piece ciabatta bread, split lengthwise (about 3 1/2 by 5 in.)
  • Mayonnaise
  • 4 to 6 large fresh basil leaves
  • 4 to 6 slices firm-ripe Sunset’s Red Horizon or similar large tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground pepper
  • 2 slices crisp-cooked bacon

Preparation

  1. Split a piece (about 3 1/2 by 5 in.) of ciabatta bread (or a crusty roll) in half lengthwise. Toast lightly. Spread cut sides generously with mayonnaise. Cover bottom half with 4 to 6 large fresh basil leaves and a thick layer of 4 to 6 slices firm-ripe Sunset’s Red Horizon or similar large tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste. Top with 2 slices crisp-cooked bacon. Cap with top half of ciabatta (or top half of roll).
BOTTLING TOMATOES
I do not have a sophisticated canner and you don’t need one. You can make one bottle or a lot and you can do it using regular pots and pans on your stove. They do not need to be canned in a pressure canner since they are a fruit and the natural acids inhibit bacterial growth. Here is how you do it:
Photo and recipe courtesy of The Idea Room
Gather your canning jars (I like to use the quart size jars), lids and rings. Wash bottles in your dishwasher on high heat setting. Just as the jars finish the wash cycle and begin the heated drying session, begin cooking your ingredients.

Gather your tomatoes and wash well. Remove any spots or decayed areas and plant material. You will need 4 different sauce pans. A large stock pot for your tomato mixture, two medium sized pans and a smaller sauce pan. You will also need quart size canning jars along with new lids and rings. Lids should never be re-used but the rings or “band” may be re-used.

Then simmer the following ingredients on the stove for 20 minutes or until soft:
1 diced green pepper
1 diced onion
1/2 c. water

After you start the above ingredients simmering, put another saucepan of water on the stove and heat to boiling.

While simmering the above ingredients, fill sink about 1/2 full with tomatoes. Cover tomatoes with your boiling water to loosen tomato skins. Remove skins from tomatoes and place in separate bowl. Be careful for they will be hot! Smash up and/or chop tomatatoes to whatever size suits your tastes and needs.

After simmering pepper and onions, combine tomatoes in same pan and add the following:

1 T salt
Pepper to taste
1 T vinegar
2 tsp sugar

Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Place the lids in a pan of water and bring to a simmer. After they simmer turn the heat off and let them sit in the pan until ready for use.

In a larger pan, place one of your bottles (1 bottle at a time) prior to filling with tomato mixture to ensure a proper seal. As soon as you remove a bottle replace it into the boiling water with another one from the dishwasher. Keeping the bottles boiling hot will allow them to properly seal and prevent spoilage.

When the tomatoes are ready, remove bottle from pan and immediately fill with tomatoes. Leave 1/4 inch space at the top of the bottle and wipe the rim off with a cleancloth. Place the lid on and seal with a ring. Set aside. Within 5-10 minutes you should hear a light popping sound. That is your bottle sealing. The bottles lids should not make a popping sound when you push on them. These are unsealed and can be processed again or placed in the fridge to be used within a few days.

This recipe will make 3-4 quart bottles. You will use all 4 burners on your stovetop at some point. If you have more tomatoes to can, just repeat the above process.

*If you don’t want to bottle them, you can simply wash them, pour boiling water over them to remove the skins, chop them into smaller peices and place in a Ziploc Freezer bag and store in your freezer.

LULU POWERS - Food to Flowers