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Tomato Sampler Lunch Recipes From August 1, 2017

Cream of Tomato Soup with Parsley Croutons

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Parsley Croutons

Ingredients:

2 pounds large, ripe tomatoes

Olive oil to coat tomatoes

8 shallots

1 small carrot

1 small fennel bulb

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

5 to 6 sprigs fresh tarragon

5 to 6 sprigs fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup heavy cream (optional)

Parsley Croutons:

12 thin slices baguette

Olive oil to generously coat both sides of each piece of baguette

3 cloves garlic, cut in half

½ cup Teleme cheese, grated (or use your favorite semi-soft cheese, such as Brie, Havarti, Monterrey Jack or Port Salut)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚. Cut tomatoes in half, seed them and coat with olive oil. Place tomatoes on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until the skins begin to darken and blister. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove the skins and reserve the pulp and all the juices.
  2. Coarsely chop the shallots, carrot and fennel. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté chopped vegetables until they are very soft. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add the stock and herbs and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the tomato pulp and reserved tomato juices. Remove the herb sprigs. Puree the soup or run the pulp through a food mill or fine sieve for a smoother soup. Season with salt and pepper and extra herbs, if desired. Keep warm over low heat.
  3. Lower the oven to 400˚. To make the parsley croutons, brush both sides of baguette slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Rub one side of baguette with garlic. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley and bake until brown.
  4. Add the cream to the soup if desired and heat until warm. Ladle soup into warm bowls and float 3 parsley croutons on top of each.

Serves 4

Adapted from TOMATOES, A Country Garden Cookbook by Jesse Cool

 

Summer Cherry Tomato Dressing

Summer Cherry Tomato Dressing

Ingredients:

8 ounces small cherry or other tiny tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons drained, oil-packed sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons drained capers, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh orange juice

½ teaspoon minced fresh garlic

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir gently to combine. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes (or up to 30 minutes) to let the flavors mingle and to let the tomatoes marinate some. Stir gently before serving over fresh green salad. May also be refrigerated overnight.

Yield: About 1 ¼ cups

Adapted from Edible Dallas and Fort Worth, Summer 2010

Curried Tomato Pickles

Curried Pickled Tomatoes

Ingredients:

2 pounds unripe green tomatoes

2 medium yellow onions

4 to 5 fresh whole red chili peppers

3 to 4 cups seasoned rice wine vinegar

3 bay leaves

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon whole allspice

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tablespoon whole cumin

Directions:

  1. Sterilize 4 or 5 pint-sized jars by boiling in hot water or running them through the dishwasher without detergent.
  2. Cut tomatoes into wedges. Cut the onions into wedges approximately the same size as the tomatoes. Alternate layers of the onions and the tomatoes in the sterilized jars. Place 1 chili pepper in each jar.
  3. In a large, nonreactive pot, bring all the remaining ingredients to a boil for 5 minutes. Strain and pour evenly over the onions and tomatoes. Let cool.
  4. Add enough liquid to the jars to completely cover the vegetables and reach within ½ inch of the top of the jar. Add more vinegar if more liquid is needed. Cover with the lids and store in the refrigerator. Give them a minimum of a few days before eating. Good for at least 2 months in the refrigerator.

Makes 4 to 5 pints

Adapted from TOMATOES: A Country Garden Cookbook by Jesse Cool

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Peach Salad

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Peach Salad over Whipped Burrata Cheese 

Ingredients:

2 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges

4 yellow pear tomatoes, cut in half

2 ripe peaches, sliced

2 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced on a mandoline

12 zucchini spirals, thinly sliced longwise on a mandoline

2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted

16 ounces Burrata cheese (may substitute fresh mozzarella and cream for thinning) 

Directions:

1. Whip Burrata cheese in a food processor until creamy and spreadable.

2. Spread equal amounts of the cheese onto four salad plates, forming a circle.

3. Arrange an even number of tomato wedges, peach slices, radish slices and zucchini spirals on top of the cheese.

4. Sprinkle the pine nuts evenly over each of the four plates. 

Serves 4

Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Tartlett

Recipes and Pictures by Linda Alexander

Editing by Lisa Centala

More Tomato Recipes Tomorrow!

 

Tomato Class and Tomato Sampler, Tuesday, August 1st

Growing Fall Tomatoes

 

There’s still time (just a little…) to get your tomatoes in for a fall crop. Jeff Raska, horticulturalist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and longtime tomato grower, will share his recipe for success with this garden favorite. We will also have a few extra tomato plants available for sale after the class.

Jeff has helped design a tomato trial, which we are implementing at Raincatcher’s. Our volunteers will plant two of the same variety of tomato into each of three raised beds to demonstrate results from different types of fertilizer: compost, organic and chemical.

Raincatcher’s is a demonstration garden and project of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Dallas County Master Gardeners located on the campus of Midway Hills Christian Church. To find the fellowship hall, please park in the west parking lot and come through the courtyard to the south church building.

After the class, we will be hosting a tomato sampler lunch with suggested donations of $10 per person. Details below.

Bring a friend, the public is welcome to either or both events.

Lisa Centala

Tuesday, August 1

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills, Fellowship Hall, 11001 Midway Rd, Dallas, TX 75229

 

“Just-picked, Homegrown and Vine-Ripened”

Welcome to the World of Tomatoes!

Join us at the tasting table immediately following Jeff Raska’s presentation…“Growing Fall Tomatoes”

$10.00 per person suggested donation

Menu

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Parsley Croutons

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Peach Salad over Whipped Burrata Cheese

Summer Cherry Tomato Salad Dressing Tossed with Mixed Greens

Tomato Tart

Curried Pickled Tomatoes

Green Tomato Brown Betty or Tomato Ginger Upside Down Cake

Linda Alexander

Leave a comment on our blog if you have a question!

Spring Is In The Air-Raised Bed Gardening

Good morning, Dallas Garden Buzz readers! If you are a subscriber and receiving emails of Dallas Garden Buzz posts, you can watch our informative videos by clicking on Dallas Garden Buzz at the top of your email. Pictures and videos are better if you go to our actual site rather than staying with the post in your inbox.

For those of you who have not become subscribers, please sign up to follow Dallas Garden Buzz by entering your email in the right hand column at the top of the page. We hope to have two posts a week during spring of 2017.

Recap of Jeff’s advice:

  • Top 12 inches of a raised bed should be a mixture of loamy soil amended with finished compost. We like homemade compost but it can also be purchased at garden centers by the bag or in bulk from companies who make it. Raised bed prepared mix by bag or bulk can also be purchased with compost already included.
  • Bottom portion of your raised bed could be hardwood mulch or even cut logs
  • 1/4 inch galvanized hardware cloth can be placed under the soil to deter unwanted critters from entering the bed by digging under it

What’s growing at The Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills?

Garlic, potatoes, onions, spinach, leeks, radish, and mesculun were planted earlier.

Tomato varieties, Black Krim, Celebrity, Sun Gold, and Green Zebra have been planted. We were able to plant them in late February  because of our early spring weather.

Raincathcer’s will also be planting a Three Sisters vegetable bed, Ambroisa melon, okra (of course!) and peppers.

Ann Lamb

Thank you Jeff Raska, Dallas County Horticulture Program Assistant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

 

 

 

 

My Garden Journey

In my first five years as a Dallas County Master Gardener (class of 2011), I have learned and experienced so much from working at our demonstration gardens; however, I had never attempted growing vegetables at home except in pots until this past fall when I saw sunlight streaming in a section of the backyard after a tree had been removed.

So this new adventure began – raised beds were found, plants were purchased and the garden grew – well some of it grew…

Brocolli by StarlaBroccoli and cabbage went in first along with a few herbs, followed by lettuce and arugula in October. I had some success with broccoli, but not so much with the cabbage, lettuce or arugula ( they bolted). Radishes and carrots were planted from seeds. After the first of the year onions were added and then potatoes came and went (I had the wrong soil, so they never sprouted).  There was minimal success with the radishes (not properly thinned), but the carrots – I waited, looking for a glimpse of the carrots(roots)? under the leafy tops — until right before Mother’s day, and then I pulled them. Once again the results were mixed;  I had a range of carrots from 1/4 inch to over 6-7 inches long  and counted 26 of the prettiest multicolored carrots I have ever grown.

Homegrown Carrots

Homegrown Carrots

This summer I’m trying things that we will eat as a family – tomatoes, peas, green beans , peppers. I have a space for cucumbers with hopes to make pickles like my family put up years ago.  My beds are few in number but just right for my learning curve. You can take this journey. it takes some planning, a little time and patience, but is well worth the effort.

Here are a few of the things I’ve gleaned from my raised beds:

  • Gardening with a group of people brings a broader depth of expertise
  • Information—ask questions, listen and apply–repeat.
  • Realize early on that everything won’t go according to plans. Don’t dwell on failures, but learn from them  — water properly, use the correct soil, compost, mulch, weed…
  • Celebrate success, no matter how small–they are victories!
  • Try new things, take notes (my garden journal currently has one entry, several months back, but there is value in the process)
  • Trial and error is another way of learning
  • Share your story, your experience, and the fruit of your labor —
  • Enjoy the adventure!

Starla

 

Tomatoes and North Texas

In selecting varieties of tomatoes for North Texas, the most important criterion to consider is the one in the trade called, “Early Season”. The less time required for maturation the better, because the extreme heat of our summers for tomatoes is like falling off a cliff.

Tomato varieties can also be described as being either determinate or indeterminate. Determinate varieties have the characteristic of reaching a point during their maturation at which most of the bearing of fruit occurs within a short time.  Indeterminate is just the opposite, where bearing occurs on a more gradual and sustained basis.

Indeterminate varieties that perform best here are mostly the smaller sized varieties. These can bear fairly prolifically even in mid-summer.  My own personal preference is for this class of tomatoes.  They are just the right size for popping into the mouth.  A usual day in my life finds me eating them every morning and about half the time that evening.

Tomato" Yellow Pear" an indeterminate variety

Tomato” Yellow Pear” an indeterminate variety

Larger sized tomatoes that perform best are the mid-sized varieties. The most popular 8- 12 oz. tomato for many years has been the determinant variety, Celebrity.  Its sister, Carnival is good also.  A typical year will find this variety bearing typically most heavily from early June to early July.

The largest fruited varieties require too long to mature, where anything past 65 days is marginal. The large fruited varieties also are susceptible to splitting and sun scald.  These do not appreciably affect the taste but certainly do affect the esthetic qualities of the fruit.

Celebrity Tomato Ripening on the Vine

Celebrity Tomato Ripening on the Vine

Perusing the catalog, “Tomato Growers Supply Company”, there are listed 16 varieties of Early Season varieties, many from which to choose.

Over the years, varieties come and go. Some are described as being highly heat resistant, but I would be wary of accepting that description as being accurate.  I would recommend acquiring a tomato catalog along with using my advice in choosing your selection(s).  Celebrity remains the preeminent mid-sized tomato.

Tom Wilten

Pictures by Starla

 

 

 

Flavorful News from the Dallas County Master Gardener Cookbook Committee

A new Dallas County Master Gardener Cookbook is on the way.  Our members have submitted a wheelbarrow full of recipes and gardening tips that the cookbook committee has been dutifully busy tasting and testing.

cookbook collage

We jumped into July with forks in hand. Tomato recipes were tasteful and tempting.  Corn, in abundance, brought comfort to our tummies.  Blackberries had us beaming with their beauty.  And, peaches just pushed us over the edge with their juicy goodness.  What could be better?  Well…

Cookbook August cropped overhead shot

In August we anguished over the okra. Which do we like best?  Fried, roasted, simmered, stewed or even finessed into little muffins?   And, oh how the squash recipes raised our spirits.  Shaved into salads, grated for quiche, pureed into soup, carpaccio and casseroles to consider.  How will we decide?

September, October and November we celebrated the harvest bounty. Sweet potatoes to savor, pumpkin recipes to ponder, an over-the-top apple recipe, a unique and very elegant pear presentation that left us swooning while Meyer lemon pie made us pucker with pride.

Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Our journey has been filled with flavor, fun and friendly evaluations. We’ve tasted, tested, eliminated some and accepted over 140 recipes.  Profound thanks to our faithful volunteers who have traveled with us.   The adventure continues to grow more exciting and we can’t wait to share our discoveries.

Until then, stay posted for more “flavorful news” from the cookbook committee and a special 2016 unveiling.

Take a peek at some “behind the scenes pics” courtesy of Ann and Starla!

Linda Alexander, Cookbook Chair

Fried Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes for Sale at Local Farmer's Market

Green Tomatoes for Sale at Local Farmer’s Market

Fried Green Tomatoes

Have you failed to savor this traditional Southern favorite? If so, you may want to reconsider and start frying a mess of these beauties while we’re right at the peak of spectacular summer produce.   Thanks to novelist, Fannie Flagg, for modeling her book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Random House 1987, after Birmingham’s Irondale Café, which her great aunt operated for nearly 40 years. Owner, Jim Dolan says his crew cooks about 135 pounds of fried green tomatoes a day. The book and movie helped the dish’s popularity – visitors come from all over the country to sample this Southern specialty.

The first recipe is from Southern Living 2003 Annual Recipes and is considered a classic. However, you might want to give the second one a try, also from Southern Living Annual Recipes, June 1999. The point is, a good southern recipe will make you a believer!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Aioli Sauce

Fried Green Tomatoes with Aioli Sauce

Golden Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes 

Ingredients:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup all-purpose flour, divided

½ cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3 inch slices

Vegetable Oil

Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside.
  2. Combine ¼ cup flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan.
  3. Dredge tomato slices in remaining ¼ cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
  4. Pour oil to a depth of ¼ to ½ inch in a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 375˚. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.

 

Blue Willow Fried Green Tomatoes

From the Southern Living Test Kitchen, this recipe garnered its best marks. The Blue Willow Inn reports that their fried green tomatoes are consumed like there’s no tomorrow in Social Circle, Georgia. 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups self-rising flour, divided

1 ½ cups buttermilk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper, divided

3 green tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices

2 cups vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Whisk together 1 tablespoon flour, buttermilk, eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Stir together remaining flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl.
  3. Dip tomato slices in buttermilk mixture; dredge in flour mixture.
  4. Heat oil in heavy 10-inch skillet to 350˚. Fry tomato slices 2 ½ minutes on each side or until golden.
  5. Drain tomato slices on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Serve fried tomatoes immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Note: For an extra treat, make up a batch of Spicy Aioli and use as a dipping sauce for these yummy gems.

Spicy Aioli

Ingredients:

2/3 cup mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon cayenne

Directions:

  1. Mix mayonnaise with garlic, lemon juice, mustard, and cayenne.
  2. Cover and chill to store.

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Linda

Pictures by Ann and Linda

 

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