Archive for the ‘Tomatoes’ Category
Grilled cheese is serious business at our house. It’s one of the few meals that every member of our family will eat (without crying and complaining about how gross dinner is and asking what the kids get to eat and then crying harder when I tell them they don’t get a different dinner). Anyway. The adults in our house also love tomato soup. We’re dippers and sippers. We usually have our soup in a mug. We dip our sandwiches, and when they’re gone we finish off the soup like a drink. It’s total comfort food…I grew up on it. Well, with the wagon full of tomatoes we picked the other day, I’ve been trying to get creative to use them. I plan on freezing as many as I can, but I also want to eat as many I can while I can. Because there isn’t much that compares to a fresh tomato, ripe off the vine. Now that some of the days are getting a little chilly, it’s officially soup season at our house! (I love soup season. A lot.) Enter: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Basil Soup!
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Basil Soup
3 roasted red peppers, rough chopped (click HERE to see how to roast your own. don’t be scared, it’s easy.)
5 large tomatoes, skins removed, rough chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp paprika
garlic salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
generous pinch cayenne pepper
generous dash of your favorite hot sauce
10 leaves of fresh basil, torn into thirds
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
Saute onion and garlic over medium heat in a stock pot until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and peppers. Cook until the juices are slightly reduced. Add the thyme, paprika, garlic salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and basil. Using an immersion blender, or blending in batches (mine actually fit in one batch), process until smooth (or leave it a little chunky if you like. I don’t. Not for tomato soup.) Add back to the stock pot if necessary and add the veg or chicken broth. Melt the butter in a small bowl and stir in the flour. Add to the soup and thoroughly combine. Let simmer for about 25 minutes. Makes about 8 servings.
Serve with a grilled caprese sandwich (aka the best grilled sandwich known to man).
*To remove tomato skins, lightly score an X into the bottom of the tomato. Gently drop into boiling water, remove after 30-60 seconds. Place directly into an ice bath until tomato is cool. The skins will slide right off.
*I have to say it. This is the best tomato soup I’ve ever had, including canned, boxed, restaurant, semi-homemade, etc. This is also the best caprese sandwich I’ve ever had, including the one I had at a restaurant that’s been highlighted on at least one food show I like to watch. Waaaaay better. So much better. I wish I could make this for everyone I meet. It’s so fabulous. I’ve made it for a number of family members and friends, and the look on their faces after that first bite…it says, “I knew you said this was going to be a good sandwich, but it’s way better than I thought it would be. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Start making another one now. Right now. MOVE!”
10-14 roma tomatoes, diced
2 anaheim peppers
1 jalapeno pepper
1 garden salsa pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/4 c lemon or lime juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
salt to taste
1/4 t cumin
Dice tomatoes to preferred size. Put peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro in food processor and pulse until all ingredients are desired size. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, let flavors mingle for a few hours before serving. Keep refrigerated.
Everyone loves tomatoes. I think homegrown tomatoes are so popular because they taste so much better than anything you can buy in the grocery store. However there are some things you need to watch out for to make sure you have a bumper crop. Here are just a few:
- Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck the liquid sap from the leaves. They may be clear, white, green, red, or brown. Use permethrin, neem oil, or malathion as needed.
- Fusarium Wilt turns the lower leaves yellow as they wilt and die. IT spreads to the upper shoots and will eventually kill the whole plant. If you slice the stem near the soil line lenghtwise and the internal tissue is dark brown/grey, there is nothing you can do but destroy the plant and fumigate the soil for next year. There isn’t any chemical treatment you can apply.
- Tomato Leaf Roll affects older, lower leaves that roll upward until the margins touch or overlap. The leaves feel leathery but remain green. You won’t notice any other symptoms. This is a temporary condition resulting from excessively wet soil. Once the soil dries, the symptoms will gradually disappear.
Stop by Western Gardens and learn more about growing healthy and delicious tomatoes. Also, visit us on Facebook for daily updates and specials.
This time of year a lot of folks come into the nursery with questions about which type of tomatoes would be the best to plant in their gardens. Believe it or not, there are a lot of great tomato varieties that do very well in Utah—sometimes the choice is just a matter of personal preference.
The other day, someone asked about the best heirloom tomatoes for Utah. We suggested that either Moonglow or Brandywine would be great. Over the years I’ve experimenting with and found a couple that I really like.
One year I planted Early Girls and was eating tomatoes weeks before my neighbors. There’s nothing as good as a sliced tomato alongside your favorite BBQ steak (especially when everyone else is still going to the grocery store for them).
Stop by Western Gardens and we’d be happy to share with you our personal favorites and help you decide. When you stop by, mention the blog and take $5 off of any $20 purchase.