Friday, August 14, 2009

not cooking - ode to the tomato. . . .

This. Is beautiful. Look at the colours! The single tomato, ripe, flavorful, beautiful.

Here's the problem: every day I go outside and bring in more of these. They have a limited shelf life. If I don't do something with them within a day or two, they start turning ugly. With brown and black spots. And the occasional green or purple fuzz. Not beautiful; not something I want to photograph.

I like the ones that show promise, the ones still at their peak. These!
No, I'm not tired of photographing them yet, although I imagine you might be getting tired of looking at them. . . . To me, however, each one is different, you see, and I've gotten to watch them all from bud to blossom to fruit to ripened fruit to the gentle tug to see if it's ready to come off the vine. . . . I've staked them and supported them and rescued some of them from bug and blight and drought. I have an investment in these guys! It's a strange thing.

It's hot, though, and who feels like cooking?! Martha to the rescue: No-cook tomato sauce, by way of a "Neapolitan farmer".

I'll walk you through it.

Core the tomatoes directly into serving bowl. Add olive oil, dried oregano, hot pepper flakes, kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, and garlic cloves. (Martha gives measurements if you're into that kind of precision) My good friend, fellow postgrad and careful reader Jason pointed out that Martha says to remove the garlic cloves before serving.

REMOVE?! This is what I say to removing garlic:
NOW try and remove it! (A garlic press will ensure the non-removal of the garlic, as well as the greater integration of the garlic throughout the entire dish).

I am not reasonable when it comes to garlic.

Now, what I probably should have done before I added all the other ingredients - including the olive oil - is tear the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Martha is quite definite about the tearing bit. As you will see, it looks different than it would look if it had been chopped and so that's one reason to tear and not chop. Another reason is that getting your hands into this involves many more senses in the process, and so to that end, I recommend adding the oil and all the seasonings first and then getting your hands into the bowl! No. Of course I didn't lick my hands during, or afterwards.

Neither did Luther.

No pictures, because my hands were all oily and yummy tasting and I didn't want to muck up the camera. Here's what it looks like afterwards, though. Bother. I've forgotten the basil! Go out into the garden and snip basil, rinse, dry, and tear the leaves off and into the tomatoes. Mash it all together with a wooden spoon and let stand at room temperature for at least an hour, and up to 8 hours. You know, what Martha doesn't tell you is how GOOD this smells! The aroma alone makes you hungry. . . . To serve, you will have to boil water and cook your pasta. When done and drained, stir the hot pasta in with the room temperature tomatoes, and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Here's the final result. This is the king's dish, however. He wanted bread - no pasta. (sometimes I doubt the truth of his Italian heritage. . . .) Mine looks a lot like white pasta. In fact, it was mostly white pasta - quite unphotogenic - with a bit of butter, some cream, some of the tomato-ey juice and a few pieces of my favorite tomatoes (just to keep me company). That's because I don't really eat tomatoes. I merely grow them, pick them, photograph them, and present them to the king. It looks like he liked them.
Now for a nap.

1 comment:

Lee Anne said...

Lovely tomatoes! It makes me long for a garden... So I will have one vicariously through you!