And then that’s enough about tomatoes for this year . . . maybe. They’re abundant at the moment so I made Gazpacho and dried some.
Returned home from vacation a couple of days ago to find tomato plants, finally, laden with ripened tomatoes. They’re late and not as sweet as when they ripen earlier, but I’m grateful. Glad to have these to enjoy now and preserve for later on. I dried a bunch of Sungolds, and made a batch of Gazpacho.
For the Gazpacho I removed the core from about twice as much tomato as cucumber, seeded and peeled, and put them in a food processor (a blender’s fine too). I then added several cloves of garlic, some day-old bread, vinegar and oil, salt and pepper to taste, fresh dill and chives. Pulse until well mixed and that’s it. It’s good for a day or two if kept in the fridge. A bowl of Gazpacho with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt on top is a pretty nice way to eat your vegetables.
This anecdotal version without exact measurements invites us to add whatever sounds good. This past summer the NY Times did a piece called 101 20-Minute Dishes. Numbers 9 – 19 of 101 recipes are vegetables, many in season right now. Check out their recipes for inspiration, and then create your own versions of Gazpacho that are uniquely PNW. What about adding a splash of clam nectar, for example? Or, a bite or two of Dungeness crab on top?
If you have an abundance of tomatoes in your garden – or Farmers Markets will have some for a while longer – you might try drying some. I picked a large pan full of Sungolds (any cherry or smallish tomato will do), cut them in half, laid them cut-side-up on the drying racks and turned on the dryer.
Fourteen hours later, dried tomatoes. Check tomatoes from time to time – when finished, they should be leathery and supple, not crispy. Twelve – fourteen hours is usually about right in our dryer. Timing will undoubtedly vary with different drying systems so check fruit periodically.
Fill zip lock bags with a third of a cup or so of dried tomatoes, store in the freezer and they’re ready and waiting for soup, sauce or a bowlful of olive oil sometime this winter. Heavenly. As with all dried fruits, flavors are intensified during the drying process. If it’s possible for a vine-ripened tomato to taste even better it might be the dried variety in the middle of winter (yes, when we’re desperate). Tomato Grazing All Year Long, a previous post, has a little more info about the power of dried tomatoes mid-winter.
Sometime in January these little morsels can bring a warm glow to the table.
Now enough with the tomatoes, I’m beginning to look forward to winter greens and all that squash. Well, sort of.