Go, go now, and grab a cup of your all time favorite beverage! It's been too long since I've really spilled my guts about life, and love, and such things. I've been away from this space a bit more than I would like recently. Thought it time I should fill you all in on just where I have been.
Buried in tomatoes!
Alright, so the spill my guts part, true confession style.....I love tomatoes. No not just the taste of tomatoes, though that is good, but often comes with a price, if I eat just one bite too many my tongue breaks out in terribly painful bumps and I begin to slur my words. Shhhhhh, don't tell, I must be allergic to them, but would never admit it. Yup that's right, and I planted fifty of these guys.
I love them because they are stunning; in all their many shapes and colors, textures and flavors, sizes and quantities. Simply beautiful fruit.
I should just come clean and say that I actually thought about tomato portraits when planning my garden last winter. I considered what varieties might be the best posers for my camera, true.
All my tomato seeds came from the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalogue, which is chalk full of stunning produce photographs! It's better, by far, than a trip through the isles of a candy store.
With the past three weeks bringing in just about a hundred pounds (each week) most days have found my kitchen counters looking about like this.
Today, will again find us at the ranch harvesting, weighing, and totting back home to line the counters once more in preparation for more ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato juice, salsa, marinara, barbeque sauce, dried tomato skins for seasoning, and a good game of keep away from the tomato eating dog.
The boys have fallen in love with the process of blanching and peeling exclaiming "it's gooey and fun!"
Ah, the excitement of a new-to-me, really antique double burner cook-top, now crankin' away in the garage, with the biggest pot I have ever seen on top. Thank you, husband-of-mine for setting up the cook station, and lending the garage floor space, and to Gary, my father-in-law, for being a collector of many things and generous, too.
I should add that I can see the return of the great Bloody Mary party in my future, it's indeed, high time.
(background image, and tomato juice recipe from: Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff)
I nearly forgot about the soup. We loved every bite of this soup and I hope you do, too.
Harvest Tomato Soup:
Cut in half, enough tomatoes to cover a 11"x15" baking pan.
Lightly coat baking dish with olive oil, about 2 Tablespoons, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, line with halved tomatoes placed cut side down in pan.
Place 6 peeled cloves of garlic among tomatoes.
Roast 8 to 10 hours at 200 degrees. The longer time might be needed for juicier varieties and less for the meatier varieties such as the Roma types.
When finished cooking peels will have dried some and appear wrinkled, pull them from the roasted tomato flesh and discard.
Once tomatoes are finished (I sometimes do this in separate days, placing the finished tomatoes in the fridge over night)
(Note: see Canning for a New Generation for more information on roasting and freezing tomatoes.)
Finely dice 2 medium onions and saute in olive oil till translucent.
Add 32 ounces of chicken broth and cooked tomatoes and garlic cloves. Puree, then return to pot.
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
cook for 15+ minuets on medium heat, reducing as needed.
turn off heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half
add salt and pepper to taste
garnish with chevre goat cheese and basil.
Serves a family of four with salad or other dish to accompany.