Category Archives: Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes Galore

Bacon, Chantrelle & Tomato Tart

1 sheet puff pastry or pie crust
1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
3 leeks, thinly sliced (white and palest parts only)
1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
4 cups sliced chanterelles or any mushroom
2 cups thickly sliced red tomatoes
2 cups thinly sliced green tomatoes

Spread puff pastry or pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and brush lightly with oil, set aside. In a heavy bottomed pan, cook bacon over medium heat until barely crisp, then remove to a plate. Add oil and leeks to the bacon pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle leeks with salt and cook for three minutes. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt stir to coat and cook, covered, until barely soft (5-7 minutes). Remove mixture to a shallow bowl to cool and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. When mushroom mixture is close to room temperature, spread over center of puff pastry or crust, leaving several inches bare all around the filling. Layer on the tomatoes, sprinkle with bacon bits, fold up edges of pastry or crust to partly cover filling and bake at 400 degrees F until puffed and golden (about 20 minutes for puff pastry, about 30 minutes for pie crust). Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves about 6. Continue reading

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Pick A Peck Of Peppers

To protect yourself, always use gloves when handling fresh chiles. Also, avoid touching yourself ANYWHERE, and keep some antihistamine (such as Benedryl) on hand in case of accidents. If hot peppers give your hands a “burn”, plunge them in cold water and take an antihistamine immediately; the burning sensation is a histamine response, so the usual burn treatments won’t help. Here’s another tip from direct experience; always work in a well ventilated space. When prepping peppers and when using a vegetable dehydrator, run a vent fan to avoid getting those volatile pepper oils in your eyes, nose, or throat and save yourself from a world of hurt.
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Tomato Heaven

We were recently gifted with a splendid grill, so of course we’re going a little wild with the grilled vegetables. Zucchini and squash, eggplants and beets, even peaches and plums are magically transformed by searing heat and savory smoke. Naturally I have to take it over the top and smoke a little salt and oil as well, just to add that subtle difference to everything from salads to sauces. Ripe, juicy tomatoes are a little tricky to grill unless you use a grill pan so they don’t fall through the grate bars, but they are heavenly, as are ripe avocados. Together, they’re even better, especially in a breakfast burrito like this one: Continue reading

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Singing With the Bees

As I thinned the vigorous stems, I found tomatoes ripening on every plant. As always, I interplanted annuals and a few perennials with my edibles and am happy to see them alive with bees and other pollinators. While tomatoes are self-fertile and pollinated mainly by wind or vibration, it turns out that fruit set is greatly increased by the presence of certain bees, who vibrate their wings to the tone of middle C. In this case, the beneficial bees are not European honeybees but native bumbles and mud bees as well as various other native pollinators. To encourage the bees, I’m planting lots of annuals, and to encourage great tomato set, I’m humming favorite songs. Fortunately, the key of C is nearly universal; you can sing almost anything in C, as lots of folk songs demonstrate. Can’t sing? Use a middle C tuning fork to help tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and blueberries shed way more pollen by vibration, aka buzz pollination. Isn’t that so amazingly marvelous? Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Care & Feeding, Early Crops, Grafted Plants, Pollinators, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment