Monday, August 23, 2010

Bird Tomato Soup

The cardinals were very interested in our heirloom tomatoes this year and many of these lovelies were damaged or split. No matter. I cut out the bird pecked spots and enjoyed each one as it ripened in all its deep flavored gloriousity.

Tonight I use several previously cut Mortgage Lifters and a few split Black Plums as well as two really damaged Cherokee Purples to make a soup for the mezza luna ravioli we had.

I softened about 1/4 C of sliced onion and a few leek bits in some olive oil. Then I added my cut up tomato pieces, a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and around a cup of filtered water and some kosher salt and let it cook on medium heat til the tomatoes were soft. When I tasted it, I added a T of honey, to temper the acidic tomatoes.

I cooled this stuff, then put it in the blender, then strained out the shards of skin and seeds. I reheated while the mezza luna cooked. Before I served it, I added a chiffonade of basil. At my house, freshly grated parmesan is essential, but I think it is fine without.

We had room temparature roasted eggplant slices in a mustard vinaigrette and some homemade bread with this.

Friday, August 13, 2010

peach pie

Behold a peach pie, hot from the oven in my hot little kitchen. This pie is rustic, not a lot of finesse .

Those ripe peaches needed to be used. And I had lard in the fridge. Used half lard, half butter in the crust. Did not use quite enough flour, so the crust was a bit tender, kind of patched together. No matter.

I did not peel the peaches. The skins lent a lovely rose color to the juice in the baked pie. Added a splash of good bourbon. It rounded out the sweetness of the peaches and sugars.

Pie making should be a common and natural thing. Not rare, not fussy, not anxious. As they say, easy as pie.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Fine Mess

I have a rather fine mess in a bowl on my old wooden chopping block right now. Our eggplants are coming in and our heirloom black plum tomatoes are at peak season I think. On several days this week I’ve roasted and puréed tomatoes for the freezer. They make a wonderful sauce base in the fall and winter. Many eggplants have been blanched and frozen in slices for lasagnas or roasting later on.

I picked the remaining small eggplants today and decided to skin, dice and cook them in olive oil til golden on several sides. I dumped the browned eggplant into a bowl and I added some skinned and roasted black plum tomatoes to them. Then I cooked a chopped yellow onion til gold in the pan and added to the other veg. The rich, sweet tomatoes complemented the lush eggplant, the onion added a little texture.

This mess has such potential as a sauce: reheat as is and serve on pasta, add some kalamata or other interesting olives or add some capers and/or some anchovies, or fresh basil or all of the above! Or puréed til smooth, on a pizza or pasta.

Or as a spread much like a caponata (minus the celery), chilled and chopped more finely with capers on rounds of good bread.