Your Best Tomato Keeper

digit(ID/WA)December 4, 2010

For me, it has to be Thessaloniki!

This wasn't the best year for green tomato harvesting. Not that I mind terribly.

The growing season started off by making life very hard for my little tomato transplants. They didn't grow very large and didn't set many tomatoes.

Then, we had a first Autumn frost that came later than usual! Nearly all the tomatoes had time to ripen! Now, there weren't a huge number of them but, I was happy about this.

Anyway, there was a half box of greenies - nearly, 2 months ago! And, as usual, Thessaloniki lasted the very best! No special storage measures - regular, indoor temperatures. Here is 1 of the 2 that I turned into cream of tomato soup for lunch: From digitS'

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Making soup out of a good tomato? that's like making stew with sirloin steak. But I must confess, I have done it..the stew that is.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 5:11PM
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Well, I tasted it first Kenny.

It was fairly bland, as expected.

Sauteed onions and crumbled bacon brightened it up a bit.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 5:55PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I way agree with you, Kenny! Making tomato soup out of home grown tomatoes seems like---well---a sin! Digit, are you a sinner? ;-) I think I have that opinion mostly because I get so few tomatoes on the couple plants I'm able to grow that I just can't imagine COOKING any of them! Now, if I had a whole LOT of tomatoes, like some of the folks around here, homemade tomato soup sounds WONDERFUL! Digit, have you ever tried adding some cinnamon to your soup? Cinnamon is wonderful in tomato soup. Try a little the first time, and I bet you'll use more after that. Since I don't have enough home grown tomatoes to make soup, I "improve" the canned kind (as in, the red can!) by sauteing diced onions in butter in the pan first, then I add the condensed soup and milk, and then I keep adding cinnamon till I get it to where I want it. And when I put it in the dish, I put a big pat of (real) butter on top and let it melt! Mmmmm! Sounding good right now! The other thing I always wish I had enough home grown tomatoes to make is a dish my mother used to make, spiced meatballs! It's little beef meatballs cooked in a sweet & sour tomato "stew" kind of thing with spices---allspice, cloves, bay leaves. It's a German dish. I've loved it since I was a kid, and still make it with canned tomatoes, but I've always wondered how much better it would be with home grown ones! Some day I'll get enough to find out!

And speaking of making stew with sirloin steak........ A couple days ago I bought some "petite sirloin steaks" and I just tried one, and they're not great at all, so they might wind up going into vegetable beef soup over winter sometime--or beef barley! I wondered how good they were gonna be, but they were buy ONE and get TWO packages free, so I couldn't NOT get them! When I got them I was hoping they'd be good enough to use in my quick beef stroganoff recipe, but nowhere near! I actually eat very little beef, but I'll vacuum pack them and they'll get used up eventually! I've never made beef stew! Do either of you guys have a good recipe for it?

Your thread is turning into a cooking thread, Digit!

I don't have much to contribute to your Keeper Tomatoes wonderings, Digit! I hardly even got any to eat fresh over summer this year! I do still have a few cherries---SunGold, Sweet Baby Girl, and Juliet that are slowly ripening, and the only big one I have that got hung in the garage, and subsequently cut off the vines and covered with a blanket in the garage one nite when it was SUPPOSED to get COLD, is Kellogg's Breakfast! That one didn't even start blooming till late summer, and I did eventually get some pretty big tomatoes, but they were mostly still green when I had to bring them in. They were ripening pretty well in the garage when they were hanging, and then when I went to get one in for a BLT a few days after I covered them, I discovered a MOUSE had eaten half of one! I labor all summer trying to get some decent tomatoes---and a mouse eats them!!! Needless to say, there are a couple more little boxes of D-con out in the garage now! The rest of the tomatoes---all of them---are in the kitchen now, and the few Kellogg's that are left are ready to eat. Farewell to summer!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 9:27PM
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I gotta continue the bit about stew from steak. The local save a bunch store has a vacuum pack 6 steaks for 12 dollars. 8 oz, so 4 dollars a pound. Good ground is 2 and a half to three and tastes like saw dust ( I know cause I used to be a cow raiser). The steaks are old and dark but taste like real beef used to taste. So they get used in many things.
I have a couple of tomato plants in the window under a light. The sophie's choice has two little tomatoes but I doubt they will make it for Xmas.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:44AM
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david52 Zone 6

You solve the fretting problem of using home-grown tomatoes for soup by growing LOTZ of tomatoes and make a soup base in Sept and can it. Which I do by running the 'maters through that thingie to remove the seeds and skin, then boil it up to clear the foam, then stir in a can or two of Contadina tomato paste as a thickener, and can it. We had this last night - take a qt of that, mix it with a qt of beef stock, add this and that to adjust the flavor, and served it up with home made bread.

Kenny, every year, we buy a grass-fed steer from the neighbor across the road, and use a butcher who will dry age it 'til its ready' - anywhere from 14 - 22 days. Works out to about $3 a lb for a freezer full. And its kind of funny to see my oldest daughter switch from ultra-vegitarian to Serengeti-carnivore when she tastes it.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 12:18PM
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xaroline(zone 3 Calgary)

As I did not get all that many tomatoes this past season, I definitely think
it is sinful to cook a ripe homegrown tomato!
These store bought are not the same at all!

I like the idea of cinnamon in tomato soup and will need to try that.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 1:15PM
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Well! I hadn't realized that I would be defending my lack of ethics from all sides on this subject. First, I want to insist that notions on tomato moral values and truths are not absolute but are relative to the person holding them.

Now that said, here was my recipe - made up yesterday, on the spot. As you can tell by its slap-dash nature, it falls far short of any kind of self-justification:

1 slice of bacon
4 Tablespoons yellow onion, chopped
2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Yukon Gold potato, cooked
1/2 cup Progresso chicken broth
1/4 cup half and half
black pepper

Cook bacon until crisp. Pour off most of the bacon fat and saute onion until tender.

Microwave tomatoes for 4 minutes at 50% power. Place in blender with potato, onion, and bacon. Add enough broth to blend ingredients.

Pour contents into bowl and add remaining broth, half and half, and pepper. Microwave until thoroughly heated. Serve.

Now remember, these are beefsteak tomatoes not beef steaks! I probably should have included a slice of celery root and probably beef bacon would have been preferable to pork but I have trouble finding that these days.

We eat so many eggs that it is probably not wise for us to buy beef in bulk but we do. We also have it dry aged and it is remarkably tender and flavorful. I just wish that they would make some of it into bacon for us.

For some reason, my cholesterol numbers are darn good. It might be because eating too much beef was such a vice for me, in earlier years. I have moderated that more than just a little.

Otherwise, I might be like Mark Twain's moral pauper. She was the woman who was ill and Twain said that she would be on her feet again if she would give up swearing, drinking and smoking. Unfortunately, she didn’t swear, smoke or drink so she didn’t have anything to give up. Twain referred to her as a moral pauper having neglected her vices with none to give up.

. . . I may have to give up microwaving tomatoes sometime in the future.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 6:04PM
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I wound up really bored yesterday while eating "lunch" at 3:00. I watched someone "spruce up" canned cream of mushroom soup pretty much the same way you guys are doing tomato soup, but she added like 6 cups of raw mushrooms to it, plus 2c milk, 1c water, sauteed onion (they were cooked in butter and olive oil) and chopped sage.

digit - I'm with you, you can use it anyway you want to, its your tomato. Don't let the cyber bullies scare you. It's OK, slurp your homemade tomato soup. They are just jealous!!

And as far as the cinnamon in tomato soup goes, I hear that cinnamon helps to control diabetes.

The new RMG cooking forum. What else are we supposed to do under all the snow we are supposed to have this time of year? (She says looking out the window at blue skies)


    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 1:09PM
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Thanks for the vote of confidence, Billie!

I was just looking at a picture of my last harvest of ripe tomatoes . . . almost brings tears to my eyes.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 8:15PM
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sure that wasn't the onions??

I miss my garden too. I finally get to spend some time with old friends, I finally graduated and was asked to come back next year and teach!?!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 10:18PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Congratulations, Billie! What are you gonna be teaching? Where? To who? (Uh, should that be whom???) Must be nice to know that next year instead of somebody grading you, you'll be the one doing the grading!

It'll be nice to see more of you around here---and we'll be expecting to see you at the Spring Swap this time!


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 12:28AM
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Posted by billie_ladybug . . . I finally graduated and was asked to come back next year and teach!?!

Wow! Billie!

Nothing succeeds like success!


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 12:29AM
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Skybird - really looking forward to going to spring swap, as long as it is not on graduation, and no one makes the bull mad it should work out just fine.

The teaching would be at PPCC in Springs - Civil Litigation - teaching the future legal assistants in Colorado. Not sure if I am happier about being asked to come back to teach or just the fact that I am finally done.

Thank you Steve, really like that "Nothing succeeds like success!" It is so very true!


    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 12:43PM
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