Thursday, August 20, 2009

On any given day during the summer my kitchen becomes somewhat overtaken by tomatoes. I make salads and gazpacho, panzanella and salsas, and still the counter tops are completely covered with the fruits of my labor. I would not be exaggerating if I said there are days when finding a place to set down a glass is next to impossible.

Today I decided "Enough is enough"! I walked into the kitchen and felt somewhat surrounded by tomatoes in every stage of ripeness from absolute perfection to that point just before they begin to rot. For as many tomatoes as I have used, there are twice as many waiting to be consumed.

So, I decided to get cooking. I dug out my apron, a darling vintage print depicting a rainbow of tomatoes, and headed for the stove. I chopped what seemed to be the majority of the tomatoes along with onions, bell peppers, garlic, celery, cucumbers and various fresh herbs. I made the customary pot of gazpacho. No matter how often I make it, my gazpacho is always in demand. Then I finely chopped the collection of black tomatoes for salsa. I added corn to some of it to make a hearty salsa and watermelon and raspberry vinegar to another bowlful to make a sweet, delicate salsa. I chopped the Martino's Roma tomatoes to make a traditional sauce to put in the freezer. I inspected the remainder of the tomatoes and coarsely chopped every one that seemed like it might not be at it's optimal best. Right now they're simmering in the dutch oven with onions, celery, peppers and garlic. I'll reduce that down to a sauce and pop it in the freezer for the dismal winter days when I'm craving tomatoes.

In spite of all this culinary endeavor I find the kitchen counter still covered in red, orange and yellow balls of glory! What a delicious problem to have! If you wonder where I'll be tomorrow you can be sure it will be one of two the kitchen trying some new tomato recipes or even more likely, in the garden harvesting more tomatoes!

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