We have a rather large garden, about 20 by 50 feet. The tomatoes keep
coming. I keep giving them away or blanching and skinning to make a
freezable tomato stock to supplement pasta sauce for the next few months.
We are eating them fresh, just sliced, making soups and plopping them in
salads. And the juice, so fresh tasting, light and drinkable.
One of the varieties is a heritage type that looks awful, downright ugly,
like two or three tomatoes have melded together in some frightful way. Why
bother? Well, the taste is wonderful, what a tomato should taste like, plus
the color is a real, rich red. We must have bought them by mistake, but I
think they should be a staple in the future along with the Big Boy and Big
As tomato production winds down and days get chilly, there is often an
abundance of unripe, green tomatoes. They can become delicacies. Fried
green tomatoes make a great lunch. When I was a kid, my mom would make this
delicious relish for hot dogs and other meats called "Chow-Chow." Everyone
loved it, and I think everyone loved saying, "please pass the Chow-Chow."
In sharing this recipe with you I hasten to mention that it may seem like a
lot, but it cooks down and you will want to share it with others. In fact,
it makes a great Christmas present, but don't bet on it lasting until then.
4 quarts green tomatoes, chopped fine and sprinkled with 1/4 cup salt. Let
them stand overnight, drain and then add:
1 small cabbage, chopped fine
1 quart onions, chopped
4 red peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup brown sugar
1 quart cider vinegar
Put all in a non-reactive pot and boil gently for one hour, stirring
frequently. Put into sterile jars and seal. Jars sterilized in the
dishwasher will do.
Basil makes the best pesto and it is delicious in a potato salad. You can
make it in a food processor or in your blender. It freezes well, and will
keep in the fridge for about two months.
1/2 cup good olive oil
1-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts or more
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Parmesan cheese Salt and pepper to taste
Put the olive oil first, then the rest of the ingredients in a food
processor or blender. Make into a thick paste. Now transfer the pesto into
a container. Cover with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and refrigerate
until you are ready to use it.
Potato Salad with Pesto
4 tablespoons Basil Pesto (see above recipe)
1 tablespoon capers (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 cup pitted, sliced black olives
1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced Salt and pepper to taste
Boil 8 - 10 cups of sliced potatoes for 10 - 15 minutes, until tender.
Drain and put in a large bowl to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together the
Basil Pesto, capers, vinegar, and olive oil. Put this on the potatoes and
toss to coat them. Now add olives, red pepper, parsley, salt and pepper.
Toss again gently and chill for at least 2 hours, before serving.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
5 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and cubed
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, cut up
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the olive oil in a large frying pan
and heat. Saute the onion, garlic, cilantro and basil for 3 - 5 minutes,
add tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Put this mixture into a greased
9" x 13" baking dish. Layer the artichokes on top. Whisk together the eggs,
salt, sour cream, yogurt and Monterey Jack cheese. Pour this over the
vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.
Notes & Tips
One of the latest trends in backyard grilling is to make a 'citrus bed' of
sliced lemons, limes, grapefruit or oranges. Put your fish, chicken or pork
on top of the slices and the food will become infused with the light
essence of the citrus.
Sometimes, I give advice to others that I should do myself. One of these
things is to keep a small notebook in the kitchen and write down the main
meal each day for a set period of time. I did do this from time to time
over the years, but have only recently realized how much I benefited from
it. Not only is it good as a reference when you're stumped for ideas, it
helps define the seasons and what is fresh.
The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which
bridge to burn.
I want to thank all of you who have sent in suggestions and ideas to
NativeCooking@aol.com. I am always learning things. Please let me know what
YOU want to see for recipes in this column.
Dale Carson is the author of three books, "New Native American Cooking,"
(temporarily out of print) "Native New England Cooking" and "A Dreamcatcher
For ordering information write to Dale Carson, P.O. Box 13, Madison, CT
06443 or e-mail NativeCooking@aol.com.