The sections below were copied with permission from Mi Ae Lipe’s Tastes from the Valley to Bluff: The Featherstone Farm Cookbook (2008).
Store tomatoes at room temperature, if possible, for best flavor and ripeness. Refrigeration tends to make them mealy. If they are not overripe, they will keep for up to a week. Tomatoes continue to ripen if stored away from sunlight at temperatures of 60 to 75°F. Tucking an apple or banana among them and storing them in a paper bag hastens ripening, because these fruits release ethylene gas. If you must store overripe tomatoes in the refrigerator, keep them in a warmer section, like the butter compartment.
Complementary Herbs, Seasonings, & Foods
Anchovies, arugula, bacon, basil, bay leaf, beans, beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, chiles, chives, cilantro, cucumbers, dill, eggplant, eggs, garlic, honey, lemon, marjoram, mint, mushrooms, nutmeg, olive oil, olives, onions, oregano, parsley, pasta, peppers, rosemary, saffron, salt, seafood, shallots, sugar, tarragon, thyme, vinegar, zucchini.
• Try serving a traditional English breakfast: Fry up some bacon in a pan and reserve the fat to fry thick slices of sourdough or French bread until crisp. Serve with poached eggs and grilled tomato slices on the side.
• Add whole cherry tomatoes to shish kebobs.
• Top sliced tomatoes with thin slices of Cheddar, America, or mozzarella cheese and broil until the tomatoes become soft and cheese is melted and bubbly.
• Who says BLTs are just for sandwiches? Try a bacon, lettuce, and tomato salad, along with hard-boiled eggs and a little bacon dripping added to the dressing.
• Stuffed tomatoes are a classic: Fill them with ground beef, bacon, rice, spinach, or for a vegetarian version, cracked wheat.
• For that quintessential Italian snack, bruschetta, top grilled or toasted slices of garlic-and-oil-rubbed baguette with a mixture of finely chopped or diced fresh, ripe, peeled tomatoes that have been combined with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.
• Combine tomato, mint, sugar, champagne, and lemon juice for a refreshing sorbet.
• For a stunning salad that will delight guests, slice and combine different heirlooms on a platter for a "tomato tasting." Try pairing with different types of flavorful olive oils poured into separate dipping bowls, with balsamic vinegar on the side.
• One little-known use for tomatoes (and condensed tomato soup) is to add moisture (but not necessarily tomato flavor) to baked goods, like cakes and breads, even puddings.
• Green tomatoes, which their low acidity and fresh tomato taste, make great toppers for eggs and enchiladas.
• Add zip to tuna salad by adding chopped fresh tomatoes, scallions, and a touch of chopped fresh basil.
• Make salsa!
Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Gazpacho
Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Cream of Tomato Soup
Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Salsa
Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Ratatouille
Cook out of the Box - Hands On: Canning Tomatoes
Cook out of the Box - Tried and True - Panzanella Salad (Or is it fatuous?)
Cook out of the Box - Tomato Juice: The Next Generation
Fresh (preferably hand-pulled) mozerella
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh ground pepper
Slice tomato and mozerella in round, relatively even slices and layer on a plate with fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Heirloom Tomato Salad (1 & 1/4 pounds should serve about 4)
Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and arrange on individual salad plates. Drizzle about 2 t. oil over each serving. If you have some pesto - stir some in with the oil and drizzle that. Sprinkle just a pinch of good salt over each plate. Serve at room temperature, NOT cold. If you have fresh basil, chiffonade some leaves and sprinkle those on the salads. (Don't use pesto if you have fresh leaves.) To chiffonade: stack about 8 leaves on top of each other. Roll up the long way. Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut into thin strips.
Credit: Cook out of the Box 2010 - Week 16
Makes about 8 cups - enough for 4 servings.
3 heaping cups fresh tomatoes, cut in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces - include all the juices, don't drain
1 1/2 c. chopped cucumbers (peeled and seeded- no need to salt and drain)
1/2 cup cut up sweet peppers
1 cup coarsely chopped sweet or red onion
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped or sliced
(some chopped mint - optional)
2 t. finely minced fresh garlic
1/4 t. salt (You shouldn't need any more, especially if you use fresh herbs)
2 heaping cups broken up toasted pita triangles
Dressing: 4 T. olive oil, 2 T. red wine vinegar (You may want to increase this a little if you want a juicier salad. You could also just add a bit of tomato juice or even a tablespoon or two of water.)
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Panzanella Salad (Or is it fattoush?)
Fresh Corn Tomato Salsa
Ingredients (amount and size of each to be decided by cook - according to taste and availability)
Chopped fresh tomatoes (squeeze out most of juice and seeds - save for soup)
Chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro - about 1/2 cup per 2 cups vegetables
Finely minced jalapeno pepper - more or less depending on desired heat intensity)
Corn kernels (Boil or steam ears of corn, cut off kernels when corn is cool)
Fresh minced garlic (about 1 t. per two cups of vegetables)
Red wine vinegar, lime juice or lemon juice - about 1/4 cup per two cups of vegetables
Salt to taste
Credit: Cook out of the Box 2010 - Week 11
Andalusian Style Gazpacho
Makes about a half gallon, or 8 cups.
1 cup tomato juice (can use a puree from fresh tomatoes or use home or commercially prepared tomato juice)
2 pounds fresh tomatoes (4 cups coarsely chopped - ok to use skins and seeds. If desired, put through a food mill to remove skins and seeds)
1/4 pound onion (1 cup coarsely chopped)
1/2 pound peeled cucumber (1 cup chopped - no need to take out seeds)
1 t. minced fresh garlic
1/4 pound fresh bell pepper (1 cup coarsely chopped)
1/4 cup each - olive oil and vinegar (either red wine or sherry vinegar are good)
1/2 t. salt
1 minced jalapeno pepper (optional - or use more or less)
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You will probably have to do this in two batches.
Optional variation: Add 2 cups cubes of stale bread to the vegetables - firm artisan country style white bread soaked in about 1 cup water first.
Garnishes - I like to add a little texture to this soup. Chop (medium or fine) about 1/2 cup each of onion, cucumber and sweet pepper. Mix together and add to soup as a garnish. You can also add homemade croutons (bake bread with a little olive oil and garlic) as a garnish - especially if you decide not to thicken the soup with bread.
A note on herbs and spices - I have seen gazpacho recipes call for parsley, dill, cumin, cayenne or tarragon. If you have good tomatoes and fresh garlic and olive oil, I suggest you hold off on herbs and spices - at least at first. Add later if you wish. I have come to believe that just a little parsley is all that is needed.
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Gazpacho
4 cups diced fresh tomatoes (do this by hand. Put the cut tomatoes in a strainer or colander to drain for about half an hour - while you are preparing the other ingredients. Drink the tomato water or save for soup. If you have tomatillos - you can substitute for up to half the tomatoes.
1 t. minced fresh garlic
3/4 cup chopped onion (I did this in the food processor to save time - don't over process - you want pieces not mush)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (you can add this to the onion and process together) (Note on cilantro. This is the herb that looks a little like parsley but tastes a lot different. Most people love it or hate it. I highly recommend using it in salsa if you can find it. Over time you will come to appreciate its virtues and it will add flair and authenticity to your salsa. If you decide you really do hate it, that it ok. Use some cumin or parsley in your salsa.)
1/2 cup chopped cucumber (peeled and seeded)
1 cup black beans, canned or home cooked
1 1/2 cups cooked corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned. Fresh is best)
2 T. finely minced jalapeno peppers (2 regular sized peppers)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (If you have fresh lime or lemon juice you can use half juice and half vinegar) Add a bit more vinegar if you think the salsa needs it.
Mix all together in a large bowl. I find that no salt is necessary in this recipe. It has a hint of natural sweetness - I think from the sweet corn.
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Salsa
Cream of Tomato Soup (serves four or make a double recipe and freeze some)
3 T butter or olive oil or a combination
3 T flour
2 t. finely minced fresh garlic or 3 T. finely chopped onion or shallots
1 cup milk (skim, lowfat or whole), heated but not boiled
1/2 t salt, 1/4 t. pepper, 1 t. sugar - white or brown
1 quart home canned tomatoes
1 quart chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked for about 10 minutes and pureed (I use a food mill - you can do that with hot tomatoes - and it will separate out the skins and seeds. If you are going to use a blender or food processor, skin tomatoes first by blanching in boiling water.)
1 quart skinned frozen tomatoes, thawed, finely chopped or pureed and cooked 5-10 minutes
1 quart (32 oz.) good quality commercially canned whole or crushed tomatoes
Saute onion or garlic in butter or oil until soft – about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook over medium heat another 3-5 minutes. Whisk in hot milk until mixture is smooth. Add tomatoes. Season to taste, heat gently for a few minutes and serve. Optional – add a spoonful of pesto or 1/2 cup of chopped cooked spinach or chard or a spoonful or two of chopped fresh herbs. Tarragon would be nice.
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Cream of Tomato Soup
Peggy's Basic Tomato Sauce
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Saute 1/2 cup each of celery(or fennel), carrot and onion. (1/2 cup chopped mushrooms also would be nice) along with 1 t. finely minced fresh garlic - for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Optional - add and brown about one pound ground meat after vegetables are soft. Add two quarts of chopped or crushed tomatoes - fresh (peeled), frozen or canned, one cup full bodied red wine, 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1 t. crushed fennel seed, fresh or dried basil and oregano (about 2 t. each if you are using dried, 4 T. if fresh) If you have pesto, use a spoon or two of that instead of dried herbs. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, until sauce reaches desired thickness. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Dig In: Pasta
Fresh Tomato Chutney (1)
Chop a half pound of tomatoes and one onion. Add to a bowl with the following ingredients:
2 T. vinegar
2 t. chili powder
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
Fresh chiles, minced, or red pepper flakes, if desired
Saute 1 t. mustard seed in 2 T. oil. After a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer slowly until thickened. Store in refrigerator.
Credit: Cook out of the Box 2010 - Week 13
Fresh Tomato Chutney (2)
Chop together: 1 pound tomatoes; 1 large onion; fresh chiles, to taste; salt, to taste
Credit: Cook out of the Box 2010 - Week 13
Fresh Tomato-Garlic-Basil Sauce for Pasta
This is the way to go when you have good tasting ripe tomatoes and fresh basil.
Chop fresh ripe tomatoes - no need to skin or seed. You might want to drain off some of the juice (save for soup or just drink it).
For each cup of sauce, add 1/2 t. minced fresh garlic. 2 T. fresh basil chopped or cut into fine strips, 1 T. olive oil, 1/4 t. salt or more to taste, a little black or red pepper to taste. If you have fresh mozzarella, a few cubes of that would be good to add.
Credit: Cook out of the Box 2010 - Week 14
Makes about 8 servings.
Serve hot or at room temperature. Use as a side dish or serve over pasta or polenta with grated parmesan or asiago or similar cheese for a main course.
For best flavor use fresh garden vegetables. Make a double or triple batch – this freezes beautifully. Saute 2 cups of chopped onion and 4 cloves of minced FRESH garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil about 5 minutes over medium heat. Then add about 3 cups EACH of eggplant, zucchini squash and bell peppers and 4 cups fresh tomatoes – cut into approximately 1/2 inch cubes or pieces. Season with 1 1/2 t. salt, fresh ground pepper and about 1/2 c. chopped fresh herbs ( a combination of basil, thyme, oregano, parsley and rosemary is nice if you have these. Often I use just fresh basil and parsley.) Simmer covered until all vegetables are tender, about one hour. Stir occasionally while simmering. Even better the next day. A few Mediterranean olives on the side would be a great idea, too.
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Ratatouille
Raita is a yogurt based condiment often used with Indian dishes. Raita is just plain yogurt with some vegetables, herbs, spices or fruits added. Here is one version to get you started:
2 cups plain yogurt
1 cup mixture of chopped tomato, onion and cucumber (peel, seed, salt and drain the cucumber first)
1 t. cumin seed, crushed
1 clove garlic, crushed and fined minced
1/2 t. salt
Chopped hot chiles - if desired
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Hands On: Yogurt
You may notice that there is a relatively high vegetable to meat ratio in this recipe. I think it is still quite meaty. Editorial comment: I love meat - especially meat raised on grass in Fillmore County. But we would do our bodies and the planet a favor if we all consumed more vegetables and less meat. This recipe makes quite a bit. This freezes well.
2 pounds ground beef (We have switched totally to beef raised in SE Minnesota on grass. If you can find pastured beef, I encourage you to try it. More on this big topic another day.)
1 pound dry beans (will yield about 6 cups cooked) or 6 cups canned beans - about 3 typical sized cans. Kidney beans are traditional, but black beans or pinto beans work fine too. You could even mix types of beans.
2 quarts whole or crushed tomatoes (Home canned are best. Store cans are fine too. Typical store cans are about 28 ounces, 4 ounces less than a quart.)
2 cups chopped onions
1-2 cups chopped red or green bell peppers
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
optional - minced fresh jalapeno or serrano peppers. I never used to add fresh peppers to my chili, but I have become a fan of serrano chilis lately. If you are okay with extra heat, add about 3 serranos to this recipe. Or more if you really like chili heat.
4 T. chili powder (Add more to taste depending on who is going to eat this chili)
1 T. cumin seeds, crushed
1- 2 t. salt
2 t. cocoa, optional but adds a little depth to the flavor. Kind of like midwest mole.
1-2 T. olive or other cooking oil
Saute onions, garlic and peppers in oil about 10 minutes or until soft. Add meat and brown. Add chili powder, salt and cumin. Add tomatoes and beans. Simmer, partly covered, for about one hour, stirring occasionally.
Serve with some or all of the following garnishes: chopped onion, red or green salsa, shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream, corn kernels, chopped olives, chopped fresh cilantro, wedges of lime -- you get the idea. My Mom used to serve chili on top of cooked macaroni and called it chili mac. We kids liked it. If you need to stretch dinner, this works.
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Tried and True: Chili
Potato and Tomato Stew with Pancetta
1/4 pound pancetta or lean bacon
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups roma type tomatoes with liquid
2 pounds all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup pesto or a little more to taste. (or half a cup of fresh basil if you have some)
Saute pancetta until golden in a large heavy skillet. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add 1 T. olive oil to pan and cook onion and garlic about 5 minutes - taking care not to burn garlic. Add other ingredients and cook about 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add a little water, wine, stock or tomato juice if stew gets too dry. Serve sprinkled with the cooked pancetta and some good bread to sop up the juices.
Credit: Cook out the Box 2011 - Winter Box #8