**A series of unfortunate technical issues prevents Mother Connie from posting photos. Unless the Blog Fairies come to the aid of the cause, that’s the status of pictures. Alas.
Now let’s talk about tomatoes.
Nebraska tomatoes are famous for their rich red color and sweet, juicy meat. Slicers find their way to BLT sammies and we who live in Nebraska seem never to tire of that offering.
There are so many other ways to enjoy this fruit. I remember that when I was a child my mother used her home canned tomatoes to make what she called “Stewed Tomatoes”. Some people think of stewed tomatoes as having herbs cooked into them and maybe some end-of-the-garden goodies included.
Mom’s dish was simply tomatoes and bread. She would leave slices of home made bread on the counter at night, covered with a clean tea towel. For lunch the next day, she would cut the bread into squares and add the cubes into a pan full of her canned tomatoes, juice and all. She would add salt and pepper and a generous spoonful of sugar. When they were warm she would spoon helpings of the red sweetness onto our plates, along with whatever else was on the menu.
One of the things we saw on many lunch or dinner plates over the years were ground beef patties, salmon patties or crisp bacon. It makes my mouth water now, just to think of those meals!
At this time of year when the tomatoes are slowing down their production one good idea for using them is to include them with other veggies to make “Ratatouie”. I dunno if that is French for “last of the veggies” or what it means, but by washing, peeling and chopping squashes, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, or anything that is still giving life you can make a terrific meal. Toss the whole business into a crock pot and let the appliance do your work. Season the goodness with garlic, onion powder, a pinch of chili powder or whatever seasonings your family clamors to have and you have the makings of a great meal. If you toast a bit of barley to add to the mix and a few beans (canned are the most convenient and least cost effective) you have complete protein. A cabbage slaw (if you did not put cabbage into the crock pot) would make a nice side for a nutritious evening meal. And think how great the house will smell with all that homeyness bubbling in the cooker!
One of the cooking tips I would share with you about tomatoes is this: To cut the acidity of the tomatoes you might like to add a bit of sugar-not too much-so that the flavor is enhanced. Sugar seems to brighten the flavor of tomatoes.
And who among us does not love a tomato sammie? A slice of bread, smeared with mayo or butter, a slice of red lusciousness, another slice of bread and you have pure luxury in your very own hands!
Does the peeling of tomatoes seem like a bother? The enzymes are just below the skin but tomato skins can be tough to chew or slice. Try this: Using the BACK of your paring knife, use a peeling motion from the stem of the tomato to the bottom, going all the way around the tomato. Then as you peel that tough skin will pull away from the fruit without “mooshing” it. You’ll have a pretty, smooth tomato to slice.
Another way to use tomatoes is to cut them into wedges, arrange them on a plate and sprinkle dry sweet basil (if you have fresh basil that’s even better!) and drizzle a bit of French dressing or olive oil over the whole works. When presented on a platter over a bed of lettuce, this dish looks pretty and even the pickiest children will be more tempted to eat fresh tomatoes. Remember to use a pinch of sugar over the top, too!
If you use SNAP or WIC to beef up your grocery budget, here’s hoping that these ideas will be helpful for you. Maybe you depend on a food pantry from time to time or a food drop. If you have food commodities or garden goods from a generous benefactor this might help you to s t r e t c h your food dollars. This blog is dedicated to those who depend on Public Assistance. We are not selling a thing; we just want everyone to feel as valuable as they are and help those who are in need of some food ideas!
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