Tag Archives: organic tomatoes

NIBBLES – what I did with the leftovers

Last night, I made spaghetti with zucchini pasta and a tomato/onion/red bell pepper/almond sauce. My sauce came out thick, but I like it that way.

After dinner, I looked at the leftover sauce and just knew I was not oing to eat it this week.  I had a leftover zucchini so I sliced it on the mandonline and then put a spoonful of sauce on each slice and everything in the dehydrator overnight.  This morning, I was amazed at how small the zucchini slices had shrunk, but I was very pleased with the taste of these little bites. My room-mate says they taste like pizza.  Next time, though, I am going to slice the zucchini thicker.

10/02/08 CSA SHARE: What I Got

Such a birthday!
Here’s what I got:

RED OAKLEAF LETTUCE…………1 hd
GREEN CRISP LETTUCE………….1 hd
BABY SALAD TURNIPS…………..1 bun

They have nice greens attached. Woohoo!
LONG RED PEPPERS……………..3 pc
BELL PEPPERS…………………….1 pc
Got a green one, traded up for a reddish orange one.
BABY BOK CHOI………………….2 pc
Looks more like teenage bokchoi.
SWEET DUMPLING SQUASH……2 pc
No idea what color they are inside — they are green outside.
SUNSHINE SQUASH……………..1 pc
Looks like a pumpkin, if you ask me.
SPINACH………………………….1 bun
I got a bag of spinach leaves.
RED TOMATOES…………………3 pc
CHERRY TOMATOES……………1 pt
I got yellow cherry tomatoes – I love them! They are sweet            like candy!
ONION……………………………1 pc
EGGPLANT……………………….2 pc
Traded for 1 onion and 2 tomatoes.

I think those of us who play in the trade box always feel like we come out ahead…. I put in what I don’t like or cannot use and take out things I like. It is always a crapshoot — depending on the time you arrive/who has arrived before you…. sometimes there are things you like, and sometimes not. I’ve been incredibly lucky (Tonight, I actually had to decide between taking a lettuce and taking a tomato– I went with the tomato– duh! we know I am struggling with green smoothies… I will drink my tomatoes)

My challenge this week will be making these squash work with my diet proclivities (know ye that I am working on taking off at least 10 lbs in the next 2 weeks!)

10/02/08 CSA SHARE (happy birthday to me!) what they say we will get

Thursday is my birthday. Maybe I will put a bow in my hair when I go to pick up the share. (I’d like to have one of those birthday girl tiaras, but I don’t know where to get one.)

This is what they say we will get:

RED OAKLEAF LETTUCE…………..1 head
GREEN CRISP LETTUCE……………1 head
BABY SALAD TURNIPS…………….1 bunch
LONG RED PEPPERS
BELL PEPPERS……………………….1 piece
Red, Yellow or Orange
BABY BOK CHOI……………………2 pieces
SWEET DUMPLING SQUASH……. 2 pieces
SUNSHINE SQUASH……………….1 piece
BROCCOLI or SPINACH…………..1 bunch
RED TOMATOES
CHERRY TOMATOES………………1 pint

Oh please let me get spinach, not broccoli.
I guess it is squash season.  Not a problem… Can do.
Now I see where they have been hiding the lettuce.  We went almost the whole summer without much, if any, and, now, last week we got some, and this week we get more.
Thank heavens for peppers.  I keep hoping they will send a spicy one, but they apparently don’t have those kinds of seeds.  Oh well.  That is why God gave us markets and supermarkets.

Thank heavens I have finally finished dehydrating the 40 lbs. of Roma tomatoes.  It did not seem to take as long or be as hard as last year, even though I had less time to do it in this year, owing to my weird schedule.  Whatever. …. I have two big bags of dried tomatoes.  I think I want to put some in olive oil and see how that works, so I am prowling for a little jar to use for my experiment.

Yum!  More tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.  Those cherry tomatoes are just like candy.

7/17/08 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get

This is the week I will get 40 lbs of Roma tomatoes in addition to the regular share!!!!  (I’m excited but…. this is the week I am working from 8AM to 9PM!!!!!  Oh well, challenges are ways to see how good you are getting!  I am going to have to clear the kitchen tomorrow night so I can go to work directly when I get home on Thursday night.  I think I may make a lot of tomato juice this year, just to lighten the load!!!)

The farm newsletters says the share will be:

BABY ARUGULA……..1 bag
SCALLIONS……………..1 bunch
COLORED PEPPERS..4 pieces
RED TOMATOES……..2 pieces
EGGPLANT………………2 pieces
SAVOY CABBAGE……1 head
POTATOES……………….2 lb.
GREEN BEANS…………1 bag

FRUIT SHARE – no idea what we will get – the Monday deliveries get peaches and raspberries – I hope we do, too.  I know what to do with peaches!!!

This week will most likely be a “plain vanilla” experience.  I get off at 3pm, and will probably get home around 3:45. I usually go to pick up my share around 6 pm, and can trade out things that I don’t want for things others have left.  This week, however, I will have to go by 4:30, so I can pick up and bag everything, and then come home and dump it in the kitchen, and get back on the road before 5:30, so as to be back at work by 6pm.  I will just have to take what is in the box, and give what I don’t like to the neighbors.  Such is life… just hope I get the peaches!

9/11/08 SHARE: WHAT I GOT: and what I think I will do with it

What was actually in the box was:

  • RED TOMATOES…………6 pieces. I traded my eggplant for 5 more tomatoes!
  • CHERRY TOMATOES……1 pint. These turned out to be the yellow tomatoes again – no problem– but it
  • but it was not a whole pint.
  • SCALLIONS………………1 bunch. I traded the catalope for another bunch of scallions.
  • LONG RED PEPPER……..1 piece
  • ORANGE BELL PEPPER…1 piece
  • BROCCOLI………………2-3 pieces .. What broccoli? I did not get broccoli!
  • GREEN BEANS………….1/2 lb……..I traded my beans for a beet share.
  • EGGPLANT……………..1 piece. TRADED
  • CHIOGGIA BEETS……..1 bunch
  • CANTALOPE MELON…1 piece. TRADED


The beets came with very nice greens, so I know that I am going to do my marinated greens tomorrow afternoon – they will hold me through the weekend! I am going to make my favorite beet recipe tomorrow to make a dent in the beets, and then I will juice some of them.

The orange bell pepper will go to my “cheddar cheez” – I haven’t made any in a long while, and I am looking forward to it.

I will probably just eat the yellow cherry tomatoes as snacks (I have done so every time I’ve gotten them – they are so sweet!)

Again, lucky me! I have a pile of tomatoes (Okay, eight of them) Juice city!!

Scallions!!! Yea! Scallions!!! I said “green onions”, and said how I was happy to have onions in my share, and was corrected by the volunteer (okay, some people feel a need to rain on your party, or correct you, even if they don’t know you — and, anyway, this week, the volunteers did not feel the need to post the OFFICIAL NAMES OF THE VEGETABLES IN THE BOXES.) I don’t care! Onions work like onions. If they are “spring onions”, “green onions”, “scallions”, red onions, white onions, or yellow onions, I use them in the same way – if I need onions, they go in the recipe. All they have to be is spicy. I just am not “gourmet” about onions.

The red pepper will probably do duty with the marinated greens and also in a smoothie.

WHAT TO DO WITH LOTS OF TOMATOES – my tomato shares are coming soon

If you haven’t seen what I did last year with my two (surprise) shares, please check out the post from 9/2/07:
https://prettysmartrawfoodideas.wordpress.com/2007/09/02/buried-in-tomatoes/

I’m readier this year. I actually paid for two shares this time, on purpose.

Here is my information, based on judicious research as well as my experience and final action last year.

HOW TO MAKE SUN DRIED TOMATOES FROM FRESH TOMATOES

SELECT TOMATOES

  • The best tomatoes for dehydrating are Roma tomatoes (small oval-ish tomatoes). Romas are thicker, meatier, have fewer sides, and are less watery than other kinds of tomatoes.
  • Avoid mushy, soft, bruised, and rotten tomatoes.


TO PREPARE FOR DEHYDRATING

  • Remove any bruises or soft parts, as well as cores/stem parts (usually yellowish or greenish).
  • Halve or quarter tomatoes lengthwise, or thickly slice horizontally.   (Although dehydrated tomato pieces normally shrink to 1/4 of the original size, keep in mind that, the larger the pieces, the longer it will take to finish dehydrating them.)

DEHYDRATING

  • Place tomato slices evenly on dehydrator trays as close as possible without touching (remember that the end-product will be 1/4 the original size).  If desired, sprinkle with salt or herbs of choice.
  • Set dehydrator for 140 degrees for 1 hr.
  • After one hour, reduce temperature to 125 or 115 degrees (depending on which guru you believe — I do mine at 125 degrees)
  • Dehydrate until done – regardless of the kind of dehydrator you use (I recommend the Excalibur — mine is a 5-tray model which lets me easily check the progress of whatever I am dehydrating, and is easy to and fast to load and unload), this will depend on where you are and what kind of humidity there is.
  • When the tomatoes are properly dehydrated, they will be flexible, or leathery, like raisins.  They should be deep red in color, and not be tacky to the touch.
  • Cool the dehydrated tomatoes to room temperature (20 or 30 mins.), then place in zipper bags, leaving some small space for expansion.  Squeeze out as much air as possible when closing the bags.  (A vacuum sealer is ideal, and will prevent spoilage and retain flavor best, but judicious squeezing out of the air will do.)  Make sure any storage containers are completely airtight, as dehydrated tomatoes readily absorb moisture, and can quickly become moldy.
  • Store bagged dehydrated tomatoes in the freezer or in a cool, dry place.
  • Frozen dehydrated tomatoes will last for  9 – 12 mos.
  • Check packs of dehydrated tomatoes frequently for signs of moisture condensation for a week or so. At the first sign of moisture, put the tomatoes into the dehydrator and re-dry them


PACKING IN OILS
If you want dried tomatoes in oil, it is advisable to wait until just before you are ready to use them, and then refrigerate them only for a short time.
Place dried tomatoes in a jar with a good seal/top, leaving about 1 in. of space at the top, for expansion.  Pour in extra virgin olive oil to cover tomatoes and fill jar.  Check after 8 hours or so to see if you need to add more olive oil.

VARIATION:
If you wish to add herbs to oil-packed dried tomatoes, “layer” them in as you add the tomatoes, then add the oil.