Small Hands in the Big World

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Picture-Perfect Tomatoes

Oh, how I wish I could say these came from my garden. Alas, a combination of persistent deer and cooling shade keeps me from even trying anything other than cherry tomatoes (and even those are pathetic this year).
See? I wasn't kidding when I said my own tomato-growing efforts were sad. Oh well, at least the kids still love popping these in their mouths.
Anyhow, back to the sexy tomatoes. These bountiful red, green, orange, yellow, and multi-hued heirloom beauties are from our beloved CSA, Jubilee Farm, and yes, they do taste as good as they look. In addition to the 5 pints of gorgeous tomatoes that I brought home with our family share, Jubilee sold me an extra 15 pounds for $25 which is a steal as anyone who buys heirloom tomatoes at farmer's markets can testify. They are almost too pretty to eat but knowing their good looks will only take them so far, I made a tasty yellow waxy bean and tomato salad to go with dinner tonight (recipe below). Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of them besides having them pose for my camera. Smile, you sexy tomato!

Isn't she gorgeous?

The green pattern on this charming little fellow is one of my favorites.
My own little "tomato rainbow" arranged by color/variety. I know, stop playing with my food...
Finally, piled into my basket so the deer didn't come devour them while we were out. I had to stop at this point, the kids were getting jealous of having to compete with tomatoes for my attention.

I love cookbooks organized by the dominant vegetable in the dish and I even more than that, I love recipes that feature three or more items in our weekly CSA bounty. This is a tasty find from Alice Waters'  Chez Panisse Vegetables that made delicious use of our yellow wax beans, shallot and you guessed it, the sexy tomatoes.

Green (or Yellow or Purple) Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

1 pound green beans (I used yellow)
1 pound cherry tomatoes (or sexy heirloom tomatoes if you got ‘em)
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Basil or other herb (optional) – I actually added about 3 tablespoons of pesto to the dressing in place of an herb and this helped it become more kid-friendly since my kids love pesto
1/2 cup edamame I added these to increase the protein and make it more hearty (Alice suggests this in her book and says any shelled bean should work fine)

Top and tail the beans then parboil in salted water until just tender, about five minutes (add the edamame in this step also). Drain and immediately spread them out to cool. Cut cherry tomatoes in half or slice larger ones however you’d like.

Peel and mince the shallot and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed. Toss the cherry tomatoes in with the vinaigrette; this can sit for a while. Do not add the green beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette.

Here is how mine turned out. Come to think of it, these beans are pretty sexy too, aren't they? Maybe I need to get out more...

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