I love tomatoes straight from the garden. With tomato prices skyrocketing in Florida, I decided to plant my own.
Just before Easter, my brother and I planted about 25 tomato plants in different varieties. Every day there are a few more beginning to turn from green to red. As I picked a few more ripe ones last night, I wondered what I was going to do with all of them. In the next few weeks, I will be overrun with beefsteak, roma, and cherry tomatoes. While I could eat tomatoes every day and be happy, I know that I need to find a way to preserve them for future use.
I did some research and found a website at www.pickyourown.org that has great instructions on how to freeze or can your tomatoes and also how to make tomato sauce or paste from fresh tomatoes. The instructions are provided in .pdf format for downloading and they have also included labels that you can personalize for your jars!
Although freezing the tomatoes seems to be the easiest thing to do, I may need to invest in some jars and canning supplies. I would love to have enough tomatoes to last me all year. They can be used in spaghetti sauces, lasagna, and even salsa.
Here is a recipe that was adapted from The Tomato Festival Cookbook, by Lawrence Davis-Hollander (Storey Books, 2004). Perfect for brunch, a substantial lunch, or a light supper served with a crisp salad alongside, versatile Tomato-Basil Quiche is a luscious way to celebrate the many varieties of tomatoes growing so abundantly at this time of year.
2 medium or 1 large tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar (or you may use Gruyere)
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Leaves from 3 small stems fresh basil, torn if large
1 2/3 cups light cream
6 tablespoons aged port or sherry (may be omitted, but reduce baking time by 5 minutes)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Place tomatoes on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
2. In a small bowl, toss the cheese with the garlic. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture evenly on the bottom of the pie shell. Arrange the onion on top of the cheese. Arrange the tomato in a single layer on top of the onion. Distribute the basil on top of the tomato and in the crevices between the rounds. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese mixture on top.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly. Add the cream, port, and pepper and beat well. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pie shell.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350F and bake for 35 minutes longer, or until the quiche is lightly browned on top.
5. Let the quiche cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving.
Serves 6 – 8.
As you can probably tell, I am very excited about my tomato crop. I welcome any recipes, advice, or ideas!