Summer Tomatoes – A Love Poem

For day 10 of Nanonano at Real Toads. The floor is open for all poems as this is open link day at the Toads.  Unprompted!!!!

copyright kanzensakura

Summer Tomato: A Love Poem
I’m not talking about those
mushy wannabe red globulous things
in plastic trays in the pro-duce section of the store –
I’m talkin’ ’bout tomatoes born
and raised in the heat of the summer sun,
sassy summer tomatoes full of juice,
so tangy and sassy that before
you can stick your fork into a slice
lying innocently upon a plate,
one of those bad boy slices
jumps up and slaps you across the face –
Twice.
No, not talkin’ ‘bout those demure sweet things,
those tame ‘maters with bland flavor –
I am talkin’ ’bout those full fledged
in your face, deep red, full of bite,
impertinent summer tomatoes.
And we all know the best ones comes
from the gardens of your mama,
your grandmama, a neighbor, your own backyard –
all kinds of ‘maters:
Rutgers, Better Boy, Homestead –
unpretentious no apologies ‘maters –
none of those trendy browngreenpurple ‘maters,
but warm from the sun – skin smooth and tight
Sayin’ to you –
Stroke me, hold me, bite me –
Slice me onto the plate,
Summer to-may-toes – The feisty street punk of tomatoes –
no sweet mushy debutante,
no dry flavorless academic,
no all on the outside nothing on the inside
tomato hypocrite…
The Real Summer Tomato:
‘tween my fingers and my thumb,
Watch out belly – here.it.comes.

Haiku for Today

Posted at Poetic Bloomings.where we are given titles of songs of the Beach Boys to pick one and use as inspiration. https://poeticbloomings2.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/an-entertaining-summer-day-18-endless-summer/

red tomatoes bask
under the warmth of the sun –
juicy ripe delights

copyright kanzensakura

 

Quick Summer Lunch

No picture, I haven’t made it yet for today, on my way to get the ingredients. But here is a real haiku for you about the salad:

summer tomatoes
small green cucumbers, happy
luncheon – tummy smiles.

Summer is here and it is sooooo hot, the average life span of a popsicle is about 15 seconds. Yes, I have air conditioning but I still like to cook as little as I can get by with. Call it a….Vacation away from the kitchen. No children in the house so that makes things simpler.  Actually, I took this to a friend’s and her kids loved it.  Depending on pasta type or optional ingredients added, this can be vegan or vegetarian or gluten free.

Wonderful summer tomatoes and small crisp, sweet cucumbers are also showing up at local markets. I am having to resort to local markets because a line of storms obliterated my garden. And I am envious of you all who have a kitchen garden.

Now, for super simple healthy lunch or, dinner if you like. No quantities are given. It’s a “do your thing” recipe. And, it is a keep it simple salad…nothing elaborate or stylish here, just good tastes. The best kind for summer.

You’ll need:
pasta – fettucine, rotini, elbow, whole grain, gluten free, whatever.
tomatoes – one per serving (depending on size)
cucumbers – one per serving (depending on size)
green onions – to taste
splash of rice wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Dash of sugar or sweetener
Optional – finely chopped basil, freshly grated parmesan, pine nuts, splash of olive oil.

Instructions:  Cook desired servings of pasta al dente, rinse with cold water and drain. Meanwhile, skin or peel tomatoes and cukes. Very coarsely chop tomatoes and cukes. Add to pasta along with salt, pepper, rice wine vinegar. Toss and let sit about 15 minutes for tomatoes to juice out and flavors to blend. Sprinkle green onion and optional ingredients on top and lightly toss. Serve with some crusty bread if desired. Dig in.  NOTE:  I peel or skin tomatoes or cukes this time of year because the peels can be tough and bitter.

WARNING: This salad will not taste the same if you use those mushy store bought tomatoes or big last season waxed cucumbers. if it’s all you have access to, well, then do your best.

Recipes – KISSATURDAY 2

Yowser…it’s cold here!!! Nights in the teens, days in the 20’s. You folks in parts of Canada and Alaska can laugh all you like, but it is cold for us.

So…something warm and yummy for Dinner – I’m going again with the Keep It Simple Saturday. For dinner (and leftovers) – a slow cooker Swiss style round steak. It’s on sale for $3.99 pound at a local chain. I like to pair the Swiss steak with yellow rice and a tossed salad. You can add garlic, oregano, and thyme, and give it an Italian flair and serve with pasta. Dessert for the evening is going to be toasted, sliced pound cake (purchased – did I mention today was KISSaturday?) and topped with ice cream or sherbet of your choice.

Breakfast is cheese toast with a side of fresh fruit. Lunch is chunky tuna salad stuffed into pita pockets and cut up veggies on the side. I keep cut up veggies on hand all the time for my bento and my husband’s lunch or for snacks. Same with fruit. I buy fresh strawberries on the cheap or, use bananas cut up with pineapple chunks. Apples, oranges, and tangerines are always on hand. We are big on getting our five servings of fruit and veggies every day. You can use canned fruit in juice for ease and frugality. Sometimes I open a can of chunky mixed fruit in their juice and add sliced banana.  But I am a fresh girl….in more ways than one!!!

I am going to fix the tuna salad first so the flavors can blend and then throw the round steak together in the slow cooker. When this gets to going, your house is going to smell sooooo good! You can watch basketball games on the tube, run errands, have that rare lunch with a friend, sneak in a nap or read…..be all kinds of busy while this cooks without you having to worry.

Now remember, this is KISSAturday – not haute cuisine-impress your foodie friends-make something exotic Saturday. Ingredients are simple, easy to find, based on frugalness, and tried and true combos for a savory comfort factor. We’ll get into fancy-schmancy another time.  Enjoy your Saturday. Don’t make yourself crazy. And take some time to take a walk and enjoy winter beauty…it has its own style and is as seductive as spring, if you learn to appreciate it.

Cheese Toast– per serving
(I shouldn’t have to tell you this but……)
2 slices of bread – your choice
Schmear of low fat margarine or be bad and use butter
Cheese of your choice – enough to cover two slices of bread

Schmear butter on bread and top with cheese. Please cheese side up in a toaster over or under the broiler until it is melted and bubbly.

Chunky Tuna Salad
2 standard cans of chunk white tuna in water, drained
¼ c. chopped onion
¼ c. chopped green or red pepper
¼ c. chopped celery
Dash of hot sauce
Dash of lemon juice
     Enough mayo to bind ingredients. Mix all well. Some curry powder is good added to this as a change from standard mixes. Stuff in pita pockets, spread on bread slices, or eat as I do on lettuce.

SWISS STEAK
1.5 – 2 Lbs beef round steak, cut into serving size pieces: 6 – 8
2 cans whole or diced tomatoes, smushed
1 envelope onion soup mix (I use ½ envelope and use a store brand)
1 medium onion sliced
1 small green pepper, sliced
Salt and pepper
Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
     Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Put some of the tomatoes and veggies in bottom of cooker and top with steak pieces. Top with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Serve with rice, noodles, or mashed taters.  If you do the Italian seasoning, serve with pasta.

swiss steak

Eat Your Heart Out – Local Produce and Mammies’ Veggie Stew

Surrounding Richmond is beautiful farm and horse country.  The city is home to eclectic and experienced foodies.  Restaurants run the gamut from homey diners serving fried donuts topped with ice cream to pure Southern meat and three joints to elegant establishments presenting the most recent and stylish food fad.  Locavores are the power brokers when it comes to supply and demand.

The farmland has given birth to organic farms, old home farms, specialty farms, dairies, and free range poultry and meat producers.  Herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, salad stuffs, heirloom vegetables.  And there are as many different types of farmers markets and produce stands. 

My favorite produce stand is in the middle of Hanover farm country.  From April 1 until the day before Thanksgiving, you can buy the freshest, best variety, and cheapest local produce.  There are also things such as handcrafted (what a stylish word!) jams, jellies, pickles, cheese, butter, salt and sugar, smoked hams, baked goods.

Even as late as this past weekend, the stand was overflowing with vegetables and other products.  Mountain apples are starting to make their appearance as well.  And while the produce isn’t as cheap as it was in mid-July (super sweet corn 6 ears $1, green beans 99 cents a pound, tomatoes 2 pounds for $1, etc.), it is still cheap enough to make people in other areas green (smile) with envy.  A 25 pound box of tomatoes is $8 for example.  Because of this bounty, I have been able to can 32 quarts of tomatoes and 32 quarts of green beans, freeze 16 quarts of corn (double cut and scraped of all its milky goodness), 12 quarts of assorted field peas, and 16 quarts of butter beans – not limas – butterbeans.  Butterbeans have a silkier texture and sweeter taste when cooked.

With all this bounty, I just have to cook up a huge batch of Mammies’ Veggie Stew.  You can call it soup, thick soup, or stew.  Just as long as it is full of veggies, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t use meat in mine but you can if you want to.  The recipe comes from my great-grandmother.  I fix enough to freeze 30 quart bags and several one-half gallon bags.  One a cold rainy night or day, the smell wafting from your stove will make you smile.  Add a chunk of hot cornbread or homemade roll slathered with butter, open a jar of homemade pickles or pickled beets, and you have a bit of heaven on earth.  Some of the ingredients may seem a bit odd, but Mammie worked this out years ago.  She never let me down.  Trust me.

I double this recipe and cook it three times.  It comes in handy for unexpected company or comfort for sickness or, in some cases, to take a couple of weeks after a bereavement as a good excuse to say hello and just been thinking about you.

Mammie’s Veggie Stew

2# stew beef (optional – see notes)

3 qts. Water

1 cup chopped  onion

4 c. potatoes chopped

1 tsp. pepper

5 tsp. salt (or to taste)

2 qt. corn (double cut and scraped)

2 qt. butterbeans

3 qt. tomatoes

½ c. ketchup

¼ – 1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp. hot sauce or to taste

Few good shakes of Worcestershire sauce

¾ stick butter

You can use plain water or vegetable broth.  Cook butterbeans until al dente.  Add the other ingredients.  If using whole tomatoes, break apart with hands as you add to the broth and butterbeans.   Simmer until veggies are tender.  Stir occasionally to keep from sticking and burning. You can cook down until thicker or have it thinner.  Your choice.  If you use meat, cook it first until tender and when cool, shred and add to broth.  If you use frozen veggies, use baby limas and try to find frozen sweet white corn.

Sweet Southern Peaches

Assorted Peppers and Fall Squash

Fresh Shelled Butterbeans and Assorted Peas: Dixie Lee, White Acre, Pink Eye Purple Hull, Brown Crowder, Black Eye

%d bloggers like this: