He's called for lists of five, and that inspired me to dust off the old blog. It's August, and in northern New England, August is tomato time. So what's on my mind? Five ways to eat tomatoes. (Although what I really need are 500 ways to eat zucchini.)
1. Slow-roasted oven tomatoes. Yes, it can be hot in tomato season. Yes, three hours is a long time to leave the oven on. But these tomatoes are simply a taste of heaven. I dream about these tomatoes all winter long.
2. Raw tomato sauce. Another Smitten Kitchen recipe description--she adapts it from Gourmet. And I like her notion of simply asking people what recipes they adore. Trusting people who don't like to cook to find the most reliable recipes intrigues me.
3. Another raw tomato sauce, this one from the most unlikely of places: PMLA (104, 1989), the rather stuffy journal of the Modern Language Association. When I first started graduate school, a requirement in the MA program was a proseminar for new students. The proseminar professor brought in a recent issue of PMLA, showing us that a graduate student had published a piece in it. He wanted us to know that publication was something we could do (this was back in the mid '80s, when graduate education was not professionalized in the way it is now; more graduate students publish more pieces these days.) PMLA--which I never read anymore, having moved away from literature and the MLA--always reminded me of my imposter syndrome as I started graduate school. But in 1989, this piece by Susan Leonardi captivated me: it opened with a recipe, and it referenced Nora Ephron. That's my kind of literary criticism. I keep this issue of PMLA on my cookbook stand, even though you really don't need to follow the recipe once you've read it more than once. But it amuses me that I have a tomato-and-oil-stained PMLA in the kitchen.
4. Sliced, on toast, with salt. Classic. Simple. Tasty.
5. Tomato soup, with chickpeas, pureed. The chickpeas create a creaminess that you'd swear comes from cream, except it's not. In the winter, pair with a grilled cheese sandwich. In summer, perhaps a salad?
So what are your favorite ways to eat tomatoes? (Can I slip in a sixth, in my list of five? Munching on sun-warmed cherry tomatoes as I garden is pretty darn delightful.)
School is starting again, but I find myself holding onto summer with each bite of tomato. May we all have a bit of late-summer sweetness as the seasons progress.