Looking at the produce offerings lately, I figure it must be peak muscle season for farmers. Bushels upon bushels of tomatoes are on display along with melons of all types and sizes and let’s not forget about those giant heads of cabbage. All of those heavy items have to be harvested on the farm, loaded into boxes, carried to the van, transported to the market and hefted onto (and under) tables for us shoppers to admire. Last time I was at the market, I was lucky to bring my muscle, aka my husband, along to carry my bags. Usually I’d make several trips to the car but it was much more efficient to share the weight in one trip!
My focus this last visit was on tomatoes. A few years ago I tried my hand at canning tomatoes and swore I’d never do it again because it turned out to be very laborious. This time I stuck to recipes that didn’t require canning like roasted tomato salsa, sweet and spicy jam, and roasted tomato pasta sauce. All things that I planned to use within the month, or as it turns out, use within the week. Whatever tomatoes I had left I stuck in the food dehydrator with a sprinkle of Dirty Good seasoning.
I use roma tomatoes for most of my recipes simply because they tend to be meatier than other varieties and hold up well to heat and I’d highly recommend making a batch or two of tomato jam. It goes well over polenta, pasta, or on a cheese platter. I really wish I had made more.
If tomato jam isn’t your thing, try roasting tomatoes, garlic, and onion for a salsa. Roasting the ingredients enhances the flavor ever so slightly and is simply delicious. Again, I wish I had made more since the first batch was eaten within a day. Lesson learned!
I used the Roasted Tomato Salsa recipe from 101 Cookbooks and skipped the guajillo pepper since it was smoky enough with the adobo pepper but if you like things very smoky, go for it and use both peppers. It’s up to you if you want to peel the tomatoes after roasting. The skins easily pull off while still warm and it makes for a better mouth feel. Naturally, this salsa is the perfect accompaniment to tortilla chips, but I found myself putting it in quesadillas and as a topping for a black bean and rice bowl. Enjoy!