Recipes for Shabbat
I wasn't always in love with tomatoes. As a child a pizza was about as close as I would get the vegetable that's really a fruit (long story but suffice it to say it took an act of congress to change the laws of nature).
Tomatoes are the third most consumed vegetable in the United States, (the potatoes and lettuce are one and two). Tomatoes are chock full of lycopenes and lycopenes are part of the family of pigments called carotenoids, These carotenoids are natural compounds that create the colors of fruits and vegetables. Lycopenes are considered the most powerful antioxidant in the carotenoid family and as I am so fond of saying they are important in protecting the body from free radicals which have been linked to cancer.
While you can get tomatoes year around tomatoes are at their best from May to December. Most fresh tomatoes sold in supermarkets are firm, not yet ripe. This is because soft, ripe fruit is easily bruised. However, the tomato will ripen properly if kept at room temperature, between 55 and 70.
Ripe tomatoes should be completely red or reddish-orange, have a sweet aroma and yield slightly when pressure is applied. Do not refrigerate tomatoes. Cold temperatures cause tomatoes to lose their flavor and change in texture. Store them at room temperature, just as you would bananas until you are ready to use them. However, once fully ripe, a tomato can be refrigerated, but only for a few days; any longer and the flavor starts to deteriorate. If you need to speed up the ripening process just place your fresh tomatoes in a brown paper bag or in a bowl with apples and bananas. As the fruit ripens, it emits a natural gas--ethylene. This gas speeds up the ripening process when confined around the fruit in a closed bag or in close proximity to other fruit.
There are literally hundreds of ways to use fresh tomatoes. They can be stuffed, baked, stewed, or grilled in everything from soups and salads to salsas and spaghetti. They are at home in Italian, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisine and any self respecting sandwiches or hamburgers would be less than stellar without them. The following recipes are all relatively easy to throw together and will give you a great start on getting your own collection of tomato recipes started.
In a saucepan combine all of the ingredients. Bring
to a simmer. Serve warm over mixed greens.
Combine the tomatoes, garlic, green onions, oregano,
olive oil, sugar, and olives in a large glass bowl. Mix gently to combine.
Set the tomato mixture aside for at least 30 minute or more, up to 2
hours. Just before you're ready to serve cook the pasta and drain it...
Return the cooked pasta to the empty pot and pour the tomato mixture over
the hot pasta. Add the cheese and toss gently. Cover with the lid for 1
minute to let cheese soften slightly. Uncover and season with salt and
pepper if desired. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, if using and serve.
Preheat oven to 375. Wash the tomatoes cut them into
1/3-inch slices. Set them aside. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and
cook the onions and sugar together over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, white wine and rosemary and reduce heat ; cover and cook
for about 10 minutes or till liquid is almost totally absorbed. Stir in
the chopped olives and then immediately remove the mixture from the heat.
Spread the onion and olive mixture over the over the pre made pizza crust.
Place the tomato slices on top and brush with some additional olive oil.
Sprinkle the top of the pizza with the oregano and bake it for 10 minutes
or until the pizza is hot throughout. Makes 2 Pizzas. You can decorate the
top with fresh oregano and or rosemary just before you bake the pizza for
an extra added punch of flavor.
Preheat oven to broil. Cut the tomatoes in half
crosswise. In a bowl combine the bread crumbs, horseradish, lemon juice,
salt and paprika. Spread mixture over tomatoes halves and then sprinkle
the top of the covered tomatoes with the chopped parsley and Parmesan
cheese if using. Place the stuffed tomatoes in a broiler pan and broil
them 3 inches from heat 3-5 minutes until heated through. Serve
immediately. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Preheat oven to 350. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato; scoop out and discard the pulp. Sprinkle salt inside the tomato if desired. Invert the tomatoes on paper towels to drain. Meanwhile in a glass bowl combine the bread crumbs, corn, pepper, green pepper, celery, onion, half and half, and butter. Mix to combine and then spoon the corn mixture into the tomato shells. Place the filled tomatoes in an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the corn mixture with cheese. Pour just enough water into the baking dish to come up about 1/4 of an inch on the outside of the stuffed tomatoes and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are tender. Serve immediately. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
© Eileen Goltz 2002