Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Bounty

We're growing five types of tomatoes this year: Japanese Black, Roma, Grape, Matt's Wild Cherry, and Persimmon (not pictured), which is why I'm making tomato pie tonight. I'll adapt from several recipes, so I'll post it on here later.

Grape are my favorite for snacking, halved in salads, or slit and stuffed with slivers of garlic, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and roasted on the grill, like we had the other night with Gnome's rosemary, garlic, and olive oil- marinated chicken thighs and steamed broccoli. Both the tomatoes and the broccoli are sweet, which contrasts nicely with a spicy entree.

Japanese Black and Persimmon tomatoes are melty delicious served sliced all by their lonesome, or drizzled with olive oil, or sprinkled with salt, or added to a sandwich. They're juicy and full of flavor.

I use the Romas most often to top bruschetta or pasta. For the bruschetta, I pop good bread slices under the broiler for one to two minutes on each side until lightly toasted, drag a chunk of raw garlic across the surface lightly -- too much will make them more spicy and hot than I like -- then top with the chopped tomatoes that have been mixed with olive oil, sea salt and a little chiffonade of basil. For one pasta, I warm some garlic cloves and a pinch of red pepper flakes in olive oil (careful not to brown the garlic, it'll taste rancid), peel, seed, and chop the Romas into a 1/2" dice, then toss the oil and tomatoes with penne, more chiffonade of basil, and some freshly-grated Parmesan.

The Matt's Wild Cherry originate from Mexico. They are tiny tomatoes that are best popped right into your mouth. The birds must like them, too, because every spring we find more volunteer Matt's all over the property, including the front yard. We usually just pull them up if they're where they don't belong, but this year we've let a few grow where they are so that we can share the tomatoes with one of the groups that collects fresh garden vegetables listed on the website of Harvest Hope Food Bank. Two nearby shelters received about twenty pounds of zucchini and a couple of pounds of green beans
from us last month.

Gnome wanted pasta carbonara the other night, so we whipped this up by cooking up some scissor-sliced bacon, draining the pan, cooking a bit of flour in butter, slowly incorporating milk, adding in some chopped garlic and freshly grated nutmeg, black pepper and sea salt, and finishing it off with some peas and a large sprinkling of Parmesan. To brighten it up a bit and use up more tomatoes, I diced up a Japanese Black that we added to our dishes as we pleased.

Recrafting leftovers is one of my favorite things to do. This morning I warmed what was left of our Bistecca alla Fiorentina and fingerling potatoes in a little butter and served them alongside overmedium eggs with cantaloupe and blueberries. For lunch, I added some red wine vinegar to some fresh pesto from earlier in the week to make a salad dressing.

While we'd love to do some yard drinkin' tonight out back, we'll likely congregate in

the sunroom instead, which Gnome dubbed Cafe Angelique long ago. We can still catch the breezes and surround ourselves with the outdoors, but we won't have to sacrifice our porcelain skin to the skeeters. Besides, porch drinkin' is as good as yard drinkin' any day. Cocktails at five.


  1. Now I'm a worried man...Angie I know you are coming to stay at my Italian house in Umbria this September, but after reading your salivatious (is there such a word?) blog, I am worried that what the locals can offer in the way of food and lifestyle may not match up to the sybaritic lifestyle you all have over there. But I must pass on Victoria's latest recipe which we found in a place called Dongo last week, up on the most northern part of Lake Como. It was where Mssolini was captured and shot at the end of the war in 1945, and we made a detour along the lake on our way to Como for a night in one of our favorite little family hotels. This receipe consists of pancetta, fried in virgin olive oil until crisp and brown, a tomato sauce, made from our own passata, and mixed with a little cream (the Itatians call it panna) to thicken slightly. At the last minute you put in some small shrimps and serve over's an unusual flavour because is all combines in a way that no single ingredient stands out. We had some the other evening here in Casa Del Lauro under the pergola, looking for the last fireflies this season skimming the tops of the olive trees. It went well with a bottle of our friend Simona's Vino Nobile di Montepucliano. You must meet here when you are here, because she owns a small winderie that has been rn by the women in her family for generations. Her daughters are in the business now, and they have two grand-daughters so the future for feminine wine making inMontepulciano is assured.
    Ciao - e complimentis per il tuo blog
    Peter Hobday

  2. Peter! How nice to hear from you. I've been enjoying my email exchanges with Victoria immensely. Please tell her she owes me a review of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society soon. I'd put down your memoir for a month and just finished it last week. How nice to read about your experiences and how unique to have a chance get to know the place where we'll be staying.

    I have every reason to believe that the regional cuisine will meet with our expectations, which are admittedly quite high. Everyone we know that's been to Italy tells us that every meal was delicious. Although I do love salt. I've read about the dearth of salt (and the history there). Do the ristoranti supply it if we just can't eat our meal without it?

    I did some research and found that "salivacious" is not currently a commonly used word, but that doesn't mean we can't make it one. Grazie!

    We would absolutely love to meet Simona, her daughters and granddaughters. Please tell her when we'll be there and send us directions to the winery. Nothing would please us more.

    Grazie mille!

  3. Peter, I've found Simone's Villa Sant'Anna website:

    Looking forward!

  4. Angie, we are having Simona over to supper on Thursday so I'll tell her of your interest. As for salt, the story is that the Popes used to levy a pretty heavy salt tax on the inhabitants of Perugia - the Umbrian capital, and when they refused to pay, he excomunicated them. Happily you can get salt there now. As for "salivatious" should we start a blog called "neologisms r us"?

  5. Peter, I forgot to thank you for the recipe. I'll try it soon. It sounds delicious. As for the "neologisms r us" blog or website, there are similar ones out there, but if it's what moves you, I say go for it. My friend Elizabeth and I love to make up new words. Well, we think they are new, then we Google them and lo and behold someone else has already thought of it. Like "grouplet" for instance to mean a smallish group. Oh, well, it's still fun. Ciao! Angi