Sunday, August 26, 2007

And the Answer Is: Tomatoes


At this time of year every question of "what's for dinner" is answered with something that has a tomato either in it on it or with it. Which is great news to my olderst daughter, a vegetarian, but met with a turned up nose by my 13 year old son. The only tomatoe recipe he enjoys is Ketchup. I have three teenage children with very varied palates. The oldest will not eat meat or fish, the middle daughter is the most adventurous but is on and off about pork products and my youngest child has a fondnest for things covered in either sugar or grease. He has a strong yearning for fast food establishments but is often denied access because no one will take him to one. Hopefully, this yearning is just a phase.

The kitchen experiments this weekend included some wonderful fresh corn griddlecakes with homemade salsa and Gazpacho. The griddlecakes and salsa were a huge success. The Gazpacho verdict still has not been finalized. Both my husband and I are purists and enjoyed the traditional classic cold soup. My two daughters needed much more spice and zest. They would have preferred a chunkier version. I'm not sure my son was even aware that there was a soup course at dinner.

Ali's Salsa
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
handful of basil, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
crushed red chili flakes to taste
dried cumin to taste
tabasco sause to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let salsa sit a little while to give flavors a chance to blend. Serve over corn griddle cakes.


FRESH CORN GRIDDLECAKES
MAKES ABOUT 20 3-INCH CAKES

Serve with salsa, sour cream, yogurt, or aioli

5 medium ears corn, husks and silk removed
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons pepper, or to taste
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons flour
Corn, vegetable, or canola oil (for cooking)

Set the oven rack to the center position and heat to 250 degrees. Break each ear of corn in half. On a cutting board, stand half an ear on the broken end, and, using a chef's knife, cut the kernels off 21/2 ears a few rows at a time (you should have about 3 cups of kernels). Place the kernels in a large bowl. Grate the kernels from the remaining ears on the large holes of a box grater (you should have about 1 cup of grated kernels), and add to the whole kernels. Stir the shallot, parsley, eggs, milk or half-and-half, baking powder, salt, and pepper into the corn until well blended. Add the flour, and, using a rubber spatula, fold it into the corn mixture.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over medium- high heat. When the oil is hot, measure 1/4 cup of the corn batter and pour it into the pan to form a disk about 3 inches in diameter; repeat until the pan is filled, leaving about 1 inch between cakes. Cook without moving (adjust heat if pan becomes too hot) until the bottoms are golden, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the cakes. Cook about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and set in the warm oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm.
From: The Boston Globe

Classic Gazpacho
4- to 5-inch squared hunk of stale baguette bread, crusts removed
1 small garlic clove
handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 medium-sized cucumber, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
3 large beefsteak tomatoes or 4 small ones, cored and roughly chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Soak bread in cold water for 10 minutes. Peel garlic, drop into blender with basil and blend until finely minced. Squeeze bread until as dry as possible and put in blender, along with cucumber. Blend to smooth, adding a bit of the oil if it doesn't liquefy. Once smooth, add peppers and blend to smooth, then add tomatoes and blend. Add the oil, vinegar and salt, blend, then taste, adding more vinegar and salt as needed. Chill, then serve. Serves 6.

6 comments:

Lydia said...

At this time of year I make gazpacho by the gallon, using red and yellow tomatoes, and bell peppers of all colors. My gazpacho isn't traditional, but we love it, and sometimes eat it for two meals a day. I never seem to get sick of it!

Nupur said...

The griddle cakes sound perfectly delicious! I'm going to be trying them this very weekend.

T.W. Barritt said...

I wish I had the time to keep a garden, as I would love to have a bumper crop of tomatoes this time of year! I want to reassure you that a fondness for ketchup probably means your son will end up liking tomatoes ... eventually!

Daniela said...

I love reading your blog, especially since you are where I grew up (not to mention the place I'll always call home.) The traffic, however, I do not miss.

I needed a break from peeling, seeding and chopping tomatoes, sat down to read your blog, and of course, you've posted about tomatoes!

I'm getting ready to can tomato soup for the winter. I'll likely post the recipe on my blog, if you're interested, and if you happen to have about a peck of tomatoes that need a purpose.

Diane said...

Lydia, your gazpacho sounds great. I will have to experiment more.

Nupur, hope you enjoy the griddle cakes. My kids pack them for lunch and eat them cold.

t.w., thanks for the encouragement. I hope you're right.

Daniela, please do post your tomato soup recipe. I would love to try it. ALWAYS looking for more tomato recipes!!!

Daniela said...

Diane,
The tomato soup recipe has been posted.