Try these scrumptious ‘mater’ treats

Published 12:03 am Saturday, August 30, 2014

The tomato season is coming to an end, but my husband has been bringing in some late ones which I appreciate. I love tomatoes and would eat them year round but we know what the bland ones taste like in the winter.

Tomatoes are the most popular of all home garden plants. There is a variety perfectly suited for nearly any location, from an acre plot to a sunny spot on the sill. People who grow nothing else will hover and fuss over their tomatoes so that they can indulge their passions and cravings for a richer, truer, tastier tomato—the real thing. Both growers and eaters often include so-called heirloom tomatoes in their quest for taste perfection. Some experts insist that a variety must be a least 50 years old before it can be designated as an heirloom. Others contend that some younger varieties qualify, so long as they are grown from a series of saved seeds until no deviations show up in the plant. In either case, heirlooms must be grown from seeds that are saved from year to year.

It is possible that one cannot say enough about the glory of the real tomato, but Guy Clark, a songwriter, came close in this little verse:

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes

What would life be without homegrown tomatoes?

Only two things that money can’t buy

That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.

Below are two new tomato recipes I tried this week. Both were very good and different. One is a cold tomato soup with a Greek twist, and the other a change from the usual tomato pie. Try them before all the good tomatoes are gone.

From ‘Food and Wine’ magazine, September 2014.

Serves 4

Tomato Soup with Feta, Olives and Cucumbers

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 small red onion, sliced

¾ cup pitted Nicoise olives

2 Tbsp. oregano leaves

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

Kosher salt

1 small Kirby cucumber, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. honey

5 tomatoes, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

4 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved

2 oz. feta cheese, preferably Greek, crumbled (1/2 cup)

Baby greens, for garnish

In a small saucepan, heat the 6 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, olives and oregano and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in both vinegars. Season with salt. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss the cucumber with ½ tablespoon of the honey and season with salt.

In a blender, puree the chopped tomatoes with the remaining ½ tablespoon of honey and season generously with salt and pepper.

Pour the soup into shallow bowls. Top with the onion-olive mixture, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices and feta. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with baby greens and serve.


From’ Food Network’ magazine, September 2014.

Tomato and Corn Custard Pie

Serves 6-8

1 round refrigerated pie dough (half of a 14-ounce package) I made my own!

2 beefsteak tomatoes (about 12 ounces)

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off (1 to 1 ½ cups)

1 cup heavy cream

3 large eggs, slightly beaten

6 scallions, chopped

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

Freshly ground black pepper

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Bake the pie crust according to directions.

Meanwhile, core the tomatoes and cut into ½-inch wedges; toss with 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels to drain until ready to use.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer ½ cup of the corn to a large bowl.

Add the heavy cream to the saucepan with the remaining corn and bring to a simmer. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth; transfer to the bowl with the corn. Whisk in the eggs, half of the scallions and cheese, and a few grinds of black pepper; pour into the crust. Bake on the middle rack until the custard is just set, 30-34 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 400°.

Mix the remaining scallions and cheese, the panko, thyme, paprika, cayenne and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the mixture on top of the pie. Pat the tomato wedges with paper towels to absorb the excess moisture, then coat with the remaining panko mixture and arrange on top of the tart. Sprinkle any remaining panko on top; dot with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Return to the oven on the upper rack and bake until the top is golden about 15 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.