Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tomato Mania, Wonky Circles
















One of my most favorite parts of summer is the taste of sweet homegrown tomatoes. The past few years we have had NONE, NADA, ZIP, NIL. Our friendly neighborhood groundhog has seen to that. He would just devour every little red orb right off the vine (and some green ones too!). So disappointing. This year my DH decided to plant his tomatoes at a different location, an area around a building he rents for his small business. Lo and behold, we had a bumper crop this year!!! We have supplied neighbors and friends with all they could eat and then some; we have eaten BLTs out the ying-yang; we have had fresh mozzarella and tomato slices on bruschetta; we have had tomato slices with our breakfast---well, you get the picture. I decided yesterday I wanted to have that precious tomato love in the coming winter too. Back in the day I would always freeze small batches of tomatoes for use in chili and soups. So....yesterday:


I blanched a few tomatoes at a time in a large pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, then plunged them into a bowl of ice water. The skins come off so easily! Then I cored and cut the tomatoes into 8ths (removing any tough or bruised parts) and ladled them into Ziploc 1-quart freezer bags. I put about 2 cups in each bag, labeled, and stuck them in the freezer. Most will go into this great recipe:


VEGGIE CHILI: Saute about 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper and about 1/3 cup chopped onion in a large pot in a small amount EVOO (Rachael Ray's term for extra-virgin olive oil) till tender. Add 2 cans kitchen cut green beans, 2 cans dark red kidney beans, and 2 cans of peas--all of which have been drained well. Add 4 cups of the tomatoes which have been thawed and chili powder to taste (I use 2 Tablespoons). Let simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes. Enjoy!

For a little relaxation in the sewing room I pulled out these Jan Mullen books. I fell in love with this Australian designer's free and easy techniques the first time I saw her on Simply Quilts years ago. I had been wanting to incorporate a funky sun in a wallhanging and decided to play with her circles ideas. This one was flipped-n-sewn to a piece of batting. I'll use a lightweight interfacing fabric for the real McCoy. But it sure was a fun thing to putz around with!






17 comments:

Angie said...

What a wonderful way to hang on to some of Summer 'best' :> . Thanks so much for sharing how you freeze your tomatoes AND your veggie chili recipe. I've already printed it out. :>
LOVE your 'sun'--I'm going to see if I can find that book---I need another book like I need a hole in the head---I've been on a HUGE book-buying binge lately. :/

Laura said...

The tomatoes look yummy! We have only had 2 off our plant so far this year but it looks like we will have a bunch within the next few weeks.

Libby said...

Yes - those tomatoes are really something this year. I think I'm going to have to follow your lead and start freezing . . . Hubby is beginning to balk at some of my fresh tomato efforts *s*

anne bebbington said...

Those tomatoes look and sound delicious :o)

jovaliquilts said...

I like your sun! I have Jan Mullen's Cut Loose Quilts and have considered getting some of her other books. Looks like I should!

Maybe you should make a free and easy circle tomato to hang in your kitchen this time of year ... !

Andrea said...

I love tomatoes and last year my dad grew so many he couldn't give them away quick enough. This year - nothing. They are going bad before they ripen. I love your block - I keep finding myself drawn to curves and circles.

Laurie Ann said...

I am jealous! All my tomatoes are just green, green, green. But once they start to ripen. Watch out! I did have a gopher eat one of my plants though. Went for the roots. I have traps set as we speak. Wish me luck! :0

Littlepenpen said...

Yum, yum... I love 'maters too! I think I'm the only one at my house that truly loves them. I try to eat one at least once a day while the tomatoes are here!

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

I have been getting tomatoes from my neighbor and they are so good. We are eating them every night and the boys are eating them for snacks. I wish they would save some to freeze.

I too love Jan Mullen's technique and saw her on Simply Quilt's. Her books are been on my list to get.

Connie W said...

Fresh tomatoes, corn, some potatoes and green beans, yumm, what more could we need in the hot summertime. I too like to layer mozz. cheese, tomato, some garlic flavor (salt, or whatever) on some bread and let the cheese melt over the top in the toaster oven, a tasty lunch or snack. The sun stitchery is so fun!

Ali Honey said...

Enjoy your harvest of tomatoes. We are loving the ones we froze earlier on now in soups.( Winter here ) We are down to the last bottle of tomato sauce I made, so must have been greedy with it. Very yummy. Bet your are too!

Karen said...

Hope your DH continues to do well. So happy for you about the tomatoes after those years of groundhog frustration! This was my year not to get any tomatoes, so disappointing as you say. I usually can a dozen or so jars.

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

Lucky for you that your DH tried a different location! How wonderful to have fresh tomatoes!

Cheers!

Evelyn

Mary said...

I would so like to be your neighbor right now. I LOVE fresh home grown tomatoes and haven't had a single one this year. (Of course the home grown ones I usually have are always grown by someone else!)

I love Jan Mullen's Cut Loose Quilts book. I have the Reverse applique one also but the pieced quilts are more my speed!

Susan said...

Oh, thanks for the veggie chili recipe. I sent it to Paul and we'll see if he makes it. He often does make the ones I send him.

What a great sun that is. I'll be waiting to see what happens to it, and the piece that you put another one in.

Dawn said...

Yup, we still have no tomatoes. Another year down the drain. Your right - fresh tomatoes from the garden - there is NOTHING like it!

Wendy said...

Thanks so much for sharing how you freeze tomatoes. The hot water and cold water bath seems similar to how I do peaches. I also like to freeze apples for Apple Crisp.
Your sunshine block or should I say circle is fantastic, looks like fun...