Rotten Tomato Blues

I woke up this morning....and smelled something bad ....(Maybe this is the beginning of a great blues song?)

Mister Mighty Appetite didn't smell nothin'
And he was sittin' right by the smell
I thought for a moment
Maybe I'm dreaming
But no, no, no
Baby
That smell
It was comin'
From that box of Roma tomatoes
Sitting on the dining room table

I open the box
And half my Romas
They were smellin' real bad
Turning into vinegar
I was gagging a tad


Pappa al pomodoro, made from rescued Romas. (Kim O'Donnel)


I dumped out the bad ones
And rescued the rest
Those red ladies were cryin'
Cryin' real bad

"Baby, please do somethin'
Somethin' real fast
We don't want to turn
Into tomato gas."

I thought for a moment
As I sipped on my Joe
It's a wee early
For cookin'
But if I don't do something
Those 'maters will have to go

"Don't you worry
Pomodori
I'll do by you right
You don't need to worry
About a vinegary plight"

So I chopped me some garlic
Some onions too
Cranked up the fire
And let them dance
In a puddle of oil

A few minutes later
I slice up 15 of them Romas
Add'em to the pot
Fifteen minutes later
They turn into somethin' hot

I've got sweet sauce in my pot
And the Romas, they smile
"Thank you Baby
For saving us
From the compost pile."

Pappa al pomodoro (Italian tomato and bread soup)
Adapted from "Chez Panisse Vegetables" by Alice Waters

Ingredients
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt to taste
2 pounds very ripe tomatoes (KOD note: Using Romas, that translates into about 15 tomatoes), trimmed and sliced in half
1 small bunch basil (including stems)
2- 2 1/2 cups bread crumbs (KOD notes: I used slightly more than 1 cup)
Optional garnishes
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, basil leaf, spritz of olive oil

Method
In a large pot, warm up olive oil and add onion, cooking on lowish heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt to taste and cook a few minutes more.

Remove about one-third of the onion-garlic mixture from the pot and reserve. Add tomatoes to pot and mix in with remaining onion mixture and basil stems (reserving leaves), and cook for about 15 minutes, until broken down. You are essentially making a tomato sauce. Pass sauce through a food mill and return to pot.

Add reserved onions and garlic. Over very low heat, stir in bread crumbs, starting with about 1 cup. After 10 minutes, turn off heat and let soup sit for 10 minutes. As bread crumbs absorb liquid, soup will slowly thicken. The dryness and density of the bread crumbs, soupiness of tomatoes and your own preference will dictate how much bread to add.

Chop a handful of reserved basil leaves and stir them into the soup, with a little more olive oil if you like and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or cold.

Makes six servings.

Pappa al pomodoro (Italian tomato and bread soup)
Adapted from "Chez Panisse Vegetables" by Alice Waters

Ingredients
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt to taste
2 pounds very ripe tomatoes (KOD note: Using Romas, that translates into about 15 tomatoes), trimmed and sliced in half
1 small bunch basil (including stems)
2- 2 1/2 cups bread crumbs (KOD notes: I used slightly more than 1 cup)
Optional garnishes
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, basil leaf, spritz of olive oil

Method
In a large pot, warm up olive oil and add onion, cooking on lowish heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt to taste and cook a few minutes more.

Remove about one-third of the onion-garlic mixture from the pot and reserve. Add tomatoes to pot and mix in with remaining onion mixture and basil stems (reserving leaves), and cook for about 15 minutes, until broken down. You are essentially making a tomato sauce. Pass sauce through a food mill and return to pot.

Add reserved onions and garlic. Over very low heat, stir in bread crumbs, starting with about 1 cup. After 10 minutes, turn off heat and let soup sit for 10 minutes. As bread crumbs absorb liquid, soup will slowly thicken. The dryness and density of the bread crumbs, soupiness of tomatoes and your own preference will dictate how much bread to add.

Chop a handful of reserved basil leaves and stir them into the soup, with a little more olive oil if you like and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or cold.

Makes six servings.

By Kim ODonnel |  October 9, 2007; 11:25 AM ET Seasonal Produce , Vegetarian/Vegan
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Comments

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Well done, Kim! We got the slows on processing tomatoes after many, many batches of canned sauce. About 1/4 bushel remained on the floor in a plastic bag with ventilation holes. They "cried" on the floor and their tears destroyed the surface (large white mark) of the old lineoleum floor. Does anyone know how to restore it (the floor, not the rotten tomatoes)?

Posted by: Fran | October 9, 2007 12:10 PM

About this morning's maple syrup question--
Maple syrup will mold if not properly stored. You can freeze it.

From the Ohio State Univ. Ag School
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-Fact/5000/5522.html :

Storage and Preparation
The three main enemies of maple syrup are air, time and temperature. Therefore, the following storage practices are recommended:

Immediately store your maple syrup after purchase in the refrigerator even if the container has not been opened. If this is not possible, consider freezing the syrup.*
Maple syrup packaged in tin or glass can be stored for up to one year in the refrigerator in its original container. However, some people who buy in large quantities often repackage and freeze the syrup and take it out of the freezer when needed.*
Because plastic "breaths," repackage syrup originally packed in plastic if you plan to store it for more than three months.*
* The best way to repackage maple syrup to maintain its quality is to pour the syrup into clean 1/2 pint, pint or quart glass freezer jars to one inch from the top and freeze. Heating and "re-canning" the syrup can cause it to darken and change flavor.


Posted by: Marian | October 9, 2007 1:32 PM

In my continual effort to graduate to a full blown foodie (current status: wannabe foodie)... could someone please tell me what a food mill is?

Posted by: from michigan | October 9, 2007 2:30 PM

I was told by my Vermont-raised sweetie that one should never discard moldy maple syrup. You just skim off the mold, bring the rest of the syrup to a boil, and pour it back in the container. Good as new. Kinda like cheese, I guess. (Cut off the bad, keep the rest.) Also, we keep our jug of Grade B Amber in the pantry.

Posted by: Beth | October 9, 2007 3:25 PM

Maple syrup over cornbread. mmmmmm

Posted by: rmh | October 9, 2007 3:38 PM

A food mill is a cone-shaped sieve that usually has a brace or holder thingy (clever wording, no?) and a pestle or 'stick.' You use it to separate food from its skin after cooking, or to sort of puree stuff. For instance, you cut up some unpeeled apples, cook them with a tad of water, then when they are soft, dump them into the food mill and press the apple mixture through the mill with the pestle/stick- viola! applesauce in the bowl outside the food mill, skins inside the food mill, and no hassle to peel the apples before cooking. Likewise with stewed tomatoes made into sauce, etc.

I just looked at the online kitchen glossary that Hormel hosts (a great resource for this kind of question) to see if I could get a photo. Interesting to note that the one they describe (http://www.hormel.com/kitchen/glossary.asp?id=33316) is not cone shaped, and seems way more complicated than the one I am accustomed to and described above. But the same basic principle.


Posted by: Food Mill | October 10, 2007 11:01 AM

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