Oct 20, 2008

Deep Fried Garlic!!

My family and I went to the Garlic and Harvest Festival in Bethlehem Connecticut last Sunday.

What a good time we had.

The festival is only in it's forth season so the size was extremely manageable. There were I think 60 or 70 vendors, several food tents. We were able to do the whole festival , eating included in around 2 hours. Now don't let that small size fool you, there was everything there a garlic lover could possibly want, and just about every other tent had some type of mini-mouthful of garlic-y goodness to sample. It all started off with a small cup of garlic Vinegar, and I believe the last sample I tried was a Garlic, Spinach, and Artichoke dip on a salt cracker. In between there was dips and oils, breads and garlic mayos, and a fabulous Garlic salt and a nasal clearing Beet-Horseradish relish. Some of the most lovely booths had nothing more for sale than whole heads of various varieties of garlic with tiny chunks of each of those varieties to sample. The biggest eye opener was the difference between the different garlics , some were fiery hot while some were so subtle and sweet it was almost humbling.

Now once the booths were all perused we made our way to the food court.....


There we tasted ,Sausage and Peppers with Garlic, a Pulled Pork sandwich, Deep Fried pickles , Hamburgers smothered in roasted garlic, and Garlic Ice Cream ( which is much tastier than it
sounds...of course by that time I had sampled so much raw garlic, everything was glazed in a haze of the wonderful and fragrant clove).....and finally and the reason for this posting, the Deep Fried Garlic. OH MY GARDEN, having it prepared this way must be the absolute most sinful and wonderful ways to eat garlic. The flavor is sublime, sweet and mild,but so savory from the carmelization that this method of cooking provides. The color is out of this world as well, a beautiful gold-bronze hue that was the perfect compliment to the Autumn leaves all around. This was a treat that I am glad I didn't pass up.
So next year, if you are up this way, treat yourself to some garlic!!

Oct 17, 2008

'Olena Ukrainian' Tomato Update

Back a few weeks ago, I posted my, Tomatoes on Parade, tomato tasting review for the 2008 growing season. In it, I stated a little disappointment in the variety Olena Ukrainian. Since that time I have changed opinion of this beauty of a tomato. Seems as if she needs cooler weather in order to really shine. Granted Olena Ukrainian is still a mild tomato, but the sweetness and complexity of flavor really come forward in the tomatoes that have ripened late in the season. I still believe that this is an especially good cooking variety, with the large size and dense flesh that makes it a given. However circumstance has led me to favor this as a fresh eating tomato as well. Let me tell you....this tomato covered in a little Garlic Sea Salt is phenomenal!

How did your tomatoes do this season, what will you never grow again and what made it to your Tomato Hall of fame????





As a footnote...the season is drawing to an end. I pulled the last of the tomatoes out of the bigger garden and only have a few left in pots. Granted there is a mountain of greenies on my dining room table and I will be eating and cooking tomatoes for some time to come, but still a certain melancholy from the shortening of days and the loss of my plants is to be expected. Of course I will try to think of green and homey things of interest to post about thru the Winter months but my posts will be fewer and farther between until seed season rolls around again come late Winter. But do not despair , as tomato seed planting time will be here quicker than you think!!

Oct 1, 2008

When life gives you Tomatoes.....

Make marinara!!




Last week the Northeast was a gray drizzle mess....but the fun news on Wednesday was that we were expected to receive anywhere between 3-6 inches of rain from Thursday evening thru to Sunday morning. So me , always thinking, decided that instead of taking the chance that all of my ripening tomatoes splitting from the excess rain , I would pick anything with a hint of color. Okay...that was easy. Inside, safe and sound sat 2 large mixing bowls of semi ripe tomatoes, and one very large soup bowl of cherry tomatoes ....just waiting for their time to shine when finally fully ripened.


Fast forward a week, now I have 2 large mixing bowls of fully ripe tomatoes, a large soup bowl of fully ripened cherry toms, plus several more semi ripe tomatoes and another bowl of cherry ones and a huge load more greenies just waiting in the wings. I cant get my kids or my hubby to show the same enthusiasm to these beauties as they did in early August...so what is a tomato growing addict to do.......


SAUCE....


So here is my beautiful Roasted Tomato Marinara in full and fabulous technicolor. Spread out on this page like the ripe luscious tomato pornography that it truly is!!


Alright, well, maybe not truly porn, but it did make my sons eyes get wide and his mouth water...so you tell me !!



I have started filling my largest turkey roaster with my tomatoes


Still there is a whole bunch of preparation to go before we get sauce


The pan is full to the brim with a few sprigs of fresh herbs added and 2 tsps of Kosher salt sprinkled on they are now ready to go into a 400° degrees preheated oven.


While the tomatoes cook, I get the food mill ready to go.

Ahhh...can't you just smell the heady aroma.....the tomatoes are finally done after about an hour and a half in the oven.

The tomatoes are processed in the food mill to remove the skin and seeds.

I add enough tomato paste to thicken, and about 1/2 cup of lovely red wine called Carmenere(that is what I like to drink, if you make this sauce use the red wine you like...or omit it and add a TBS or so more Balsamic) and a couple of TBS of Balsamic vinegar to bring out the roundness of the sauce. I also now salt and pepper to taste and simmer for an hour.My exquisite sauce is ready for its 30 minute boiling water bath....but you can always eat what you want and freeze the rest :)

The tomatoes aren't long for this earth as the days get cooler and the nights get longer....let's enjoy them while we can......