Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tomatoes Forever

I'm still having issues logging in from home, which makes posting super-extra irregular.

The growing season is extra long this year, with unusually warm (and, unfortunately, dry) weather.  This means that even though I started my tomatoes kinda late, I'll have some ripe ones this year.  Yay!  One of my customers at work has already harvested about a five gallon bucket worth out of his garden.

I think this is the first year in three years (or more) that I've had ripe tomatoes.  Cold, wet springs have done them in.  The last time I had ripe tomatoes I kept the seedlings in my greenhouse practically forever, potting them up all the way up into gallon pots before I set them in the ground.  And they were fantastic that year.

Which makes me want to build a permanent greenhouse even more, one big enough to safely house a small propane heater to keep them toasty at night.  Because life is too short to go without home-grown tomatoes with the exception of an occasional good year here or there.

My DH and I have been making tasty lettuce-free salads a lot lately.  Here's one of my favorite variations:

Chop into bite-sized pieces: two tomatoes.  Place in a medium/large bowl, drizzle with about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and stir.
Chop up/slice:  one cucumber, two sticks of celery, half a green pepper, half a cup of black olives, half a cup of green olives, and 1-2 tablespoons (or more if you like heat) pepperoncinis.  Place ingredients as you chop them on top of the tomatoes but don't stir until the end of the recipe.

Add a pinch of salt, pepper to taste, two tablespoons of pepperoncini juice, 1 tablespoon of olive juice, and a pinch of dill.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese and 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar.  Toss salad, taking care to make sure the tomatoes are all mixed in well, and serve immediately.

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