All Posts By Michael Blakeney

52 Weeks Fresh: End-of-Summer Lovin’

by , September 5th, 2014

Pizza SaucePlants worked hard all summer to deliver varied flavors, shapes and colors. Now it’s time to cook your bounty.

A garden row of seedlings at the season’s start should now be a greenmarket. If you’ve been following along this summer, you’ll have everything you need for pizza sauce (tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, onions) and salads (lettuce, arugula, red onions, edible flowers and beets).

This is the time to use your fresh tomatoes in lieu of canned tomatoes in any marinara or basic tomato sauce. Try Giada De Laurentiis’ version with carrots, celery and a bay leaf, or make Chuck Hughes’ classic pizza sauce. To make the substitution, use 10 to 12 blanched tomatoes in place of a 32-ounce can.

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52 Weeks Fresh: What Time Is It? Tomato Time

by , August 22nd, 2014

Sun-Dried TomatoesSun-dried tomatoes are an excellent way to concentrate that jammy summer tomato flavor. But when it’s too hot to turn on the oven, take advantage of the sun and use your car.

A car dashboard makes the perfect substitute oven.

Simply slice fleshy tomatoes (plum tomatoes work well) into quarters. Lay them out on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt. Place the baking sheet on the dashboard of a car parked in direct sun (put the baking sheet on top of a towel to help keep it level). Close the car windows and let stand for about eight hours. Voilà: sun-dried tomatoes (and a very delicious-smelling car).

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52 Weeks Fresh: Prepping for Tomato Bounty

by , August 8th, 2014

There’s no such thing as having too many tomatoes, but it does pay to be prepared for the onslaught. The fruits are just beginning to ripen in East Coast gardens, so we have about two weeks to get ready for tomato mania.

Until then, take advantage of near-ripe varieties by making fried green tomatoes. Green ones appear in September and October (when there isn’t enough heat to fully ripen those still growing), so now is a great time to test and refine your techniques for the main event. A dollop of goat cheese on top with some torn fresh basil and cayenne powder will balance the tart flavor. Or keep the stove off by making a raw tomato sauce. Dice fresh tomatoes, and mix them with olive oil, finely chopped garlic and basil, along with some rosemary and sage.

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