Making every bite count

19 August 2007

Oh, tomatoes. How I love thee...

Woke up early on Saturday, had a lazy breakfast with Fred and ended up at Findlay Market. It's my favorite Saturday morning activity. We were a but rushed, unfortunately, but I picked up these beautiful tomatoes. At left are green zebra and garden peach varieties.
Heirloom tomatoes, with all their unconventional beauty, put supermarket hot-house varieties to shame. The memory of a cold, mealy, watery pink beefsteak tomato quickly fades. The grower let me try a garden peach, and I ate it, like a peach. Sweet, with a yellow color and a lovely peach blush that tells you when they're ripe, these are mild and delectable. The skin in slightly fuzzy, too.
The green zebras are quite good, too. I've had them before, and the first time I tried them I was a bit intimidated. They are striped with lime green and goldenrod, juicy, with a pale green interior.
Best part: These are grown without pesticides!
Then I walked to the next booth, where they had these little darlings:

Tiny salad tomatoes in every shape, size and color, including several yellow pear varieties. So sweet, so rich, like nature's candy.
Tonight for dinner, I made a slightly decadent but terribly simple pasta.
1 package fusilli (this kind is whole wheat and flax, from Trader Joe's)
5 tomatoes (garden peach and green zebra)
handful tiny tomatoes
fresh basil, from the growers who sold me the green zebras
olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt, pepper
fresh mozzarella

Cook the pasta. While it's cooking, quarter the large tomatoes. Leave the small ones whole. Chop or tear the basil and cut the cheese. (Stop laughing? Are you 12?)
When the pasta's done, quickly drain it, reserving two tablespoons of pasta water. Immediately toss back into hot pot with basil, tomatoes and cheese. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, stir well and put the lid on the pot. Let sit one minute in the pot, then serve. The residual heat warms the tomatoes and softens and starts to melt the cheese.

Oh, so marvelous. Fred and I dined in the living room, silently, to a soundtrack of Madeleine Petroux. It's rare that we don't converse during dinner. But the tomatoes were that good. They required our full attention.
Stop reading this. Go to the nearest farmers market and enjoy the bounty of tomatoes. I've still got about half of them left. Tomorrow night's dinner will be avocado and tomato salad, I think. I've got a ripe alligator pear in there just dying to be used.

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