Recipes from Tomatoland

Good Morning,  It’s quiet in Toronto this week. The traffic is thinner than usual.  There are more seats on the subway.   But by golly, there are a ton of tomatoes.  Tomatoes are so bountiful at this time of the year as well as beautifully ripe and flavourful. They are at the market.  They are growing on the backyard or even balcony vines(such as mine)!  We can take advantage of this and make dishes such as soups to enjoy now and freeze to enjoy throughout the winter. This is also a great time to make oven dried tomatoes and freeze the in those tiny mason jars. The flavours are amazing on your salads, sandwiches , pastas and pizzas throughout the winter. So delicious! And the health benefits are off the charts as well.

didyouknow     If you cook tomatoes more lycopene is released by the tomatoes. Lycopene is reported to protect against heart disease, prostate  and cervical cancer.  In addition, if you ingest tomatoes with oil then the lycopene is made more bio-available.  Your body will absorb four times as much of the lycopene.  This is another reason to avoid “fat-free” salad dressings.  Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K as well as many other nutrients. One cup of tomatoes has only 27 calories.  Food chemists at the university of California found that organically grown tomatoes have significantly higher amounts of vitamin C than conventional tomatoes so it is worthwhile to buy them organic or grow your own.  This is not true for all vegetables for example organic bell peppers. Tomato paste and ketchup are two of the richest sources of lycopene in our North American diets.

We can enjoy the health benefits of  cooked tomatoes by utilizing  the following tomato soup recipe.  Please see my earlier tips on freezing soup. I experimented and developed this by trial and error over a 10 year period of time.  Next week I will post a recipe for broccoli soup and I like to combine this with the tomato soup to give a yin/yang appearance with contrasting colour and flavour.  Stay tuned…..

Baked Tomato Sauce Recipe

My Baked Tomato Sauce is so EASY to make! The magic is in the fresh ingredients. No more stirring and simmering over a hot stove.
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INGREDIENTS
2 lbs or 1 kg tomatoes
1 small tin anchovies (drained and diced)
3 cloves garlic sliced
1/2 tsp.(2ml)  freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp.(2ml)  hot red chili flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp. (1ml) salt (optional)
1/4 cup (50 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (50ml.)   chopped fresh basil or parsley
add 6 thyme sprigs (optional / recommended) and/or sliced onions before baking.

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DIRECTIONS
1)  Preheat oven to 350F(160C)
2)  Slice tomatoes into 1/2″ (1 cm.) slices and layer in a casserole dish with the chili flakes, anchovies, garlic and pepper.  Optionally add salt as well.  Pour olive oil on top.
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3)  Roast in the oven for 1 hour or until the tomatoes are soft and caramelized.
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4)  Keep warm and cook your pasta.
5)  Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle with the basil or parsley.

in-depthIN DEPTH:
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Interesting back story
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The CLASSIC PASTA DISH (Home made)

The CLASSIC PASTA DISH (Home made)

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW? HEIRLOOM Tomatoes are increasing in popularity by the organic veggie consumers because they are a more natural and flavourful fruit. TOMATOES are armed with healthy Lycopene fighting free radical and the UV tomato skin battles cancer cells – every time you eat a tomato. The amount of bioavailable lycopene increases by cooking the tomato compared to eating them raw.  When you add a bit of healthy fat like olive oil, your body absorbs the lycopene more readily – four times more in fact. That’s how you maximize the body readiness of carotenoids from a tomato.This popular nightshade fruit is more powerful than an apple. Like carrots, the tomato is also good for your eyes.