TOMATOES; Celebrated, Home-Grown, and on the Market
What would your life be like without homegrown tomatoes? Maybe not as delicious.
Though technically a fruit, the USDA labels the tomato as a vegetable. As a “vegetable” it’s the second most popular in the nation, as the U.S. consumes over 5 billion dollars worth of them per year.
This next hour we’re devoting entirely to the tomato; as we talk about its presence in backyards, at summer festivals, and in the supermarket- as well as its perks and its flaws.
- Mary Hudson (Reynoldsberg Tomato Festival)
- Debra Knapke (Ohio’s “Garden Sage”)
- Barry Estabrook (author and investigative food journalist)
- Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival
- Eggplant Casserole, from the kitchen of Debra Knapke
In a 9” x 13” pan layer:
- 1 med. eggplant, cubed ½” or so
- 2-5 cloves garlic, sliced or diced,
- 1-2 med. onions, sliced
- 1-2 red pepper, ½” pieces
- 1 green pepper, ½” pieces
- lots olives (I use 1 c. or so… pitted kalamata or mixed olives; use canned only if you don’t have “real” olives)
- 1 15 oz. can white beans–cannelini (white kidney beans) are the best
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (my favorite is Muir Glen) fresh tomatoes are even better: 6-7 large tomatoes cubed
- 1-3 tsp. Greek Seasoning from Penzy’s (or: 1 tsp. oregano, ½ tsp. thyme, ½ tsp. rosemary, salt, pepper, lemon zest) as always…. to taste
- Pour over the above: ¼. c. good olive oil Bake at 350º covered for 1 to 1 ½ hours
- Top with feta cheese, crumbled …. how much? ….. 8 oz….. to your taste
- ¼ c. fresh lemon juice ¼. c. good olive oil pour over the feta
Bake uncovered ½ hr.; should be very bubbly. Serve over bread (La Chatelaine’s 6-grain is perfect). Superb with a medium bodied red wine: Sangiovese or Merlot or a Belgian Witbeer or Double.
NOTE: this recipe is very flexible… no eggplant, use summer squash; use green beans cut into bite-sized pieces; add one or two diced jalapeño chilies; put a layer of basil leaves in the middle; put a layer of collards or kale in the middle… limited only by your garden and your imagination.