Among all the Romas we picked over the weekend were also some of the heirloom vining variety we planted this year. These are Rose tomatoes, a variety originally raised by the Amish:
The two giant tomatoes are Rose. They weigh about a pound apiece! The Roma that I put next to them for scale is a totally average one — Rose tomatoes are huge! It's hard to tell in this photo, but they are more pink-red than the traditional orangey-red of most tomatoes. This is especially noticeable before they are fully ripe, as they turn from green to pink before they redden up.
They are also a vibrant pink-red when you cut them open:
As you can see, this tomato is almost all meat. This isn't even the best photo of that — there are lots of of times when we cut into it and see no seeds at all.
These tomatoes are delicious! They are less acidic (based on the fact they they don't sting my hands when I cut up a bunch), and sweet, and good. The only drawback is that they have pretty much no shelf life: Once it's ripe, you need to use it ASAP.
So here's what we did with them last night:
Dinner was Kirk's creation: BATs (bacon, avocado, and tomato) on sourdough. This was mostly because we don't have any lettuce right now (that isn't totally bitter from the heat, that is), but it turns out that this is an improvement. And with creamy avocado, you don't need any mayo.
(Avocado is legal in our "no buying veggies" challenge, btw. It is a fruit, and we are still buying fruit because it is the first year for many of our berries, and because of jerk squirrels. Even after we have fruit, avocado and citrus will still be fair game, since we can't grow them here in Massachusetts for love or money.)
By the way, the soup to the right is a cold cucumber soup from (where else?) The New Moosewood Cookbook. It’s a great way to use up four big slicers, as we are in danger of being overrun by cucumbers, I think. (If you try it, I would recommend whisking everything together first, then adding the grated cucumber at the end.)
It only took one of those big Rose tomatoes for the whole family's dinner, so I had several left to use up before went bad. First up, salsa:
I made this the same way as before, but I skipped the radish because we don't really have any right now. Also, it was unnecessary to add spice in creative ways, because our jalapeños have rounded the corner and are actually hot now! I picked a red (ripe) one, and bit right into the tip, which Kirk and I decided just tasted like a regular bell pepper. But then Kirk licked the white ribs on the inside, and that's when we realized they were hot after all. Whew!
It's hard to tell in the photo, but that is a giant bucket of salsa — 2 1/2 quarts. That's about how much I typically make at a time in the summer, and we usually freeze half and keep the other half out for snacking. To give you an idea of the size of the tomatoes, it only took three to make the 10 cups of salsa in that container. To give you an idea of the heat of the jalapeños, it only took two to spice that whole bucket of salsa (and as I am not a native New Englander with a week, Puritan palate, it's pretty spicy).
Still a bunch of Rose tomatoes to go, so I used two more to make a batch of bhuna masala:
This is a basic curry made with a kilo (2.2 pounds, which of course, being an American, I had to look up) of onions and another kilo of tomato puree (two Rose tomatoes, one of which was kinda small), plus yummy spices. I got Veena's recipe here.
I found this recipe while looking for a way to copy shahi bhindi bhuna, a delicious okra dish from our favorite Indian restaurant. This recipe makes a ton of masala, so I figured I can use some for the okra this week and freeze the rest for other Indian dishes later. This is a new way of preserving tomatoes for us, so we'll see how it goes.