I know it's been a while. I am sorry. I have not been feeling that great and so have not had a lot of motivation to be cooking. I am starting to feel better and actually made a whole dinner last night. It felt good. While I was cooking I thought of a great topic. Tomatoes! I love garden fresh tomatoes. I have been getting a lot recently and have been making a lot of salads. The most basic and fresh salad that I love is a tomato and cucumber salad. This picture is the salad I made right out of my garden.
Slice up your tomato
Slice up your cucumber
Layer them around a plate. Drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and chop up some basil and sprinkle. The most yummy garden fresh salad. London eats this up and so do we.
You can vary this with some mozzarella slices, or feta chunks if you want too.
(I guess in this picture I did not sprinkle basil, oh well.)
Last night though I made some chicken and for the sauce I used a fresh tomato. It made me remember a little tip that got passed on to me from a friend about preserving tomatoes. Last year I had tons of tomatoes. I decided I was going to can some diced ones for winter use. I was talking with a friend who said instead of canning she freezes her tomatoes. I did can one large jar or tomatoes and then decided to freeze the rest, since it sounded much easier. WOW, it's exactly the same. We all should know that fresh fruits and veggies once frozen will not have the same texture as the non frozen variety. (One reason I dislike frozen veggies, they are too mushy.) So here is what I do.
I freeze whole tomatoes in freezer bags when they are at peak of ripeness. (You can halve them if you like, but don't dice.) When you need a can of diced tomatoes take one tomato out of the freezer, no need to thaw. Run it under luke warm water and rub the skin, it should peel right off. Then dice it on the cutting board and add it to the dish to cook. It will look, feel and taste like a diced can tomato only fresher because you grew it! It was such a great tip that for a whole year I did not need to buy canned tomatoes.
Another thing that got me thinking this week was my basil. It's starting to get cooler here and it's not as big of a plant as it was in the heat of summer. I really love having fresh basil on hand but I don't want it to go to waste. Sure, I could bring it inside, but in the past I've done that and the soil was hiding some unwanted bugs that hatched inside where it was warm and I had little bugs flying around my house. (My cat loved it, I did not.) My plan is to make a large batch of pesto and to freeze it. When I need some pesto I will just take a spoon out and scoop, or dig, some out. The color won't be as vibrant green but it should work. You can also freeze the individual leaves to use in sauces but like before, not good for garnish because the color changes to a dark green color when frozen.
Well when I get back into the swing of cooking more I will post some more blogs with recipes that I love. Here's to feeling better!