Tag Archives: tomato

Tomato-Related Public Service Announcement!

Save your Easter eggs—

Or at least their shells! Popping out of my hibernation for a timely reminder that though tomato season is (sadly) months away, you can invest in your tomato plant future by saving egg shells.  I usually start right around Easter every year.  First I grind them in batches and keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer.

To use them, crush them into a fine powder and place some of that powder in the hole that in which you transfer your baby tomato plant.

Why?  The calcium in the eggshells can help prevent blossom end rot!

So keep those colorful eggshells (and the not so colorful ones, too) and sprinkle a handful of pulverized shells when planting your tomatoes this year.

BLTs that are Built Lovingly Tall

To me, the tastes of summer have always included watermelon and peaches and corn… But the thing that speaks summer to me the most is the good old-fashioned tomato. Whenever I tell my husband that tomatoes are ripening in my garden, he gets disappointed when I bring in a handful of cherry tomatoes. When the big guys start getting ripe, that’s when the real fun begins.

One of the foods that I hated as a child but love now would be the BLT sandwich. I’m not a big bacon person, which puts me at odds with the rest of Iowa. We Iowans have the blue ribbon bacon festival every year, which sports everything from bacon-flavored beer to bacon-flavored ice cream, not counting bacon-wrapped everything.

This version of the old classic includes some elements which really highlight the tomato and lettuce aspects of this dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did last night…

World’s Best BLT (adapted from MarieRnyr)

  • 1 good quality fresh baguette, split lengthwise in half, but not separated, soft centers removed
  • 5 tablespoons mayo
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 2 large good quality tomatoes or 4 small good quality tomatoes
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and dried

HOUSE DRESSING use 3 to 4 Tablespoons

  • 14 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 12 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 12 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Make your bacon by your preferred method. I like to do it this way:

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, and place raw bacon down directly on the foil (not on a rack). Put pan in a cold oven and set for 400. Bake bacon for 20 minutes, or until reaches your desired level of crispiness. Remove pan from oven and transfer bacon to paper towels to remove extra oil.

  1. Next, make the house dressing, by combining all ingredients in a mason jar. Shake thoroughly.
  2. Under a broiler or on a griddle, lightly toast the inside of the baguette.
  1. Combine the mayonnaise and pesto.
  2. Spread the pesto mayonnaise all over the inside of both halves of the baguette.
  3. Lay the bacon along the length of the bottom half of the bread.
  4. Lay the tomato slices on top of the bacon and drizzle with the house dressing.
  5. Fill the remaining cavity with the lettuce leaves.
  6. Close the sandwich tightly.
  7. Cut on the diagonal with a sharp serrated knife into 2 to 4 pieces, depending on your hunger level. You may need a toothpick to hold the sandwich together.
  8. Pig out. (Quite fittingly.)
bacon layout
Before baking
lettuce
Lettuce share this sandwich… it’s really too much for one person.
bacon
Perfect bacon.
BLT
The finished product!

My husband re-proposed after taking a bite.  Hope you have a similarly good experience!

Eggplant “Pizzas”

I might be the only person in the world to absolutely adore eggplants; heart, soul, and mind.  Their color is gorgeous (even the word “aubergine” is delectable).  When eggplant season comes around, you better believe I’m eating eggplant every day.

My husband had never had an eggplant before I met him. My husband had never had good eggplant before I met him.  His grandmother had made a gloppy mess: seedy, flavorless, and unsalted.  He was noticeably not excited when I mentioned eggplant was on the menu.  I changed his mind, and if you give me the chance, I can change yours, too.

Continue reading Eggplant “Pizzas”