The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 19, 2003

Features

Carolyn's Cuisine


For about ten months of the year, I wait for my favorite vegetable (which is actually a fruit) to appear. I think that garden-fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes are one of the glories of summer. I try to eat as many as possible while they are available. These days, we can buy fairly good tomatoes at any time of year, but in my opinion, the only ones that are truly memorable are picked right from the vine.

Almost every cuisine has its own way of using tomatoes. My files are stuffed with recipes for soups, stews and sauces that are based on tomatoes. One of my favorite salads comes from Tuscany. The Italians call this bread and tomato mixture "panzenella." Although it is a great way to use up leftover bread, I find that I often buy a fresh loaf and let it get a bit stale so that I have a reason to make this dish. The bread cubes soak up all the juices from the tomatoes, so that not a bit of the salad is wasted.

The Fritz-Endres family, of 437 North Road, are residents of the historic Litchfield House located near the canoe launch in Great Brook Farm State Park. The family have invited townspeople to tour their interesting vegetable patch on fall weekends. Shown above are Darrold Endres and Janet Fritz with their six-year-old daughter Julia Fritz-Endres.

(Photo by Ellen Huber)

Panzenella
Serves about 6
1/2 loaf of leftover Italian or French bread, cut into one-half inch cubes
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper to taste
6 tomatoes, cut into one-half inch chunks
4 ounces crumbled soft goat cheese or fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
6 anchovies, thinly sliced (optional)
1/4 c. loosely-packed basil, thinly sliced
2 c. mesclun lettuce, baby spinach or arugula
1. Bake bread cubes on a cookie sheet at 400° about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
2. Whisk dressing ingredients.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, toss bread with salad ingredients. Add enough salad dressing to coat.

 

It's fun to use tomatoes as edible containers for a grain or pasta salad. These cold, stuffed tomatoes are good served with meat, chicken or fish from the grill.
Jackie Engelhardt shows her delicata squash to her four-year-old grandsons Andy and Alex (standing). (Photo by Ellen Huber)
Couscous-Stuffed Tomatoes
6 medium tomatoes, scooped out
3/4 c. water
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. couscous
1 yellow pepper, chopped or minced
4 scallions, sliced
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
3 T. parsley, chopped
1/4 c. basil leaves, chopped or slivered
2 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
lettuce leaves
1. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp, leaving a one-half inch shell. Sprinkle insides of tomato shells with salt; turn upside down to drain.
2. Bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Remove from heat; cover pan. Cool and then fluff up the grains with a fork.
3. Mix together the oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic. Add to couscous mixture.
4. Stuff the tomato shells with couscous mixture.
5. Arrange on top of a platter lined with lettuce leaves.
Although this dish is delectable, it takes very little preparation.
Neighbors (left to right) Claude von Roesgen and Gopal Ramanathan check out the bounty of Brook Street. (Photo by Lois d'Annunzio)

 

Roasted Summer Tomatoes

6 large tomatoes, halved
1 large onion cut into narrow wedges
1 t. sugar
2 T. olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
2 T. each chopped parsley, basil
salt, pepper to taste
2 more tablespoons olive oil
1. Arrange tomato halves snugly in a 9x13-inch pan. Fit in wedges of onion. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Roast at 325° for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
3. Mix bread crumbs, herbs, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over top of vegetables. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

4. Roast 20 minutes more. Serve at room temperature.

 

Sadly, summer passes by all too quickly. September often brings a frost, and we are left with a plethora of green tomatoes. Because they are firm, they don't fall apart the way a ripe tomato would. Fried green tomatoes are delicious!

 

Fried Green Tomatoes
4 medium green tomatoes, cut into one-half inch slices
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. each oil, butter
1. Combine egg and milk; set aside
2. Mix cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper.
3. First dip tomato slices in egg mixture; then dredge in cornmeal mixture.
4. Heat oil and butter in a large fry pan. Arrange a single layer of tomato slices in pan, and sauté until golden-brown on each side. Keep warm until all slices are cooked, adding additional butter or oil if needed.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito