The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 23, 2005


In the kitchen September is my favorite month of the year

Yes, my garden is full of weeds, especially after a two-week vacation away from home. But when I look out my kitchen window, I see some lovely red blobs out there that remind me summer is not quite over. Fresh homegrown tomatoes can't be beat! So from late August until the first frost, hopefully not until mid-October, I'm in my kitchen cooking up a storm, not only with tomatoes but also with other fresh produce available at this time of year.

Again, I've been making some of my favorite recipes: hand-chopped gazpacho, pesto from my basil patch growing next to the backyard stone wall, stewed tomatoes with sweet basil, fresh mint cookies, and one of my very favorites, plum torte. Here are several recipes using produce from the garden or maybe available from Carlisle's Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

Beet and Danish Blue Cheese Salad

10-12 servings

1/2 red onion, finely sliced into half-moons
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 lb. beets (4 large or 8 small) cooked and peeled
1 cup crumbled Danish blue cheese

1. In a small bowl, combine onion and vinegar. Allow to steep 30 minute or up to four hours.
2. Cut beets into French-fry stick shapes and arrange on a shallow serving dish. Pour onion-vinegar mixture on top.
3. Dot with crumbled cheese and serve.

Stewed Tomatoes with Sweet Basil

5 large tomatoes
6 T. butter salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
10 basil leaves, cut in thin strips
2 cups toasted bread cubes

1. Drop tomatoes into boiling water for 10 seconds; then skin tomatoes and remove seeds. Dice the flesh and place in a saucepan. Add the butter, salt and pepper. Cover and stew for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add basil and cook 10 minutes longer. Add bread cubes and mix well. Cook until tomatoes are soft. The bread will take up the excess liquid.

Plum Torte

(One of the most requested recipes from the New York Times)

1. Cream sugar and butter. Add flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
2. Spoon batter into a well-greased 9-inch spring form pan. Place plums halves skin-side up on top of batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on sweetness of fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 tsp. of cinnamon.
3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with vanilla ice cream.
4. To serve a frozen torte, defrost and reheat briefly at 300°.
Note: These plums are only available from late August through early September.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1. Mix flour, cornmeal and salt. Wash and core the tomatoes and slice them. Coat the slices with the flour mixture.
2. Brown one side in hot oil and butter; sprinkle with sugar. Using a spatula, carefully turn each slice over to brown the other side. Sprinkle the browned side with pepper. Do not overcook or the slices will fall apart. Serve immediately.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito