Cherry Tomatoes

…five ways

ct_tomato_detail

Andy and Julia at Mariquita Farm went and added a new service for us San Francisco folk: The Ladybug Buying Club Truck Farm.
In this iteration, instead of sending us a prix fixe Mystery Box, they allow us to actually make up our “dream order,” albeit from a short list of goodies.
This time it was French fingerling potatoes, tarragon, mint, Sungold cherry tomatoes, and Youk’s Hot Sauce (made from our chiles!) Julia always includes a short informative and entertaining marketing pitch and instructions on how and when to order.

Hello, Ladybug Friends: Saturday, July 3rd, from 10am to 11:30am (4 days from today) I’ll be at Local Mission Eatery (24th between shotwell and folsom). Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Tarragon (vinegar!? infused drinks? or tarragon potato salad! recipe links are below.), Mint… If you’d like any of this email me back. (parking concerns? There are many 1 hour and 2 hour meters throughout the neighborhood so parking is suprisingly easy.)

If you want an order for Saturday return this email with your name, cell phone number, and your dream order. I’ll email back a confirmation within 2 days. thank you. -julia

I was nearly out of sauce that I made from flats of their Early Girl and San Marzano tomatoes last fall, so the notes on cherry tomatoes caught my eye.

three baskets

three baskets

Julia’s cherry tomato sauce & notes:
-I like these as a snack as is.

-Basic (cherry) tomato sauce: Wash several baskets worth, then put in a pot with onion, garlic and oregano and cook down for about 1/2 hour over medium heat. (olive oil can be added if you like). Then let it cool some, put through a food mill, and voila: tomato sauce.

I generally don’t add any seasoning when I make my tomato sauces because I’ll season when I use it, depending on the dish. In this case, I made it as she suggested since I wouldn’t be making much and this is a new tomato type for me.

So, I cooked up five baskets of Sungold cherry tomatoes plus about a half basket of red from last Saturday’s Farmers Market. (I held out one basket of the tomatoes for snacking and stuff.)

1 onion, rough chopped
1 teaspoon Rancho Gordo oregano
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Sautéed onions in olive oil, added garlic and oregano, added tomatoes and cooked for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put through food mill with the small disk. Cooked down about 20 minutes. Yield, 7 cups.

stem and rinse

stem and rinse

tomatoes in the pot

tomatoes in the pot

after 30 minutes they’re ready for the food mill

after 30 minutes they’re ready for the food mill

cook down the sauce about 20 minutes to thicken

cook down the sauce about 20 minutes to thicken

six cups to freezer

six cups to freezer

Sunday brunch

Sunday brunch

I put six cups to the freezer and used and used about a half-cup over noodles and sausage for Sunday brunch. DAMN that stuff is GOOD, very saucy, sweet and flavorful. And the color is amazing. The eating experience is a little bit weird… you know its tomato sauce and it tastes like tomato sauce, but it’s not RED, like tomato sauce. So your taste and scent sensations have to outvote your visual sensation. No matter. Good stuff.

The math: $7 for 3 baskets = 2.33 per basket x 5 = $11.67 / 6 cups = $1.94 per cup. One serving for two = one cup. Not cheap, but really good. NOTE: Cherry tomatoes are $3 per basket at the market.

But wait!!! (as they say on infomercials) There’s more!!!

Here’s a recipe from a 35-year-old cook book called America’s Best Vegetable Recipes from the editors of The Farm Journal:
“Try cooking cherry tomatoes. Sauté them in a skillet in butter for only 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of sugar to make them shine. A bright and tasty addition to a dinner plate.”

ct_lunch_penne

Did that for lunch on Monday – with browned, sliced Boccalone mortadella hot dog and penne pasta. Real good, except the penne was too heavy for the dish. (This bowl is a nice size, but well, ugly and chipped. I got some new bowls – you’ll see them soon.)

But wait!!! There’s more!!!

So far, I hadn’t shared the sauce with Carol, so for dinner on Wednesday, I defrosted a container and served it as a side over spaghetti with catfish – one of my favorites.

catfish dinner

catfish dinner

I never thought of cooking cherry tomatoes, I just snacked on them (I’m snacking on them right now). Thanks to Julia’s imagination and savvy marketing, I have a new toy to play with. A yummy one, at that.

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