In this edition of Food Seattle Select Guide we highlight Tomatoes: Did you know that the tomato is actually a fruit and not a vegetable? 16th century Spanish explorers are said to have brought the tomato to Europe from the New World from which it then spread to all four corners of the globe. This firm, round, attractively red fruit has since been immortalized in Ira and George Gershwin’s 1937 lyrics: “You like tomay-to, I like tomah-to”. Whichever way you pronounce it there is no argument that the tomato is here to stay.
Tomatoes are used in cuisines all over the world – from Italian salads and robust sauces; stuffed with rice and meat Middle Eastern style; as a base for incredibly delectable Indian curries or simply eaten in a sandwich. From chutneys to preserves, from sauces to salsas, tomatoes take top prize.
But tomatoes are not just famous for their sweet-tangy taste – they also have numerous nutritional benefits. Tomatoes contain lycopene – an important anti-oxidant said to provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes contain high amounts of vitamin C and protect the body against numerous ailments. Tomatoes won’t make you fat because they’re low in calories! A glass of tomato juice consumed daily helps the digestive system stay healthy and forms part of your daily vegetable serving.
Tomatoes are versatile and can be consumed in so many different ways: eat them picked fresh off the vine; juice them; dice or crush tomatoes to use in sauces, use sun-dried tomatoes in your salad to give your greens that extra zing. But don’t just restrict yourself to the common red garden tomato – there’s much more to incorporate into your daily fare. Tomatoes come in a multitude of varieties and colors from red cherry and grape tomatoes to the newer and more exciting heirloom tomatoes with their range of colors from purple to striped green, from golden yellow to blazing orange.
There’s nothing like comfort food at the end of a long hard day. A nice bowl of spaghetti with sauce is calling you but you have neither the time nor the energy to start chopping, frying, stirring and simmering. Not to worry! Be brave, experiment with tomatoes. Dice red, yellow and orange tomatoes, add a minced clove of garlic, a pinch of your favorite herbs and seasonings, salt and pepper to taste topped off with a healthy drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Mix gently and place in the fridge to let the flavors marry while you quickly cook your favorite pasta. Drain pasta, add sauce and a good grating of your favorite cheese and voila – dinner’s ready!
Running out of appetizer ideas? Tomatoes make great toppings for bruschetta and taste just as incredible in a baked tomato-cheese tart. On hot summer days forget about the stove – opt for a cooling tomato gazpacho soup or an heirloom tomato salad served on fresh greens with crumbled goat’s cheese. In the winter use tomatoes in more rib-sticking recipes: stuff tomatoes with seasoned orzo, rice, meat, cheese or whatever your mood calls for and bake for a satisfying meal. How about fried green tomatoes; a tomato-avocado salad; a golden tomato gazpacho topped with creme fraiche? Cherry tomatoes gently sautéed in a pan with garlic and olive oil till their skins burst go great with grilled fish. The possibilities are endless.
by Sheila LoGuisto
The following is a link to a tomato recipe plus a short video highlighting tomatoes. Bon appétit!
There's nothing like a thick slice of oven-fresh, warm bread to get one's taste-buds going. From its yeasty aroma; crisp outside crust to its soft and chewy inner texture bread is a must-have, year-round food staple at all dinner tables. The terms 'bread' and 'dough' are now commonly used in many languages as synonyms for 'money' or 'wealth.