Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CSA Week 10 and Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons

Emily and I scurried getting the CSA baskets ready to deliver today. Rain finally was in the forecast and it did look like it might happen.

My friend Sandie from Richard's Landing near the Sault was visiting last week and said they've had too much rain. Maybe there are people closer by who've had too much too, because it does seem to be going around us. The clouds are dark, the wind whips up...but alas nothing.

The weather prognosticators have messed up this year on a few counts.

On the way home from deliveries a pretty good downfall made me feel like singing. I remember when I was a kid racing to get on my bathing suit when rain was imminent on a sticky humid day. It was so much fun turning your face towards the refreshing rain, getting that first chill as it cooled you down just perfectly.
I swear, had I been home when this rain came, I would have raced for my bathing suit so welcome was it.
But I'm not complaining about the weather this year, not at all. The past few days of humidity reminded me how absolutely wonderful this summer has been to work in. The cooler days with less humidity that have dominated this summer have been so welcome. If  I was guaranteed another 10 years of this weather, I may decide to retire later than I anticipate.

This year I planted a lot of tomatoes, as always. Some of them are stunners. I love the diversity of colour, shape, taste and, well...even of name. Wooly Blue Jay? Togorific? Dancing with the Smurfs? Does it get any better than that?

But as much as I am thrilled by the tomatoes I am also thrilled with the beans. I planted so many different varieties. Lots have been for fresh use, but also many for seed and the remainder for dry beans.
Some of the beans are very rare and have been hard for me to find and maintain. I am surprised when I look in my seed exchanges, especially the massive tomb that is the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook, and I see some of my varieties aren't listed. My goal this year is to offer more of them there, to share and ensure that they can live on in other people's gardens, and therefore just simply continue to exist.

There has been lots of food in the baskets the past several weeks. The garden is really in top producing form right now, and I hope the amount in the baskets is agreeable. Soon will be gone the cukes and zukes/yellow patty pans, but for this week they still have a presence in the baskets. There are lots of tomatoes, beans thyme and basil. Curly celery, peppers, mini eggplants were in the baskets as well as the stunning Purple Dragon carrots, onions and garlic.

Lately I've been doing big stir fries with the veggies and adding curry. To everything. I seem to go like this. I'll eat the same thing day after day for weeks thinking it is the best thing in the world. Then I wake up one day and the thought of it makes me feel nauseous. For now it is curry. Maybe next week it won't be.

But the tomatoes-what to do? Try this great recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons

3 tablespoons olive oil 
2 cups bread from a French boule, in a 1/2-inch dice, crusts removed 
2 1/2 pounds  whatever good tomatoes you’ve got, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm with a big green salad, a bean salad and/or a poached egg from a happy chicken.

My true friend Ruby

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