Gardening Recipes

Tomatoes

 

As the end of summer approaches in British Columbia, our tomatoes are beginning to ripen. This means the time is upon us for caprese salads, pasta sauces, fresh salsas, and pizza sauce. It is easy to know when to pick tomatoes, simply wait until they turn the colour they are supposed to (usually red, sometimes yellow or green) and pick them before they split. They can be picked after they split too, but it is ideal to pick them before that happens. A split tomato is one that has had its skin opened by its insides; it simply means the tomato is overripe.

If you planted tomatoes earlier this spring, and have a surplus, one great use for them is roasting. Mama Friesen has a fantastic roasted tomato recipe, and it is found below. Roasted tomatoes add lots of flavour to soups, sauces, and basically any tomato-based dish. They can also be saved for the winter by freezing.

Roasted Tomatoes:

7-10 Roma Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

2 cloves Russian Garlic

3 tablespoons Fresh Herbs

Line a baking pan with sides with foil. You want a baking pan with sides because there will be lots of juices and it can make a mess. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the foil-lined baking pan.

Slice your tomatoes. Put the sliced tomatoes on the foil and roll around in the oil until they are covered. Crack some fresh pepper and some sea salt onto the tomatoes. Snip some fresh herbs – any combination of herbs will do but basil and oregano are the best. Again, feel free to use any fresh herbs you desire. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs onto the tomatoes. Mince your garlic and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes. Add a little more olive oil on the top.

Roast in the oven for 2 hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. At the 1-hour mark, pull the tomatoes and check them out. Stir the tomatoes around so that the ones on the outside of the pan get to the inside, and the ones on the inside of the pan get to the outside. Put back in the oven. Wait until you see that they are starting to crisp and blacken around the edges.

 

If you did not grow your own tomatoes this year but still want to find farm fresh tomatoes, there are a number of farms around the lower mainland that have you covered. Taves Family Farm in Abbotsford has heirloom tomatoes. Coft Produce in Mission has tomatoes. Cropthorne Farm in Delta has heirloom tomatoes. Olera Organic Farm, also in Abbotsford, grows over 40 varieties of tomatoes. Silverhill Orchard in Mission has heirloom tomatoes.

As is well known, there are many varieties of tomatoes, and some are best used for certain things. Small, sweet cherry tomatoes, for example, are best used in salads. Roma tomatoes are excellent for pasta sauce. Beefsteak tomatoes make great toppings for sandwiches and hamburgers. Heirloom tomatoes, with their different colours, add nice colour variation to all sorts of salads. Heirlooms can be used as their own salad too, or in a tomato tower. All you need for a tomato tower is heirloom tomatoes, all in different colours, some small basil leaves, some nice cheese – perhaps an aged, smoked cheddar – and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Slice the tomatoes and the cheese, then stack it together going tomato slice – cheese slice – basil leaf until you have a tower, about six layers. Drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar on top and you have a tomato tower.

 

Taves Family Farm – www.tavesfamilyfarms.com

Croft Produce – 29750 Dewdney Trunk Road, Mission BC (604-308-2065)

Cropthorne Farm – www.cropthornefarm.com

Olera Organic Farm – 356 Defehr Road, Abbotsford BC (604-856-7572)

Silverhill Orchard – www.silverhillorchard.com

 

 

 

 

Community Gardening Recipes

Tomatoes

 

As the end of summer approaches in British Columbia, our tomatoes are beginning to ripen. This means the time is upon us for caprese salads, pasta sauces, fresh salsas, and pizza sauce. It is easy to know when to pick tomatoes, simply wait until they turn the colour they are supposed to (usually red, sometimes yellow or green) and pick them before they split. They can be picked after they split too, but it is ideal to pick them before that happens. A split tomato is one that has had its skin opened by its insides; it simply means the tomato is overripe.

If you planted tomatoes earlier this spring, and have a surplus, one great use for them is roasting. Mama Friesen has a fantastic roasted tomato recipe, and it is found below. Roasted tomatoes add lots of flavour to soups, sauces, and basically any tomato-based dish. They can also be saved for the winter by freezing.

Roasted Tomatoes:

7-10 Roma Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

2 cloves Russian Garlic

3 tablespoons Fresh Herbs

Line a baking pan with sides with foil. You want a baking pan with sides because there will be lots of juices and it can make a mess. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the foil-lined baking pan.

Slice your tomatoes. Put the sliced tomatoes on the foil and roll around in the oil until they are covered. Crack some fresh pepper and some sea salt onto the tomatoes. Snip some fresh herbs – any combination of herbs will do but basil and oregano are the best. Again, feel free to use any fresh herbs you desire. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs onto the tomatoes. Mince your garlic and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes. Add a little more olive oil on the top.

Roast in the oven for 2 hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. At the 1-hour mark, pull the tomatoes and check them out. Stir the tomatoes around so that the ones on the outside of the pan get to the inside, and the ones on the inside of the pan get to the outside. Put back in the oven. Wait until you see that they are starting to crisp and blacken around the edges.

 

If you did not grow your own tomatoes this year but still want to find farm fresh tomatoes, there are a number of farms around the lower mainland that have you covered. Taves Family Farm in Abbotsford has heirloom tomatoes. Coft Produce in Mission has tomatoes. Cropthorne Farm in Delta has heirloom tomatoes. Olera Organic Farm, also in Abbotsford, grows over 40 varieties of tomatoes. Silverhill Orchard in Mission has heirloom tomatoes.

As is well known, there are many varieties of tomatoes, and some are best used for certain things. Small, sweet cherry tomatoes, for example, are best used in salads. Roma tomatoes are excellent for pasta sauce. Beefsteak tomatoes make great toppings for sandwiches and hamburgers. Heirloom tomatoes, with their different colours, add nice colour variation to all sorts of salads. Heirlooms can be used as their own salad too, or in a tomato tower. All you need for a tomato tower is heirloom tomatoes, all in different colours, some small basil leaves, some nice cheese – perhaps an aged, smoked cheddar – and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Slice the tomatoes and the cheese, then stack it together going tomato slice – cheese slice – basil leaf until you have a tower, about six layers. Drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar on top and you have a tomato tower.

 

Taves Family Farm – www.tavesfamilyfarms.com

Croft Produce – 29750 Dewdney Trunk Road, Mission BC (604-308-2065)

Cropthorne Farm – www.cropthornefarm.com

Olera Organic Farm – 356 Defehr Road, Abbotsford BC (604-856-7572)

Silverhill Orchard – www.silverhillorchard.com

Gardening Recipes Restaurants

Kale

 

If you are growing kale in British Columbia this summer, you will have noticed that the time to harvest is upon us. And you would be right, kale is ready to harvest by August, but it need not absolutely be harvested. As an experiment, I suggest trying to hold off on harvesting some of your kale. The leafy green vegetable, similar to wild cabbage and a bit tougher than your average lettuce, can continue to grow into the winter. In fact, kale can be more flavourful after being exposed to a frost. I would absolutely suggest harvesting some kale now, for it makes a delicious side dish and salad, but I would also suggest attempting to leave some kale in the ground during the winter, as it will continue to grow and can be harvested at any time.

Although a trendy food in our community here in British Columbia, and across the Pacific Coast of North America, kale has been eaten throughout the world for centuries. It is involved in many traditional dishes in countries like Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and the Netherlands. Variations of kale are also found in Africa, Russia, and China. It is commonly used largely because of its easiness to cultivate and its resilient growth habits. As stated previously, it can grow through the winter. Therefore, many kale dishes throughout the world are served traditionally during winter holidays such as Halloween in Ireland and New Years in Denmark.

If you are in Vancouver and are not growing kale but want to taste this tasty green, there are a variety of restaurants serving up delicious and creative dishes involving kale. Tractor, for example, on West 4th, Burrard, and Quebec Street, have put together a delicious kale chicken Caesar salad, as well as a veggie sandwich with kale, peppers, grilled zucchini, tomato, asiago cheese, and a lemon aioli. Fable Kitchen, also located on West 4th, serves a mushroom polenta that involves kale. MeeT, on Main Street and in Gastown, serve a steamed kale with sesame seeds and scallions. MeeT also has multiple salad options that all involve organic kale.

If you did grow your own kale but do not know what to do with it, I must suggest making your own kale Caesar salad. Mama Friesen is a mass kale cultivator and she has come close to perfecting the kale Caesar salad. Her secret? The kale massage. Stay with us, here is the recipe:

2 bunches of kale – washed and dried

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1½ teaspoon minced garlic

6 drops Tabasco sauce

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Anchovy paste (to taste)

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Croutons (store bought or homemade)

To make your dressing: in a food processor, combine your garlic, Tabasco sauce, sea salt, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Process until well mixed and then drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify.

Cut the leaves off the central spine of the kale leaf. Discard the spines. Cut or tear the kale leaves into 1-inch pieces. Perform the kale massage (method below) and let it sit for 30 minutes. Toss with dressing. Sprinkle with croutons and Parmesan.

Kale massage: Sprinkle the cut/torn kale with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt. With your hands, give it all a good rub. Continue to squeeze the kale between your fingers for 3 to 5 minutes. You will see the colour start to change and will hear the kale snapping a little. The longer it sits after the massage the better.

That is all there is to creating a delicious kale Caesar salad. It also keeps better than most dressed salads. If stored in the refrigerator, the kale Caesar salad will keep for 2-3 days.

 

Kale information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale

Tractor: http://tractorfoods.com

Fable Kitchen: http://fablekitchen.ca

MeeT: http://www.meetonmain.com

Kale Caesar Salad: recipe given with permission from Nancy “Mama” Friesen