Mobridge Weather

71°F
wind speed: 16 mph SE
 

It is the time of year when area residents are seeing red. From the garden plants to the farmer’s markets, fresh vine-ripened tomatoes are abundant.
Gardeners are filling their baskets with Big Boys, heirlooms, cherry and grape tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. It is officially BLT season! But one can only eat BLTs for so long before pants get tighter and it gets harder to bend at the waist.
Countertops, windowsills and vegetable bins are starting to fill with ripe or near ripe tomatoes. For some of us, we can keep up with our tomato crop for so long before we get overwhelmed. After a couple of days of eating the fresh fruit right off the vine with a bit of salt and pepper or sugar, how can we enjoy the bountiful harvest further?
If we expand our horizons outside of the salsa, tomato juice or stewed tomato recipes, we can enjoy the harvest a little longer.
Slow roasted tomato halves on the grill, topped with a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper is a favorite of mine. I also love fresh tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced onion with mayonnaise, cider vinegar, salt and pepper served with hot buttered toast or garlic bread.
Try putting a couple of slices of fresh tomato on top of browned garlic bread, add mozzarella cheese and put it under the broiler or on the grill until the cheese melts.
There are hundreds of salad recipes or pasta that take advantage of the fresh tomatoes.
Tomato juice, spaghetti sauce and gazpacho soup are common uses for garden tomatoes.
The following are some of the recipes I have tried (Caprese is my favorite salad) while trying to use up my garden tomatoes.

Tomato Puree
6 to 8 lb. ripe tomatoes, preferably a plum or paste tomato variety
Wash the tomatoes and trim the stems. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, transfer to a 6-quart saucepan, and cook over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill, using the plate with the largest holes that still capture the seeds. Let cool; then refrigerate in nonreactive containers for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 year. You can also can the purée using the instructions below.
Canning Tomato Purée:
Have ready as many clean pint jars and bands as needed. Simmer new lids in a small saucepan to soften the rubberized flanges. Put 1/4 tsp. citric acid in each jar. In a large saucepan, bring the purée to a boil over medium heat. Ladle the hot purée into the jars, leaving 1 inch of headroom. Be sure there are no air bubbles in the jar (if there are, run a butter knife through the purée). Wipe the rims, put on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight

Caprese Salad
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Coarse salt and pepper

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Home made catsup
1-inch-long cinnamon stick, crushed
1 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. whole cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
6 T bs. distilled white vinegar
5 cups Tomato Purée (above)
6 T bs. chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Enclose the cinnamon, celery seed, pepper flakes, cloves, and allspice in a tea ball or cheesecloth pouch secured with twine. Pour the vinegar into a 1-quart saucepan and add the spices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then cover the pan and turn off the heat.
Put the tomato purée and onion in a heavy-duty 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the onions are very soft and the flavors are melded, about 20 minutes. (If you want very smooth ketchup, you can pass the mixture through a food mill at this point to purée the onions.)
Remove the spices from the vinegar and add the vinegar to the tomato mixture. Add the sugar and salt and stir well. Continue to simmer until the ketchup is thick enough to spoon but still runny enough to pour, about 65 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. The ketchup will keep for about 2 weeks.

Sunshine Pasta Salad
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
Zest of a lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salad:
1 pound penne pasta
Kosher salt
4 cups red grape tomatoes, halved
4 cups yellow grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut in strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut in strips
One 16-ounce jar banana peppers, drained and sliced
1 lemon, sliced, for garnishing
For the sunshine dressing: Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
For the salad: Cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Drain and rinse the pasta under cold water. Allow the pasta to dry slightly before assembling; this will help the dressing really adhere to the pasta.
Pour the dressing over the pasta in a large bowl and toss to coat. Add the yellow and grape tomatoes, corn, bell peppers and banana peppers and toss gently until evenly mixed. Arrange the salad onto a serving platter and garnish with the lemon slices.

Caprese Salad
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Coarse salt and pepper

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Greek Tomato Salad
2 cups halved multicolored cherry tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped English cucumber
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Combine tomatoes and salt in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Add cucumber, onion, olives, oregano leaves, olive oil, vinegar, and crushed red pepper; toss.