15 High WASP Practices For Growing And Using Tomatoes
1. Buy an organic seedling at your locally-owned nursery. You approve of capitalism, but prefer not to ravage the planet with the chemicals of agribusiness.
2. Plant said plant in your front yard. What? That's where the sun is, that's where the tomato plant is going, the neighbors will understand. And no, we don't think it's overly quirky.
3. Install simple drip irrigation. It's very nice to rough it, and grow food, and all, but we're not going to stand around with a watering can for days on end. Thank you very much.
4. Rebel against cages. Decide you are going to stake your tomato plant simply, with dignity. Drive a stake into the ground. Imagine you are done. Spend the next couple of months tying your plant to said stake with unsightly white twine, searching wildly for more stakes, and even using your kids old stilts for yet another stake. Eventually simply lay your excess tomato plant branches on top of your basil plants and hope for the best.
5. Wring your hands at the unbearable cute of your first green tomato. High WASPs like to wring our hands, it ties us to our heritage.
6. Curse the same green tomato when it takes forever to ripen, even as all around you people are forecasting bruschetta with a chance of basil.
7. Read that you need to prune suckers, those little vestigial branches that grow next to real branches. Hear that Accordion and Lace's mother's wisdom from the old world says you prune the third branch from the third branch. Realize that since you don't have an old world any more you'll do as told. Try to prune. Get lost in the scent of tomato branches on your hand, and the marjoram that you've crushed in your efforts. Go have a glass of wine. Remember France. And childhood. Back then even sunscreen smelled good.
8. Squeal when your first tomato reddens. Look at it closely. Repeatedly, like a toddler at Christmas.
9. Pluck your tomato carefully, as though it might explode. Feel the shock as it separates from its stem. Revere the process.
10. Make Fresh Bruschetta for your son. Chop your one tomato. It really is yours. Add 2 or 3 finely chopped cloves of garlic and a handful of basil leaves, shredded by hand in a surprising fit of sensuality. Add some olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Slice a sweet baguette into little ovals and toast them. Doesn't matter how. Sit at the counter and eat quite impolitely, spooning the bruschetta on to toast, and murmuring in pleasure.
11. Go outside one morning and realize that you have built it and they will come. Prepare for tomatoes galore. Go buy fresh mozzarella, (bocconcini are good) combine with more basil and call it Caprese Salad. Even if you never go near a plate.
12. Roast a bunch of tomatoes in the oven at high heat until they collapse in their own sugars. Smear the resultant jammy mess on everything.
13. Make Raw Tomato Pasta With Goat Cheese.
1 1/2 lb firm ripe tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil (leaves from as many stalks as you can grab in one hand) If you are tired of basil use some other herb. Parsley. A little marjoram.
8 tablespoons of the best olive oil you can find
salt to taste
4 oz of the best goat cheese you can find
1 lb good quality spaghetti
Core, seed, and chop the tomatoes into very small dice. Chop the basil coarsely. Combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil and salt in a large pasta bowl. Crumble goat cheese into small pieces and add to bowl. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water. When tender but al dente, drain, add to bowl, mix, serve.
Don't make cooked pasta sauce, San Marzano canned tomatoes meet those requirements perfectly.
14. Make soup. For a change-up to all-tomatoes-want-to-be Italian, try very easy Chinese Tomato Noodle Soup.
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 large ripe but firm tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into small dice
2 scallions, trimmed and minced
3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
21/2 tablespoons soy sauce
5 cups Chinese chicken broth (to make quickly, combine 3 cups commercial chicken broth, 3 cups water, 1/3 cup rice wine or sake, 4 slices smashed ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 20 minutes )
1 teaspoon or less of salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 frozen peas, thawed
1/2 very fine noodles, somen, capellini, cooked until just tender then rinsed under warm water and drained.
Stir fry tomatoes and scallions in oil until fragrant (~10 seconds), add rice wine and soy sauce, cook for one minute, stirring. Add broth, salt and pepper, simmer for 5 minutes. Add peas, cooked for 30 seconds. Add noodles, cook for 30 seconds until just hot. Serve.
15. Give the rest of your tomatoes away. Stave off the end of summer with generosity. Pretend that this will go on forever. Tomato plants, like the High WASP species, end as abundance starts to decay, faintly, perfumed. With tomatoes, as with High WASP family fortunes, charity redeems most excesses.
Image: Me. My very own tomato. I grew it myself.
Raw tomato sauce pasta recipe via Pasta Fresca
Chinese Tomato Noodle soup via Nina Simonds Asian Noodles
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