Saturday, February 16, 2008

A skeptic relents: tomatoes in winter??!!

Another slim-pickins day at USG, which slimness was compounded by my late arrival (my usual vendor was even out of kale by the time I got there at 11).

I don't believe they were out of kale:
3 lbs. Nicola potatoes
2 yellow onions
1 1/2 lbs. carrots
1/3 lb. baby spinach
1/3 lb. baby red Russian kale
2 tomatoes
Total spent: $30

It was with a mixture of shame, hope, and confusion that I finally bought some tomatoes from the Shushan Valley Hydro Farm stand (this photo is from their website). Since they appeared a month or so ago, I've peered into their little plastic tent, even picked up then put down a bunch of basil once or twice, but haven't taken the plunge. Tomatoes in winter seem impossible, or at least ill-advised; I feel a bit like the sucker of a snake-oil dealer: "The taste of summer, yours year-round! Step right up, folks!" But today I needed inspiration (and I have had tomatoes on my mind since making the exquisite tomato soup from Veganomicon), so I went for it. I'm going to use at least one of them tonight in a quick sauce for Knoll Crest Farms spinach pasta, along with some black olives, spinach sautéed with olive oil and garlic, and Lynnhaven Farms goat cheese. So even if the tomatoes' soil-less cultivation has rendered them insipid, there will be enough flavor in the dish.

Other updates:
Pear pie = meh - I liked the pecan streusel topping, but the pear pie didn't quite work. Perhaps I needed more seasoning, or more lemon juice, or something: it was a bit overly sweet and one-dimensional, as my mother warned me it might be. Though it doesn't help that the pie crust was the toughest and worst yet! I am somehow regressing in pie-crust skill, and I don't know why. This week I will either go apple again or find a recipe for vegan banana cream pie.
I'm out of cinnamon so I had to order from Penzeys again. My order, which I am only listing because it's an eclectic bunch of mostly B-list spices I'm unsure about: allspice, cinnamon (Ceylon this time), vanilla beans (Madagascar), marjoram, zatar, tarragon, mustard powder (not hot), ancho chile powder, chipotle chile powder. I can't wait!
Veganomicon forays - So far I have made the chickpea cutlets, which are just as fabulous as I'd hoped, and the tomato soup, which is the type of tomato soup you'd get in a restaurant and say "this is why we go to restaurants - for tomato soup like this." But you're at home, so you just think "I am a genius," even though it's not your recipe. I still haven't made the autumn latkes - they'll happen this week.
More applesauce is on the stove, using last week's miscellaneous apples.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Okay, I'm trying those tomatoes this weekend!