As August begins, we’re seeing a greater variety in our half share from Heartland Family Farms. New this week are tomatoes, eggplant, and jalapeño peppers. Juliana suggested making and freezing salsa with some of the tomatoes, jalapeños, and onion. For dinner tonight, I’m thawing some tuna, which I will finely chop and mix with thinly sliced red onion and lots of fresh lime juice (and maybe some minced jalapeño). That will sit in the fridge for about an hour while I thinly slice the eggplant lengthwise and give it a quick grilling. I’ll add some diced avocado to the ceviche and a little salt and pepper. I’ll put a big dollop of that on a slice of eggplant, roll it up sushi-style, and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Last week was a busy week around the Al Gusto World Headquarters. We had friends over for a mid-week dinner that featured pasta with the oven-roasted tomatoes I mentioned in the last post. For dessert, last week’s blackberries accompanied some peaches in a delicious galette that I somehow managed not to take a picture of. We spent the weekend visiting my family in northern Indiana and, not coincidentally, went to the Brew Haven craft beer festival in New Haven with my brother, who took third place in the IPA category of the homebrew competition. We came home with a bunch of zucchini from my parents’ garden, so Juliana got busy and made zucchini bread and muffins.
In the meantime, our garden was busy producing paste tomatoes, so I made a couple of batches of tomato paste. I peeled and seeded the tomatoes, chopped them, put them in a pan and sprinkled them with salt, and cooked them in a 250F oven for a few hours, stirring every 30 minutes at first, then more frequently as they reduced. About 5 pounds of tomatoes resulted in a 1/2 cup of paste. The paste is in an ice cube tray in the freezer, so eventually I’ll have 8 tablespoon-size chunks of tomato paste ready to plop into a sauce.
Also, these turned out so good I had to share them. I made fritters with the remaining shredded zucchini and we had them for dinner with a salad of marinated cucumber, tomato, and onion. Now that’s a little bit of summer on a plate!