Monday, August 30, 2010
What to do with those Tomatoes!
The bloggers I follow have been posting beautiful photos of their tomatoes...I could almost taste them in their ripe loveliness! So...we waited...hoping...and now finally here are photos to share.
We are enjoying all sorts of tomato color, flavor and texture from the open pollinated varieties. Top of the bowl...a big and hefty German Gold and honestly, for our palate, the best in taste and texture so far. It's definitely an eating tomato, divine, cut thick and doused with herb mayo on a sandwich. (and since posting this earlier, we realize it has a lot of pectin and practically jellifies in a bowl when stewed down or made into salsa)
The Roma's...La Roma and Speckled Roman (but it' s striped) are best cooked. I say that, because, the seeds are few and even though Speckled Roman is sweet as all get out, the flesh is so thick it would be a shame to eat it when it can be made into a fulsome fragrant soup with the help of Billy and a generous dose of dill.
Now you might wonder who Billy is.. I don't know how I existed before he came along about six or so years ago. Tomato skins begone...Billy is here...so they disappear!
I was so very anxious to try Sarah Raven's Chilli Jam recipe using our tomatoes, I committed myself to an hour over the stove on this, a 31 degree day. 'Stinkin hot' it was....Well it was worth it! I did jiggle the ingredient measurements (so this is inspired by Sarah Raven))), but the jam is thick and sweet, hot and sour tart but just a bit...all my favourite flavors together. Yes I substituted..who doesn't when they don't have such and such, and she didn't say whether the chili's should be fresh or dried, so I went with three tiny ones dried with seeds and one fresh without seeds. This jam took about an hour to make not including the canning if you chose to can..but it isn't necessary to do that.
6 to 8 good large solid thick fleshed and full flavor tomatoes...Sarah said '500 g of very ripe tomatoes'. In fact...I stewed my tomatoes first...slowly and gently, respecting the fruit, to get as much water out of them right off the get go...then I measured about 700 g in fact (no need to peel the toms as the skins turn to candy).
4 garlic cloves preferably fresh
3 tiny chili pods dried (maybe a teaspoon of dried store bought)
1 fresh green chili and I used jalapeno...seeds removed. These freeze really well you know so if you find them on discount do buy them.
1 inch of ginger chopped fine or grated
2 Tablespoons of Thai fish sauce (there's the secret ingredient!!)
150 Ml apple cider vinegar or vinegar of choice..but not too harsh.....try red wine, as Sarah suggests, or white balsamic...maybe even rice wine vinegar....that might be nice.
2 cups of light brown sugar
So...blitz the garlic, chilies, ginger, vinegar and fish sauce. Put in a heavy bottom pot and heat it all up to infuse the flavors. Then add sugar to melt, and then tomatoes .....bring to soft boil, then right down to low bubbly simmer and cook till it looks translucent, jammy and sticky (pulling your spoon across the bottom of the pot, it should take about five to eight seconds for the product to come together). Put into glass Mason Jars. I canned mine for fifteen mins in a boiling water bath.
The longer you keep this jam (so says SR), the hotter it gets and should keep about three months in the fridge without canning. I have made this with German Gold tomatoes adding golden seedless raisins so don't be afraid to experiment. It's really delicious.....but we all have different tastes and some might find it, like Goldilocks... too hot, or too sweet..but we think it's just right.