Friday, August 22, 2014

Recipe from the Farm Box: Using up tomatoes


Quick! Look to the left hand side of the blog... Do you see it? That's right! The Suggestion Box is up and running! This blog is constantly evolving, dear sweet readers, and in the end that evolution is all about YOU. So if you have a suggestion on how to make it better, or a recipe I should try, or anything you can think of, reach out to me at

Of course what I am SURE you are more excited for, is the prospect of being involved in the fantastic torture that is the Chopped Challenges. So if you have a suggestion of an ingredient he should try, or a combination of ingredients, now you can write The Husband at 

You might just see your suggestions on this very page! 

Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programing!

I've been slacking, dear sweet readers, The Box ingredients have been piling up in my Fridge and on my counter and some of them have gone to that sweet sad place, the trash, because of my neglect. So when The Husband walked through the door, The Box in hand,  I knew the goal was, this week, to get rid of some of the items I have in over abundance. Here is what I got:
  • Dinosaur Kale
  • Celery
  • White Eggplant
  • Red Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • NY White Garlic
  • Leek Flowers
  • Peaches
Dear sweet reader, that brought the Zucchini count to at least 4 big fatties in my crisper drawer. The Green count to One HUGE bunch of Swiss Chard (about to go bad) and two kinds of kale. Three fat cucumbers, and an EXCESS of Tomatoes. This weekend will be about cleaning out my fridge BEFORE things go bad. The first step, USE UP SOME TOMATOES, and I know exactly how to do that.
Some of you are thinking, "she's just going to make tomato sauce". And the truth is, I will probably make sauce before the end of the tomato harvest. It is an efficient way to use up the pounds and pounds of tomatoes that get produced in my local area. Not just the tomatoes I get from The Box. My Grandfather also grows tomatoes, like every good italian in Jersey. So YES, snarky reader, I will be making sauce, but not today. 

You see sauce, done correctly and in a manner that can be caned for future use, takes TIME, like A LOT of time, and I wanted dinner earlier then 11:00 at night. You know what doesn't take millions of hours? Soup. I made tomato soup.

There really isn't anything too complicated about tomato soup. The only difficulty you MIGHT find is in peeling the tomatoes. Technically you can peel a tomato with a serrated edged peeler but I find the cleanest, less dangerous, and less requiring of a new kitchen tool purchase is to use the following method:

First, take your clean tomatoes, then turn them over so the stem side is facing down. Using a serrated knife, gently score the bottom of the tomatoes with an X (or a star if your tomatoes are massive). You want the feet of the X to go about 1/2 way down the tomato. Place a pot of water on to boil and  create an ice bath in another bowl. Boil each tomato for about 1 minute and then immediately dunk them into the ice bath to cool, at least until you can handle them with your hands. I like to use my spider strainer to transfer the tomatoes in and out of the hot water. Once you can handle the tomatoes just PEEL off the skin with your hands, it should come off very easily. They look kind of silly naked, but  now you don't have to worry about tomato skin in your soup.

Once the skin is off, you can seed the tomatoes by squeezing them over a mesh strainer placed in a bowl. You may need to work your fingers into the pockets where the jelly and the seeds sit. But don't simply discard what you are removing. The Jelly that surrounds the seeds has a fantastic flavor that you should never blindly discard. Simply put some pressure onto the seeds in the strainer to break up the jelly and allow the juice to pass through the strainer into the bowl below. NOW you can discard the seeds and all that flavor is captured for your pleasure. 

The rest of the soup is easy peasy, it kinda goes "Dump it in a pot and wait". I simply doubled and  modified the recipe found HERE at Voila, 1/2 my tomatoes used up without breaking a sweat. And a delicious, filling soup that freezes and defrosts well for me and The Husband to enjoy on those days we just don't feel like cooking.

Heirloom Tomato Soup with Chard

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 pounds tomatoes—peeled, seeded and chopped, with juices
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups chiffonade Swiss Chard
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and heat the oil. Add the onion, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  
  2. Add the Tomato paste and the garlic, cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the tomato paste just starts to darken in color. 
  3. Add the juices from the tomatoes, a 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, allow to boil and thicken for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. 
  5. Add the broth and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and using a stick blender, or a regular blender, puree until smooth.
  6. Return to heat and add the swiss chard. Allow to boil for 3-5 minutes until chard is tender. 
  7. Serve hot!

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