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December 2, 2011


That's right!  It's least it's Thursday's post anyway!  Thursday is more than just the fourth day of the week, it's also Cooking and Recipes day here on Makings and Musings!  I wimped out and didn't cook dinner last night so I thought today I would just pick a specific food item that I love and write about it!  So, I picked...
Tomatoes!!!  Read on for some of my favorite ways to take advantage of their tangy, sweet goodness!
I was so lucky this summer.  We had six tomato plants in my container garden on my deck and they produced tons of the wonderful fruit!  Fruit?  Yep, tomatoes are technically a fruit.  According to, "Botanically, a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum,) is the ovary of a flowering plant, therefore it is a fruit, or, more specifically, a berry. However, since it’s not as sweet as other fruits and is most often served in salads or as a main dish - most people refer to it as a vegetable. Approximately 130 million tons of tomatoes are produced in the world today with China being the largest producer, followed by the United States and Turkey".  

I don't know about you, but I cannot wait for my first tomato sandwich of the summer.  You just can't make a tomato sandwich with a grocery store tomato.  You can't.  The difference between home grown and commercial tomatoes is startling.  So don't even try it!  You can make so many different wonderful things with tomatoes, though.  I thought I would give you an appetizer, soup, main dish, and a dessert!  That way if you are feeling froggy, you can make a whole tomato meal!  

Appetizer:  Jill's Fried Green Tomatoes
4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Plenty of vegetable oil for frying
Slice tomatoes about 1/2 inch thick.  Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl. Mix cornmeal and salt and pepper on a plate.  Dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Then dredge into flour mixture to coat.
In a large skillet, preferably a cast iron one, pour enough oil so there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan.  After oil is heated, place tomatoes into the pan in small batches, if you cram them in they won't brown or crisp up, and no one wants slimy, gooey fried tomatoes!  When the tomatoes are GBD (golden, brown and delicious) flip them over and fry on the other side. Just flip once or you will end up knocking the breading off, and no one likes naked fried tomatoes either!  Drain them on paper towels and eat them up!

Soup:  Jack's Sun Dried Tomato Bisque
1 quart heavy cream or Half and Half
1 small onion diced finely
6 whole black peppercorns
1 pinch salt
4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp cold milk
1 package sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 bay leaf
Put the sun dried tomatoes, onion, herbs, salt, peppercorns and veggie broth in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on medium until boiling.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. About 10 minutes before serving time, add the cream.  Heat until just below a boil. make a slurry or paste from the flour and the cold milk.  Add your slurry to the pot and whisk the heck out of it, or alternately, and much more easily give it a whir with your stick blender!  Heat for about 5 more minutes, just to cook the flour taste out.  And serve!  So easy!  And so much better than a can!  Hubs used to put bacon in this, but I am a vegetarian now, so it is omitted.

Main Course:  Mother Teresa's Breaded Tomatoes 
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
6-8 slices of plain white bread
In a heavy saucepan, combine the tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Here's where it gets weird...once the tomatoes are boiling, take the bread and tear it into pieces, and squish it.  Yup, squish it really good in your hand.  Kids love helping with this part.  Add squished bread until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or so, ya wanna give the squished bread time enough to really soak up the juices!  I love this stuff, it immediately takes me back to my Mom's kitchen!

Dessert:  Tomato Soup Spice Cake
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.  In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add beaten eggs, and mix well. Stir in salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix in flour and baking powder, and then raisins and nuts. Mix tomato soup and baking soda together; beat into first mixture.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool.  I don't think this needs icing, but if you want you can frost with cream cheese frosting commercial or homemade!

I sure hope you enjoyed our trip through the tomato patch!  Let me know if you try any of these recipes and how they turned out!  Love and hugs!


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