The Milkweed Diaries

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tomato wars* and pesto update

Yesterday morning, I went out to the garden to see how it was doing after all of the RAIN (!!!) and was met with an onslaught of tomatoes.

Because of all the wetness, a lot of them are cracking and demanding to be dealt with post haste. I harvested a huge basket full (above), brought them in and sorted them into piles according to the level of urgency with which they needed to be eaten, processed, or somehow handled.

I had a lot of other things to do yesterday, so I made a tomato sandwich and tried to ignore the tomato troops massing on my borders.

The sandwich was really quite tasty, and reminded me that tomatoes are not the enemy, but I still felt under seige.

Then, this morning on my garden walk-through I discovered at least TWICE as many ripe or over-ripe tomatoes as yesterday. Plus the rain knocked a bunch of their unripe brethren and sisteren off the vine, and I couldn't let them rot, so I took them in too and gave them windowsill space.

Tomatoes massing on the border

All of which led to a grim report to CF over our morning beverages: "The tomatoes are winning."

So today I put aside everything else and got busy making sauce.

At left are some chopped tomatoes en route to the sauce pot. I'm simmering these and their cohorts on super-low heat with sweet peppers, oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic--all from the garden--plus some sweet onions I bought at the farmer's market yesterday, along with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

It's smelling really delightful already.

Meanwhile, I think I have perfected the pesto that I've been using as a heat-free way to preserve beet tops. It's a LOT more tasty when the beet and other greens are cut with some traditional basil.

Here's a recipe (with no quantities/measurements - sorry!)


1 part basil (maybe about 2 cups?)

1 part mixed greens - I used dark red Bulls Blood beet tops, lambsquarter (magenta spreen and wild green), and flat-leaf parsley

sunflower seeds, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice

Throw it all in a food processor, process, and enjoy!

This is some SERIOUSLY good pesto. And really beautiful with all of the pink and red leafy greens. I've been eating it with a spoon, straight up. I think if I put some on a tomato sandwich I might pass over to the other side. So it turns out that I can live in peace with tomatoes and their ilk (basil).

A small jar of really good pesto

* NOTE to Quakers, pacifists, and all of my fellow anti-violence people: apologies for all of the war imagery! If anyone can help me come up with some diplomatic solution, I'm open to it!

PS: Thanks be to Mother Earth & Hurricane Faye for the rain!


Heather said...

That pesto looks divine. I will be up to my ears in greens soon. I can't wait to try it.

Have you ever made it w/o basil? That will be not available soon.


Milkweed said...

YES! See my earlier post on pesto -

Thanks for the comment...