Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dear Tomato

Dear Tomato,
I don't usually like to resort to this type of language, but you suck. All of you. (Well, not the cherry tomatoes, they are just fine). But you? You are infuriating. You are stubborn and selfish. I gave you just as much as much sunshine as other years (and don't try to tell me the apple tree created too much shade...we all know how wimpy that apple tree is). And yet you refused to turn red! Here you are, bright green, plump, enormous, so very nearly delicious. But hello? It is October 3! You just aren't going to get ripe, are you. I can tell you're going to be a dick about it. I've been watching you since early August...I know what you're up to. And I think it sucks.

Why can't you be more like cherry tomato? Sure, cherry tomato was a little late to the game this year, but she came through. Cherry tomato was in the "shade of the apple tree," too, and she did just fine. I'm talking to you Supersteak. I'm talking to you Big Rainbow. WTF??

I hope you have enjoyed not fulfilling your destiny.


With that off my chest, I will now turn my attention to one of the crops that has worked this year: pole beans! These here are Kentucky Wonder Beans, and they are disturbingly large and plentiful.

Last night I used a ton of them in my favorite pasta dish: Orzo with Everything. This is a recipe that my sister made at my house years and years ago, and I have since then adapted to my own mish-mash of ingredients. It's like a big, awesome salad made from whatever you have in your crisper with some noodles added at the end. As a rule of thumb, though, it must contain some sort of pasta, some sort of crunchy element, some sort of bitter element, something salty, something acidic, and something fatty.

Here's how I like to do it:

Get a big pot of salted water going and turn the oven on to 350. Chop up any vegetables you want to roast (I used peeled beets, shallots, and garlic) and put them on a baking sheet. Toss them with olive oil and a bunch of kosher salt and bake them for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, what else do you have in your fridge?

I chopped up some radicchio, arugula, and basil and threw them in a big bowl. And then I blanched my pole beans in the boiling water and chopped those up, too.

Once the beans were boiled, I added my pasta to the water.

I grabbed some olives and capers and tossed a bunch in, and then for crunch, I chopped up some roasted almonds.

A whole package of feta joined the party, and so did the roasted veggies when they were done. And finally, in went the cooked noodles, which sort of wilts the lettuces and melts the feta.

To finish it off, I whipped up a dressing with several glugs of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon, and a healthy dose of champagne vinegar. (For the record, I ate thanks to you, tomato!)


  1. How about turning them into Fried Green Tomatoes with bacon and a dressing drizzled on top? I had something similar at Peaches Hot House in Brooklyn and it was to die for.

    The Orzo with Everything sounds like an awesome recipe. I love orzo salads and will give your recipe a try.

    1. Angela, I think fried green tomatoes might be exactly the way to go. There are eight big fat promising tomatoes out there and they are doing absolutely nothing. Gotta put them to use! My mother-in-law also suggested green tomato pickles, which could be yummy?

  2. Wow, I had totally forgotten about that orzo salad. So delicious. Guess what I'm making this weekend!

  3. Also, you're going to feel like a real asshole when those tomatoes turn red and ripe next week.

  4. If those tomatoes turn red, I will issue a formal apology to them (via the blog, of course...because clearly they read my blog.)

  5. It's 10/16 today. Have the tomatoes turned red yet? Geez, I hope so, for their sake!