The effect of this drought on your crops
Rollin' Out the Eggplant

A Run on Tomatoes and Basil

Clagett Farm Recipes~A Run on Tomatoes and Basil
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007

Farm Recipe Talk
Sometimes I like to explore what other farms are producing and cooking up around the country. It can be inspirational to see what our farm buddies may be doing with their tomatoes on the other side of the country. So you will find a smattering of different viewpoints.


Creamy Polenta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Local Goat Cheese
-developed for The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Locally Grown Lunch
Serves 8
Dscn2005

Polenta never tastes this good naked or that means without all of the butter, cream and cheese the resaurants normally add. This polenta is so light, so fluffy, so creamy, it should be a dessert. To serve this dish to a crowd, it can be layered and baked as a casserole or for smaller portions, build individual plates. (Polenta recipe from the Wall St. Journal).

4 cups water
salt to taste
1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream cheese
Fresh Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated. Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Finish by stirring in the cream cheese and salt to taste.

If preparing in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, about 5 minutes on high, just before serving. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.

Fresh Tomato Sauce
1 to 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, about 3 large tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste

In a food processor, combine garlic, tomatoes with juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and basil. Pulse quickly to chop roughly.
Pulse more for a smoother sauce, if desired. Transfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper and let stand to marinate for about 20 minutes.

To Assemble:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Grease the bottom of a 8 x 8 baking dish. Spread the polenta evenly to make a 2-inch thick layer. Spread with a nice layer of tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with goat cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Breakfast Tomatoes

Broil halved or sliced tomatoes under the broiler (sprinkle with garlic and olive oil if you like) until they are pleasantly browned. Serve with eggs or just eat on a piece of toast. A great way to get a vegetable serving into your first meal of the day.


Tomatoes in Spicy Yogurt Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

The tomatoes are warmed, not fully cooked, in the sauce, leaving their softly solid texture intact. Serve them alongside broiled, grilled, or steamed fish and be sure to have plenty of rice to soak up the sauce.

8 ripe but firm tomatoes (about 2 pounds. total)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

garnish cilantro sprigs


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes and set near the pot. Put tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds each, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to ice water. Drain tomatoes and pat dry. Core and peel tomatoes (leave them whole). Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil over high heat. When hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and reduce heat to medium-high. Cover and cook until seeds start to pop, about 2 minutes. Remove cover and add butter. When butter is melted, add turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garlic, chiles, and salt. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low. Add yogurt and stir in one direction until smooth. Add tomatoes. Gently stir to coat with sauce. Cook until tomatoes are just warm, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm, with plenty of sauce.


Tomato Conserve
Yield: 8 eight oz. jars
Keep this on hand in your pantry for summer freshness year ‘round.

18 cups tomatoes, cut in chunks

3 teaspoons ginger

6 cups sugar

3 lemons (thinly sliced)

In a large Dutch oven cook tomatoes 45 minutes. Add sugar, lemon and ginger. Cook until thick and smooth. Pour into sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch of top. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in Boiling Water Bath 10 minutes.


Julia’s Gringa Sopa
Serves 6-8

This is a direct recipe from the female half of the team for Marquita Farm in central California
"Sopa" is what we know as ‘spanish rice' here in the US. The traditional Mexican sopa you see here in Watsonville is barely pink, usually made with just a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, rice, oil, and "knorr swisa", or powdered chicken bouillon. I like to make my own version of sopa, with more tomatoes and no bouillon. Here's my recipe:

2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, quartered and then pureed in the blender. (I've been known to leave the seeds and skins on....)
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3 medium/large cipolline or other onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups raw rice
2 3/4 cups boiling water

Cook the onion in the oil in a large Dutch oven with a lid that fits well until it's soft but not too brown. Add garlic and rice, cook another couple of minutes. Add tomatoes and salt, stir well, then add the water and cover and cook, covered, over low heat for 20 or so minutes.


Tomates Concassées
As the French term for chopped, seeded, and peeled tomatoes this dish is perfect to top grilled seafood, poultry or meat. Go ahead and use it to top pasta, rice or potatoes.

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, any color

1 pound onions

3 garlic cloves

some olive oil

1 bunch of basil

juice from one large or two small lemons

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Make a 1-3 inch shallow slit in the bottom of each tomato. Lower the tomatoes, 2 or 3 at a time, depending on their size, into the boiling saucepan of water. They should only bathe for *5* seconds, no longer. Remove to a plate, rinse in cool water if you like. When all the tomatoes are done, remove peels and seeds, and roughly chop. (if you aren't the French perfectionist, skip the seed removal.)
Peel and chop onions and garlic. Saute the onions in a little oil over a medium heat in a wide largish soup pan for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Take care not to burn either. Remove from heat when both are soft and won't be raw and crunchy in the sauce.
Wash and chop basil, then mix it with the cooled onion mixture, and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Greek Salad Sanwich
Serves 4

As a salad, this recipe can be a sandwich filling or use it to stuff a vegetable such as zucchini or bell peppers.


12 ounces small tomatoes, cored, halved, thinly sliced

6 cups arugula, spinach leaves or other small greens, stems trimmed

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced cucumber

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted black brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata)

16 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 large garlic clove, minced

(4) 5- to 6-inch-diameter pita bread rounds, toasted


Place tomato slices in strainer; drain 15 minutes. Combine tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, feta cheese, olives and herbs in large bowl.Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, 5 teaspoons lemon juice and minced garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

Cut pita bread rounds in half crosswise. Divide salad mixture among 8 pita halves and serve.

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