Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook – Review and Giveaway

Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook, by Lawrence Davis-Hollander, published by Storey Publishing.  Is everything you want to know about the most loved vegetable and more.  Or is it really a fruit? Fruit? Vegetable? Fruit? Vegetable? No matter what, they are great!

About the Book

“This book brings together a mere 150 tomato recipes to represent the enormous world of tomato cookery. Many of the recipes are interpretations of classic tomato-based dishes, and some are historic recipes updated to modern tastes and ingredients.”

If you love tomatoes and are adventurous, you will find this book both beautifully illustrated informative and entertaining. Make it a priority to own this cookbook.

“I am strongly suggesting that we not give up traditions practiced for centuries.  They are integral to being human.  It is natural to take care of ourselves as best we can, with the highest quality food, to maintain our connection with the earth –  lest we find that we have been given the best in our lives to corporations whose responsibility is to a very small number of shareholders and not to our children and grandchildren.”

My Thoughts

I am enjoying this book.  Of course there are traditional and expected recipes which include the classics like Fried Green Tomatoes, and Tomato Ketchup , Tomato Sauce, and Cream of Tomato Soup. In addition I discovered Green Tomato Chocolate Cake which is a certain recipe for thrifty gardeners.  I will be excited with anticipation looking for the luxury this fall of having those tiny green tomatoes not ripening in my garden, for once. I also discovered Tomatoes à la Indienne, a recipe from 1909 which incorporates a curry of coconut milk and green peppers with tomatoes which goes wonderfully over white or brown basmati rice and sautéed tofu or dal and raita. Insalata Caprese Verdura Style is an amazingly colourful tomato-mozzarella salad with basil. I am also attempting Tomato and Lemon Jam this season, a recipe from 1828. I think this jam will be terrific on toast and wonderful on pound cake.  A tomato a day keeps the doctor away I always say. So get your hands on this cookbook and start eating healthy.

Book Highlight

It was a toss-up as to which recipe to feature from this book.  I am amazed at the amount of ideas for the use of tomatoes there are. Here are two delicious and interesting recipes you must try. One is a new spin on breakfast and the other is a refreshing salad for picnics or a quick side salad.

Why do we add only dessert fruit to our pancakes?  Tomatoes and bacon go so well together.  This is an old recipe that should never have been forgotten.  The secret of these delicious pancakes is to use chunks of fresh summer tomato thoroughly drained of juice.  Bacon or sausage makes a perfect accompaniment, or just serve with maple syrup or a zingy chutney such as the Green Tomato Chutney on page 238 or the Tomato, Orange and Ginger Chutney on page 240.

TOMATO PANCAKES

  • 2 cups chopped drained tomatoes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons light olive or vegetable oil or butter

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  Stir together the tomatoes, eggs, 1 cup of the milk and oregano.  Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre and stir in the tomato mixture to make a thick batter.  If the batter is too thick, add some or all of the remaining milk to achieve a thick, smooth batter that pours slowly from a spoon or pitcher.

Grease a griddle with oil and set it over high heat.  When the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and spoon on portions of the batter to form pancakes about 4 inches in diameter.  Flip the pancakes when the edges are dry (the centers will still be wet), after 3 to 4 minutes. Cook the other side for 3 minutes, until both sides are golden. Keep the first pancakes warm in the oven while you continue making pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve immediately.

TOMATO PASTA SALAD

  • 8 oz medium-sized and shaped pasta
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups diced 1 inch-sized tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 english cucumber cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Metro Bis Tomato Salad Dressing (page 45)

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add the pasta and 2 tablespoons of salt.  Stir, and then boil for 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta into a colander and let sit for 5 minutes, do not rinse.

Combine the tomato, onion, cucumber, olives, cilantro, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.  Mix well.

Add the pasta to the bowl of vegetables and mix well.  Add 1/4 cup of the tomato dressing and mix again.

Taste the salad and adjust seasonings by adding additional cumin, lemon juice, salad dressing and salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.

Chris Prosperi, owner-chef at Metro Bis in Simsbury, Connecticut, created this all-purpose salad dressing for use on greens.  He also uses it for a pasta salad (page 106) and a couscous salad (page 103).

METRO BIS TOMATO SALAD DRESSING

  • 1 cup tomato juice (page 235)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the tomato juice, vinegar, onion, mustard, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, and the oil in a blender or food processor.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Blend for 1 minute to mix well.

Taste and add additional sugar or more salt and pepper if needed.  Process until combined, about 15 seconds.  Serve immediately.  Store left-overs in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Contest Rules

Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook, by Lawrence Davis-Hollander, published by Storey Publishing can be sitting in your kitchen! By you leaving a comment and as well a brief description of what you love finding in your CSA box and why, you are entered in the contest.  Good Luck! And Happy Eating!

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3 Responses to Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook – Review and Giveaway

  1. Chris Johnson says:

    I got to say, I’ve loved finding the melon in the box, they are so big, and I had no idea they could be grown in Ontario, so I was delighted to find them in our box this week and last! Also, I’m very impressed with the range of vegetables and fruits that can be grown in Ontario/be found in our CSA box – triplecord CSA has been educational for me, and i look forward to attempting to grow some of the produce i’ve recieved this year in my own garden in the future! Inspiring!

  2. Jessica says:

    I don’t have a CSA box, thinking of it this year, but looking forward to my abundance of tomatoes that are coming this year from the garden and wondering what to do with them all!

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