Totally Amazing Tomatoes – GF, SF, DF, NF, and V of course

Once you’ve had fresh tomatoes from the garden that have been grown with love and tender loving care, then there’s just no comparison to the taste of mass-produced tomatoes that can be found at your go-to grocery store chain. The taste, the flavor, the color and even the texture are different between the home-grown or farmer’s market tomatoes and store-bought tomatoes. Don’t you agree? I adore tomatoes. Really truly. Sun-dried tomatoes are a must-have in my pantry at all times. I cannot run low on sun-dried tomatoes. Speaking of which….have you seen the ingredient list on the back of a sun-dried tomato jar? Brace yourself. Vegetable oil to top the list and too many other crazy things in there that shouldn’t be in there to be honest. So I took matters into my own hands. I bought a dehydrator and set out to dry my own tomatoes! The result?! Incredibly tasty tomato chips if you like crunchy things without preservatives and artificial ingredients. They are absolutely delicious. I’ve also made dehydrated tomatoes and am preserving them in olive oil. They are waiting to be consumed with other Italian delicacies one day soon. This is not a new idea, many people have dehydrated tomatoes, but I’m here to share with you how easy and amazing they really are and urge you to get a dehydrator!  photo 3photo 1

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Dehydrated Tomatoes by Allison

Tools: 

sharp knife

dehydrator

delicious tomatoes from a farmer’s market

cutting board

Method:

Rinse tomatoes, you may also need to de-stem and de-core your tomatoes depending on the variety to prepare them for dehydrating. Cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch slices and place on the dehydrator trays. Leave space in-between slices so the warm air can circulate around and between the tomato slices. I dehydrate mine at 55 degrees Celsius for 20-24 hours depending on the variety of tomato I used. You can sprinkle with salt, oregano, basil if you’d like. They are finished when they are dry and leathery. Sometimes I dehydrate them for 24 hours until they are brittle and eat them like chips or crisps. Either way they are delicious! Store in a sealed jar or freeze. Enjoy!

 

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Tomatoes are Soup-tacular! by L

The utensil getting the biggest workout in our kitchen has been this plain, old and very reliable hand blender. We have been pureeing all sorts of combinations of greens and root vegetables for my little ones, T & P.  The other day, my husband suggested as a way to save time that we should just eat what the babies eat too. Not necessarily a bad idea, in fact I know someone who has been eating that way as a weight loss plan and it’s working. In retrospect, the pureed baby food combos aren’t so bad such as Spinach, Sweet Potato and Chicken or Kale, Zucchini , Carrots and Potatoes, but for my taste buds, they could use a tad bit more seasoning.

Once again the ripe luscious tomatoes at the Andel Farmer’s Market caught my eye and attention. This recipe is partly inspired by my husband’s suggestion. Technically, it is a pureed dish, but tomatoes aren’t yet on the girls’ list of  “Can eat” foods, so this one was just for the grown ups. A creamy tomato soup with none of the fat and made in less than 30 minutes. Chop! Chop!

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

4-5 chopped tomatoes

2-3 cups of broth

fresh basil and oregano,  as you like

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion until soft.

Then add the herbs and the tomatoes.

Simmer until tomatoes get very soft.

Then add the hot broth.

Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

Let it cool down and then puree it for a smooth and creamy texture.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: If you have some cooked rice available, add a cup for a heartier soup!