i've been doing lots of reading and watching on local, organic and just otherwise quality food, and i've come to really appreciate foods like tomatoes, which aren't always in season, though our industrial food system would have us believe it doesn't matter. as i learned from the first few moments of food inc., the tomatoes we find in our supermarkets in non-summer months, and even some of those which are present in the summer, are very often ripened in trucks and by ethylene gas, rather than by time and nature and sunlight as they should be.
so it's good reason to celebrate that the time for tomatoes on the east coast is here, as they start to finally appear at farmers markets and local produce outlets. my very own tomato plant given to me as a wee thing by my green-thumbed father is starting to bear fruit. for now, it's small, green fruit, but it's only a matter of time and of august heat before they ripen and blush and appear in my late summer salads.
i saw a great tomato idea on rachael ray the other day that i thought was so rustic and sweet and it was sort of, though not exactly, like this...she roasted large, halved tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and kosher salt and in the roasting pan, she tucked full cloves of garlic still in their "jackets" as she called them...when the whole pan was hot and gooey and roasted through, she hatched the little cloves out of their skins and spread the mild paste over ciabatta bread. then she smeared a warm tomato half over each piece of bread and that was that.
here is a terrific article with all kinds of tomato recipes i thought you might like, and the gorgeous photos that accompany them (and the perfect one at the top, from hali bey) really illuminate how perfectly simple and simply perfect a tomato can be.
cool and fresh or warm and roasted, tiny and round or mutated and bumpy, mixed with fresh pasta, tossed into shrimp and fresh herbs, or all by its lonesome from a bowl on the counter directly into one's mouth, they're pretty close to perfection, don't you agree?