Sometime this week I’m going to be harvesting the first few ripe tomatoes. Yay!!! I have fourteen plants just for me (two cherry, the rest are small to large varieties) and there are six fruits ripening on the Bloody Butcher (gotta love that name) plants right now. Since I think the best way to use tomatoes is pretty much just as they are, my recipes are simple.
How do you use your tomatoes? Also, what varieties are your favorites? I like a tangy tomato. None of those wimpy sweet things for me. Celebrity makes a nice main crop. This is the first time I’ve grown the Bloody Butcher. I can’t wait to see what they taste like. Here are my favorite uses.
Cut tomatoes into hunks and mix with cottage cheese and salt. Heaven.
Gotta have BLTs (minus the lettuce).
Chunks of tomato and cucumber marinated in italian dressing.
Open-faced salami and cheese sandwiches: Take a slice of bread and slap on a slice of salami. Grate some cheese and put it on top of the salami. Put it under a broiler until the cheese is melted and the exposed sides of the bread are brown and crusty. Cut up a couple of tomatoes and throw them on top. Sprinkle with salt. Spear a big hunk of tomato with each bite of sandwich. Sop up the tomato juice that collects on the plate with the bottom of the bread. :::drool:::
And my all-time favorite annual tomato feeding frenzy accompaniment…
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon or so butter or margarine
1 tablespoon or so flour
1 teaspoon or so Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
3/4 cup or so cubed Colby cheese
Cut cheese into 1/2 inch cubes and let come to room temperature while you’re preparing everything else. Note: The cheese you use is going to make or break this dish. You need to use a cheese that will actually melt instead of turning into rubbery hunks. Velveeta is not cheese and is forbidden. Crystal Farms brand works best for me. I suppose grating the cheese instead of cubing it would prevent the rubbery thing from happening if you’re not sure how your cheese is going to act.
After the macaroni is cooked, make a white sauce. Melt butter or margarine (I used margarine because it doesn’t burn as easily) in saucepan over high heat. Stir in flour. (Increase the flour and margarine amounts if you like a thicker sauce.) When the flour/margarine mixture is smooth and bubbly, dump in the milk. Add the seasoned salt. I go more by color than amount here. The sauce should have a slight orange tint to it. Better to add too little here than too much. You can add more later, if needed. If you happen to burn the white sauce throw it out and start over. It cannot be saved.
Stir constantly and bring the sauce to a boil and let it boil just a little until it thickens a bit. Remove sauce from heat (taste it to see if there’s enough salt). Throw in the chunks of cheese and stir just to get the cheese covered with sauce. Cover the pan and let the contained heat melt the cheese. That takes about 3 minutes.
Put the cooked macaroni in and stir it all up until the cheese sauce is smooth. Pour into a casserole dish. If you like a creamy cheese sauce, cover it. If you like a crust on top, don’t. Bake at 350 for at least 25 minutes. Longer (30-45 minutes) if you like the top crusty. Makes about 3 cups.
Rule of thumb for a larger batch: 1 part milk to 1 part macaroni to 1 part butter to 1 part flour.
Serve with lots and lots of yummy sliced tomatoes.