Friday, September 05, 2008

You Must Love Your Tomatoes

because your tomatoes love you. They are abundant little fruits, these juicy and colorful round orbits. So versatile, the tomato easily transforms a dry meal to saucy, a plain dip to special.

Tonight we were hungry. My desire was to cook, but not to think. I was leaning towards an Indian Vegetable and Paneer Biryani, but that conflicted too much with my desire to not think. Finally, sitting on my porch with cookbooks in tow, I saw my inspiration: the tomato plant. Neighbors have been heralding us with their ripe tomatoes, and the market tomatoes cat call us as we walk past. At some point we surrender. I'm not ready to make salsa or dedicate my evening to jarring homemade marinara. But tonight we were ready to peel and de-seed our pile of tomatoes, puree them into a rich pulp of sweet raw goodness. We were to eat pasta tonight.

First, we needed pasta. We ran to the store and bought fresh pasta made in Madison, WI at RP's Pastas. We also picked up a block of parmesean, some slices of side pork, and a pineapple for dessert. We started with frying the pork in a bit of olive oil. Even though it hadn't been aged like bacon, the fresh smokiness of it was reminiscent of hearty breakfasts around a campfire. We added some minced garlic and a small onion. These browned with the pork, and when they turned a sufficient shade of golden we tossed in chopped parsley and thyme from the front yard garden. My patience was waning at this point. It all smelled so good. Onto the stove went a pot of water. One by one we dropped our tomatoes, so at home on the windowsill, into the water, blanching them so the peels and seeds were easier to remove. They were chopped and then pureed in the CuisineArt, and slowly added to the sputtering pork mixture on the stove. The sauce started to thicken, we added salt and pepper, and before we could scoop up the whole darn mess with our tasting spoons, the pasta and sauce were ready to dish up. We grated the parmesean on top, mostly for good measure, and dug in, slurping the whole thing with great satisfaction. The flavor was surprisingly intense and savory, bite after bite seeming to fuse more fully.

Needless to say, there was no room for the pineapple. But we did accompany our food preparations with a large bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere Farmhouse Ale. Oh so good.

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