Sunday, July 10, 2011

Play With Your Food!

Tonight I pulled a beautiful, giant, juicy, purple/red/green tomato out of my garden! I've been attempting to grow organic veggies for a couple of years now with mixed success and I am finally starting to figure it out. Lesson 1 (thanks to Mike R.) : Beat your Tomato plants early on. Spare the rod; spoil the tomatoes! The first year I planted tomato plants, I just let them grow without any adjustments, and got zero tomatoes. Zero, zilch, none. Beautiful green fluffy 20 foot tall plants but none of the good stuff. The next year I followed the advice of my father in law and beat my tomato plants with a stick. Plants looked a little worse for the wear but they decided they were under attack, realized if they were going to reproduce they needed to do it pronto, and gave me lots of little tomato offspring. So, this year I once again beat my tomato plants and voila - gorgeous yummy tomatoes aplenty! Growing your own food, I think you might find, is amazing because you appreciate every little fruit or veggie that grows, survives insects, and turns into a beautiful piece of food that will nourish you and bring you joy. You nurture, and yes sometimes violate, your little veggie plants in the hopes that they will produce delicate little flowers that will become your hopeful bounty. Every night you peek into your garden to see what the day has produced. Most nights you find yet another zuchini squash and think darn it, this means I have to eat my veggies again tonight. But some nights, there is shining jewel lurking beneath all of the green foliage. And tonight I saw a beautiful ruby the size of my fist hanging beneath the tomato plant branches. After gently picking it and finding NO insect damage, I admired it for a few minutes, taking in the colors, the sun baked tomato fragrance, and the squishy yet meaty texture. Then I chopped it up and went to eat it but thought to myself that it was just too amazing a tomato to just drop down the hatch. So then I decided to turn it into something creative and artful-ish. See above Tomato spelled like Tomato. Afterwards, I decided it would then be ok to drop it down the hatch but no! I remembered I had real buffalo milk mozerella. Or if you are Giada D - muzureyla (so annoying). After scoffing at that all too perfect food network star, I gently mixed my tomato with creamy/salty fresh cheese, balsalmic vinegar, and olive oil. And then I gobbled it up. As it turned out, I was able to savor the tomato with my eyes, but it was too yummy not to gobble it down faster than the speed of light ;0