Don’t Judge a Tomato by Its’ Color!!

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When visiting your local Farmer’s Market and roadside stands, be sure to seek out the Heirloom tomatoes like German Johnson or Purple Cherokees, they are often the ugliest tomatoes but they also often the tastiest!!
An heirloom tomato is generally considered to be a variety that has been passed down, through several generations of a family because of its valued characteristics. These tomatoes have a romantic history of being bred for taste rather than productivity or resistance to disease and
extreme weather conditions.
What’s exciting about heirlooms are their distinguishable differences—not just from other tomatoes but from each other—which makes the picking rather tricky, heirloom tomatoes range in color from blushing pink, gold, purple, to even green and striped, in shape they can be cherries, beefsteaks, globes, pears, and even have those iconic, belly-buttoned lumps.
When picking an heirloom remember, they are delicate and poking and squeezing them can bruise their flash and cause them to rot more quickly, instead, gently lift the tomato and give it a sniff, a ripe heirloom tomato should smell earthy and slightly sweet.
There is a strong market for heirloom tomatoes. Consumers say they taste better and have thinner skins than “regular tomatoes”. There is also a nostalgic attraction for the “ole timey’ varieties that Grandma used to grow.
Locally you may find;

Purple Cherokee is a deep, purple color; a good season will produce an unusual smoky and sweet fruit.
Beefsteak Tomatoes are large tomatoes often used for sandwiches and similar applications.
Their kidney-bean shape, thinner skin, and shorter shelf life makes commercial use impractical, so they are most often seen at local markets.
While I will contend that the best way to eat an heirloom is on real soft white bread, with Duke’s mayonnaise and a little salt and pepper, here are some other ways you might enjoy your heirloom picks!!

Homemade Heirloom Tomato Sauce and Noodles
2 pounds mixed or the same heirloom tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch chili flakes
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh basil, leave sonly
1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes sliced
3/4 pound thin whole grain spaghetti
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes into wedges.
Preheat a medium sauce pan over medium low flame and sauté the onion in drizzle of olive oil until translucent and begins to get some color.
Add the chili flakes and minced garlic and cool another 30 seconds or so until the garlic starts releasing its aroma.
Mix in the tomatoes, a pinch of sea salt and the bay leaf and toss everything to coat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes have collapsed and released their juices. Resist the temptation to add any liquid at all, we are looking to extract and concentrate all that beautiful tomato juice.
Remove the lid and cook a few more minutes uncovered until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
Discard bay leaf.
Carefully use a ladle and transfer everything to the bowl of a blender together with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Process on the hot soup setting until silky smooth. Adjust seasonings with sea salt.
Meanwhile cook your spaghetti until al dente in salty water according to package directions.
Reserve some of the cooking pasta water before draining in case you need to stretch out the sauce.
Pour the heirloom tomato sauce over the cooked spaghetti and toss to coat well.
Serve topped with the sliced up cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and red pepper flakes.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 474, Carbohydrates 77g., Protein 15g., Fat 15g.,
Sodium 24mg., Fiber3g., Sugar 8g.
Tomato Ricotta Phyllo Tart
1 roll (about 21 sheets) Phyllo Dough
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus more for topping
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for topping
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 to 2 pounds tomatoes, sliced to 1/4-inch thickness (and/or grape tomatoes, sliced in half)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on parchment paper. Brush lightly with olive oil. Top with another sheet of phyllo dough; brush lightly with oil. Repeat until all phyllo dough sheets are stacked.

In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, basil, chives, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste until well combined. Spread evenly on top of phyllo dough, leaving a 1-inch border along edges.
Top with sliced or halved tomatoes. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Bake 30 minutes until dough is golden brown and flaky.
Cool tart slightly; top with more chopped basil and chives and salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4-6.
Fresh Shrimp in Homemade Tomato Sauce
8 ounces shrimp (peeled, deveined and tails removed)
3 tomatoes – cubed
2-3 garlic cloves
10 leaves basil – chopped
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoons olive oil
Chop tomatoes. Wash and chop basil, clean shrimp.
In a large non-stick skillet place chopped tomatoes and cover with a lid. Cook at medium high heat for 5 minutes, but be sure to look from time to time whether there is enough sauce in the pan. Depending on how much fluid the tomatoes have, the time can vary.
After 5 minutes, uncover, add tomato paste, stir it in well, until you see the sauce thicken up.
Add shrimp and garlic and stir. Let it to cook like this for 2-3 min.
If the sauce gets too runny – add again more tomato paste.
Then add basil, stir for 1 min. Turn off heat. Add olive oil and serve with whole grain bread.
Serves 2, each serving contains; Calories 435, Carbohydrates 38g., Protein 39g., Fat 17g.,
Sodium 335mg., Fiber 5g., Sugar 11g.
Blue Zone One Pot Chicken and Fresh Tomato Recipes
1 1/2 cup eggplant, chopped
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 carrot
1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 cup olives, whole
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon basil or a handful

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Slice the chicken in bite-sized pieces and sauté in a medium-sized skillet with the eggplant at medium-high with the olive oil for 4-5 minutes.
Add the fresh tomatoes, cover with a lid and cook for around 3 more minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and add a tablespoon or two of water if needed.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the broccoli, carrots, scallions, basil and crushed pepper.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until broccoli is ready, stirring as needed.
Add the feta cheese, olives, garlic, and fresh basil. Stir together, cook for a minute until the feta cheese melts a little bit. Then turn the heat off.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve like this or with some bread.
Serves 3, each serving contains; Calories 352, Carbohydrates 15g., Protein 24g., Fat 23g., Sodium 556mg., Fiber 5g., Sugar 6g.
Heirloom Tomato Bake
1½ tablespoons butter (plus more to butter your baking dish)
1 cup bread, finely diced (ciabatta, sourdough, rosemary loaf, olive loaf, rye, gluten-free,
whatever you like!)
2 green bell peppers, finely diced
½ yellow onion, finely diced
4 large heirloom tomatoes (I like alternating colors!)
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, as desired
Salt and pepper
¼ cup basil, thinly sliced
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Butter a baking dish (my dish was 121/4 x 8¾) and set aside.
Over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the green pepper and onion. Cook for about five minutes, until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and stir in the bread.
Place half of the bell pepper mixture evenly across the bottom of the baking dish.
Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese (1½ cups).
Layer the tomatoes in the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Top tomatoes with the remaining half of the bell pepper mixture.
Top that with the remaining 1½ cups mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle as desired with shredded parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden. When hot out of the oven, sprinkle with basil. Cool at least 10 minutes, then slice (or scoop!) and serve. Serves 6-8.