Monday, August 19, 2019

Tomatoes (plus eggs) p. 2

My family ended up with one to many egg cartons recently, so I decided to make use of our grocery error and combine it with our great supply of tomatoes. What first came to mind was a quiche or a fritatta, but then I remembered a Chinese dish, tomato-egg, that a friend of mine made once. It was for Chinese new year, and everyone brought something they made; I simply helped my roommate make Cantonese style soup, since I had just begun learning her way of cooking. Now I consider myself an advanced beginner, if that's possible, and would happily choose authentic Chinese food for the rest of my life if I had to pick just one cuisine. 

Notes: For this simple dish, it is best to use larger, meatier tomatoes, so they hold up during cooking. I made it in single-serve size, but this is easily tripled if you're serving more.

Tomato-Egg, adapted from NYT Cooking
 First, cut and remove seeds from tomatoes.
 Whisk one egg with 1/2 tsp sesame oil, salt. 
In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 tsp cornstarch with 2 tsp water, then stir in 2 tsp ketchup.
 Heat up some oil in a medium pan, and fry a handful of green onions, leaving some to garnish. When slightly browned, add egg mixture and stir to cook into a soft scramble. Remove from pan, back into the bowl.

Cook minced ginger in hot pan until fragrant, then add tomatoes. Cook until juices start to form, then pour in ketchup mixture, stirring well to combine. Put eggs back in to complete cooking, and salt to your taste. 

 Plate and garnish with remaining onions.
 I also fried up some mushrooms and spinach as a side dish. I highly recommend eating it with some steaming fresh rice.

Recipe: Chinese Tomato-Egg
Yield: 1 serving

3-4 medium tomatoes
1 egg
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp ketchup
1 green onion
2 tsp minced ginger

Whisk egg with salt and oil. In separate bowl, mix water, cornstarch, and ketchup until smooth. Heat up a medium skillet with 1-2 tsp oil, then fry a handful of the green onions until slightly brown. Pour in egg, stirring and cooking until forming a soft scramble. Remove from pan and set aside. Fry minced ginger until fragrant, then add tomatoes and cook until juices start to form. Pour in ketchup mixture, and stir well to combine. Add eggs back into pan and finish cooking, about 1 minute. Salt to taste. Plate and garnish with remaining onions.

Hope you enjoy this little recipe ! 
If you had to choose, what cuisine would you eat for the rest of your life ?


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tomatoes, p.1

As promised, here is a first, staple recipe for you featuring tomatoes, the glowing red summer fruit. 

My family's favorite way to eat them by all means is fresh salsa. Besides all the tortilla chips involved, I think it might be the healthiest snack that my family (myself included) will finish a medium-size bowl full. We'll eat is as topping to meats or salads, sometimes simply on its own.

First, chop your tomatoes. This is the messiest part; if you prefer less seeds, then remove them right after you cut them in half. My tomatoes were all different sizes, so as approx. measurement, I decided to stop at about 1 1/2 cup.

Chop your onion finely, as raw onion is very potent and difficult to eat in large portions.

Slice about 1/2 medium jalapeno, for mild spice. For spicy, slice 1 medium. 

Add the cilantro, and admire the colors.

Add juice of 1 and 1/2 limes, then salt and pepper to taste.

 Stir it all up, and it's ready to serve.

Recipe: Tomato Salsa
Yield: 2 cups

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
(about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1/4 medium onion (red or white)
1/2 jalapeno
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1 1/2 limes
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Eat with fresh tortilla chips!

What's beautiful about salsa is that you could easily have all these ingredients growing in your garden during the summertime. I only had the tomatoes and the limes, but with some foresight, and a patient love for salsa, it is certainly possible, and open for experimentation. If you have fruit trees like peach or mango, I bet that would make delicious alternatives for tomato.
What salsa flavors would you make?


Monday, August 12, 2019

Hello From Your Zone 10 Locals

We are civilized people, so let's begin with introductions. I'm from Zone 10 in Southern CA, and have an unusually spacious backyard where we grow various fruits and vegetables.

We have fuji apples, which will likely be ripe towards September,

a lime bush full of nearly ripe limes,

a black walnut tree,

avocado tree,

green grapes,

a prolific little strawberry plant,

rosemary shrub (a child of the grand forest it once was),




and oh so many tomatoes. 

Tomatoes are currently the most bountiful produce in the garden, having taken over two planter boxes, a few feet long area next to our back wall, and a section next to the sidewalk. Therefore, my first recipes here are starring tomatoes, either at the focus or as a foundation. I also plan on taking experimental routes, and finding ways to preserve, since I doubt we will be able to eat most of them in time.

The other produce I've found, hanging into the alleyways, is as follows:

3 Fig trees, all unripe
Persimmons, unripe
Oranges, unripe
Olives, green
Lemons, some ripe
Red grapes, very ripe

Since only the grapes were ready, I will also focus a post on those. 

Happy to begin!