Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18 - A Great Day for Tomato Marmalade

A little over a week until that great American holiday of Thanksgiving.  And the big furor this year are the number of shopping places that are announcing that they will open on Thanksgiving Day, in addition to Black Friday.  Of course, critics from sea to shining sea are outraged at the desecration of the sacred American Family Holiday.

You know, because we just can't have good family time any other day of the year besides Thanksgiving.

But, don't read that last sentence the wrong way.  Although close members of my family participate, I do not go Black Friday shopping...ergo, I would not consider shopping on Thanksgiving either.

To me, Thanksgiving is ALL ABOUT FOOD.  Of course it would be.

In fact, my mom and I already have our Thanksgiving meal planned.  I want to wait a few days...then, you'll all have your set Thanksgiving menus, and won't want to take my idea.

Let's just say it doesn't quite involve your mom's green bean casserole.  I'm not slagging green bean casserole...it's one of the great dishes that nourished our parents through the post-WWII years.  But...there is a lot to be improved upon there. 

In the midst of the new job, meal planning, writing a novel, and so on and so forth, I rediscovered the word document file folder on my laptop called: Heather's Recipes, with a subfolder of Recipes to Try.  These particular recipes are ones I culled during my time on the island, when I would take out the subscription to Bon Appetit magazine and copy down recipes I thought would be good.  I've decided to attempt making all these recipes within the next several weeks...and discard the mehs and keep the keepers.

So, tonight was a little on the light side...and as it's Ethnic Night at Chez Nelson, a little on the Italian side as well.

The actual recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit, is found here.  The professional food stylist for Condé Nast decided the final product should look like this:

Yeah.  That's gorgeous.  Someone for Condé Nast is really earning their paycheck.  But, let's put this recipe in its appropriate context...I got this from the August issue of Bon Appetit, when beautiful, colorful, juicy tomatoes and herbs were at their peak, and the weather was still warm enough to crank on the grill

And when one doesn't make this dish until mid-November when it's really cold, snow is on the ground, and the grill is put away...well, modifications need to be made.  I would appreciate it greatly if you could withhold passing judgment for now.

This is what I got:

 I know.  Not nearly as pretty as the professional.  But, I think it would taste just as good, if not better.

So, one loaf of Italian bread (from scratch would be best, obviously), cut into thick slices (like 1/2" or so). One pint-ish of cherry tomatoes, halved, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, garlic, basil and parsley.

I was fresh out of minced garlic, so I used garlic powder.

I could only find fresh basil at the grocery, so I bought that.  No parsley, so I got that squeezy tube stuff.

The recipe calls for raw tomatoes, but I roasted mine, because I just like the flavor.  They got soft enough that I could lightly mash them into what I will now call Tomato Marmalade.  And Tomato Marmalade's got possibilities:  take out the basil and parsley and sub in cumin and cilantro....Boom!  Southwest!

And instead of grilling my bread, I baked/toasted in the oven for about 10-13 minutes.  A little salt and pepper sprinkle over the finished product, and it was chow time.  I'd bought a fancy little meat platter from Walmart, and we had that with the tomatoes and bread.  Awesome.  Light and relatively easy.

Would be much better in August, true.  But like I'm going to tell Condé Nast that.

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