Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tomatoes Part 2: Soup, Jam, and Bruschetta

Several days ago I told you about some sauces that I like to make with fresh tomatoes.  Now let me tell you about some other miscellaneous uses for tomatoes that we enjoy each season.  Some of the recipes and ideas are from fellow bloggers, and I will give you a link to their sites. 

Tomato Use #1-  Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta on Fried Garlic Toast:
(recipe follows at end of post)

So in the last post, I told you that we don't eat that many raw tomatoes.  My husband does not like them very much, and since it is only the two of us, it rarely makes sense for me to fix something that both of us will not eat.  That is, with the exception of bruschetta.  To tell you about the bruschetta I must fill you in on a little (ever-so-slightly-embarrassing) secret.  When the movie Julie and Julia came out I must have watched it a dozen times.  Not so much for the story itself (although the story is good), but for the images of the bruschetta that Julie makes one night for dinner.  I became obsessed with it and decided I could not rest until I had recreated it for myself.

Unlike traditional bruschettas, the bread is not grilled or toasted.  Instead, it is fried.  Now, I realize frying bread to top with fresh tomatoes may seem a little conterproductive in the nutrition department.  One is so healthy, the other not so much.  But hear me out.  When you lightly fry the bread and rub it with fresh garlic, it becomes crisp, crunchy, garlicky, and irresistable.  The topping of chopped tomatoes, basil, and olive oil soaks into the bread which remains crisp despite the juices (remember it is fried).  When you bite into it, you get all these tastes at once, and it is delicious.  It is a common lunch for me throughout the summer, and it lives up to my Julie and Julia expectations. 

Tomato Use #2-  Tomato Jam:
I first came across the idea for tomato jam from the Food in Jars blog.  I had never considered tomatoes in a savory and sweet concoction like this before, but once I tried it, I was hooked.  It tastes a little like ketchup but without the vinegary bite that traditional ketchup has.  It is super easy to make since it requires no peeling of the tomatoes, and it makes a fairly good sized batch for the amount of time you contribute.  It is great on cornbread, biscuits, toast, and other types of bread.  It is fantastic with cheese, and I am really looking forward to trying it as the base to a variety of sauces.  I think it would be great mixed with a little vinegar to top meatloaf or as a base to barbecue sauce.  I will be sure to share other uses for this jam as I experiment over the fall and winter months.  Oh, and I just discovered that it is pretty darn tasty as a snack with homemade croutons that I made over the weekend.   

Tomato Use #3-  Classic Tomato Soup:
This recipe also comes from a fellow blogger over at Thy Hand Hath Provided.
It is a rich, smooth tomato soup recipe for those of us who have enjoyed Campbell's at some point in our lives but want something fresher and a little more grown up.  I don't have any pictures of this soup in the pot, but check out the link for pictures and the recipe.  I will say that I have not tried canning this soup yet.  I plan on trying my hand at pressure canning it as soon as I find time to experiment with my new pressure canner.  I do freeze it, and it freezes beautifully.  Here is a terrible picture of a few quarts of frozen soup I made earlier in the month.  I am planning to make more of this soup tomorrow.  Sorry for the poor quality photo, but I am including it to show that I freeze it in zippered freezer bags and it works fine. 

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta on Fried Garlic Toast: 
This is really not a recipe as much as it is a method.  You can increase the ingredients to serve as many as needed or to fit your personal tastes.  

3 medium heirloom tomatoes (can also use regular tomatoes)
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
approximately six fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons (plus more for garnish)
sea salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
2 large slices of crusty bread, cut in half to form 4 pieces

Coarsely chop the tomatoes.  Mix the tomatoes with sliced basil, 1-2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.  Adjust seasonings to taste and set aside.  Heat just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a skillet on medium high heat.  Once hot, place bread in oil and fry until lightly browned on bottom.  Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove bread from skillet and rub one side of each slice with the garlic clove.  Top each bread slice with the tomato mixture (make sure to get a little of the liquid).  Sprinkle a little more basil over each slice and enjoy. 



  1. I'd really like to try the tomato jam! There's a café here that had the most fabulous sandwich ("The Niven") that had tomato jam on it, but they don't have it on the menu anymore! That happens to me all the time...

  2. I would like to try that sandwich...too bad they don't make it anymore. I am not sure what your sandwich had on it, but I bet it would be good with turkey and melted cheese on some type of crusty bread or even on a croissant. You'll have to try to recreate "The Niven" and tell me about it.