You know it’s summertime when riots and looting are a result of an innocent killing in Missouri, but you want to talk about your Husky Gold tomatoes.
You know it’s summertime when flash floods fill the streets of New York, but you want to talk about your Baby Roma tomatoes.
You know it’s summertime when POTUS sends a “humanitarian mission” to Iraq with the disclaimer “they will defend themselves if necessary,” but you want to brag about how many jars of tomatoes you canned.
Not many other subjects pervade summertime conversations like tomatoes. Except perhaps corn (which is fodder for another post). Whether you grow your tomatoes on a rooftop, in a hydroponic garden, in the ground, or buy them at the farmers market, you gotta admit, tomatoes are the quintessential summer fruit. Worth bragging about. I mean do you really want to talk about Putin’s ego and ISIS?
Red, pink, yellow, green. Round, oval, as big as a grapefruit or as small as a nickel. Sweet, juicy, drip down your chin, tomatoes need very little to taste great. A kiss of sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil, or ranch dressing (hey remember I’m from Pittsburgh), or simply plopped in your mouth after you snipped that Rutgers from its stem and wiped off the skin with a bit of spit and polish on your tee-shirt.
Tomatoes scream summertime.
The Creative Cooking Crew challenge for August and September is yep, tomatoes.
Did I mention I bought a twenty-pound case of Better Boy tomatoes?
After a few tomato and roasted eggplant galette’s, several canning operations, a batch of garlic chili tomato salsa, I stood in my kitchen and stared at those tomatoes. Since I think best with a full belly, I sliced a thick slab of bread, put it in the toaster and while I held my butter knife, I began to think how I would love a thick, chunky tomato jam to slather all over my toasted sourdough bread. For the record, I could live on tomatoes, corn, and homemade bread all summer long.
Never one to attempt a recipe without doing a Google search first, I found several recipes for tomato jam as you might imagine. Most require all the same ingredients. Tomatoes, lemons, sugar, pectin, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and a lot of time. I had everything on the list except time. I crunched on my toast and realized I was overthinking this CCC challenge.
Enter Tomato Herb Sourdough Bread.
Before you click away, this is not one of those “starter” breads like my Oscar that takes two days and special bread flour. This is bread from a box. Yep, worth repeating. Bread from a box. It is good. Trust me. Especially since it is packed with fresh sun-kissed summer tomatoes.
Here is what you
knead need for Tomato Herb Sourdough Bread
- 2 large fresh tomatoes (you pick the variety), or several small ones
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- A box of Krusteaz sourdough bread. (This is not a promotional/paid post btw). But if someone from Krusteaz is reading and you want me to work for you, I’m all in. Call or email works.
- Flour for dusting.
- 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the skin from the tomatoes. You know the drill-cross hatch the bottom, submerge in boiling water for a minute, dump in an ice bath, then peel.
Once peeled, cut in half and remove the seeds. Work over the sink. This is messy.
Chop the tomatoes and begin to pat dry with paper towels to remove the excess water. You can add a little kosher salt to help the weeping process, but don’t use much. How much? A dash.
When dry (about ten minutes), chop the halves into a coarse bite-sized pieces.
Chop your herbs.
Now here comes the really hard part (NOT). Prepare the bread according to the box directions. You want the “artisanal” recipe toward the bottom, the one that takes an hour. You will mix the bread mix, the yeast (included in the box), warm water, tomatoes and herbs until you have a sticky, blob of bread.
Place your bread blob (awful word, but accurate) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and form it into a round loaf. Or you can split it for smaller loaves if you want. It’s your bread.
Set the timer for thirty minutes and walk away.
After thirty minutes, dust the top of the bread with flour. Use a serrated knife and slice a few hatch marks (about ½”) into the top of the bread. Bake for thirty to thirty-five minutes. The box reads thirty, but with the extra liquid and heft from the tomatoes, you might need a few more minutes.
OCD Cheese Spread
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 2 ounces feta cheese
- Lemon zest and juice
- Fresh basil olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Bring cheeses to room temperature in a medium bowl. Add a squirt of lemon juice. Zest a little lemon, careful not to zest the white pith. Chop several basil leaves and drizzle a little olive oil if you don’t have any basil olive oil made up. Add a dash of kosher salt and a few cranks of black pepper. Stir. Spread on Tomato Herb Sourdough Bread, grilled chicken, baked salmon, or crumble on sliced summer tomatoes and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Appetite required.While you’re munching, head over to the Creative Cooking Crew’s Pinterest board to see all the other fabulous tomato recipes from the oh-so-talented CCC.