Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fresh Tomatoes.

Growing up, I loathed tomatoes. You couldn't get me near one. Every raw tomato--sour, grassy and filled with with goop and seeds. I remember picking them off of sandwiches, eating around them if they'd show up in salad.

My dad, of course, grew them in our backyard. Back then I wondered why you'd waste half a garden on them, but now I'm glad that whenever I visit, I get to bring a few dozen home. Obviously, I've collected a few tomato recipes that might help you use up the last of the tomato crop.

At the beginning of the summer though, making these BLT's was all about the cheese--not the tomatoes. I read "smoked blue cheese" and nearly lept out of my chair running towards DiBruno Brothers.

"BLT" here does not mean "Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato". The bacon in this recipe has been replaced by Rogue River Smokey Blue Cheese, making it a "Blue-Lettuce-Tomato". I know that many of you may think that there is just no replacement for bacon, but the smokey qualities of this cheese makes it hearty enough to stand in, and perhaps even supersede bacon. The blue cheese, which can be a difficult sell due to its intense creaminess and pungency, is well balanced by the freshness of the tomato and the lettuce.

And have I mentioned the mayonnaise? It's rosemary--and good on slathered on everything. We used the leftovers in pasta salad, but I imagine it would be great in chicken salad, too.

This week I'm attempting to post all the tomato recipes I have on hand--and feature two summer desserts that, if you're lucky at the produce stand, you could make this weekend.

Smokey "BLT"
Makes 4 Sandwiches

4 tablespoons Rosemary Mayonnaise, (see below)
8 slices bread (we split good baguettes)
5 ounces Rogue River Smokey Blue cheese
1/4 head romaine lettuce
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 8 slices

1. Spread a tablespoon of the Rosemary Mayonnaise on 4 slices of bread. Slice the cheese into 1/3" chunks and stack with the lettuce and tomatoes. Top with another piece of bread and enjoy.

Rosemary Mayonnaise
Makes 1 cup

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
3/4 cups mayonnaise (we like the Olive Oil kind)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine the oil, rosemary, and garlic in a small pan over low heat, stirring occasionally and cook until garlic begins to sizzle--about 5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool completely.

2. Stir the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Whisk the lemon juice and the olive oil mixture into the mayonnaise until smooth. Stores refrigerated up to 5 days.

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