Tuesday, July 28, 2009

HOT TOMATA


I remember my Uncle Ronnie telling Daddy that our neighbor lady was a hot tomata. We had a big garden out back where my mama and daddy and my grandparents grew all kinds of veggies, but hands down, those tomatoes were the stars. Big red fat ones. My job was to pull the ugly green worms off the plants and drop them in a big metal bucket. I don’t know what my grandfather did with the disgusting creatures after I harvested them. It was my job to protect the lovely aromatic tomatoes at all costs and I was vigilant about my duties. I tried in vain to understand why Uncle Ronnie thought that pretty Mrs. Kelly resembled a tomato. I thought she looked like more like Marilyn Monroe. But Mama told her best friend Vi that she thought Mrs. Kelly should start doing sit-ups, on account of her potbelly. But her belly didn’t look like a pot to me. Her son was just an itty-bitty baby and Mrs. Kelly used to push him up and down the street in a fancy English-style pram. “You stay away from the hot tomata,” Daddy told Uncle Ronnie. Uncle Ronnie smashed his cigarette out on the side of the house and said, “Don’t worry, she won’t even look at me.”

Here’s what I do with vine-ripened tomatoes in the summertime, and when my kids come to visit they expect me to serve a bowlful with every meal.

I’ll leave the quantities up to you. Chop up your tomatoes in bite sized chunks. I like to mix different varieties and colors, if available. If not, just use what you have on hand. In a pretty bowl with room to toss, add: diced garlic (roasted works really well for a softer garlic flavor, but raw works too), diced shallots (or purple onions or green onions), fresh basil ribbons, chopped Italian parsley, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar), and sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let the tomatoes sit for at least twenty minutes before serving, and be sure to stir several times.




All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

19 comments:

katherine. said...

smile...poor uncle ronnie...

I make the very same salad. Sometimes I add a little fresh mozzarella (buffalo mozzarella)the soft kind that comes in liquid.

I'm thinking of heading to the yard...warm cherry tomatoes picked off the vine in the afternoon and right into my mouth

way yummy!

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I love tomatoes! And those look marvelous! Miss having a garden, used to grow them. I'd find my son sitting on the walk beside the plants early in the morning, feasting on tomatoes. Fun post! Yes, poor Uncle Ronnie ;)

lakeviewer said...

I can't grow tomatoes, but I can buy them at the Farmers' Market.

Cloudia said...

Such a savory post!
Guard those tomatoes, little Liz
;-)

we battled the birds over our few blueberries, but the plum tree gave TOO MUCH!

A dematologist told me that tomato essence (saquashed strained tomato) is the BEST beauty serum for your face! Add olive oil and you will GLOW like a pizza!!!

Aloha my bloggee friend-

Comfort Spiral

Marguerite said...

That tomato salad of yours sounds divine, Elizabeth! I am going to try it right now, since I have all of the ingredients and lots of homegrown tomatoes. Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe and your childhood tale. I enjoyed it!

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Our tomatoes are just going yellow, in a few days we'll be eating them but your post has my mouth watering.

Jody Hedlund said...

I like your story about Uncle Ronnie! Made me smile! And your recipe sounds good. Right now all I have are green tomatoes growing. Our summer has felt more like spring, so I'm not sure if I'll get any ripe ones this year or not!

Shirley Wells said...

Ha. Poor Uncle Ronnie!

I heard that tomatoes made a great serum for your face too. I've never tried it though...

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I don't have any ripe tomatoes yet, so I buy the beauties at our local farmer's market. A face treatment from tomatoes, interesting, that's a new one on me. My mother used olive oil as a moisturizer at night and she had the most wrinkle-free face and her hands were so pretty. I still buy store made concoctions, don't know if I'm ready to grease up with olive oil. lol. When I see green tomatoes I think of my Tennessee born step-mother and her fried green tomatoes. Yummy. She used to fry okra too. I didn't like okra, (still don't like the stuff) but her fried okra was delicious. May she rest in peace.

Anyway you can get them, any color you can get them, even if you rub them all over your face, I think we all agree, summer tomatoes rock.

Cheryl said...

Oh, that sounds good!

And I really liked your charming reminiscence.

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

I can't believe your kids clamor that. I would beg for it, but my kids would run screaming, "Noooooooooo!" :)

Great story about the hot tomata.

Jenn said...

Ha ha, great story! As kids we really do take everything so literally don't we?

That tomato recipe sounds fantastic, perfect for summer! I will absolutely be trying that one :-)

Helen Ginger said...

That sounds sooo good. Our tomato plants aren't producing as many tomatoes this year. Too hot. What few we get don't last long enough to be chopped up.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Hilary said...

What a wonderful story about that hot tomata! I can just hear the exchange. The recipe sounds refreshing.. and very tempting. And maybe with Feta cheese... :)

Willow said...

Having just been in the garden, stuffing Sun Gold cherry tomatoes in my mouth, I read with interest about the hot tomata. I also enjoyed the reminder about Harvey (one of my fave movies) but not Carly, sadly. Your post about Endless Negotiations reminds me of my favorite statement, "Think of the alternative!"

Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment!

steviewren said...

Pass the tomatoes please! I just dropped by to say thanks for your recent visit to my blog. I see you are a storyteller....I think Uncle Ronnie should go for it....anything can happen in a story!

Suldog said...

Tomatoes are my favorite vegetable (or fruit. Whatever they are, I love them.)

I was always confused as a kid when I watched an old movie and a character in the movie, when speaking of a woman, called her a 'tomato'. In some instances, it was unclear whether it was meant as a compliment or an insult. I suppose it might have been a bit of both, really.

Thank you so much for the comments over at my place!

Kim said...

The recipe sounds awesome and it would probably taste pretty good on some nice crusty bread!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Yes Kim, if you dice the tomatoes you can make bruchetta.

If somebody called me a hot tomata I wouldn't mind. Not one little bit. :-)