Actually, I pick tomatoes every day. Most days the count is 8~10 tomatoes. Today's Yummy! tomato haul was 20 perfectly formed, round, red and juicy Beefsteak tomatoes!
I've looked around at my neighbor's tomato plants and one neighbor had such a poor crop this year that they've already pulled the plants from the ground. The other neighbors behind me have decent sized plants with the tallest one topping out at about 4'.
Not bad by most standards.
Then there are the Tomato Queen's tomatoes.
Standing a full 6' tall, the plants are so loaded with Beefsteak tomatoes, that I have to pick every day. And, the critters haven't been eating them.
My critterless secret? Cayenne pepper all around the plants. The ground squirrels, rabbits and raccoons won't cross the pepper line.
Am I bragging? You betcha! I don't have a lot to brag about in my yard but my flowers and tomatoes will win awards every time.
What to do with all of these delicious red gems? Here's a recipe for a client favorite summer~on~the~back~deck dinner.
Caramelized Onion, Tomato and Roquefort Tart
1 pound tomatoes, ripe, thinly sliced
2c yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/4c dry white wine
1t thyme, dried
salt and pepper
1/3c pine nuts, toasted
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
4oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400. Spray a tart pan with non~stick cooking spray.
Place sliced tomatoes in one layer on baking sheet sprayed with non~stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme. Bake 3 minutes. Turn tomatoes over and bake an additional 3 minutes. Remove from pan and allow juices to drain on paper towels.
In heavy skillet, melt butter over medium~high heat. Add onions and sauté until caramelized, 12~15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine and cook until dry, 3~5 minutes. Remove from heat, add pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Set aside to cool.
On a lightly floured cutting board, roll out puff pastry until large enough to fit into tart pan with sides overlapping.
Spread onion mixture evenly over bottom of puff pastry. Top with sliced tomatoes, overlapping to make one tight layer. Top with crumbled Roquefort cheese. Crimp edges of puff pastry.
Bake until golden and puffed, about 20~25 minutes. Cover pastry edges with foil if it begins to get too brown.
Remove from oven and cut into wedges. Serve warm or room temperature with a glass of Pinot Grigio and a small spinach salad on the side.