Hello to all of you!
Can you believe how fast this year is going? Here we are in May – already! But that’s okay because most of us look forward to May. It signals the end of winter and most of the “little winters” we experience in Spring. Dogwood Winter, Blackberry Winter, Locust Winter, and a few others make a quick appearance but give way to the beautiful days of May. Warm days and the gifts of Spring – that’s what May is all about.
May also speaks to warmer weather and is a precursor to the summer months. This gets me thinking about tomatoes. Specifically, a local product, the tomatoes from Grainger County.
What makes them so special? They’re known for their iconic flavor, texture, and appearance. Grainger County is known for its limestone-based soil, which is perfect for growing sweet yet tart tomatoes. The soil gives them that unique flavor everyone knows and loves. Oh, so good.
Another reason these tomatoes are so special is the way they’re grown. These babies are started and nurtured the old fashioned way – in the ground, and without hydroponics. The vines produce fruit that’s organic and full of flavor. And that means you can count on superior nutrition and taste. Yum!
One more thing – and it’s important – these tomatoes are shipped to stores and never warehouses. They’re meant to be eaten close to home, so you’ll never find them in far away places like the West Coast. Nope, they stay right here in our own region for us to savor and enjoy. By the way, don’t wait on these; they’re also meant to be eaten ASAP. So eat away every chance you get!
That reminds me. Most people think of salad when it comes to tomatoes. And that’s okay, but I’m here to tell you there’s so much more you can do with them. Need some ideas? Try one of these:
- Naked. Polish it up and eat it like an apple – just naked. Of course, if you’re polite then slice it into thick meaty slices and add a little salt and pepper.
- Sandwich. A favorite from my childhood… the BLT. Combine bacon, lettuce, and tomato on your favorite sandwich bread. Consider adding Duke’s mayonnaise and you have a real treat!
- Salsa. Add a big juicy tomato to onions, garlic, cilantro and lime juice, and you’ve got a tasty topping for tacos, chips, salads, and a whole lot more. You just can’t beat homemade salsa.
- Stuffed. Hollow out the center and stuff it with tuna, veggies, or chicken salad. It’s a great meal on a warm night.
- Caprese. Sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Okay, Foodies, that’s a wrap. However you enjoy tomatoes, I hope you enjoy the best that East Tennessee has to offer. And by all means, store your tomatoes in the coolest part of your house, and NEVER in the fridge!
Until next time, here’s to the luscious Grainger tomato, and here’s to making life better one meal at a time!
Chef Kevin Culinary
Food For Thought:
If you want the best tomatoes choose those with very few blemishes or dark spots. A tomato should be firm, and have a good weight for its size. Smell it near the spot where the stem was. It should be very aromatic. And remember, never put your tomatoes in the fridge. That’s just criminal.
As we enjoy Spring and get ready to embrace the Summer months many people will be traveling and taking vacations. My in-home dinner parties can make a great dining-out alternative for folks vacationing in the beautiful Smoky Mountains and renting cabins. No reservations, no waiting in line, no fighting traffic! For more information, visit checkout Dinner Parties and Vacation Rentals. I’ll do the cooking so you can rest and relax!