Tomato gore

They are a perverse lot, tomatoes. One minute you're shouting at them to ripen up, the next you're begging people to take them before they decompose into pools of red gore.

This week faced with a basket of soggy beauties, I decided to make spaghetti sauce. But being mid-week and and lacking the fortitude to blanche, peel and seed tomotoes, here's what I did:

Recipe--Peels-and-all Spaghetti Sauce

1 dozen fresh tomatoes, cored and halved

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

Red pepper flakes, a healthy pinch

1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil

3-4 Tbs of tomato paste

Salt to taste

Directions: Sautee garlic and onion in olive oil until translucent. Add red pepper flakes. Turn heat down to low and add tomatoes. Stew for about an hour, leaving the pot uncovered to allow sauce to reduce. Stir in basil and tomato paste. Grind to bloody pulp with an immersion blender.

Bon appetit!

Local tomato

Look at that fat, bulbous globe, ruddy as a drunk. And grown at 8,000 feet. By rights at this elevation it should be a stunted yellow ball.

The tomato comes from Meredith, who's been haying at the ranch. Meredith is the mother of 29 alpacas, seven goats, five chickens and four dogs. She has animals, we have grass, so this week she's been busy raking and hauling hay back to her growing herd. (A couple of the girls got themselves in the family way when "Mother" wasn't looking.)

Enroute to the ranch she stops at a neighbor's organic garden, who opens it to friends to have their pick. She's loaded us up with tender red-leaf lettuce, peppery arugala, miniature cucumbers and porky tomatoes--all tasting like earth, water and sun.

Now if we could only get our recalcitrant green fruits to ripen at home.

Fast Food Thursday: Baba ganoush

Every Sunday Ferris pitches his awning in Westcliffe on Highway 96 next to Western Auto to sell fruits and vegetables mostly from Pueblo. His farm stand produce is gorgeous and he keeps a nice patter up with customers. We've been buying from him for years. This Sunday we came away with a huge bucket of beets--much to Mitch's dismay--two fat eggplants and a basket of peaches from Palisade.

We both adore eggplant, so last night I consulted a cookbook or two and a few Internet sites for a solid baba ganoush recipe. Overall, they are pretty consistent:

1 eggplant, grilled and peeled

3 Tbs tahini

1/2 - 1 tsp salt

the juice of one lemon

2 cloves garlic, minched

Instructions: Whip it in your food processor until the ingredients are unrecognizable and garnish with something, cumin, paprika or chopped flat-leaf parsley. Chow. (Great on pita bread, pita chips, baby carrots, your finger.)

I'd show a picture, but as delicious as this combination is, it really does look like moth-colored glop garnished with something. 

Changes: I'd cut way back on the garlic, maybe half a clove. (My breath today would fell a stegasaurus.) Also, I recommend grilling the eggplant as opposed to roasting. Imparts a nice, smokey flavor.

Also makes great finger food for convention watching. Cheers!