Posted by: barn owl | July 5, 2008

Heirloom Tomatoes and BLTs

Posting lite, I’m afraid…though I am preparing a new post for the inaugural edition of The Giant’s Shoulders blog carnival, to be hosted at Coturnix’s A Blog Around the Clock. I was too lazy to write anything yesterday, which was the Fourth of July-which, like Guy Fawkes’ Day in the UK, is A Good Day to Get Bucked Off a Horse. So I avoided riding mine, or tying them up to anything from which they could pull back and break yet another halter or lead rope…this, in spite of the fact that I figured out last weekend that I can reach an amazing number of peaches, previously unattainable, from horseback, simply by riding up next to the peach trees by the ranch house. Of course, this requires that 1) I’m riding the calmer and taller of my two Thoroughbreds, and 2) I remember to attach one of my handmade recycled shopping bags to the saddle.

Tomatoes have been in the news lately as the potential culprit in salmonella outbreaks, but I usually avoid buying grocery store tomatoes anyway, because they taste like wet cardboard. I have access to two organic gardens, both of which often have some heirloom tomatoes free for the picking. Yesterday, I had a bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich for lunch when visiting with friends, and it was so good I decided to fix another for today’s lunch (in the photo). I need to work on my food photography, but let me tell you, the sandwich was pretty awesome. The tomatoes are of the Stupice variety, somewhat larger than a cherry tomato, with very heat-tolerant plants (important here!). I also picked a golden variety of cherry tomato, perfect for salads.


The other garden yielded a nice butternut squash, so I think I’ll make the white bean and butternut squash soup, from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, later this week. I know the “bacon” part of the BLT isn’t exactly a health food, but overall I rarely eat highly processed or fast foods. Bacon is usually flavoring for a soup, or for a stir-fry of fresh kale and collard or mustard greens, served over rice. I’d say I’m an average cook, but I enjoy baking and cooking and preparing meals with friends. It was one of the few hobbies I could afford in grad school, and the skills I’ve learned over the years have saved me money and unwanted pounds.


  1. quoth barn owl: I’d say I’m an average cook, but I enjoy baking and cooking and preparing meals with friends.

    The world needs more people who take your approach to cooking. I have been surprised to see several people who are superb cooks who seem to think that only gourmet meals are worth preparing, and if they can’t take the several hours for that sort of thing, they might as well just go to McDonald’s, or microwave a plastic tray of something pre-packaged. (Alas, the heirloom tomatoes from my local CSA are still a few weeks away from being ripe.)

  2. Thanks, Theo Bromine!

    I learned a lot about basic cooking from my grad school housemates, and when I visit them now, many years later, one of our favorite activities is to prepare food together (especially if we’re trying new recipes). I wish more people here would prepare food from fresh ingredients, since obesity and type 2 diabetes are such common problems. However, the resistance and lack of knowledge are huge hurdles- I’ve had many people assume that the lunches I bring to work take “too much time” to prepare, and a friend says that people ask her in the grocery store about her dried bean and rice purchases-“Aren’t those hard to cook?”

    The one CSA in my area went out of business this year, unfortunately. At least I have access to a couple of organic gardens-we can usually get two tomato crops each year here. Long growing season, but not good for some things, of course, and the soil is poor (plus you hit rock about two or three inches down).

  3. I’ve had bad luck with the heirloom tomatoes. You can definitely see their vulnerabilities (weather, insects) relative to commercial garden strains, and the Burpee strains arguably taste better.

    I like the heirloom idea in theory, but have reverted to Beefsteaks and Early Girls in practice.

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