Posts Tagged ‘Jersey tomatoes’

We’re not talking Jersey Tomatoes here – No sir, this is all about those red plump stuffed cloth tomatoes.  My grandmother had one, my mother had one and I had one.  It ends here no doubt.  I know my daughter doesn’t have one and wonder how many of her friends do?  Not likely!  Wonder if any of them have the pins or needles or thread that also go into this homemaker’s essential salad?

Well be that as it may, I was surprised to receive an email extolling the virtues and the origin of this at-one-time-ubiquitious household tool.  The Sourcerer strikes again – twice in one week!!! Thanks to Gail who tipped me off about my mentor Martha’s article about pin cushions, tomato pin cushions to be exact and her take on 21st century examples.  

The following is excepted from Martha Stewart’s web site:

Pincushions come in all shapes and sizes, but the tomato is the design that prevails as the classic. But why a tomato of all things? Turns out it’s not random: There’s actually a reason for the tomato design, and it dates back to the Victorian era.

The first-ever documented mention of a generic pincushion dates back to the Middle Ages. Of course, in those days, they were more whimsically called “pimpilowes,” “pyn pillows,” and “pin-poppets.” The pincushion was invented as a practical aid for storing pins and needles, but it also showcased one’s collection of pins and needles. (Needles were costly, after all.) But the less-iconic shapes of dolls, birds, and prettily-packaged boxes left something to be desired.
Enter the time-honored tomato. According to tradition, placing a tomato on the mantel of a new home ensured prosperity by warding off evil spirits. When tomatoes were out of season, people weren’t totally out of luck: They simply improvised with red material, sawdust, and a little bit of ingenuity.

A lady of the Victorian era would take immense pride in a parlor room stocked with shelves upon shelves of pincushions, but the tomato was always the crowning acheivement of her collection. Since then, we’ve been piercing our pins into stuffed fabric tomatoes without question. But it’s “sew” much more fun to know where they come from, am I right?

In this case a picture is really worth 1000 words:



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This was a very good Tasty Tidbits Tuesday – we just finished dinner and it was delicious and as my husband put it “very interesting, very unusual and it tastes delicious too and I’ve never tasted anything like it”.

Last night Angela and Seth joined us for some wine and apps on the porch.  It was a warm evening and since it’s getting dark so early these days, we scattered candles all around giving the porch a soft and inviting atmosphere.  We sat and talked for quite some time drinking most of the bottle of Malbec they brought.  Angela brought us a bag of Heirloom cherry tomatoes that one of her customers from the bakery brought her!  It was an Ocean Grove food chain lol.  Turns out Angela is not really fond of tomatoes, there’s something about the consistency that she doesn’t like – all the better for me who LOVES tomatoes, JERSEY TOMATOES and even better FREE JERSEY HEIRLOOM TOMATOES.

I popped a few in my mouth, God they were like candy and there were a lot.  I started to think about what I could make with them.  This morning I saw just how many tomatoes there were and decided to leave some on Michael’ s porch (hope he found them when he got home tonight) and left some watermelon on Angela’s porch – the food chain continues….

Tonight I made Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel Sauce with linguine, well actually half linguine and half whole grain spaghetti.  It was so good, I plan to make it again soon.



1 Fennel bulb cut up

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, half of them halved ( I gave away too many, so I chopped up half of medium tomato)

1/4 cup white wine

3 TBS olive oil

5 sprigs of Thyme (I didn’t have any, so I used dried thyme leaves )

pinch of sugar* (I didn’t use any, the tomatoes were sweet enough)

Coarse salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, toss together the fennel, tomatoes, wine, oil and thyme.  Add a pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper.

Bake, stirring occasionally until fennel softens and pan juices thicken, 35-40 minutes, maybe less.

I reserved a full cup of the pasta water and used it to create the sauce.  I didn’t have a lot of pan juices and some of it burned along the edges of the pan.

Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food – November 2009

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Honey Glazed Cornbread

Honey Glazed Cornbread

Now that we are nearing the end of my favorite season, summer, there is a plethora of Jersey tomatoes and corn available.  Oh it’s been a delicious summer all around.  I made my Garden State Gazpacho, we’ve eaten so many ears of corn I couldn’t guess how many and had Caprese salad often – love having a basil plant in the backyard.

As I was going through my emails, I came across a recipe that caught my eye and I can’t wait to try it out this weekend.  WHY?  Because it’s a corn bread that actually uses fresh kernels of corn.  This recipe is  a POW WOW original and I’m passing along their serving suggestions also;  Serve with eggs and bacon instead of toast, try it with a crunchy dinner salad and think about using this cornbread with ice cream and berries instead of shortbread.


1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2  tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

6 TBS melted butter, divided

4 TBS honey, divided

1 egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (uncooked)


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 9 baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and baking powder to combine

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 4 TBS of butter, 2 TBS honey, the egg and the buttermilk.  Mix all the ingredients to combine.

Gently fold in the corn kernels.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Bake the cornbread for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

While cornbread is baking, combine the remaining 2 TBS of butter with the 2 TBS of honey.  As soon as you remove the cornbread from the oven, brush the glaze on the top of the loaf with a pastry brush.  Let bread cool 15 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.



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I LOVE TOMATOES and if you’re a follower of this blog you know how often I extoll the virtues of Jersey tomatoes.  So no one should be surprised that eventually this countdown to Christmas blog would find a Foodie gift for tomato lovers.

Look at this wild and crazy cutting board!  Really now, a tomato bleeding all over the counter?  You know I just had to include this in Foodie Gift category.  There are serious Foodie gifts and delicious Foodie gifts and I guess you can put this one in the whimsical category.

Bloody Tomato

Bloody Tomato

Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come… But The Splash Chopping Board looks as though it’s bleeding off your countertop.
Designed to remain stable while you work, the durable surface will hold up to all of your cutting needs. And, the ‘drip’ is easily removable for cleaning and storage. Available at The Foodiggity Shop, $18.99.  **

**Excerpted from Foodiggity.com

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Image via Wikipedia

Ok ok, yes of course you can use any fresh tomatoes for this dish – BUT why would you IF you can get your hands on the gems of the Garden State; Jersey Tomatoes?  And this is P’RIME TIME!!! The Green Markets, the vegetable stands, your co-worker’s garden and I know you’ve heard me say this before (how about all this summer?) BUT go the extra distance and find locally grown fresh tomatoes, your recipes will love you for it.  Chilled soups are an antidote for summer’s heat, and because they take advantage of the season’s fruits and vegetables, they are fresh and full of flavor but low in fat and calories.


12 ripe medium tomatoes (about 1 pound), cut in half horizontally

15 large springs of fresh dill

1 navel orange

1 large clove garlic minced (I would probably use 2)

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth

1  1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

8 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt


Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Roast tomatoes on baking pan, cut side up, until just softened and charred on the edges, 15-25  minutes.  Reserve four halves; cut the rest into quarters.

Meanwhile, tie 13 dill sprigs into a bundle with kitchen twine; set aside.  Remove a strip of orange zest, 1/2 by 2 inches long; squeeze juice from orange.  reserve zest and juice.

Spray bottom of small stockpot with olive oil spray.  Add garlic and onions; cook, covered over low heat, stirring, until translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add tomato quarters, stock, dill bundle, zest, juice, salt, pepper, and 2 cups water.  Raise heat to high, bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium low; let simmer 20 minutes.

Discard dill and zest;puree soup in food processor until smooth; strain, and discard seeds.  Add vinegar.  Refrigerate.  Cut reserved tomato halves into sixteen wedges.  Pour soup into eight bowls, garnish with tomatoes, and add 1 tablespoon yogurt.  Snip remaining dill over soup; serve with croutons.

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If you’re lucky enough to have a garden and lucky enough to keep it watered during this drought-like weather (so many water restrictions these days!) you are probably at the point where the fruits of  your labors are beginning to ripen.  AND if you’re not growing your own, I’m not – not to worry – there is SO MUCH fresh, delicious and downright healthy vegetables in abundance in the Green Markets and fruit and vegetable stands everywhere that you SHOULD NEVER  buy your vegetables in the grocery store at this time of the year!!

JERSEY TOMATOES !! One day I’m going to do a blog JUST on Jersey tomatoes, but not today.  Here’s a few tasty recipes that will utilize your tomatoes.

Jersey tomatoes

Jersey Tomatoes


2 slices of state French or Italian white bread, crusts removed

3 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled seeded and roughly chopped

1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves

1 -2  small garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup chicken stock

Salt + ground Pepper to taste

Juice of one lemon or more to taste

Soak bread in cold water briefly, squeeze dry and combine in a blender with tomatoes, and garlic (may have to do in 2 batches).  Drizzle stock into blender at low-speed, blend until smooth.  Pour mixture into bowl, season with salt and pepper – Chill and serve

Yield: 4 servings   Time: 15 minutes plus chilling time Source: New York Times

Ever been invited to a picnic and you need to bring a side dish? Yellow squash is a prolific vegetable at this time of year.  You might consider these casseroles as an alternative vegetable dish.


1  1/2 LB yellow squash

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped sweet pepper

Par boil first 3 ingredients

1/4 cup margarine melted

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sliced water chestnuts

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

pinch of sugar

2 eggs beaten

seasoned bread crumbs

Mix water chestnuts, grated cheese, margarine, eggs, mayonnaise and sugar in a bowl.  Add the par boiled ingredients  and spread in baking dish.  Top with some butter slice and seasoned bread crumbs.

Bake: 300 degrees  for 30 minutes


6 cups summer squash sliced

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup low fat sour cream

1 8oz package of stuffing mix

1/2 cup melted margarine

Par boil sliced squash and onion in salted water (5 min).  Drain and set aside .  Combine with soup and sour cream in large bowl.    Fold in the squash and onions.  Combine the stuffing mix and melted margarine.  Spread half of the stuffing mix in an 8″x12″ baking dish and spoon vegetable mix on top.  Sprinkle remaining stuffing on top.

BAKE: 350 degrees Time: 25-30 minutes

It seemed like such a good idea to plant those Sugar Snap Peas in the spring….now what?


To trim a sugar snap pea, snap off the stem end, pull away the string;then remove the small fiber from the pointed end

1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed

3 Tbsp finely chopped shallots

3 Tbsp rice-wine vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

6 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

fresh ground pepper

Bring a small sauce pan of salted water to boil;  prepare an ice bath.  Add the peas to the boiling water, and cook until bright green and crunchy(about 1 minute).  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peas to ice bath until cold.  Drain peas in a colander, transfer to a serving dish.  Combine shallots, vinegar, honey, mustard, olive oil, and mint in a jar with a lid.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and shake vigorously until well combined.  Let dressing stand 10 minutes. Pour dressing over peas – Toss and serve.

recipe from Martha Stewart Living

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