"Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad"
Well this is my first time hosting this very useful and interesting weekly event that Natalie over at Gluten Free Mommy started. I do hope I do it justice and if you want to add your menu to the list this week please email me on the address you can find in my profile or leave a message in the comments.
Every week the host chooses a ingredient to highlight and I was very surprised to find tomato has not yet been picked. We use tomatoes day in, day out be that from a tin, fresh or in the few premade things we buy such as tomato ketchup. I try to use mostly local, seasonal produce but we do buy tomatoes whatever the season, not just tinned ones but fresh to even if they have to be imported.
The tomato is part of the nightshade family which has many other vegetables in it including potatoes, peppers and aubergine (eggplant), most members of this family are poisonous in one way or another so it pays to be careful with them, for instance the fruit of the potato looks very like a small tomato but it would be very unwise to eat it. That said tomatoes are good for you both in terms of the vitamins etc they hold and the fact they add much needed colour particularly in winter. While it may be different in other places here in the UK in the winter if you eat seasonally most meals take on a very beige and green colour pallet so anything that adds to that is welcome. They are claimed to be one of the best sources of lycopene, which has cancer-fighting properties, apparently this is best absorbed in a lightly cooked form rather than raw. If eating raw combining with a little oil such as olive oil helps.
This year we are growing our own tomatoes, currently they are sitting in the house waiting for us to put up the greenhouse at the allotment. I have got four plants from Ryton the home of Garden Organic.. between those I have cherry or as we call them sweetie tomatoes, more normal sizes and I think three different colours including a striped green one. I have been a member of Garden Organic for years and they run a heritage seed library to conserve old types of vegetables, these four tomato plants were grown from seed in that collection. Next year I might even fill in my form in time to get my free seeds ! They give seeds away free because in the European Union we can't sell vegetable seeds unless they are registered which costs a noticeable amount of money so only the big sellers are financially viable, it really is a bit crazy.
Anyway on to the weekly menu.
This week we start with a bank Holiday on Monday and the Small is home from school all week as it is half term. My mum is visiting for a couple of days and she is allergic to maize so I have to remember not to make anything with the Dove farm flour. Then later in the week Small is off to stay on a different set of grandparents canal boat for a day or two.
Monday - Potato and cauliflower soup which we failed to have last week with cheese and sundried tomato scones.
Tuesday - (Out in the morning to do a nature trail thing with Small. )
Salad platter based on one in a book by Raymond Blanc which I have mislaid. Various chopped vegs, boiled eggs, cheese etc. Possibly a tomato salad as I learnt to make it in France using oil, vinegar and black pepper.
Wednesday - (probably on my own most of the day with both kids so something easy, Also our boiler is broken and the man should be round with the new parts that day.) - Pasta with tomato sauce and cheese.
Thursday - Small off to the boat - Thai style chicken curry and rice .. probably no tomatoes in this one !
Friday - Either pizza or tomatoes and eggs.
I'd like to make tomato and cheese bread again
If I am feeling really adventurous and have the time I will try Tomato tart, The reason it's adventurous is I'd have to make puff pastry from scratch something I've been wanting to do for ages but don't hold your breath it's more of a wish than likely to happen. If it does I will swap it for one of the days meals.
Sea over at Book of Yum is busy redesigning her site so says her menu is mainly things she didn't get round to last week but even so it still sounds yummy.
M-Elle at Cooking and UNcooking is much more organised than me and has ALL her meals for each day planned which sound great. As a Brit the idea of apple sauce for breakfast is unusual what we know as apple sauce is normally eaten with roast pork.
Amanda from Asparagus Thin joins us again with a wonderful selection of dishes from various countries.
Cheryl at gluten free goodness is also growing her own tomatoes and has some great sounding dishes, I may have to try a tomato and caramelized onion soup too if our weather stays as wet as it is today and I shall be looking out for her Spiced black rice pudding recipe.
A little late due to travelling is Ginger from Fresh Ginger. She has thirty tomato plants growing makes my four sound very minor. She is planning some great dishes with a variety of cultures represented.