"My kingdom for a good tomato", I muttered a few months back. Summer had arrived but alas my beloved nightshades were just beginning to flower. I was sick of the cardboard substitutes imported from g-d knows where, and hungered for a ripe, juicy gorgeous tomato to call my own. July was particularly unsettling, when reports of the record blight seemed to doom this year's crop. A non-event for the general population, the news sent me straight to the medicine cabinet for some Valium. Honestly.
Despite the blight, I have found some wonderful tasting tomatoes this year. Albeit pricey, as witnessed while on vacation where at one farm stand they weighed my single, impressive find to the tune of $7.50. Even I have my limits, although I do think about the one that got away from time to time and wonder what if.
Today however, all the elements aligned and I found fresh, succulent, and well priced tomatoes at the 10th annual Hoboken Heirloom Tomato Festival. Vendor Catalpa Farms delivered a wide range of goodies, including purple peppers, red oak lettuce, farm fresh eggs, and of course, tomatoes. I counted more than 20 varieties on hand, and sampled as many. Favorites included Yellow Brandywine, Striped German, and Prudens Purple. I also liked the tomatillos and heirloom cherry mix. More than anything, I enjoyed being in the company of my fellow tomato-philes, none of whom blinked an eye when I packed up 7 1/2 pounds to take home. At $3.99/pound, it seemed like a bargain.
I arrived home with my loot, which my husband eyed suspiciously. I heard him muttering something to himself about the fridge real estate and rotten tomatoes, but no matter. All would be right come dinner time. In addition to the produce, I brought home a terrific tomato and garlic dip which I enjoyed with crackers. Once sated, I kept thinking about how I would make it, and proceeded to experiment for a good part of the afternoon until I came up with the below recipe. I used the Prudens Purple variety because they are sweet with a nice texture that works well against the cheese, but I am sure Roma's would work too. Now for the other 6 1/2 pounds....
Smoky tomato garlic dip
1 lb of tomatoes (2 or 3 medium size tomatoes), seeded, cored, and rough chopped
6 cloves of garlic
2 tomatillos, rough chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz cream cheese
2 oz goat cheese
1/4 - 1/2 tsp of chipotle pepper (Do this to your own taste. Note: you need to let the flavor bloom for at least 10 minutes before you really can gage the level of spiciness.)
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped herbs (I like parsley or cilantro)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees (roast setting). Combine tomatoes, garlic, tomatillos, and olive oil on a foil lined pan. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
- Add ingredients from step one to a food processor and pulse 10 times.
- Add goat cheese and cream cheese, and process until smooth.
- Add chipotle pepper, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Pulse twice.
- Top with fresh herbs and serve.