Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BLT from scratch: The dreaded "T"

This whole post -- this whole evening, in fact -- is kind of making me sick because I really don't like tomatoes, yet they have been my constant companions for the past couple of hours as I readied my modest backyard harvest for the BLT from scratch challenge.

I always say, the farther a tomato gets from its natural state, the more likely I am to eat it. So: raw tomatoes? They are right out. Stewed tomatoes? Barf. Cream of tomato soup? You're getting warmer. Ketchup? Thumbs up. Spaghetti sauce? A-OK. Dried tomatoes aren't bad, either, and that's the form I've decided to use for my BLT. Since mayonnaise is another required element, I will make a garlic and dried tomato aioli that will effectively kill two birds with one stone. I even found a recipe for just such a condiment (called "Zesty Mayonnaise") in the cookbook How to Dry Foods by Deanne DeLong. I may try to spiff it up a bit, but it sounds pretty straightforward -- mayo, garlic, lemon juice, and dried tomatoes -- and I should probably use it as is. I'll call it aioli, though.

Romas after their rinse. Even though I despise them, I grow tomatoes every year, usually romas. I cannot judge them, but everyone who has tasted this year's crop says they're delicious. All I know is that they're a bit on the small side.

Here's all you need to dry tomatoes: tomatoes, some white vinegar, a little sea salt, and a dehydrator. You just quarter the tomatoes (I cut some of the bigger ones into sixths), scrape out and discard the guts and seeds (which is absolutely nauseating to me), lay the slices on the dehydrator tray, sprinkle them with a bit of vinegar and salt, and you're good to go.

Looks like some sort of obscene flower, doesn't it?

Here's the fully loaded dehydrator, with four trays of tomato slices. I will run it overnight, and with luck, the tomatoes will be done by the time I need to leave for work tomorrow morning. Without luck . . . well, I will be late and I will have to lay the blame at the feet of goddamn tomatoes.

The dehydrator in action! A thing of beauty, no? I got this for Sean for Christmas a few years ago when he thought it would be fun to try his hand at drying some of the fruit growing in our yard. The apples and plums came out fine, but the tangerines were a bit of a disaster (and a mess). It's just a heater and a fan that circulates the warmed air through the slotted trays. Someday I'm going to use it to make beef jerky.

Tomorrow: a bread test run.

1 comment:

kb said...

Awesome looking tomatoes. I applaud your sense of commitment to this knowing how you feel about those little red buggers. And the aioli sounds divine!