Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tomatoes, More Tomatoes, Eggplant, Dinner & A Visitor

Freshly Picked Romas in my Garden Scale

So my Roma tomatoes have finally been ripening.

5 pounds of Romas ~ harvested August 31st

Once they start they just keep coming...

5 1/2 pounds of Romas ~ harvested September 7th

I grow Roma paste tomatoes mainly to make tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, fresh salsa and for canning whole. Sometimes I can it or freeze it if I make a lot. Below is some fresh spaghetti sauce simmering in the pot.

Fresh Romas plus garden herbs, garlic, olive oil and some ground turkey meat made this sauce extra tasty!

I had several dinners from this one batch of spaghetti sauce.

Whole wheat noodles + fresh tomato sauce = Delicious & Healthy

Enter the eggplant.

The one lonely little eggplant that I have harvested thus far in this odd weathered gardening season. It's a cute little thing. So sweet, smooth and purple. Hardly bigger than the palm of my hand.

Cute little eggplant

So cute that I figured it would be very tasty sliced up as the main flavor ingredient to another night's dinner of Ratatouille! So when I add the cute little eggplant, to the ripened red Roma tomatoes and the prolific zucchini and crookneck squash, then throw in a lot of garlic and olive oil, I get Ratatouille! Not sure I have spelled that correctly, but you know what I mean. Any way you spell it, it is very good eating. And healthy too.

Ratatouille saute

It seems like the vegetarian meal inspired a vegetarian visitor. See gratuitous picture below:

My Deer, or really My Doe

This doe sat outside my kitchen window for a couple of hours one recent morning. I talked with her through the window and took pictures of her at very close range. I believe she is one of my regular does that hang out around here. I have no dogs to scare them off, so I have many deer friends.

© Copyright 2008 Mountain Harvest Basket


Farmgirl_dk: said...

I have romas ripening (finally) too! They are so yummy, we're pretty much eating them raw with just salt and pepper. Your meals look wonderful. If I get enough tomatoes (still questionable), I may have to try my hand at homemade tomato sauce. I've never done that before. Now that I've got homemade pesto under my belt, I might as well, right? ;-) don't have problems with your doe-deer eating your garden stuff? I know you've got a fence, but the deer also eat my fruit trees (branches, leaves and fruit) and things I don't have fenced off.
Great post and pics!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh my, do I ever have red tomato envy! I've spent a couple hours Googling what to do with all our green tomatoes. We covered the hoop house hoping to keep heat in to help in ripening them. Your marinara sauce looks delicious, as does the Ratatouille. And the adorable little eggplant is such a delicate color.

I used ground turkey in my Dutch Oven lasagna a couple times this summer, and just love not only the taste, but the "healthiness" of it!

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Danni,
Oh good, I was hoping your tomatoes were finally getting red and ripe for you. It must be so much cooler up there where you live than here at my place.It really has been a weird weather summer though. You will like your own homemade tomato sauce. Did I spy a yellow slicing tomato in the photo on your blog the other day? I have been trying for 9 years to grow yellow slicers with no success. What variety (name) of tomato was that beauty you grew?

My deer (like I own them,right?)will eat any foliage, flower or fruit that is not poisonous if I don't keep them away with fences or bird netting. My veggies are grown in raised beds with fencing around them and my fruit trees get bird netting wrapped around them in the spring. After harvest I take the netting off (like right about now) and that's when the deer do the most damage to my trees. They can reach over the 4 ft fence circle that I have and eat the leaves and tender branches and really ruin a tree, especially a young tree. I try to monitor their activity as much as possible and do damage control by pruning or covering it up until the leaves fall in the winter. I'll post a photo of my fruit tree protective fences and netting sometime soon.

I am glad you enjoyed the post and pics! I have been enjoying yours too.

Hi CA Grammy,
Yes, apparently tomato ripening season is just beginning up there in Oregon and just ending here. I have made green tomato pie (use an apple pie recipe and substitute green tomatoes) before and I have pickled tomatoes just like cukes in the past. Neither recipe really pleased me, but other folks like them very much. Green tomato pie is a Southern (US) delicacy apparently.

Thank you for the compliments on my cooking. I do enjoy cooking and especially the eating that follows! I learned to make spaghetti sauce with ground beef, but I switched to ground turkey a few years ago and now prefer it over the heavier/richer meats. I have been following your Dutch Oven cooking experiences with interest. I have a cast iron Dutch Oven that Hardware Bob gave me long ago that I haven't had the courage to try out yet. It has a domed lid and a wire handle. Maybe I'll get brave and give it a try.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

You *did* see a yellow slicer on my cutting board. It's called a 'Lemon Boy' and is a hybrid tomato that I bought as a start - I did not start this from seed. It tasted good but was a bit wet, as slicers can be. I am really tickled with my 'La Roma' tomatoes...incredible flavor, delicate but meaty texture, so no wetness oozing all over the place. It was a perfect standalone tomato for slicing and eating, as we did the other night. (Can you tell I like my tomatoes on the less oozing-juicy side? lol)

Hardware Bob said...

Good coverage of your prolific tomato harvest Jen. Your garden seems to have very done well this year. It has indeed been a good season for tomatoes, my own tiny garden requires harvesting just about every morning, but evidence of Fall will soon call an end to our tomato season.

Not one squash or zucchini appeared on the vines this year, very disappointing having those big healthy looking plants and flowers, but no rewarding fruit this year. And, then there is that one elongated drooping eggplant growing about an inch a day, it’s almost bigger than the actual plant now bending the stem it is hanging on. Nature simply has her way of doing things.

Your vegetarian dishes look scrumptious, and the critters near your home obviously feel safe around you. Great photo, your doe looks very contented.

Lulu Barbarian said...

I started my plants very late and so have only recently been getting ripe tomatoes. At the same time, my plants are looking pretty tired. Oh weill, I guess the lesson is to start earlier next year.

Twinville said...

Hi Jen,
I have very bad memories of fried eggplant as a child. I actually threw up after I ate them. It was awful!

But I am yearning for that delicious looking Ratatouille mix. Wow! So vibrant and saturated with color! It's an edible work of art.

How do you keep your deer friends out of your garden? Got any tricks? Or do you just ask nicely? :)

Your romas look so delicious. Your going to be enjoying them all winter long. Lucky you! :)

Laughing Orca Ranch
New Mexico

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Danni,
Thank you for the Lemon Boy tomato info. I will look for that one in my veggie catalogs for next spring. I like both the juicy and the meaty tomatoes, for different recipes.

Hi Bob,
Glad you enjoyed my post. While I have harvested some nice Roma tomatoes this year, my garden has not produced tomatoes as bountifully as it usually does. This year's crop is not up to my normal standards for tomatoes. Both the quality and quantity are down from previous years.

Your garden is producing a nice amount of herbs and also tomatoes. I have found through the years that my garden (and yours too) surprises me with a different veggie bounty each year. Last year you had a ton of eggplant, this year not so much...and so it goes.

Hi Lulu,
Good to hear from you! I've been reading your wonderful blog and enjoying it very much. I think we all got started planting our tomatoes late this year. The weather was also weird, and it really did delay the harvest.

Hi Lisa,
So sorry for your childhood eggplant experiences. That would make anyone avoid it, I think. I really didn't eat eggplant as a kid. I became familiar with it later in life. I like to add it to stir fries and make eggplant parmesan. Thank you for your praise of my Ratatouille dish. It is a colorful and tasty mix.

I keep the deer away from my veggies and fruit with wire fencing and bird netting. See my response comment above to Danni for more detail. It sorta works to keep the deer away.