Fresh Green Tomatoes

As the growing season slows, the primary complaint I hear is “but my tomatoes are still hard and green!” The lament is loudest in northwest Montana, where our growing season is about 90 days. Tomatoes need 50–100 days to mature, so it’s easy to see why so many green fruits remain on our vines as the first frost approaches. My solution, as I explained last week, is to let most remaining tomatoes ripen indoors. But I always set some green tomatoes aside to eat fresh.

What comes to mind when you think of eating a green tomato? For many, it’s a plate of breaded and fried slices. Although Fried Green Tomatoes aren’t as Southern as you might think, they are delicious, easy to make, and suitable just about any time of day. Your mind may also turn to a Mexican salsa verde. The traditional recipes—and to my palate, the tastiest versions—are made with tomatillos, but green tomatoes are suitable stand-ins.
Learn to make Fried Green Tomatoes and Fresh Green Tomato Salsa

Pizza

People may forever debate whether pizza is Italian, but there can be no doubt that it is American. One poll last year reported that “For Americans, pizza lands in the number one spot as the ultimate comfort food.” But if you were to ask, “What is pizza?” you’d get as many answers as respondents.

This, to my mind, is a good thing. It’s what makes pizza so popular. It’s also what makes pizza so easy and affordable to create from scratch at home. You don’t need a specific recipe with exact ingredients. You don’t even need a ratio with proportions of various toppings. All you need is some dough, a couple handfuls of garnishes, and a way to cook it. If you have a sourdough starter, the dough is in the bag—or should I say, jar.
Learn to make Sourdough Pizza Dough and Thin-Crust Pizza

30-Minute Soups

Soup. That short word has endless variations. A walk down the canned soup aisle, a price check of a gourmet carton, or a search for a soup recipe is enough to convince anyone that making a steaming, scrumptious pot from scratch is a complex, challenging process. But soup is as simple as the word. This dish is an excellent place to take the leap from following a recipe to improvising a meal.

At its most basic, soup is four components: a base, a thickener, a liquid, and a main ingredient. The liquid and main ingredient can be thought of as the essence: add 3 parts liquid to 2 parts main ingredient, and it’s soup. Add a base to boost the flavor and a thickener to improve the texture, and you’re competing with that gourmet carton. But it’s likely you’ve never seen a recipe that puts it this way—until now. Learn to make Fresh Improv Soup and 30-Minute Cherry Tomato Soup

Tomatoes

Hopefully you were swayed by my argument for grilling vegetables last month. In this week’s recipes, the grilled flavor shines. The salsa has evolved over the years from fresh to roasted and finally to grilled. We get more compliments for it than for anything else we process, and no matter how much we put up each year, our stash barely lasts to the next canning season.

The grilling creates intense flavor, but it also lets you stretch out the process to suit both your harvest and your schedule. We harvest and grill the ingredients as they come ripe, separating the tomato juice and solids. Then we stash everything in the freezer until we have enough for at least one full canner batch of salsa. It’s also a fabulous recipe for a canning party, particularly when paired with a tasty beverage to celebrate your hard work.
Learn to make Grilled Tomato Chipotle Salsa and Grilled Tomato Bloody Mary Mix