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All We Can Eat
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 10/31/2012

Chat Leftovers: Time to go green with tomatoes

Post-Sandy greetings, and I hope everyone made it through the past few days without too much trouble.

It turns out that when big weather calamities hit and power goes out, shoppers flock to grocery stores to buy — rotisserie chickens! Yes, it’s true. So it’s by either a stroke of genius or sheer luck that this week’s Food is all about rotisserie chickens: Who buys them, where to get them and what to do with leftovers. Bonnie Benwick has the story.

Also this week, Tim Carman sets out to sample the Bhut Jolokia, one of the world’s hottest chili peppers. There’s a video, so you get to watch the action. And Bonnie (she’s having a busy week) reviews “Foolproof,” the latest cookbook from Ina Garten, a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa. Foolproof it’s not, but it’s close.

After digesting all that, you’ll want to settle yourself at the computer for this week’s Free Range chat, where you can discuss all of the aforementioned subjects and any other culinary thought that pops into your head. Be there at noon. There are always book giveaways for folks who ask good questions, and you’re sure to learn something. (So are we.)

To help tide you over, here’s a leftover question from a previous chat:

My tomato plants have seemingly reinvigorated themselves. This is my first year with any garden other than herbs, and it’s been a surprisingly fruitful one. My three tomato plants have gotten enormous (over seven feet tall), and there are more green tomatoes on there than I will know what to do with. My concern is that they won’t ripen before the first frost. What should I be doing, other than crossing my fingers?

You should be collecting green tomato recipes.

Here’s why. Even though your plants seem to be going strong, and even assuming they weren’t blown over or uprooted during the recent awful weather, they will no longer produce red tomatoes that are worth eating.

At least that’s what I’m told by Adrian Higgins, and I believe him, because he’s our resident plant expert and he always seems to have the answer about all things green.

“We’re way beyond tomato season,” he says flatly.

Adrian says that tomatoes aren’t worth nursing along this time of year because “they lose all their flavor. There’s no value in it.” The only way to get good red tomatoes now “is to have a heated greenhouse.”

I figure that lets you out. So the good news is that those green tomatoes you want to ripen are still good for plenty of uses — provided, Adrian says, they have reached a mature size. You can’t use the small, immature ones that are the size and texture of golf balls.

Green tomatoes it is, then. With luck, you’ll like them so much that you’ll forget all about the red kind. Until spring, of course.

Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Cajun-Spiced Swordfish With Green Tomato Salsa

Fried Green Tomatoes With Avocado and Sour Cream

Green Tomato Chutney

Green Tomato Frittata

Green Tomato Mint Sorbet

By Jane Touzalin  |  10:00 AM ET, 10/31/2012

Categories:  Chat Leftovers

 
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