07 September 2015

And now for something...

...completely different, but eminently seasonal. After the zucchini season, which is not yet finished, comes the tomato season. It's now. We are coping. Tomato salads, tomato sandwiches, tomato sauce, tomato paste... you name it. And of course tomates farcies — stuffed tomatoes.

I made a ground beef and lardons fumés (smoked bacon) farce for some of the largest tomatoes we've harvested. They are enormous and ripe right now. There are also a lot of smaller tomatoes that we plan to dry in the oven at low temperature and put away for the winter.

The stuffing for the large tomatoes was the pre-cooked ground meats along with onions, fresh basil, and finely diced cornbread. The cornbread was dense and eggy, and I decided to put some of it in instead of using breadcrumbs or rice. I also diced up a couple of smaller tomatoes and added them to the mixture.  It turned out tasty.

Walt planted six or eight varieties of tomatoes this year. Some he grew from seeds in the spring, and a few were contributed by our American friends who live down the road from us. That means we now are harvesting tomatoes of every size and color. The tomato season will go on into October unless the weather turns very bad.

To prepare the tomatoes, which should be ripe but still firm, you just cut off the cap (the stem end) and save those to use as "hats" for the stuffed tomato bottoms. I scooped out the tomato pulp and seeds using a melon baller (called a couteau parisien in French, if I'm not mistaken). The pulp, seeds, and liquid went into the sauce pot with other tomatoes that weren't so large or were misshapen.

On Saturday, Walt made the sauce — about 10 liters of it — and ran the cooked tomatoes through a food mill to remove the seeds and tough skins. Then he poured some of the smooth sauce into lasagna pans and set the pans in the oven for a few hours at low temperature, stirring the thickening sauce every half-hour. The result: home-made tomato paste we'll be able to enjoy over the winter too.


  1. We've been stuffing courgettes... and are about to really start saucing tomatoes....
    and making "garden rat"... not really rat-a-tat-oooooeee, but a bit of whatever cooked as rat....
    it include, per examplo... the last of the runner beans...
    or some green beans... or some re-cooked dried beans...
    borlotti or some Nun's Belly-button as they seem to hold best...
    carrots have gone in too, as have excess radish...
    never the same thing in a pot full... so around six to eight jars of each.
    Plenty of "instant" summer for the winter months ahead.

    I really loved your series on Paris from the top of the tower BTW...
    I'm just not a city person... too much London as a yoof and young adult I suppose...
    I do like small cities... Lincoln, York, Norwich and Leeds spring to mind...
    but to visit, not to stay...
    but Sheffield, Manchester, Palma and London... just too big, too crowded and too noisy.
    But your latest series... and the other Paris posts have allowed me to visit there in peace and quiet.....
    albeit through your eyes... but that's like having a private guide!

    1. I'm not through with Paris photos yet. Thanks for the nice comment.

  2. They look amazing - delicious and incredibly rustic. I could just manage a couple now, with a piece of fresh baguette.......lovely!

  3. "We are coping." ha! great work!

  4. Glad you are not finished with Paris, but I was getting hungry for some good eats. I like the idea of putting cornbread in the tomato stuffing. I've never know anyone who made tomato paste, but now I do ;-)

  5. never heard of anyone making their own tomato paste! impressive

  6. Evelyn and Melinda, it was actually our American friend Keir who told us about making tomato paste and how to do it. She and John live just a few miles from here and have an amazing garden. They make all kinds of good food too. Thanks to them...

  7. Absolutely wonderful.
    Our tomato plants are a complete bust this year. Blight. We only had five plants, but we are only now getting a little reddening on our little, mis-shapen plum tomatoes. Ate one that was red... didn't taste very good.
    Great for you, though!

  8. Clever, making tomato paste, as others have remarked. The stuffed tomatoes look wonderful.

  9. Stuffed tomatoes is one of my very favorite French dishes.

    We shared our third tomato for supper tonight. Numbers four and five will complete our sorry harvest, unless a squirrel gets them first.


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