Tuesday, July 3, 2007

redefining the perfect tomato

i am always on a quest for amazing + delicious food -- at times, without even realizing it! although, quite honestly, these days i mostly know it.. i have come to the realization that i am mildly obsessed with food. i am constantly analyzing foods that i eat to understand their flavors and what makes them delish (or, sadly, decidedly not delish) and then thinking about how i will recreate that dish. although most people vow to return to said place and buy the dish again, i usually end up on a bender to recreate the dish myself (or possibly with the assistance of unsuspecting husband and/or friends to help out). practically without conscious, i am pondering "how is this made? ... how can i make this??" leading to a possible "this would be so great with a little ----- added." such thoughts are notoriously followed by "we can make that!" it's practically the first thought that pops into my head upon food enjoyment.

only, some things just cannot be recreated in the kitchen... the whole, fresh, unprocessed foods is what i have in mind here. if you read about food (and you do because you are here reading this blog... or, you are related to me or a dear friend reading only to be supportive... hi mom! <3), you already know that you need to start with the best ingredients you can get your hands on... you cannot make great food with less than great ingredients.. yada yada. we are lucky to have a few growers' markets and wonderful farmers who bring us fabulous produce such as this tomato:

i think that this is a perfect tomato. sure, it's not the first "perfect" tomato image that would pop into your mind, nor one that you'd draw -- most likely not the tomato of most photographs. but, perhaps that's less the fault of this delicious tomato and more a result of our unrealistic expectations for "perfect"-looking uniform foods. really... what's uniform about the natural world? i think that this tomato is amazing looking! it has great lines and an interesting shape that remind me of great art. for me, also key to enjoyment is its source; i got this tomato at the farmers' market saturday, directly from the wonderful turkey hill farm stand. it was grown without pesticides, and... it tastes lovely! really, those should be the real bottom lines -- taste + source. this tomato was a rich, brilliant red all the way to its core and oh-so-juicy -- as you can see in the photo. tomatoes are plentiful at the moment around here... savor a perfect tomato before they're gone for the season.


downtown guy said...

The drought really did a number on tomatoes this year, though. Really good ones are harder to come by than they should be.

Food and Brew Love said...

Interesting -- I thought that the tomatoes were one thing that actually did better through the drought (but not without human intervention, I guess). They're intensely flavored and not splitting and rotting like they do when we get our typical summer rains (until now, anyway). But yea, I guess we certainly couldn't have relied on nature to keep them watered this year.

Funny how so many chefs don't seem to "get" the importance of using good ingredients. Did you ever eat caprese in a restaurant with lovely fresh mozzarella and mealy, flavorless tomatoes? I think that many (local and afield) chefs sell out to an American clientèle that wants caprese all year long, even at the expense of quality and taste.

Whew, feels good to rant.

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