06 August 2006

My parent’s tomatoes

My mom and dad have a big garden. They always have done. When I was a kid growing up, the garden was an important part of our food supply. It was our source of most fresh vegetables through the summer and canned and frozen vegetables got us through most winters.

When I grew up and left home, I still benefited from my parent’s garden. They always had plenty to send along with me to my own home, both when I was in college and later when I got married and started a family of my own.

I’m the oldest of five, and we’re spread out, 17 years between me and my youngest brother. So Mom and Dad had a lot of kids at home even after I left. Now, actually, all five of us are out and on our own. But my parents have not significantly reduced the size of their garden. Keeping the garden is partly a habit, I guess, and partly a great hobby for a retired farm couple.

I appreciate getting fresh vegetables from their garden during the summer. But there are two things that I rely on – apples from their trees (both fresh and frozen) and tomatoes (fresh and canned). I’ll write about apples some other time.

My pantry always has a supply of canned tomatoes from my folks. They get used in a wide variety of recipes. But I have two standbys that I always return to. One is a tomato risotto and the other is homemade tomato soup.

The risotto is adapted from Patricia Wells’ cookbook Trattoria. The soup is adapted from a cookbook I picked up in Brochin’s Jewish gift shop in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. It’s called Soups of Hakafri Restaurant, subtitled “An Old Fashioned Village Restaurant in Israel.” It’s a fun cookbook because each recipe is printed in English and Hebrew. Both cookbooks appear to be currently available on Amazon.com.

I think I’ll post the recipes separately from this commentary.


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