Tomato Truths

ok, start talking!!
Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes--talk about bountiful! 
Last week we harvested 900 pound of tomatoes from the farm!
If it was anything but tomatoes, maybe we would think we had too many, 
(is there such a thing as "too many tomaotes?) 
but then it's summer and tomato time and you really need to eat them every day, right?
So, our chefs get creative. 
oven roasted tomatoes at the girl & the fig
sun-dried tomato skins
we might be enjoying those later
 in the year, when it is past tomato time
And a "fig-ified" version of fried green tomatoes was a very popular special recently.
You, like most of us, think that fried green tomatoes are a Southern dish, right? 
This is likely due to the 1991 movie Fried Green Tomatoes based 
on the 1987 novel by Fanny Flagg, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe,"
 both of which are set in Alabama. 
And if you've traveled in the South, you will find the dish on menus 
throughout the region touting their simple home-made true Southern food. 
fried green tomatoes, a recent special on the menu at "the fig"
Well, big surprise, but "fried green tomatoes may have been 
as unusual in the South before 1991 as they were anywhere else."
According to Robert F. Moss, a food historian and writer in South Carolina: 
"they entered the American culinary scene in the Northeast and Midwest, 
perhaps with a link to Jewish immigrants." 
including the revelation that the 'famous" recipe from the original 
Whistlestop Cafe' was developed AFTER the movie came out! "
His detective work on the origins of fried green tomatoes uncovers 
"a recipe for "Fried Green Tomatoes" appears in the International Jewish Cookbook (1919), recommended as "an excellent breakfast dish," 
and in Aunt Babette's Cookbook (1889), another kosher Jewish recipe book.
Who knew?
Wherever they came from, they sure are delicious! 

So, fried green tomatoes are not from the South, 
but caprese salad of mozzarella and tomatoes is from Italy, right? 
our chefs take on heirloom tomatoes & mozzerella
Right. But the surprise here is that the original and most traditional version 
of this salad was garnished with oregano or arugala, not basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.
"Inslata Caprese as Italian affectionados call it, originated from 
the Isle of Capri in the Campagna region of Italy in the 1950′s
 The traditonal Insalata Caprese uses cow’s milk mozzarella, tomatoes, and olive oil 
garnished with oregano and arugula. Elsewhere in Italy, basil has come to be the garnish.
The American version of caprese salad usually is garnished 
with bail, and often a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
one of the many rows of tomatoes at the farm
But this all just underscores the idea that when gardens are abundant with tomatoes, 
if you can resist just standing over the sink and eating it like a piece of fruit 
(which of course, it isanother "tomato truth" that it is not a vegetable),
then cooks will find unlimited ways to feature them.

heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, yellow tomato vinaigrette, feta, oregano, maldon salt
photo by Steven Krause for
Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig's Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country
The hundreds of pounds of tomatoes our chefs get each week 
from the farm just barely keep up with the demand for 
the popular seasonal starter at the girl & the fig: heirloom tomato & watermelon salad. 
This simple but perfect summer treat is featured on page 134 of 
well, perhaps we did have a few too many tomatoes recently,
but we were happy to share with you.
Go to page 134 of the cookbook and make the salad at home!
And, through October, you can enjoy one 
of our most creative dishes enhanced by our farm tomatoes: basil panisse cake 
and help raise money for the James Beard Foundation's Education Drive.
our basil panisse cake with heirloom tomato coulis,
cherry tomatoes, marinated feta, mizuna
We will donate $1 from every dish sold as our participation 
in the James Beard Foundation's local dish challenge. 
Ask your server at the girl & the fig about the details–besides eating and enjoying it, 
you need to participate via social media, but the city with the most 
photo uploads on Instagram will win a donation from 
the James Beard Foundation of $10,000 or 10% of the proceeds 
raised nationally, whichever is higher, to a local food charity. 

What's your favorite way to enjoy tomatoes?

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