Crushed Tomatoes: Canned or Frozen?

Written by Shaina of Food for My Family.

Here today, gone tomorrow. Or so the saying goes. The tomatoes that seem to fill every square inch of my farmer’s market will surely be around for another week, but then they will slowly disappear, being replaced by an overabundance of winter squash and pumpkins. The pumpkins are coming.

What’s been priceless to me during the long winter months, however, is having those tomatoes around. Store-bought tomatoes simply do not sing as do their locally-grown counterparts. They lack the depth and character of the heirloom varieties that stare back at me in my backyard and on the farmers’ stalls. They are devoid of flavor. (In my opinion, at least.)
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How to Make Slow-Cooker Ketchup

Next week we’re going to be talking all about canning, but I couldn’t resist getting a head start today with these gorgeous tomatoes and a fuss-free recipe for homemade ketchup.

If you have kids in your house, chances are ketchup is one of your most-used ingredients. And why not? Sweet and tangy, ketchup, like its originator the tomato, goes great on just about everything. These days the big-name ketchup makers have been paying attention to the organic and whole-food movements, and have started offering more natural versions of their product. That’s great, but if you’re like me, you might still want to control what goes into the food your child is obsessed with.

Luckily, ketchup is quite easy to make, especially if you employ a slow cooker. The most work comes from preparing the tomatoes, which can be done ahead of time if you’re like me and not quite as deft at coring and dicing. Ketchup is perfect for the slow cooker because it takes a long time to cook away the excess liquid. Cooking it low and slow, rather than quickly on the stove, will help bring out a depth of flavor that lets the summer tomatoes shine and makes ketchup even more delicious. [Read more…]

Tips for Growing Fresh Basil {Recipe: Cucumber Basil Bites}

Written by Kristen of Dine and Dish.

I don’t have a green thumb. I’ve tried and tried gardening throughout the years but for some reason, it’s not a skill I can seem to grasp.

With that said, I am probably not one who should be sharing gardening tips with you, however, I have found one thing I can grow really well and if I can grow it, I know you can too. Fresh basil!

Fresh basil is one of life’s little pleasures, in my opinion. It grows big and plentiful, has a most wonderful aroma and can add the perfect amount of garden fresh flavor to your recipes. Every variety of basil I’ve tried to grow has succeeded without a lot of extra attention from me. Low maintenance, easy to grow, and high on yield… that’s my kind of plant! [Read more…]

Coconut-Lime Tofu

Eating Heart Smart (Recipe: Coconut-Lime Tofu & Rice)

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Valentine’s Day has passed us by again, and now it’s time to do our best to ignore that flashy 50% off sign dangling just above aisles of chocolate-filled hearts. February is American Heart Month, so instead of those shiny boxes, let’s focus on another heart: the one that really does keep us alive.

There is no simple pill that we can take to keep us healthy, but luckily many of the foods that are abundant in the world are full of nutrients that can help nurture a healthier body. When it comes to eating for health, simple, unprocessed foods are the best answer.

While science and medicine cannot directly link certain foods to the prevention of heart disease, these foods contribute to a healthy system overall.

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Taken with Tomatoes

Tomatoes are out in full force. Tomatoes that are full of flavor, have ripened naturally and cost a dime a dozen (almost). Everywhere you look, they are being served up in a myriad of ways.

This past weekend at Big Summer Potluck, a food blogging retreat in Pennsylvania, we ate them sliced in a simple salad of tomato, red onion, feta cheese and olive oil. Fresh pepper and salt was the only condiment needed to finish off that simple salad.

On Friday, at New York City’s famous Clinton St. Bakery Company, I ate tomato jam on a buttermilk breakfast sandwich, a perfect accompaniment to a rich breakfast of eggs, bacon and cheese. I now can’t get the idea out of my head for homemade tomato jam. It was perfect.

I herald the arrival of the fresh summer tomatoes as enthusiastically as sundresses and bare feet. Like most produce, they are best enjoyed simply adorned. Here are a few more ideas for serving up tomatoes.

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