Gardening in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, Washington)
Tomatoes and a recipe
It takes a while for tomatoes to start producing here. Unless you have a greenhouse or a place to start them early, the ground isn't really ready for planting until late May or even June. This year our tomatoes began to ripen a little earlier than last year but it was still August. Once they begin, though, stand back and get ready to harvest.
I planted five plants this year in our raised beds - two regular-sized varieties (the inevitable 'Early Girl' and 'Big Boy') and three smaller ones ('Sungold', 'Grape' and 'Patio'). The smaller varieties have performed the best and 'Sungold' is our favorite. 'Early Girl' is producing nicely but for some reason, only grew to about two feet and refuses to get higher. 'Big Boy' is a huge bush with lots of fruit but very slow to reipen. I like to grow tomatoes but I am not really a big fan of eating them. Michael loves them and says he could live off tomato sandwiches. As a child, I never ate tomatoes and now only like them in salads. That is, until I tried the following recipe. This is my favorite way of eating tomatoes (I don't really care for pasta either but I do like a small amount of angel hair spaghetti with this dish.) Mediterranean Pasta with Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2 lbs plum or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise 1/2 cup olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 TBS. Italian seasoning 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (omit if you don't like it spicy) 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 8 oz. pasta Parmesan cheese
Line a 15x10x1 inch pan with foil. Rub the foil with olive oil or with cooking spray. Place the tomato halves, cut side up, in the pan. Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic and seasonings. Spoon over the tomatoes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil.
Roast in a 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and browned on top.
Prepare pasta. Place half of the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of oil in a bowl and toss. Add the pasta and toss in the remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.