What’s better than your own tomato harvest?

What can get better than harvesting your own tomatoes?  Taking home someone else’s tomato harvest!  I was cleaning up a client’s garden recently and came across a few grape tomato plants in amongst the perennial flowers and shrubs. I picked them off the frost-bitten vines and left the tomatoes in the sun to dry while I finished working on the garden.  Sun dried tomatoes must need a whole lot of sun to dry them out as these grape tomatoes were still soggy and soft three hours later.  My client didn’t want to bother collecting and cleaning the tomatoes to use in her kitchen, so I brought them home with me.  I shared my bounty with another client that lives next door to the tomatoes…

I took my share of the grape tomatoes home, washed and strained them, then cooked them up in a pasta sauce for dinner…

I sauteed crushed garlic, onions, olives and turmeric in olive oil for the main ingredients, added cooked and drained pasta (gluten-free for my wheat allergy) then stirred in a beaten egg and parmesan cheese to make the sauce creamy.  I seem to use turmeric in just about everything these days, since I read it is a powerful anti-oxidant.  I would have added roasted red peppers if I had some in my fridge to roast that day.  The pasta dish was reasonably good, although I think I left too many green tomatoes in the sauce as it had a bit of a sweet and sour taste.

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Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

This is another recipe from Living Without that sounds really good and easy to make…

 

Gluten-Free Pasta Pickup Salad with Pesto and Tomatoes

 

SERVES 6 to 8

 

This beautiful dish explodes with flavor. It’s best when assembled right before serving. If garden tomatoes aren’t in season, use good-quality roasted red peppers.

 

Ingredients

 

1 (10-12 ounce) package gluten-free brown rice or corn spirals, penne or elbow pasta
1 pint fresh, local tomatoes, chopped
½ cup good-quality pesto,* more for garnish
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon for cooked pasta

 

1. Bring 2 to 3 quarts salted water to boil. Cook pasta until chewy or just al dente, 3 to 4 minutes less than directed on the package. (Undercook pasta to prevent it from falling apart when tossed; pasta continues cooking after it is drained.) Rinse pasta under cold water and drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. Reserve.

 

2. Combine ½ cup pesto with vinegar and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss with pasta.

 

3. Add tomatoes and dollops of remaining pesto. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

 

Each serving contains 271 calories, 14g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 89mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g protein.

 

Wheat-Free Products

There are many alternatives to wheat on the market these days, many are available in your grocery store.  Listed below are a few that I have tried:

Arrowroot is the starch of a root from tropical plants.  It is easily digestible, and flavorless (unlike cornstarch).  It can be used as a thickening agent in soups, gravies, cookies etc.  Simply mix it with cold water before adding it to hot liquids to prevent clumping.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a grain-like (but NOT a grain) crop mostly grown for its edible seeds.  The plant is related to beets and spinach, although the greens are not widely available.  The seeds are easily digestible, and are high in protein, fiber, magnesium, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus and iron.  They should be cooked and used like rice.

Buckwheat is a grain-like (but NOT a grain) plant grown for its seeds, related to rhubarb and sorrel.  It is gluten-free, although it can be a potent allergen by itself.  Buckwheat is high in protein, amino acids, iron, zinc, selenium and antioxidants.  It has been known to reduce cholesterol levels, body fat and cholesterol gallstones.  It has also been shown to strengthen capillary walls in chronic venous insufficiency and is currently being studied for use in treating type II diabetes.  Noodles make of buckwheat are known as soba in Japan, pizzoccheri in Italy,and guksu in Korea.   Buckwheat flour or farina is used in breakfast foods like porridge, as well as a thickener in soups, gravies, dressings, breads, and pasta.  Buckwheat is also used in the making of honey and a gluten-free beer.

to order any of these products online, please visit:
http://astore.amazon.com/gardens4u-20