Tomatoes are ripening more rapidly this week. So far we've stored away twelve dozen plump cherry tomatoes in the deep freeze. The small group of plants are producing between one and two dozen ripe tomatoes a day now. No sign of stopping as we look into the near future hoping for more constant perfect growing weather such as we've had all summer.
The larger tomatoes are also ripening. Delicious.
These next few weeks will be full of great food celebrating the tomato.
Chicken Soup with Tomatoes and a Thousand Cloves of Garlic.
Last night we had Chicken Soup that's based on a WeightWatchers recipe called Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. This recipe doesn't actually call for that much garlic; it's less than forty, more like twenty or thirty, separated with the skins on. Get the garlic ready, Then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan or dutch oven. Brown all sides of two chicken breasts cut into four pieces in the olive oil. It takes a few minutes. A nice brown crispiness gives it good flavor. Once the chicken is browned, remove it to a plate. Drain the pan of excess oil. Put the pan back on the stove. Over medium heat add between half and one cup of delicious wine left over from the last dinner party. Add the garlic along with two or three cups of homemade chicken stock. Bring that to a simmer as you add a couple sage leaves, a bay leaf, about a cup of basil leaves and stems, one or two stems of marjoram leaves, and stems of leaves from three types of oregano. (If you only have one type of oregano, use that and make a note to buy more varieties next spring at Dry Creek, because it's great to have several types of oregano for delicious summer cooking.) Then take two large fresh garden tomatoes -- we used Red Krim, which were amazing -- dip the tomatoes into boiling water for just a few seconds, remove the skins, chop the tomatoes into large chunks, about an inch square (use large 'Beefsteak' sized tomatoes). Add that to the broth. In a 3 qt oven safe casserole pan that has a lid, place the chicken into the pan, pour the broth over the chicken. Bake with lid on for 1.5 hours. Check occasionally to see how it's doing, but until your house is filled with that delicious aroma that comes from cooking garlic, let it simmer. Once out of the oven, remove all herbs, shred the chicken into the soup. When served, instruct your guests to remove the garlic from their soup bowls. Put it on a bread plate. The cooked garlic cloves easily come away from their skins and make a great companion to fresh baked bread.