tomatoes and hot red peppers

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tomatoes and hot red peppers Don’t those look beautiful?!

I found a relatively sunny spot on the balcony and planted 3 plum tomato plants this year, determined that we would have our own vine ripened tomatoes to oven-dry for using during the winter. Ha. What a dreamer I am. At least this year, I actually got tomatoes… (previous years, the plants have only produced flowers).

But the fruit kept dropping off the vine before they were ripe! And they were ridiculously small. Very disappointing. Next year, I’ll try something like beefsteak tomatoes. Maybe they’ll do better.

However, all is not lost. Every September, we find the most wonderful Ontario grown plum tomatoes and hot red Shepherd peppers. These tomatoes were $0.59 a pound in Kensington Market as opposed to $0.99 a pound at our local vegetable store (yes, even though Canada went metric eons ago, there are still many stores that sell goods by the pound).

We just finished chopping the plum tomatoes into wedges and have laid them on racks and sprinkled them with a little seasalt. They’re in the oven now. The weather has turned cool and it’s perfect temperature to have the oven on its lowest setting all night.

Ooooh, I can’t wait! I adore the intense flavour of oven-dried tomatoes!

And the peppers? We have only seen these lovely peppers for a couple of weeks in September and only at Kensington Market. They are hot (but not too hot) and have a delicious citrus flavour. They are the perfect addition to tomato sauce for pasta. I’m afraid that I didn’t pay attention to the price of the peppers. I love them so much that haggling just isn’t an option.

I’m happy to report that the cayenne pepper plant is doing remarkably well in our garden, considering that it is in semi-shade. It has produced a number of insanely hot chillies. Even T, who can eat most Thai chillies without even wincing, gasps as he eats them. But even though they are so ridiculously hot, they still have a beautiful smoky flavour… we had the most fabulous green chili omelette the other day.
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3 responses to “tomatoes and hot red peppers

  1. MrsBrown

    Someone at my office brought in a bag of lovely tomatoes just off the vine. I guess he/she had too many to deal with. I wish _I_ had that problem, MY tomatoes are doing very poorly. At any rate, someone else at my office, who knows nothing about tomatoes, put the tomatoes in the refrigerator!?!! No one, of course, wanted to take them home so I took pity on them and brought them home to my oven. There were about 25 small yellow cherry tomatoes and 5 or 6 red romas. They dried beautifully in the oven although there were complaints from MrBrown that the oven was on too long (the romas took 24 hours at 175 degrees F). As you say, the flavour was intense–I put them in a pasta dish with chicken wine sauce with fresh sweet basil and pine nuts. Brilliant!!

  2. bing

    Wow, 24 hours! That chicken pasta dish sounds brilliant, MrsBrown.

    Those peppers and tomatoes do look beaut, ejm. I didn’t know there were hot Shepherd peppers; I’ve only ever had the sweet kind.

  3. ejm Post author

    Yup, tomatoes take a long time to oven-dry, don’t they, MrsBrown? Ours took about the same amount of time. But it’s well worth it. Even substandard tomatoes gain some brilliance. And the really good ones are amazing.

    What a shame that all those lovely tomatoes were put in the fridge!! How is it that anyone doesn’t know to keep tomatoes away from the cold?! (I hope the person in your office now knows to NEVER put tomatoes in the refrigerator unless they have been cooked and turned into tomato sauce.)

    And bing is right. That chicken pasta dish sounds fantastic. If we weren’t having basil pesto tomorrow night, I’d vie for pasta in chicken wine sauce with fresh sweet basil and pine nuts… hmmmm, but wait!! Maybe we could have our cake and eat it too. We’ve got lots of basil right now. It doesn’t ALL have to be made into pesto….

    And yes, the peppers are incredible. Last night we grilled one of them (quartered) on the barbecue and served the pieces with barbecued chicken, steamed green beans, mashed potatoes and coffee barbecue sauce. The peppers were sweet with just the right amount of kick. I adore those peppers!


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