Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tomato, Tomahto: Fruit, Vegetable? I Don't Know....

I did something this week that I don't believe I've ever done before: I bought a tomato. Not just one tomato, mind you, but four of them!

That I had never bought a tomato shouldn't be a revelation to anyone who knows me. That I finally did, no doubt, is a major surprise to those same people.

I know it's odd, but I don't like tomatoes. It's not odd that I don't like them, but that I like stuff with tomatoes in it like ketchup, tomato soup and, of course, red sauce for pasta and pizza, yet don't like tomatoes is odd .

I like eating tomatoes when I don't have to look them in the eye. If they are crushed, mushed or pureed, I'm down with them.

But I don't eat them sliced, cubed, boiled or fried.

I have a good friend who would rather eat a fried green tomato than almost anything else, but he has yet to drag me to the dark side. If I were going to eat a tomato in some form where it still looks like a tomato, fried and green would probably be the way I'd do it. Maybe that will be my New Year's resolution.

So what prompted my tomato-buying spree? I did buy four of them after all. Once a month or so, I make a batch of red meat sauce for spaghetti. I make enough that I can freeze four or so containers that each has enough for one meal.

For more than 30 years I have been using canned crushed tomatoes in the recipe. My Italian friends are probably rolling their eyes as they read this, but hey, I'm a Swede from the South; what the hell do I know about Italian?

Recently someone gave me a small food processor. I decided to give making the recipe with fresh crushed tomatoes a shot. I usually also use processed garlic. I bought fresh this time around. I always use fresh onion, but chopping it up in the processor is a whole lot quicker and less painless than chopping it by hand.

The end result was indeed a better sauce. It was a bit more expensive to make, but the improvement in flavor was worth the extra investment.

That was this week's adventure in cooking and vegetable shopping. Are tomatoes vegetables or is it one of those things you think is a vegetable, but is really a fruit or mineral or whatever?

It hurts my head to think about all of this.

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