Weekly Wrap-Up: Best cars and last of the red-hot ‘maters

squashOn the Web: MSN Autos released its annual Top 10 of the most fuel-efficient vehicles. No surprise: The Prius ranked No. 1. See the rest of the list here.

On the shelves: Part of our butternut squash crop. All told, we wound up with 15 squash. Their average weight is about 8 lbs. This has led Little Cheap to seek out the produce section at the grocery store in order to mock their squash’s miniscule size. I pointed out that not everyone wants or needs an 8-lb. squash.

This morning was a glorious day: The last time I have to peel and seed paste tomatoes for this year. I processed 8 lbs. of Juliet tomatoes for our last batch of tomato sauce (about 15 cups). We use a recipe from Cooking From an Italian Garden. The recipe would be easy, except that we don’t own a food mill, so I go through the tedious (and finger-stinging) process of cutting an x in the butt of each tomato, dropping it in boiling water for a few seconds, swishing it out, peeling off the skin, and squishing out the seeds as best I can. We did once own a food mill, but I think it was defective, and we got rid of it. Does anyone else own a mill? How does it work for you?

tomatoes

Of course, that’s still not the end of the tomatoes. We have a basket full of ripening Juliets, and a big basket full of green Better Boys. Some of those are trying hard to turn red already.
green tomatoes

But the gardens have been put to bed. With last weekend’s snow came our first (and only) killing frost so far. I spent about four hours on Saturday pulling out tomatoes and squash and eggplant and basil and bagging up the uncompostable (tomato vines and powdery-mildew infested squash vines). For the first time this year, we had bags and bags of garbage to set out. I envy Seattle’s yard-waste recycling program.
Perhaps best of all (well, except for the delicious beets we pulled), one neglected spot in the garden yielded this:

peanuts

That’s right – peanuts, grown right in our Colorado backyard. These came from a single peanut plant we purchased last spring at Paulino Gardens. It’s a variety cultivated to grow in New Mexico, right next door, so we thought we’d try it. In the spring, we were overambitious, and the poor plant was cruelly crowded and shaded and nearly strangled. But it still made some peanuts. This morning, Little Cheap talked us into eating the peanuts in the single-bean shells. They were in a beautiful pink skin, like Spanish peanuts, and tasted very sweet, with a beany aftertaste. I’m saving the rest to plant next year, now that they are acclimated to Colorado — and I will give them more room to grow!

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4 thoughts on “Weekly Wrap-Up: Best cars and last of the red-hot ‘maters

  1. Brigid says:

    A food mill is great for things like tomato sauce. I chopped my tomatoes, cooked them briefly, and put them through the food mill, which caught all the skins and seeds. The resulting sauce was very smooth, almost like canned tomato sauce. It definitely beats peeling! I also used it for pumpkin: I split my pumpkins in half, roasted them, then scooped out the pulp and pureed it. It’s not as watery if you fix it that way, and I’m experimenting with draining it a bit more in my yogurt strainer. The food mill is also great for mashed potatoes. It makes a very smooth puree, with no lumps. Mine is a Moulinex that I bought in Switzerland for about $10 when I was first married. It has turned out to be a great investment.

  2. Megan says:

    Great way to take the skin off of roma and cherry tomatoes. Just freeze them.

    I like to wash them and take the stem off. Then into a freezer bag. When I’m ready to use them I put them under tepid water and after a minute or so I simply pick one up and squeeze. The tomato shoots right out of its skin. Needless to say you should squeeze gently or you might end up with tomato splatter on your wall.

    I think it might work on regular tomatoes as well, but I have yet to verify,

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