Nevertheless, I wanted to grow a whole bunch of them, and taste what everyone had been saying. Last summer, I got plenty of tomatoes through my CSA, and I just didn't think they were any different than the organic ones from the store; as long as I never put either one in the refrigerator, they tasted fine by me.
And I still think that! However, the brandywine tomatoes I'm growing on my porch are definitely the greatest tomatoes I've ever eaten.
|A smaller brandywine tomato, one of the first of the season.|
A lot of the time, though, I never even manage to put any salt, pepper, and basil on them before I eat them completely unadorned. They are far better than my CSA tomatoes last summer. I cannot explain this, but it's true.
The only "cooking" I've done with my tomatoes was adding some slices to the grilled "cheese" sandwiches I made. I never photographed one with a tomato in it, though. Still, do you guys want to hear about the greatest damn grilled "cheese" sandwiches ever? Great! Here goes...
So, in the book Vegan Diner, there's this recipe called Great Smoky Mountain Cheeze that I'd been wanting to make for some time. It's tofu-based, and it's got agar powder. Eaten alone, it tastes good, but not amazing. However, it is just totally perfect for heating in a grilled "cheese" sandwich! The way it heats is so terrific -- the texture is perfect. I never was one to eat grilled cheese without pesto, and I'd made an enormous amount of pesto from the basil in my garden. Also, I really believe that grilled cheese should be on rye bread. It just tastes best.
So, rye bread, buttered on the outside with Earth Balance, Great Smoky Mountain Cheeze smeared on the bottom slice, pesto on the top slice, cooked on my pre-warmed cast-iron skillet. MMMMmmmm. It was so good that I'd make one and bring it to friends just to be like, "OMG, you gotta try this!" It was so good that I insisted my vegan friend Kate stop by, even if just for a few minutes, so I could make her one. It was so good that I ran through the streets naked yelling, "GRILLED CHEEZE WIT A Z, BITCHEZ!!" Well, OK, I didn't do that third thing, but I really, really wanted to.
Do you like those little strawberries next to the yummy, yummy grilled "cheese"? I grew them in one of my sub-irrigated planters! I have only six plants in there, and they produce about as many strawberries as you see in that picture every day.
In other news, I don't usually eat out, but I do occasionally eat at Pittsburgh's vegetarian/vegan restaurant The Quiet Storm, and I'm almost always thrilled with what I get. I don't prefer to eat there on a Sunday because there is only a brunch menu on Sunday, and I really prefer their non-breakfast items, and also because the brunch items have been steadily increasing in price since I first started going there, but it seems like I only ever make it on a Sunday! Boo. Nevertheless, the food always pleases me.
I went there with my friend Heather a week ago, and was tempted to get some kind of a breakfast burrito, but I decided, ultimately, to go for sweet/savory instead of just savory/savory, and I ordered the Nyam -- described on the menu as "Jamaican-inspired cornmeal & coconut pudding, topped with roasted sweet potatoes, bananas, & cinnamon-maple syrup." It came with fresh fruit, and black beans. And, you know, it was awesome. I pretty much inhaled it between sips of hot coffee with soy creamer.
|Nyam from The Quiet Storm. This place never disappoints!|
|Awww, baby's first cucumber!|