Friday, July 30, 2010

17 Syllables of Fridaiku: Tomato Infatuation

biting flesh
Image courtesy of Thayer Allyson Gowdy/Getty Images

It’s Friday again and you know what that means....Friday Haikus; or as some have become comfortable, Fridakus! The cohort and I continue in the tomato fest at least just one more time. We’ve had fun with it. Every morning, I water our huge tomato plant standing 6 feet just off the steps of my back deck. I try to only water it at the base leaving the leaves as dry as possible. The leaves are trimmed often so the sun can get to each tomato and hopefully cut down on the possibility of tomato worms. So far, so good. I actually hated tomatoes since I was a kid. Something about eating them always caused a gag reflex until as of late. Sure, I could stomach them on a sandwich or sparaticly in a salad. I had grown up watching them being eaten like apples, just adding salt and biting with running red juices chasing gravity everywhere. With age, I have become wiser. The benefits outweigh my grammar-school dislike. But enough about all that...Les Fridaku de la Tomato Eroutique!

red passions
Image courtesy of lovingchaos.com

Smack the red, tight skin,
blushing and plump
with anticipation of more.

Ruby smooth bulges
basking in July sun,
tanning a deeper red.

Firm and round,
wrapped in a delicious aroma,
defying green worm’s neglect.

Stout and green, swing tomatoes,
dangling their allure
for frying later.

Thick sweet odor,
crawl through my nostils,
parting my lips for my first bite.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Friday Fixins on Thursday

This day slips by with many thing to accomplish — not unlike three days prior. Nonetheless, I do this ahead of time due to other ideas concerning tomorrow. It's sweltering outside and that can be taxing. I am very glad I watered my landscape flowers heavily this morning. It seems like the warm weather is making the marigolds and roses go wild.

Here is an extremely easy crockpot recipe that you can just put on and go do something else only to return to a mouth-watering aroma upon return. Actually I like the name too, Sunshine Drum Sticks; that’s just cool for so many reasons.

Sunshine Drum Sticks

12 drumsticks
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
3 Tbs honey
2 Tbs quick tapioca
1 small can of green chilies chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Wash and place chicken in crockpot. Combine
remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.
Cook low 5 hours.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tomato Sauce Fridakus

It's a sweltering Friday and Automatic Andy has fired out another haiku masterpiece. What mad genius he doest pursue. He has consented to join our revolution of tomato erotica. What could be healthier than a little fruit and vegetables at meal time. Somehow its all so wrong and yet that's part of the reason you cant stop reading. Tomato Erotica; I think its an all new genre of haiku. I wish I had thought of that.

Twack, twack, twack, twack, twack
Four body shots, one forehead;
Flinging tomatoes!

Fat, red tomato.
Tight, shiny skin, thick green stem.
Mouth-watering snack.

Rubenessque green slug,
Run your horn deep into red.
Tomato tunnels.

Horny, green wiggly
tomato plant destroyer
pop and squish, one less.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fridays, Fixins and Facts: The Tomato Monologue

This Friday is all about tomatos thanks to some of my favorite FB friends. There are few greater pleasures than a just-picked ripe, red tomato still warm from the summer sun. We have a nice thick vine of them growing just off the deck that we water daily. Tomatoes are amazing; not only for eating but for living. Tomatoes combat a number of health issues and even posess super secret cosmetic benefits. There has been quite a bit of debate over the tomato status as a "fruit" or "vegetable." You can pick your team; but by definition, them seem like a fruit to this casual diner. In the last couple of days, I have had some eyebrow-raising enlightenments concerning tomatoes; some of which I share with you.

Tomato Lore and Legend

Up until the end of the eighteenth century, physicians warned against eating tomatoes, fearing they caused not only appendicitis but also stomach cancer from tomato skins adhering to the lining of the stomach. Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson of Salem, New Jersey had brought the tomato home from abroad in 1808. He had been offering a prize yearly for the largest fruit grown, but the general public considered the tomato an ornamental plant rather than one for food.

As the story is told, it was Colonel Johnson who on September 26, 1820 once and for all proved tomatoes non-poisonous and safe for consumption. He stood on the steps of the Salem courthouse and bravely consumed an entire basket of tomatoes without keeling over or suffering any ill effects whatsoever. His grandstanding attracted a crowd over over 2,000 people who were certain he was committing public suicide. The local firemen's band even played a mournful dirge to add to the perceived morbid display of courage.

Johnson's public stunt garnered a lot of attention, and North America's love affair with the tomato was off and running. By 1842, farm journals of the time were touting the tomato as the latest craze and those who eschewed it as "objects of pity."

Tomato, the fruit, Health Facts:
Nutrition of Tomatoes

Tomatoes will give you the following nutritional benefits:

* Vitamin C (40% of recommended daily value in one tomato)
* Vitamin A (20% RDA)
* Vitamin K (over 15% RDA)
* Decent source (7% RDA) of fiber
* Potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, folate
* Lycopene (antioxidant)

All those nutrients can improve your health:

* Lots of cancer protection
* Protects against heart disease, stroke
* Colon and prostate health
* Improves LDL cholesterol
* Natural anti-inflammatory (helps with above diseases plus Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis)
* Bone health
* Reduces stress
* Can reduce frequency of migraines
* Helps regulate blood sugar in diabetics

Lycopene is the Tomato’s Secret Weapon

Lycopene is an antioxidant, which means it helps cells protect themselves from oxygen damage. You’ve heard the phrase “free radicals” thrown around, I’m guessing. They’re bad for you, inside and out, and lycopene is a great weapon against them. It has been shown in studies to protect against colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers, quite significantly in many cases. It also protects against heart disease.

In one study, 10 healthy women ate a diet containing two ounces of tomato puree each day for three weeks, either preceded by or followed by a tomato-free diet for three weeks. The researchers measured blood levels of lycopene and evaluated oxidative damage to cells before and after each phase. They found that cell damage dropped by 33% to 42% after consuming the tomato diet.

Wow! Is that all the tomato you can handle in one meal? Ok...one last thing. On to the Friday Fixings!
Tomato, Feta and Basil Soup
Here’s is what you will need

Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x 400g/14 oz. tins whole peeled tomatoes
1 Tbsp sugar to taste
2 litres /4 pints vegetable stock
100ml /4 oz. cream
4 Tbsp feta, crumbled
Handful Basil
Salt and pepper

1. Add some olive oil to a pan and add the garlic
2. When the garlic is toasted add the tomatoes and crush them up a bit, then add the sugar
3. Take the pot off the heat and liquidize until smooth
4. At this point you can reserve it for a sauce or carry on with the rest of the recipe for the soup
5. Add the vegetable stock
6. Add the cream
7. Then add the feta and basil. It’s easy just to tear up the basil in the soup just like the Italians! You can also chop it fine and then throw it in if you prefer. Sometimes I make a little pesto with pestle and mortar and drizzle that over, which is quite nice.
8. Don’t forget to add the salt and pepper.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Blue Cheese or Pesto:
Cherry tomatoes are best for this.
Wash the tomato, trim off the top and scoop out the seeds.
Stuff with a pinch of blue cheese or a dollop of fresh pesto. Serve.

Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar
The classic caprese salad will never be boring to me.
Layer thin slices of fresh tomato with fresh mozzarella, a few chopped basil leaves and a drizzle of good quality balsamic vinegar. Want more flavor? Add slivers of red onion. CLICK HERE for more recipes.

Its Friday and that means haiku! Here's a few zingers just for tomato lovers!

Tomato Prisioner
Ruby skin, moist fruit,
Thick odor, salivation;
Feed me, prisioner.

Broken Treasure
Subtle, ruby flesh
Drenched treasures, salty good
Tomato pleasures.

Full Tomato Juice Mouth
Streaming red nectar
Lick my tongue gently slow,
Defenseless desire.

Tomato Devoured
Taught skin
Rupturing salty rivers
Suspended limbs.

Friday, July 02, 2010

4th Fries, Friday Fixins and Sippins with a Strawberry Haiku

Happy 4th of July -- powered by flowgo.com

What you believe about the 4th of July isn't true! You might think that independence was declared on the fourth of July. You might even believe that the 4th is the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. I am sure you might have always heard that the Liberty Bell was used to usher in such noble independence. Furthermore, you probably believe Betsy Ross sewed the first flag. Lastly, you may already know that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the fourth of July. Most people may be fuzzy on the exact details but most of this general stuff we can typically agree on. Do you always follow the herd? Does it wound your confidence to go against the grain? Well all those preceeding statements are wrong!

#1 Independence Was Declared on the Fourth of July. America's independence was actually declared by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. The night of the second the Pennsylvania Evening Post published the statement: "This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States." The real deal... So what happened on the Glorious Fourth? The document justifying the act of Congress-you know it as Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence-was adopted on the fourth, as is indicated on the document itself, which is, one supposes, the cause for all the confusion. As one scholar has observed, what has happened is that the document announcing the event has overshadowed the event itself.

#2 The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4. Hanging in the grand Rotunda of the Capitol of the United States is a huge canvas painting by John Trumbull depicting the signing of the Declaration. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams wrote, years afterward, that the signing ceremony took place on July 4. When someone challenged Jefferson's memory in the early 1800's Jefferson insisted he was right. The truth? As David McCullough remarks in his new biography of Adams, "No such scene, with all the delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia." The real deal...The truth about the signing was not resolved until 1884 when historian Mellon Chamberlain, researching the manuscript minutes of the journal of Congress, came upon the entry for August 2 noting a signing ceremony. As for Benjamin Franklin's statement, which has inspired patriots for generations, "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately" … well, there's no proof he ever made it. Meanwhile there was more than enough hanging going on.

#3 The Liberty Bell Rang in American Independence. As you now know now, this event did not happen on the fourth. So did it happen at all? It's a famous scene. A young boy with bond hair and blue eyes was supposed to have been posted in the street next to Independence Hall to give a signal to an old man in the bell tower when independence was declared. It never happened. The story was made up out of whole cloth in the middle of the nineteenth century by writer George Lippard in a book intended for children. The book was aptly titled, Legends of the American Revolution. There was no pretense that the story was genuine. But things are often construed as truth when they were far from or never intended to be so literal.

#4 Betsy Ross Sewed the First Flag. A few blocks away from the Liberty Bell is the Betsy Ross House. The real deal...There is no proof Betsy lived here, as the Joint State Government Commission of Pennsylvania concluded in a study in 1949. Poor Betsy. In her day she was just a simple unheralded seamstress. Now the celebrators won't leave her alone. A few years ago they even dug up her bones where they had lain in a colonial graveyard for 150 years, so she could be buried again beneath a huge sarcophagus located on the grounds of the house she was never fortunate enough to have lived in.

So who sewed the first flag? No one knows. But we do know who designed it. It was Frances Hopkinson. Records show that in May 1780 he sent a bill to the Board of Admiralty for designing the "flag of the United States."

#5 John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Died on the Fourth of July. Ok, this is true. On July 4, 1826, Adams and Jefferson both died, exactly fifty years after the adoption of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, which the country took as a sign of American divinity. But there is no proof that Adams, dying, uttered, "Jefferson survives," which was said to be especially poignant, as Jefferson had died just hours before. Mark that up as just another hoary story we wished so hard were true we convinced ourselves it is.

Adapted from the History News Network

Friday Fixins and Sippins! Ok let's start with the sippin's, since that will make all the rest better.

Fire Crackers

1 1/2 oz Tequila
Cracked ice
Tonic water
Lime wedge

Pour tequila over the ice in a highball glass. Fill with tonic. Stir and garnish with lime wedge.

Star Spangled Jello Shooters

4 c Package Jello*
2 c Boiling water
2 c Liquor** *Any flavor. * *86 or 100 proof--don't use 151, any type.

Dissolve the Jello in the boiling water and let it cool. Add the liquor. Pour about 1/8 to 1/4 cup into little paper cups and chill. Squeeze the whole cupful into your mouth--no spoons or partial servings! Vodka is the usual first choice, but rum is really good too.

4th of July Lemonade

1 part Jack Daniel's bourbon
1 part triple sec
1 part sweet-and-sour mix
4 parts lemon-lime soda.

Combine all ingredients and serve this refreshing drink over ice.

Independence Day Punch

26 oz Rye 2
Bottles sherry
3 Bottles ginger ale
2 Whole oranges -- sliced

Pour 2 bottles of the ginger ale into a bundt pan and add some of the orange slices. Freeze and use as ice ring as it doesn't dilute the punch when it melts. Punch does become smoother as the ring melts. Put orange slices in the punch bowl and add other ingredients. (You may wish to have one more bottle of ginger ale to make the ice ring.)

Hair Raiser

1/3 part Anisette
1/3 part Brandy
1/3 part Triple Sec

Shake well. Serve drink in a shot glass

For a most incredible treat: Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream Cake Recipe for Fourth of July at Epicurious.com http://bit.ly/b7fnu5

strawberry kisses

Strawberry Smiles
Plump red ripe berries
Atop the sweetest of dishes
Smiles melting frowns up.

Thursday, July 01, 2010