Round-up: Tomatoes and out-of-office emails

One of the upsides of moving out of Manhattan is finally having a yard. My husband planted a wide variety of tomato plants, which are now bearing fruit at an astonishing rate. This picture is the haul from yesterday. Since these tomatoes joined roughly 60 we had sitting on the counter, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them before they rot. I made some sauce yesterday. It was a decent first attempt, though my second attempt will feature more garlic, onions and salt. As I discovered with making my own smoothies, there seem to be some secret ingredients (I suspect sugar) that make store bought foods taste the way they do. I welcome suggestions on what to do with garden tomatoes.

A few links from this week… USA Today featured What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast in a piece from Kim Painter called Morning is Prime Time for Self-Improvement. Painter didn’t just take my word for it, she went and interviewed various other folks to make a feature out of it that’s well worth reading.

Time’s online business section picked up an earlier Baseline piece in a post called The Morning Routines of High-Achievers.

I’m scheduled to be on Randi Kaye’s Saturday morning show on CNN tomorrow around 6:45, talking about what the most successful people do before breakfast.

Over at CBS MoneyWatch, I have a post on 4 things not to say in your out-of-office email. What are your least favorite auto-responses?

As I’m thinking about my tomatoes, I remember that The Frugal Girl posts pictures each Friday of the food that’s gone bad in her house that week. It’s usually pretty small because she comes up with ways to use it. I’ll have to hunt through the archives for tomato recipes…

8 thoughts on “Round-up: Tomatoes and out-of-office emails

  1. I’m jealous–our tomato plants were attacked by a staggering array of bugs and worms this year. But in years past when I have had a surplus, I have just washed and diced the tomatoes and put them in quart freezer bags in two cup amounts. Then whenever I needed a can of tomatoes for a recipe I just grabbed a bag of the frozen diced tomatoes and used that instead. That way you aren’t spending tons of time prepping soups and sauces in advance and you also don’t have to buy canned tomatoes.

  2. But the real question is how difficult was it to plant and care for the tomatoes? (Ironically, we didn’t plant anything this year.)
    ***
    I like fresh garden tomatoes raw with vinaigrette. You can add thin sliced cucumbers or onions if you like and experiment with different vinegars and olive oils. Truly wonderful with fresh mozzarella or burrata and a crusty loaf of French bread. Add some basil and use balsamic for a favorite caprese sandwich.
    ***
    Alternatively, you can cube with other summer veggies including squashes for a different kind of summer salad.
    ***
    I also really like uncooked tomato sauce over spaghetti. (Or I will if I’m ever able to eat wheat again… I get to try it out in a couple of weeks.)

    1. Planting them didn’t take much time. Going outside to harvest them takes a few minutes a day, but that’s perfectly pleasant. What’s taking a ton of time is making my tomato sauces out of them, trying not to let the tomatoes go bad! I’ve hit my limits on eating fresh tomatoes (I can’t really eat more than 2 big ones per day — dressed up in salads, on sandwiches, whatever). I’m procrastinating working as I cook tomato sauce. I am totally not taking my own advice on this one.

      1. We like semi-dried tomatoes. In warmer climates, you can actually dry them but in the Pacific NW, I cut them, drizzle them with olive oil and salt, and leave them in a 130-150 degree oven (my oven is imprecise) for several hours or overnight. Freezes and makes a great bruschetta topping.

  3. My favorite use for really good tomatoes is to make a sandwich with them, fresh mozzarella, arugula, and prosciutto on a nice ciabatta roll. Brush the roll with balsamic vinegar first. Yummmm.
    When I make tomato sauce from scratch, I usually add a small amount of sugar and either lemon juice or white wine. Also paprika and a little bit of cayenne will give it some more kick. (Along with the usual basil and oregano.)

  4. I know a very successful VP of Sales who LOVES Out of Office messages because she uses them to collect her prospects’ cell phone numbers, etc 😉 so I’ve learned to disable my response externally just on principle.

  5. On the tomato topic-you can boil them for a minute, peel them, and freeze them. Just thaw them when you have a recipe that calls for whole canned tomatoes.

    Or you can freeze them as-is and pull the skins off when the tomatoes thaw.

    Easy-peasy!

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