Up until the closing this summer of Laurie’s market due to her untimely death, we had been closely following the progress of this year’s Jersey tomato crop. We’ve always loved those delicious beefsteaks that we could look forward to each August assuming that the crop was in excellent shape—it was not always ideal. Laurie kept us informed, like an obstetrician following the progress of a patient, and we would post the latest news in the Wassup section. She had a few favorite suppliers who would keep her bins filled and offered wonderful advice about how to select those delicate fruits for whatever plans you had for them. I will never forget her instruction to look at the top of the tomato, and if you wanted one for tonight, you had to make sure it was red all the way to the stem.
It was a delight to visit her rustic farm market to view the latest inventory. For me it was a “must-do” event. Maybe it was Neptune, but pulling up to her place seemed like—maybe Sonoma or Napa. She was so enthused to share her knowledge with us, that I felt like she was a member of the Blogfinger staff. She showed Eileen how to make a watermelon salad. You could make discoveries in her place, such as the beginnings of the planned winter garden or the select items that she was growing herself, laughing off the evidence of critters enjoying the goods.
Laurie’s friends wanted to keep her business going, but, for whatever reasons, it didn’t happen. Every spring, as the fruits of the Garden State are set out at farmstands in this part of Jersey, it will remind us of Laurie’s. Maybe someone else will bring her’s back to life in 2015. Now it’s October, 2014, and those Jersey tomatoes are getting harder to find. So we are currently buying tomatoes on-the-vine from Wegmans, grown in greenhouses in Canada. They’re pretty good, but the Jerseys are the best.
We have posted Eileen’s recipe for insalata Caprese in the past (link below)—– a simple but elegant dish that uses all heart- healthy ingredients: olive oil, tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese, plus some secret ingredients. Last week Eileen made that recipe again, but she’s always innovating in the kitchen, so this time she added avocados, a truly amazing food with anti-oxidants, “good” fats, and vitamins. Many nutrition experts think so highly of avocados that they refer to it as a “super food.”
So, once again, you can find that recipe below—-part of an article on Florida tomatoes which we have run in the past.
DON ASPIAZU and the HAVANA CASINO ORCHESTRA: “Aquellos Ojos Verdes” (Trans. Green Eyes) It’s not Italian, but it’s close.