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A LITTLE TOMATO SCIENCE!

Tomatoes On The vineLOOK AT THOSE TOMATOES!!

Aren’t they beautiful?…..Well of course they are. But, more than their beauty, these fruits (if you’re a botanist) or vegetables (if your a jurist…Supreme Court Decision 1883 ) are somewhat of a miracle where DNA is concerned. These beauties have 7000 more genes than the Human Genome! So they’re a pretty complex plant. Now this doesn’t mean that our buddy the tomato is smarter or better in any way than we are, it’s just they manage their genes in a far different manner than our genes(ours are way more versatile). They also belong to a rather large and storied family of plants. I’m sure you remember me talking about the tomato being a close cousin to the potato and a kissing cousin of the tobacco plant…..actually that’s why the tomato is subject to most of the viruses, bacteria, and other maladies that afflict the tobacco plant and the potato tuber plant. The tomato and potato share 92% of the their DNA. The tomato also has close ties with the pepper plant and the eggplant…..AND a more deadly relationship with the “Nightshade” family.
So, what does all this mean to you and me and the tomatoes….well now that we have mapped the Tomato Genome we will be able manipulate the genes of the plant to produce better tomatoes where their hardiness, flavor, reproduction, characteristics, and a whole plethora of items are concerned. Who knows, perhaps we’ll be able to develop a tomato that taste great in the winter months…..I’d sure as hell be in favor of that!! The scientist are already looking at the inter-relationships of these genomes….we’ll be hearing a lot more about all of this now that mapping is complete. So…..Stay tuned!

Tomato-Fennel Soup With Brie Toasts

I’ll probably burn in hell for stealing this recipe right off the New York Times site…..but they will have a well fed thief after I complete this meal! Here’s the goods….

Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, cleaned and thinly sliced, fronds chopped and reserved
  • 1 large onion, halved, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 3 tablespoons Pernod
  • 2 28-ounce packages or cans chopped tomatoes packed in purée (such as Pomì)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 baguette slices
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 ounces Brie, thinly sliced

Preparation

1.
Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add fennel, onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partly cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in garlic and chile powder; cook 1 minute. Stir in Pernod and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes.
2.
Pour in tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups water and the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the black pepper. Purée soup in batches using a blender or immersion blender until smooth.
3.
Transfer soup back to pot over medium heat; simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes more. Scrape down sides and bottom of pot occasionally. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
4.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread slices on a large baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 10 minutes.
5.
Toast fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Melt in remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
6.
Adjust oven temperature to broil and position rack 6 inches from heat. Brush toasts with fennel-seed butter and top with Brie. Return to oven and broil until bubbly and golden, 1 to 3 minutes (check every minute or so to see that they are not burning). Ladle soup into bowls and top with a cheese crouton. Garnish with fennel fronds.
YIELD
6 servings
OK….so that’s it for September….check back next month and we’ll cover another Tomato Subject or two…..☺

 

Posted Saturday, September 7th, 2013 by by admin, under General Tomato News, Tomato Varieties.

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