Friday, February 19, 2010

History on Tomatoes (Pomodoro) with Soup & Marinara Sauce Recipes

There are several kinds of tomatoes. beefsteak, plum (san marzano tomatoes are good for making paste, tomato), dwarf, cherry, oh the list goes on and on, so many types.
A delicious Tomato Basil soup, freshly made. Goes well with garlic bread, garden salad.

I love to pulse mine just a few minutes to leave some chunks.


Plum tomatoes are much fleshier than most and have less seeds, they hold up well and great for sauces. Fresh garlic, basil and parsley enhance the flavor of the tomatoes, a quick sauce to go over pasta and fish dishes.

Most tomatoes go well in any sandwich, personally I love tuna with vinegar and olive oil, oregano, tomato and romaine lettuce as pictured here.

Ah the sauce is cooking......

Traditional Sunday SauceUsing fresh tomatoes always makes the best sauce.

Our family tradition is to eat pasta on Sunday, the meatballs as we speak are frying, the sauce is cooking, and somewhere between 2pm and 4pm depending on when the family arrives, we will be eating, pasta with meatballs, sausage, braciole, garlic bread, salad sometimes referred to must goes( since everything went into that salad as well), and Peaches & Chianti. Sometimes its changes on what meat went in the pot, mom put whatever was leftover from the week, chicken legs, lamb, pork chops, steak, pigs feet, and let me tell you, that was indeed the best tasting sauce to date... we have since moderated our amounts of fat and limited the oil to a healthier version, but boy did all that meat taste great! One other thing, we always had to dip the hard crust Italian bread just to make sure all the spices were right! Nice excuses....scuzzy !!!!!


Long ago rich people used flatware made of pewter, which has a high-lead content. Foods high in acid, like tomatoes, would cause the lead to leech into the food, resulting in lead poisoning and death. Poor people that ate off of plates made of wood, did not have that problem, and didn't have that reaction with tomatoes. A great reason why tomatoes were only eaten by poor people until the 1800's, especially Italians.

In the 1800's a significant change occurred. First, and most significantly, was the mass immigration from Europe to America and the traditional blending of cultures. Many Italian-Americans ate tomatoes and brought that food with them. But, equally as important, the invention of pizza was born. Pizza had to have tomato sauce on it and pizza was invented somewhere around Naples in the late 1880's. The story goes that it was created by one restaurant owner in Naples to celebrate the visit of Queen Margarita, the first Italian monarch since Napoleon conquered Italy. The owner/cook made the pizza from three ingredients that represented the colors of the new Italian flag which consisted of red, white, and green. The red is the tomato sauce, the white was the mozzarella cheese, and the green , a fresh basil topping. So yes you guessed it Margarita Pizza was born, and is still a standard name for fresh tomato with basil pizza. Tomatoes became very popular.
It wasn't referred to a kitchen vegetable until the times after The" Civil War" period in the U.S. At that point forward, tomatoes have become a staple item in the kitchen throughout the world. Each area of the world has its own tomato history and is used primarily everyday in some form. Tomatoes have had one of the largest impact on American eating , and are responsible for enjoying over 12 million tons of tomatoes each year.

Fruit or Vegetable?
An interesting aspect of tomato history is the classic debate: Is the Tomato a Fruit or Vegetable? I guess that depends on whom you are asking. The definition of a fruit is the edible plant structure of a mature ovary of a flowering plant, usually eaten raw, some are sweet like apples, and the ones not so sweet such as the tomato, are cucumbers, peppers, are called vegetables. Botanists claim that a fruit is any fleshy material that covers a seed or seeds where as a horticulturists point of view would pose that the tomato is a vegetable plant. Until the late 1800's the tomato was classified as a fruit to avoid taxation, but this was changed after a Supreme Court ruling that the tomato is a vegetable and should be taxed accordingly.

The tomato or “golden apple” or in Italian is referred and called (pomodore) is used raw or cooked, as a base in many kinds of sauces, salads, soups and juices, and even to make a jam, mostly made out of green tomatoes.

Fresh Plum(Pomodoro) Tomato Sauce (pictured above)Fresh Marinara

10 Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine.

I use a food processor for the tomatoes. (If you prefer to remove the skins, place tomatoes in boiling water for ten minutes, remove and immediately put into iced water. Peel the skins with a sharp knife, you can also squeeze out the seeds.) Saute garlic in extra virgin olive oil, add seasonings,simmer in pot for 15 minutes add wine and basil. Cook for 15 more minutes. Serve over pasta.

Tomato Basil Soup (pictures above)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
3 pounds tomatoes - cored, peeled, and quartered
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon each black pepper, cayenne pepper, sugar, garlic powder
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
8 leaves of fresh basil for garnish

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, saute garlic. Add in tomatoes and chopped basil. Add seasonings. Add in chicken broth, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking around more 15 minutes.
Pour soup into a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and gradually mix in the heavy cream. Pour soup through a strainer before serving. Garnish each serving with a sprig of basil.

According to scientists, tomatoes are fruits because they contain seeds. However, most people would say that it is a vegetable as it is mainly used in appetizers and main courses.
Did you know that tomatoes are not always red? They can also be yellow, orange, green and even white and black. These tomato varieties are treasures from the past. They usually come with outstanding flavor, color, or overall performance; they can be grown in your garden, but probably never found in a supermarket.
Tomatoes are of various shapes: round, oval or ribbed and flat.
With the many trends of food production, there came a need to develop tomatoes that could be harvested green, holdup during shipping, maintain appearance. Those qualities were achieved through hybridizing. Unfortunately flavor was compromised, however scientists have been trying perfect and reintroduce that method.
Great fresh tomatoes must be firm but not hard as a rock. They should have a thick fleshy look and shiny, without wrinkles or cracks. Preferably a nice color and uniform . Tomatoes that are rather green will ripen in a sunny place in the kitchen. Refrigerator life is about ten days in the drawer of your refrigerator.
Point of interest on the subject:
Most people feel the tomato is both a fruit and a vegetable. It may interest you to know that the Supreme Court of the United States has decided the question: Tomato is a vegetable. The case was NIX v. HEDDEN, May 10, 1893. Imported vegetables were subject to a 10% duty; fruits were free. Mr. Hedden was the tax collector, and Mr. Nix, after paying duties on tomatoes under protest, sued him for a refund, reading in evidence the dictionary definitions of "fruit", "vegetable" and "tomato." The court found that for purposes of trade and commerce, "the common language of the people" was to be followed rather than botanical definitions. Tomatoes, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips and other vegetables, are served with the main part of the meal; fruits generally as dessert. The plaintiff got no refund.

The case can be found here underlined.
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