Getting passionate about tomatoes

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I write about high end audio and occasionallyhigh end "other stuff". Why? Because I am passionate about better things. Better music, better gear, better food. My passion for the better is why I slave for years to get the best performance out of electronics and why I bake my own artisan bread and have labored for more than 10 years figuring out how to bake it. And then there's tomatoes. When's the last time you had a really good tomato? Chances are it came out of your garden if you enjoyed one and even then it might not have been spectacular. Market tomatoes, even those expensive heirlooms Whole Foods sells for $6 a pound generally suck. I love tomatoes and had basically given up on ever finding a consistent source of great tasting fruit. That is until now. I have discovered Tasti-Lee Tomatoes. A hybrid plant developed by Burpee seeds, this non-GMO tomato is consistently amazing. The plants are grown year round in Florida, vine ripened and shipped all over the country. Inside their flesh is bright red, tasty and has renewed my hope in foods I love. If your local market doesn't carry them, you can order online and have them shipped to your door. A 6 pound box is $9 ($1.50 a pound) but shipping is, unfortunately, $15 making the total cost $4 a pound. Still cheaper than most heirlooms in the market, but if you can find them locally, a real bargain. Here's a recipe that doesn't require any cooking for the best pasta sauce ever (courtesy of my son Lon). Take a few pounds of tomatoes and peel their skin off (dip in boiling water for 15 seconds to make it easy). Chop the tomatoes and place into a large mixing bowl. Add 4 whole cloves of garlic, a head of chopped basil and 1/2 to 1 cup of fine olive oil (depending on taste and pounds of tomatoes). Mix it up, cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours (make in the morning). One hour before you're ready to eat, remove the bowl from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature. Remove the garlic cloves and salt the sauce to taste, probably a small handful of sea salt will do. If you like it a little spicy you can add a handful of crushed red pepper. Putanesca your favorite? Add some kalamata olives and capers in addition to the pepper. Cook your pasta, drain and combine the warm pasta in the sauce. Add parmesan cheese or whatever you like and serve. Tasty as could be. Enjoy.
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Paul McGowan

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