Friday, September 3, 2010

She was a Hot Tomato

Anyone else out there love tomatoes the way I do – passionately?
by Charlie Leck

This is really going to be a blog about tomatoes – the real ones that grow on vines – but I can’t resist, first, telling you about this other hot tomato.

The morning wake-up alarm went off yesterday at four in the morning, my wife shut it off and we both began to shake ourselves awake. We like to remain there for ten or fifteen minutes and talk about the day and evening ahead and kind of plan things out. Of course, yesterday was my big 70th birthday so I got a nice peck on the cheek and we spent a little time chatting about how grateful we were to have each other.

I told the old girl how sweet she was and how lucky I was to have her as a pal as well as a wife. I admitted to being a bit worried, however.

“I don’t really notice other women anymore,” I told her. “I’m not attracted to them or stirred by them and that seems strangely abnormal.”

She said something about how sad it would be if I lost that edge.

I went on to tell her how strange it seemed to be, by recounting an exception that seemed so much sharper and more sensual because it was the deviation from the rule. My explanation went something like this...

I returned that rental car on Monday, you know. I parked it in the return lot and as I was climbing out of it, checking to make sure I had everything, I heard someone sweetly wish me a good morning. I straightened up and noticed a smashingly beautiful, young woman walking by. She smiled so nicely at me, with these big, dark and sparkling eyes, and passed quickly on by, heading in the same direction I had to go to turn in the keys. So, of course, I followed along behind her, needing to quicken my normal pace to stay close.

She had been remarkably beautiful as she approached and passed me, but now, from behind, I was captivated by the wonder of her body and the way it swayed as only some few women can make a body swing. I got the feeling that she knew my eyes were fastened on her. She seemed to be making an extra effort to please or tease me. It was all innocent enough, but extraordinarily great fun for a guy about to turn 70.

When she entered the same door toward which I was heading, she paused and held it open for me and, as I passed her, she gave me the most remarkably beautiful smile and batting of the eyes. I felt like I might melt.

When I got to the rental desk, ready to give up the keys to the car, I looked back, behind me, to catch one more glimpse of her, but she was gone – down some labyrinthian hallway or into some anonymous office. Gone!

She was some hot tomato; and for just a moment there she had made me feel much younger again and I appreciated it.


Brett Laidlaw, on Trout Caviar, posted the most remarkable blog on Wednesday about heirloom tomatoes. He’s a wonderful blogger and I try to never miss any of his postings, but this one was particularly good. I really urge you to read it [click here]. Sometime in this coming year I think we are going to see a book from Brett and I can’t wait. You can bet I'll tell you about it.

I’m into devouring tomatoes now. The season is short for these beauties and I can never quite get my fill of them. If you’re local, you should know about Two Pony Gardens and the incredible heirlooms they grow over there. They’ve a little self-service store set up and you can drive in, pick out what you want and leave the money for them after you weigh them on their little scale.

I swear, even to a steak lover like I, there is nothing as good as a wonderful tomato.

Last night I prepared an eggplant and tomato dinner. No breading on the eggplant (I'm staying away from glutens these days). I kept it simple and plain.

  • I prepared an egg batter and seasoned it with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, some parsley, basil and a generous bit of turmeric (wonderfully health for us)

  • Then I dipped slices of peeled eggplant in the batter and allowed them to soak for a short time (10 seconds or so)

  • I fried the eggplant in a really good, hot olive oil, turning the slices once, and topping them for the last minute with generous, thick slices of tomatoes (that I had also seasoned with a bit of salt and a touch of garlic powder) and covered the pan for that minute

  • I served the above with a little, fresh green salad with my own salad dressing made from an exciting vinegar and super-virgin olive oil

Tomatoes simply make wonderful summer-time eating and there are thousands of ways to serve them.

Heirloom tomatoes from Two Pony Gardens in Long Lake, Minnesota

If you’ve got exciting tomato recipes, share them with me.


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