Frugal Librarian #31: Three dollar chili

If you’re willing to get a jump on chili season before the hooded sweatshirts come out, you can save a mint due to the glut of local tomatoes.  Just walk into any break room across this great land of ours and nab the bag of tomatoes labeled “TAKE…PLEASE!”    Cut them up and dump them into a pot on top of browned meat of your choice and an onion.    Add half a bag of dried beans you soaked overnight.

Congratulations, you’re eating for a week for no money and didn’t get carpal tunnel opening a dozen tin cans.

Too Many Tomatoes Cookbook by Brian Yarvin

Too Many Tomatoes CookbookOK, I admit, this might not be the year that you’re worried about too many tomatoes; it may be the year that you’re worried about not enough! Just in case the weather takes a turn and starts to co-operate, we’ve got  all of your excessive tomato harvest problems solved with The Too Many Tomatoes Cookbook by Brian Yarvin.

You’ll find all the things you’d expect in a cookbook about tomatoes – sauces, soups and stews, pizza, lasagna and salads as well as tomato preservation basics – roasting, drying and freezing. There are also more unique entries such as Hawaiian-Style Salmon Salad, Korean-Style Tomatoes Sprinkled with Sugar, and South African Train Smash.  Recipes come from across the world, proving that this uniquely New World vegetable (or is it a fruit?) has been embraced by countries and cultures as diverse as Italy, Thailand, Greece, Albania, Turkey, Hungary and Japan. Scattered throughout are various essays on tomato farmers and vendors and chefs, tomato facts and tomato-centric events. Beautifully produced with lots of goroegous photos and an encouraging and friendly writing style, you’ll find yourself reaching for this book time after time.

Now, all we need is some tomato-growing weather!

Keep Your Doors Locked…

So, the joke goes like this:

Be sure to keep your doors locked this time of year. Not because of a crime wave, but to keep the neighbors from sneaking bags of zucchini and tomatoes into your car/back porch!

It wasn’t that long ago that we were in the depths of icy winter and many of us had forgotten what a real, homegrown tomato tasted like (just that it wasn’t that pale red styrofoam substitute that you found at the grocery store) and now, just a few months later we’re drowning in tomatoes and overwhelmed by zucchini.

The library, of course, is here in your time of need. Here are some titles to help you cope with the Great Tomato Overload (you know, just in case the neighbors are on to you and are keeping their doors locked…)

Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen

Tomatoes and Mozzerella by Hallie Harron

The Tomato Festival Cookbook by Lawrence Davis-Hollander

Perfect Vegetables by Carl Tremblay

The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich

Preserving for All Seasons by Anne Gardon

The Classic Zucchini Cookbook by Nancy Ralston