Latest From The Blog
Italians across the country spend a better part of August and September processing bushels of blood-red tomatoes into jars of sauce to last all winter long. If you’re one of many that take pride in tomatoes grown in your backyard, you also know the pain of facing a pile of leftover green tomatoes. While some may eventually turn red, some small towns in Calabria have a unique way of preserving green tomatoes. This recipe comes from my grandparents who immigrated here from Lago in the province of Consenza and knew just how to use every part of the garden to it’s fullest.
You can use a bucket or any wide container for this recipe. If you have an old-fashioned clay preserving jar in the basement, bring that out, now’s the time to use it. The amount of each ingredient for this recipe must be made-to-measure to the amount of green tomatoes you need to process. Note that preserving vegetables, like tomatoes green or red, requires a careful use of ingredients and processing. Be sure to do your research about preserving before proceeding.
Preserved Green Tomatoes, Rustic Calabrese-Style
Green tomatoes (as many as you have)
Bucket or clay preserving jar
As the summer’s coming to an end, I’m closing the book on some of the photos I’ve taken and places I’ve been. Today, I’m featuring Ottawa’s Little Italy. Already, you’ve seen Taste of Little Italy in Toronto, a Tour of Montreal’s Little Italy and Pier 21 in Halifax.
Ottawa’s Little Italy has a special place in my heart because I used to work there when I was in university. I worked at a fantastic monthly paper – Il Postino. When I was able to go back and visit this summer, I took some time to stroll through the area. I was lucky enough to be there during the Euro Cup so Italian flags abounded even more than usual!
Italian immigrants initially settled into the area around 1900. One of the corner stones of the community is St. Anthony of Padua Church at the corner of Booth Street and Gladstone Avenue. It is said to be part of the reason for the strong formation of the Italian community in the area. A second wave of immigrants came in after WWII and now descendants of Irish, French and the Asian community also call the area home.
Tomato season is well upon us and the ripe, juicy tomatoes from the garden are now part of almost every meal. Among my favourite family recipes for tomatoes – our bruschetta recipe. A lot of people save a recipe like this for when guests are over. It’s usually served as an appetizer. I say forget that. This is totally fine to eat for lunch. Or dinner.
My favourite tomatoes to use for this are Brandywine. They are a pinkish-red tomato that is incredibly sweet. But since I also tried a few new varities in our garden this year – a purple/green variety and a yellow one (called Pineapple) – I thought I’d try a new tri-coloured bruschetta which turned out well both in look and flavour. Use whatever tomatoes you have on hand as long as they are ripe.
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced (or more if you love being garlicky!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 6-7 fresh basil leaves chopped
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
Bread for serving
August is coming to an end and for most of us that means some quality time with a few bushels of tomatoes.
Every month, I feature the online news and items of interest to Italian-Canadians collected from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, online newspapers and more.
The buzz this month has been about tomatoes, Olympics and some great Italian festivals across the country. Check out the buzz after the jump!
We may have gone overboard with the amount of eggplants we planted in our moderately-sized garden. We’ve had more eggplants than we can normally deal with and although we’ve already made eggplant parmigiana and jarred eggplant antipasto, it was time to go one step further – we dug out my husband’s family’s recipe for eggplant meatballs.
The idea of eggplant meatballs is rather new to me but, it turns out, there’s quite a few Italians I know that make them, particularly to replace traditional beef/pork meatballs during holidays when we shouldn’t eat meat like Christmas eve. This particular recipe is used to both stuff eggplants and to make “meatballs” out of them. If you truly want to be vegetarian with them, omit the soppresatta included here.
4 cups roasted eggplant
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cup hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup chopped soppresatta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzerella cheese diced or shredded
1/2 cup chopped parsley
vegetable oil for frying
tomato sauce for eating