TomatoMania- Fried Spaghetti and Epilogue 2009

Well, this is it! The last TomatoMania for 2009.

It’s been a great tomato growing season. I learned so much from Scott Daigre. I hope his guest posts here were helpful for you as well.

But the hightlight of these past many Monday’s (for me) was our tomato recipe contest. I so enjoyed cooking the 6 winning entries and posting them here for you. It was a great way to step out of my culinary box, stretch my tongs and try new things. That’s what life is all about isn’t it? The new and the exciting wrapped around and mingled amongst the comfort and love of things familiar. Because with out one, the other just seems hollow!

Speaking of adventure mingling with comfort. I have the last of the winning recipes for you today. It’s certainly adventurous, but has all the comfort of a delicious slow-roasted tomato sauce too.

eric rivera recipe cardThis is a recipe for Fried Spaghetti with a Roasted Tomato Sauce. It comes to us from the mind of Eric, the soon to be chef behind the amazing blog, Eric Rivera Cooks. I saved it for last because I wanted to end this series with a smile. Anything Eric cooks you know is made with a smile. That man loves life in a way that makes his blog a joy to read. He is smack dab in the middle of culinary school and he is sharing his love for this adventure almost everyday. So go read him and smile.

As far as his recipe goes, I’ll let it speak for itself. So click here and read it. I admit to making one rather large change though. Eric fried his spaghetti strands one at a time. I don’t have the patience, so I opted to form my cooked noodles into nest shapes before coating them in his flour mixture. It’s a nod to one way dried Italian pasta is often sold, sure. But it also makes a great bowl to hold the sauce. I love the way the nest keeps friedspaghettibowlsthe chunky tomatoes safely nestled inside, but still allows some of the sauce to leak out over the bottom of the bowl. Making for a very pretty presentation.

So that’s it for TomatoMania 2009. All that is left is for Scott to bring you a few parting words! Take it away Scott…



Are you satisfied yet?  It’s been a long hot summer and the tomato season is on the wane. 

Thankfully there is much more harvesting to do, nevertheless, I feel a certain sadness this time of year.  The longer golden light bands of the fall season lay across similarly yellowing tomato vines that lean this way and that, bent under the weight of fruits we’ve harvested, enjoyed and shared throughout these last months. Some of these noble sculptures still carry late-season produce, turning color and ripening during these days that often pack a punch as if in full summer mode.

A new crop of plants, placed near this scene and all set for late season, look perky and bright and seem to mock the seasoned masters. I don’t normally plant a â€œwinter” season but it seems this year my lust for tomatoes just hasn’t been satiated as in years past.  So I’ll see them through and “retire” them in plenty time to work up a truly invigorated appetite for new plants next spring.

But as we consider the passing of another summer it seems perfectly natural to celebrate our victories and do what every self-respecting academy or corps does at the close of a season.  Give Awards!

It’s just the remedy for a bit of seasons-end garden melancholy.

Yes, I’m writing this on Emmy Day in LA and I’ve concocted my own version of an awards show for all of us tomato-lovin’, food-cravin’ TOMATOMANIACS.  Here’s a red carpet selection of the best and brightest that appeared in our garden and in the gardens of friends and TOMATOMANIACS during summer 2009. (Sort of our life on the “T” List)

Best All Around                    JAUNE FLAMEE (heirloom)

  •     Just can’t be beat for its unique orange color, hardiness, productivity and of course, taste.

Best Sequel (performer in 08 and 09)        SWEET TANGERINE (hybrid)

  • OK, orange must be in because this baby rocks.

Tastiest                        GARDENER’S DELIGHT (heirloom)

  •     We’d forgotten how well named this red cherry is.

Most Prolific (Also known as the “Stop         MATT’S WILD CHERRY YELLOW

  • Yes, I’m cheating giving this to a cherry but please, the sheer number is obsene.

Biggest and Baddest                    WHITE OXHEART  (heirloom)

  • Unique, meaty, gorgeous. 

Most Likely to Succeed (Every Year)        STUPICE (heirloom)

  • Two-time Derby standout is early, delicious and prolific.

Best Newcomer (At least to us)            It’s a tie!    JENNY (hybrid) & WOODLE ORANGE (heirloom)

  •     Ok, Orange is definitely in.  Look for these to shine again in 2010.

Most Beautiful                    CHOCOLATE STRIPES

  •     Red and green stripes cover this lobed beauty that’s also delicious!

Sauciest                        HARD ROCK

  •     A roma is a roma but this one has a cooler name!

Of course, our favorite find (or gift) of the year is an unnamed volunteer  (We think it might be Camp Joy) that came up in the kitchen garden.  Isn’t that the way it always happens?  I knew we should’ve written down what was in there last year! I’ve saved LOTS of seed in the case that it’s an heirloom.  We picked over 100 perfect red golf-ball-sized beauties this morning, which is impressive considering we got 150 just last Thursday.  It’s been like that for weeks now.

And so I’ll do my best to smile and will retire these writings for the season as our plantings drift off into the sunset…or the compost pile.  And besides, stacks of lettuce, chard, and spinach seeds are collecting on the kitchen table.  Quick, add more compost to garden! A new season starts today!  Enjoy.

Scott Daigre