Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tigerella and one or two other thoughts

Tigerella. Doesn't THAT just trip off the tongue?

It is, in fact, an heirloom tomato we're planting this spring. Hello, my lovely. Where have YOU been all my life?

I know heirloom tomatoes are culinary old news. Anybody who's anybody has eaten heirlooms since they were in knickers. But, maybe not so much in this corner of Bermtopia. Here in the Berm, we seem curiously stuck on the old standbys like Sweet 100s, Early Girl and other hybrids. As a result, heirlooms were serious news on our dinner plates last summer after a little junket to Las Vegas.

We had lunch at Todd English's Olives restaurant at The Bellagio. Among a variety of gastromic oohs and ahhs that afternoon was the WPS' caprese salad -- slices of heirloom tomatoes (the size of hamburger patties and, ohh, the colors), fresh mozzarella and a balsamic reduction. (Note: the balsamic was reportedly 100 years old.) Oh mama.

We came home to Bermtopia, sought out and devoured heirlooms al summer long. At $5.99 a pound we decided to give growing our own a rip this summer. We shall see. Bermtopia isn't always kind to tomato growers, but Tigerella's got a 56-days-to-maturity guarantee. As I said, we shall see.

And about that reduction -- four parts balsamic vinegar to one part honey (They say corn syrup is ok but nooo-ooooo, don't go there.). Simmer for 4 hours. No shortcuts. Then weep in thanksgiving as you oozle this nectar on salads, meats and whatever. Oh mama -- squared.

On to the "one or two other thoughts." I'm back in the pumpkin business, though not in a whiskey barrel this year. That's where Tigerella's living. Plus, the WPS very kindly cleared out a spot in the back of the garden next to the tomatoes. If we're lucky, pumpkin amputations will be a thing of the past. One can only hope.

Scroll down and meet "Aladdin" -- he's reportedly bigger and badder than "Orange Smoothie"
. . . I mean, 30- to 50-pounds bigger and badder.

And please, no jokes about rubbing his magic lamp. Thank you.

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