Tomato Salad . . . "Infused" (On Reading "A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother")
I walked ten feet out my kitchen door, traipsed through the veggie patch and whipped up this tomato salad for dinner. Better living through vegetable gardening. Tomatoes made an appearance in every meal we had this weekend. Right from my very own Victory Garden. I made breakfast hash--topped with tomatoes. I made veggie pizza--topped with tomatoes. Temperatures FINALLY dipped below 95 (only reached 90!)-- so I broke out the pizza stone--topped the pizza with tomatoes. Then last night made a tomato/eggplant risotto in my best friend: the pressure cooker. One can never have enough tomatoes. I have a bit of pride over this year's harvest. After all, I grew these little punkin' pies from itty-bitty seeds beginning in March! That seems like a lifetime ago.
Every week I harvest a bouquet of basil, set it on my kitchen counter and inhale as deeply as I can and commit the aroma to memory. My favorite herb by far. I have a bumper crop of this stuff this year. When Wal Mart began to set out their Bonnie Plants, I'd run in for some trivial reason, and always, my first stop was the Home and Garden section. In the cart went yet another basil plant. I'm embarrassed to say how many plants I actually ended up with. That's not counting the number of seed starting basil plants either! I'll freeze quite a bit of it because nothing makes Kelly happier than whipping up an all-day soup or an all-day sauce with handfuls of frozen basil I'd saved from summer. It instantly cures whatever blues may have come my way.
My favorite tasting tomatoes this year seem to be the heirloom variety brandywine. That's the big pink tomato in the picture. It has the sweetest, most intense tomtato-ey flavor of them all. The only problem is that I haven't been inundated with them yet. I'll maybe have one or two come into full fruit per plant. I even went so far as to try cross-pollinating the flower buds. I go out and give the stems a good shake or two and blow on them in hopes of encouraging the plants to set fruit.
It's very hard to ignore what's taking place in the world . . . in our country right now. I don't think I'd be alone in saying so, but I am a bit worried. This worry may just be my age creeping in. After all, my idea of what warranted concern when I was Almost Forty were completely lost, dare I say "trivial" compared to what I feel I should panic over at Almost Fifty. I don't recall events in the past affecting me like this current state of affairs has. While I am not about becoming a political talking head in this blog--the art of being a vegan blog, to some, may very well put me in a political camp of sorts. Which is sort of sad, really.
This afternoon, I turned on NPR, hoping to catch Fresh Air. Instead, they were getting ready to announce the president. He was about to give another "talk". I sat down and listened to the speech. Unlike most folks, as I listened, I thought about his mother. This weekend, I picked up a book from the library, A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother by Janny Scott. I'd heard the author speak on one of the talk shows on NPR when the book first came out. It intrigued me.
My political generation was mostly formed by another mother and her husband and son. We heard a lot about that family and it seemed there were no secrets, everything seemed an open book. There was a dynasty quality to the whole experience I thought.
But then this president arrived. Out of nowhere almost. And here we are today. I look again at the cover of this book: a poignant photograph of a mother and her son. Barack and his mother. I would have loved to have met the mother of our president: Stanley Ann Dunham. Yes it is a man's name--her father wanted a boy--direct quote from the book and you'll learn the back story to this. Whatever preconceived notions you have about our president, let me assure you, reading about his mother, and her story will, if nothing else, provide you with an insider's look into the very private life of a woman who never got to see the end result. I'm not looking for answers in reading this book. I just hope to understand.
That's really all I wanted to do today--tell you about the tomatoes and this fab salad. And. . . tell you about the book I'm reading.
3 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into quarter sized pieces
1 half red onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
10 basil leaves sliced thin
1 stalk of fresh oregano
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place the sliced tomatoes, garlic, onion and herbs in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the vinegars with the olive oil until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomatoes and toss well together. Allow the salad to set out at room temperature for at least a half hour. (The aroma from this will FILL the kitchen, I promise!) Serve as a side. Save any leftovers in the fridge--it's even better the next morning for breakfast!