The ‘maters Are Coming! The ‘maters Are Coming!

Of course. School starts Monday for me and the tomatoes decide to finally ripen seemingly all at once. We grow Roma, Big Girl, and cherry-I limited myself to 18 plants this year; we planted 9 per section so my husband can construct a tunnel over them when it frosts. We fight that battle every year and lose-but not this year! We actually put THOUGHT into where they were planted. Go figure. The cherry ‘maters came first and have sold quite a few of them at farmers’ market. Next came the Romas and in the last week, the Girls decided to join the party. Tomorrow I have two big jobs to do by myself (again, missing my little partner in crime)-salsa and zucchini relish. I will make the relish tonight so it can sit in the fridge overnight and do its magic..wonder what goes on in that container during the night. It goes in as unassuming veggies (zucchini, onions, peppers, salt) and comes out with a BANG!  Kind of like puberty; the kids start out gangly and awkward in seventh grade and by seniors are young adults with poise (for the most part-let’s not get ahead of ourselves).  Anyhow, I think the tomatoes are out there, secretly plotting the best time to make my life just a mite more complicated. I’ve had the past two weeks to make salsa and they stubbornly stayed green. School starts and they ALL turn red. Now I’m seeing red…literally!

However, with those delicious ‘maters comes the best part-eating them while you pick. There is nothing better than a tomato warmed by the sun. We try to pick before lunch so we are hungry; they make a perfect appetizer and are sooooo good. Yesterday I had my first BLT and it was heaven between two slices of bread. Seriously. I think I sighed a dozen times while eating it.  Speaking of bread, I decided it was time to share my recipe for ‘mater bread. It won first place in the North Dakota State Fair Fleischmann’s bread contest two years ago and is our family’s favorite bread. You can make it in the bread machine for your family to enjoy without the fuss, too! I make the dough in the machine and put it on tins to rise in the oven-we get the best of both worlds then. I use my own homemade spaghetti sauce but have modified the recipe for those who don’t do this. Toast this, make a BLT and you will agree, it’s like ‘maters on steroids! It’s also great toasted with cheese on it and I’ve used the dough as the base for homemade pizza. It’s versatile, tasty, and the lycopene is good for you, so eat it already! It’s the weekend; surprise your family by dusting off the machine and whipping up a batch. They will think it came from the gods…and it did-the goddesses of the garden, my friends-the tomatoes.

‘Mater Bread

Put these ingredients in order in the bread machine:

1 c commercial spaghetti sauce (it can be any variety-meat, mushroom, etc-be creative!)

1/4 c water, room temp

1 T oil  (I microwave these three together for 30 seconds-not too warm!)

1 T sugar

3 c bread flour (all purpose is ok, too)

1 tsp salt (I use garlic salt)

1 tsp each dried oregano and basil

1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp if you have bulk)

I use the dough only selection, then put them in two standard greased loaf pans, let rise for 35 mts, then put in 350 oven to bake for 35-40 mts.