Hey, ManMade. My name is Stephen Cusato (you can call me Steve), and I'm the host of Not Another Cooking Show. I'm excited to collaborate with the ManMadeDIY.com team to show you how to step your game up in the kitchen. And we're going to start with this specialty of mine right here: the easiest, most practical, most delicious way to make fresh tomato sauce in less than 30 minutes any night of the week. This is my Weekday Sauce.
In my house, football season coincides with Bloody Mary season. Really, you say? Fair enough: the two are not necessarily synonymous with each other, but I’ve always felt that Bloody Marys are better enjoyed in the fall or winter months. Similar to the complex, tomato-y flavors of a bowl of chili, it just feels right to have a hearty Bloody Mary when the weather starts to turn a little cooler.
Most bars have their ultimate Bloody Mary that they load with bacon, chicken wings, pizza, etc. that look great through a filter on Instagram, but how the Bloody Mary tastes is not the focal point in that situation. When I’m at home and I want
When I start my garden every spring, I like to kickstart it by heading over to the local nursery and hardware store for some pregrown plants. Seeds can be tricky to deal with, and plants that are already several weeks old are especially helpful if you're busy, don't have a ton of experience, and want to get a jump on the growing season without having a greenhouse.
For the remainder of my garden, it's all about the seeds. I love that thrill of watching those little seedlings cling to the dirt in rain and sun, and I'm ecstatic to see true leaves when they emerge. If you've been doing seed packets for a while, and you're looking to up your garden game and perhaps move into the world of heirloom vegetables, read on for our primer on how to save tomato seeds, seed pods, summer vegetables, and more!
Now, tomatoes are no stranger to canning; homemade pasta sauce is one of the handmade life's greatest joys, and pickled green tomatoes are delicious in that check-out-the-awesome-secret-restaurant-in-the-hidden-alley kind of way. But I've barely seen pickled cherry tomatoes register on the pickle scene, and it's a rotten shame.
These days, the Bloody Mary game is all about oneupsmanship. The goal in bars and brunch spots has become to adds so savory complements to the drink that they turn it into both a snack and a cocktail: spears and spears of pickled veg, whole shrimp, fried bacon, charcuterie, chicken wings, antipasti, mini cheeseburgers, firecrackers, tiny pizzas, everything.
Which is fine, and fun, but takes away from the essence of the drink. Sure, it's a canvas for complementary flavors, but that canvas isn't blank in the first place...it's actually a perfectly balanced cocktail.
So, here are the basics on the Bloody Mary. If you're not one to drink vodka, well, then it also makes a darn fine amped-up tomato juice.
I'm sure I'm not alone in proclaiming: the BLT is a perfect sandwich. Not because it has bacon; many sandwiches have bacon. Rather, it's what it does with the bacon, playing it off of the other requisite parts: crunchy lettuce, a spread of tangy mayo, toasted but-not-too-crunchy bread, and the bright, acidic summer tomatoes.
Earlier this week, some 20,000 people gathered in the small town of Bunol near Valencia, Spain, to engage in "La Tomatina." The festival
The Bloody Mary.
While it certainly has its share of key ingredients: tomato juice, vodka, horseradish, Worcestershire, it's also somewhat of open canvas on which to cast all sorts of flavors. Do you like some briny olives or pickled peppers in yours? How about some fresh lemon? Do you opt for hot sauce or a few twists of black pepper? Does the celery flavor come from a fresh stalk, celery salt, or both?
But, mainly, when you get right down to it: why doesn't your Bloody Mary have a bacon swizzle stick? I mean, think about it: bacon and tomato are classic. Bacon and vodka have to be good together. And all those salty, savory umami flavors are a perfect match.
So, let's make one. Shall we?
Nearly every local restaurant I've hit up over the summer has featured fried green tomatoes as a special or as a seasonal appetizer. And for good reason - they're pretty fantastic. And, for my money, they're even more fantastic with the counterparts of their - brethren - bread, lettuce, and bacon. This take on the BLT works in a few ways - the acid still comes from the tomatoes, but their greenness allows the bacon to provide most of the sweetness. And their crunchy exterior provides every reason to leave the bread untoasted, which now gives the sandwich its toothsomeness once provide by the firm, red tomato.
In short: it works. Believe
The three things I love most about summer are, in order: 1) That it stays light outside until nearly 10 p.m., 2) Permission and reason to grill outside until nearly 10 p.m., and 3) the fresh local food that I grill outside until nearly 10 p.m. Okay, so perhaps my summer evenings tend to look mostly the same...but of course they do! All that fresh local produce deserves its time in the sun (boo...), and where I live, the two superstars are local sweet corn and crazy awesome tomatoes.
So, you might imagine I end up with tomato sandwiches and grilled cobs at least three nights a week. And most often, my tomato sandwiches are the standard BLT - why improve on a classic? But last night, I tried this vegetarian tomato sandwich from Country Living, and i gotta say... it's totally a keeper. Made with beefsteak tomatoes, rustic bread, smoked bleu cheese, and rosemary mayo, it gets it right on all accounts.