I have always hated tomatoes unless, of course, we are talking about ketchup, pasta sauce, or salsa (or derivatives thereof). When Michelle and I planted our first garden this spring, I wanted to concentrate on peppers and tomatillos, the main ingredients for my favorite salsa recipe. I did plant one tomato, a San Marzano, that I could use in said salsa recipe. And then something happened. We got a little obsessed and started watching YouTube videos on heirloom tomatoes (this series by the Late Bloomer is great). Even if we didn’t eat them that often, we wanted to grow the crazy colored, weird, funny looking monstrosities.
The next week, we had three more tomato plants, a Black Cherry, a Lucky Tiger, and a Black Krim. Those plain old red tomatoes would not do for us! We went away for our yearly road-trip, and when we came back, we discovered several wonderful tomatoes on all three of these plants. A week later, we had three more heirloom tomato plants— Pineapple, Big Rainbow, and Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter (did I mention that we also like their funky names). Still, I never figured I would eat them. I would just admire their quirky beauty and use them to practice my food and macro photography. But not eat them. No. Never.
Finally, the black cherry tomatoes were ripe, and I had the first few tomatoes that I could dissect and put under the microscope. Then, strangely, I decided to pop one in my mouth. No one was looking. No one was pressuring me. So I ate one. And now, I eat tomatoes.
For the past week, I’ve been eyeing the first ripening fruit of our Black Krim and Lucky Tiger varieties, wondering how I would use them. Then Michelle found this odd recipe for a veggie tomato pizza with a white bean and caramelized onion puree as the sauce and tomatoes as the toppings. My 13-year-old self would call me a traitor for considering this abomination, but I’m into experimenting these days.
I had a lot of fun with this recipe and was pre-visioning which tomatoes I would use and how I would arrange them most of the day. Our favorite, funny looking heart-shaped Black Krim was ready, and the Lucky Tigers had just ripened. I couldn’t wait to harvest and slice them. This is the end result and another addition to our meatless Monday rotation.
By the way, I still hate tomatoes, and this hilarious video from Vanity Fair defining heirloom tomatoes explains why. I almost gag when I see the cotton-y tomatoes in line at Subway. I’ve gone from tomato abstinent to a tomato snob in the course of one month. I guess I’m a tomato hipster. We won’t talk about blueberries.
All images ©2016 by David Garber