i tumbled out of austin into nyc a bit out of my creative element. today was my first attempt at major fabric shopping and it was a swing and a miss, you guys. in spite of donning my plaid tova and beginning my outing in the fashion district feeling very hipster chic, as soon as i stepped into a hardcore fabric store and was surrounded by much younger, much hipper, much more tattooed, pierced, bleached, and tighter pants wearing aspiring designers than myself, seemingly buff for no other reason than hauling gigantic spools of fabric from impossibly high shelves, i felt timid and disorganized and left totally empty handed. so today, i’m going to talk about tomatoes.
considering how much i love to cook and eat, i don’t post much about food here. i feel a little guilty about it, since vegetarianism is becoming increasingly mainstream, and people constantly ask me for ideas/suggestions/recipes. but, developing recipes for a blog can be really stressful and time consuming, and honestly, i don’t devote much time to experimenting in the kitchen anymore since half the mouths i feed tend to be particular. however, as summer slowly transitions to fall, i have been spending more time in the kitchen, preserving what’s left of the summer bounty. with all this time in the kitchen lately, i wanted to share something here–i was initially going to do a post on canning that would be far more involved, but i decided to go easy and accessible first to gauge interest in food topics.
this is the first year we’ve had a real garden, and were pleasantly surprised by how well things grow here. interestingly, though we have many hot days still ahead, our crops seem to know a change of seasons is upon us, and our once robust plants have started wilting. happily, we seem to have a few big batches of tomatoes still waiting to ripen before they’re replaced with winter crops.a word on tomatoes. for most of my life, i thought i didn’t like them. they have a decidedly unattractive taste and texture in most restaurant food or from mainstream grocers from most of the year, and i spent more than twenty years picking them out of salads and sandwiches. then, one day in my early twenties, i had a tomato i picked myself, off the vine. only then did i realize i had never truly eaten a tomato, but instead, a parade of tasteless, soulless impostors. i make exceptions for a lot of other produce, but i vowed then never to eat an out of season, widely transported, refrigerated tomato. it’s too sad. and too gross. you can’t imagine my real joy in having more tomatoes this year than our family can possibly eat, just steps from our kitchen.i await tomato season each year with great anticipation. in the periods of my life i’ve not been a vegetarian, this meant one good long month of perfect, mouthwatering BLTs. i like a good caprese sandwich as much as the next person, but it’s not quite the same. so today, in honor of the last glorious days of tomato season, i wanted to share my favorite vegetarian summer sandwich, one that i’ve been eating almost every day. it’s fast, easy, simple, and pure summer. i’m not going to pretend this is any great revelation, nor is it even a real recipe. it’s just something delicious that makes me happy, and i hope it does the same for you.all you need is bread, mayo, spinach, avocado, and tomato. however, as in any dish with so few ingredients, quality is paramount. i like real, full fat mayo. it’s just a streak on the bread for flavor! it’s not going to pack on the pounds, promise. i use baby spinach because it comes prewashed and i’m lazy. i like a soft whole grain bread, one that won’t rip up the roof of my mouth when it’s toasted, and one with slices thin enough to keep proportions in check. we’ve been going a little crazy for daves killer bread lately. ripe avocado is a no brainer. but the real star here is the tomato. go to a farm, or someones yard, a stand or market, somewhere where you can get a fresh tomato. once that’s never been refrigerated (any tomato farmer will attest this act steals their souls and transforms them into mealy, tasteless dopplegangers. don’t do it.), one that hasn’t traveled far to reach you. the particular beauty i used here is an heirloom variety called gold medal–we’ve been enjoying these guys a lot. but any fresh, ripe tomato will do.
you can probably figure out the rest. i like the bread lightly toasted, then put a scant layer of mayo on each slice, and i grind some black pepper on it. then i put a big slab or tomato on one slice, some sliced avocado on the other, a handful of spinach in the middle, and voila. you have a juicy, satisfying summer sandwich that i promise, if your tomato is true, can rival any BLT. so, enjoy those last few summer tomatoes, and i’ll be back to clothes in a few days