LINCOLN SQUARE — We have now reached the point in the season when gardeners start to think a lot like toddlers on a road trip.
Are we there yet?
As in, have we come to the end of the watering, weeding and growing already?
Soon, young padawan, soon, but there's no point in telling Mother Nature that she's worn out her welcome. She'll cease and desist when she feels like it.
Based solely on the evidence of my own vegetable plot, I'd even go so far as to say that she's doubled down on her output in recent weeks.
All those green tomatoes I mocked for their stupidity in late August are now ripening at a pace that seems solely aimed at showing me who's boss.
Green tomatoes are ripening at a rapid pace, and they just keep coming. [All photos DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]
It's the bumper crop of my dreams, the one that experienced gardeners dangled in front of me like bait on a hook as they lured me to join their club.
"You'll have more tomatoes than you can handle," they cooed in a manner that managed to come across as both encouraging and smug.
Liars, I thought, when my first two tomato crops failed utterly and dramatically, in that order. My third took off magnificently and then fell victim to a fungus.
This year, that long-ago promise has finally been fulfilled. As befits its name, my celebrity tomato plant has been nothing short of an A-list superstar, producing large, exceedingly flavorful fruit. My pair of yellow cherry tomato plants have likewise been abundantly abundant, to the point where if one or two or 12 happens to spoil or fall to its death before it's harvested, I don't even cry or give the fellow a proper burial.
Here's the thing about cherry tomatoes: Their size is what makes them so appealing — you get to harvest handfuls at a time — but it's also what renders them kind of useless for anything besides snacking or topping salads.
I've got close to two pounds of the things. That's nowhere near enough for canning, but too many for munching. I'd have to eat something like 10 salads a day to get through my current stash before the next bunch ripens. My intestines convulsed just reading that sentence.
Because the Internet is now capable of reading my mind, into my Twitter feed appeared a seven-year-old recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes from the Smitten Kitchen.
Note: If you don't have the patience for halving 184 marble-sized tomatoes — but who's counting — and then placing the resulting 368 slices on a baking sheet, this recipe is not for you.
If, like me, you can think of nothing more delightful than a mindless, repetitive task, read on.
The "recipe" as such: Cut tomatoes in half. Arrange on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add a few unpeeled garlic cloves to the mix for good measure. Drizzle with olive oil. Cook at 225 degrees for two to three hours.
My vaguely bitter tomatoes emerged transformed, each bite packed with intense flavor. We (i.e., Dave) dumped the whole lot into a batch of couscous, added some feta cheese and enjoyed a simple dinner.
Now, are we there yet?
What to do with all these cherry tomatoes? Too few to can, too many to munch on before they spoil.
Tomatoes, sliced in half and ready to roast.
Roasted tomatoes, fresh from the oven.
Vegetable plot overview, week 20 (we think).
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