Summer's Nutrition Bonus!
Along with corn and potatoes, the Western Hemisphere gave the world the tomato. The Aztecs cultivated and enjoyed tomatoes for at least a millennium before European explorers came. The conquistadors returned to Europe with tomato seeds. The red globes quickly become an important part of the cuisine of Spain, Portugal, and Italy. When other European peoples began to use the tomato, they gave it nicknames curiously fitting to their own culture. Th French called the tomato a "love apple." The Germans noted the apple-like shape and color and called it "the apple of paradise."
Only the British refused to eat this new vegetable. They believed it to be poisonous. A possible reason for the error may be that the tomato vine resembles and is botanically related to the deadly nightshade. Whatever the reason, the English colonists who came t America carried with them the firm belief that tomatoes were toxic. What an ironic twist of fate that although the tomato crossed the Atlantic the first time as a terrific new food, it crossed the Atlantic the second time as a poison not to be eaten!
The American fear of the tomato persisted into the 19th century. In 1781, Thomas Jefferson grew tomatoes in the gardens of Monticello, but not as a food. The plants were merely for decoration! Although Creoles were known to use tomatoes in cooking their spicy gumbos and jambalayas, it wasn't until 1820 that the tomato was proven safe to the satisfaction of the public. On September 26, courageous Colonel Robert G. Johnson stood on the courthouse steps in Salem, New Jersey, and to the horror of onlookers, ate not just one, but a basketful of tomatoes. When he appeared the next morning, not dead and not even sick, the tomato was finally accepted as a wholesome food.
Fruit or vegetable? According to no less an authority than the U.S. Supreme Court, the tomato is a vegetable. In 1883, Congress passed a tariff act assessing fees on imported vegetables. Fruits were allowed to enter the country duty-free. The director of customs in New York City collected a tariff on incoming tomatoes, declaring them to be vegetables. The importers claimed they were fruits and filed a lawsuit. When the case finally reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the unanimous decision was:
Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans and peas. But in the common language of the people . . . all these are vegetables.
People used to believe that placing a ripe tomato on the mantel when first entering a new home guaranteed future prosperity. Since tomatoes were not available year-round until recently, families moving into new homes often substituted round balls of red fabric stuffed with sawdust or sand. These balls were also used as pincushions, which explains--if you ever wondered--why your grandmother's pincushion looked like a tomato.
Source: Vegetable Desserts, Beyond Carrot Cake & Pumpkin Pie, ©1998 by Elisabeth Schafer and Jeannette L. Miller, RD.
Other Tomato Lore
Source: Vegetable Desserts, Beyond Carrot Cake & Pumpkin Pie, ©1998 by Elisabeth Schafer and Jeannette L. Miller, RD.
The tomato gardener is easily distinguished from other humans by the blur he creates while gathering his abundant crop. If you've ever been surrounded by more tomatoes than you can shake a stake at, help is at hand.
Into The Basket
If carefree harvesting appeals to you, keep these tips in mind:
Indoor Ripening And Storage
There's nothing like the flavor and aroma of vine-ripened tomatoes. They also have one-third more vitamin C than tomatoes ripened inside. But if you must harvest early and store, here are some guidelines:
If you live in a temperate, sunny climate with no humidity, air pollution, or bugs, you can dry your tomatoes outside on screens.
If you live elsewhere, use a commercial dryer. First, blanch the tomatoes for three minutes in boiling water. Then drain and pat them dry. If you're using paste tomatoes, like Roma, halve them vertically. Paste tomatoes have a rich, concentrated flavor, but other tomatoes can be cut into half-inch slices and dried successfully.
Set the temperature for about 150°F and let the tomatoes dry for seven to nine hours, or until they're leathery. Store them in tightly closed glass jars for up to a year.
Reconstitute dried tomatoes by cooking them in a bit of stock until they're soft. Then use them with pasta recipes, omelets, salads, and in sauces and sautés.
Source: Rodale's Garden-Fresh Cooking, ©1987 by Rodale Press, Inc.
How Many Tomatoes
Source: Rodale's Garden-Fresh Cooking, ©1987 by Rodale Press, Inc.
The Mighty Tomato!
Numerous studies have linked diets high in fruits and vegetables with a reduced risk of cancer. But if you're a lover of Italian food, you'll be interested to learn that one form of produce appears to be especially protective against prostate cancer. What is this might miracle food? The tomato!!
Researchers have found that men who eat tomato-based products at least ten times a week--products such as tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, and even pizza--reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer by a third compared with men who eat these products less than twice a week. Of these foods, tomato sauce seems to offer the strongest protection against cancer.
What's in tomatoes that wards off prostate cancer? Scientists believe that lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color, is responsible. This nutrient seems to be an even more potent antioxidant than beta-carotene.
Why does tomato sauce offer more protection against cancer than fresh tomatoes? Chopping and cooking breaks down the cell walls of vegetables and fruits, which makes carotenoids like lycopene more available for absorption. In addition, tomato sauce usually contains a small amount of vegetable oil, which aids the absorption of this fat-soluble nutrient.
Does this mean you should make a conscious effort to add fat to your food? No. Most people already get plenty of fat. And if you eat a diet rich in whole natural foods, there is no need to add oil, butter, or other fats to foods. However, if you want to use a little olive oil for cooking or in salads, feel free to do so, using your fat budget as a guide.
Source: Secrets of Cooking for Long Life, ©1999 by Sandra Woodruff.
| Gardens and
markets soon will be teeming with tomatoes. Starting around late July, so many fresh
tomatoes ripen all at once that some people who grow them give them away by the bagful.
Whether you have access to fresh, garden-grown tomatoes or must rely on the grocery store
produce section for them, tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C and the
phytochemical lycopene. And their savory taste can accompany almost any dish.
Tomatoes are one of the few dietary sources of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Some studies suggest that lycopene especially helps to protect against prostate cancer. The lycopene content in processed tomatoes is absorbed more effectively by the body than lycopene from uncooked tomatoes.
Choose tomatoes that are vine-ripened and deeply colored. They should feel heavy for their size. Unripe tomatoes can be ripened in a paper bag at room temperature. Do not refrigerate fresh tomatoes because their texture will become mealy and their taste watery.
Fragrant herbs like basil, oregano, dill, parsley and thyme are ideal seasonings for tomatoes, but more pungent spices like curry powder, cumin or chili powder also blend beautifully into tomato-based sauces.
Tomatoes come in many varieties. Grocery stores usually carry cherry tomatoes, even smaller grape tomatoes, as well as oval-shaped Roma tomatoes. Yellow or green tomatoes have a slightly different taste, and people who grow tomatoes can explore dozens of exotic "heirloom" varieties grown worldwide, from Green Zebra to Cherokee Purple tomatoes.
Most people like the round, red types that are good for slicing onto sandwiches, such as the American Beefsteak tomato.
3 cup diced tomatoes (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup nonfat or light sour cream
Place all of the vegetables and the olives in a large bowl. Stir to mix, and set aside.
Place all of the remaining soup ingredients in a medium-sized bowl; stir to mix well. Pour the vegetable juice mixture over the vegetables and toss to mix.
Transfer the vegetable mixture to a blender or food processor, and, working in batches as necessary, process for a few seconds or just until the vegetables are finely chopped. Transfer the soup to a covered container, and chill for 2 to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, place 1 cup of the gazpacho in each of 5 serving bowls. Top each serving with a rounded tablespoon of the sour cream and 2 tablespoons of the croutons, if desired, and serve immediately. Makes 5 Servings.
Per (1-Cup) Serving w/o Topping: 62 Cal; 1 g Total Fat; 12 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 321 mg Sodium; 3 g Fiber; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 2 Veg.
4 cups chopped peeled fresh tomatoes
In a bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. let stand for about 1 hour before serving at room temperature. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Yield: 3-1/2 Cups.
Per (1/4-Cup) Serving: 22 Cal; 1 g Total
Fat; 3 g Carb;
PEPPERS & TOMATOES
1 medium-large onion, chopped
Sauté onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add peppers & seasoning blend and sauté about 8 minutes more. Add tomatoes and basil; cover & simmer until peppers are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving: 121 Cal; 7 g Total Fat; 14 g Carb; 00mg Cholesterol; 354 mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Veg; 1 Fat.
1/2 cup minced onions
*Note: We used egg substitute instead of whole eggs and reduced the cholesterol from 223 mg/Serving to 11 mg/Serving.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9-inch quiche pan with vegetable spray and set aside.
In a medium-size saucepan, sauté onions, celery, and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add tomatoes.
In a small bowl, combine basil, parsley, and mozzarella.
Add half the tomato mixture to prepared quiche pan. Next, add half the basil mixture, then remaining tomato mixture, followed by remaining basil mixture.
Beat eggs or egg substitute with mustard and pour evenly over tort. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until eggs are set. Makes 4 Entrée or 8 Appetizer Servings.
Per (1/4 quiche) Entrée Serving using egg substitute: 149 Cal; 7 g Total Fat (2.5 g Sat Fat); 9 g Carb; 11 mg Cholesterol; 230 mg Sodium; 568 mg Potassium; 14 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar. Exchanges: 2 Medium Fat Meat; 2 Veg; 1-1/2 Fat.
1 tsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round or square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic powder, seasoned salt, pepper, and bacon bits.
Place half of the tomato slices in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread onion mixture evenly over tomatoes. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese, then top with remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover tightly and bake 34 to 40 minutes. Makes 6 Servings.
Per Serving. 65 Cal; 2 g Total Fat; 10 g Carb; 1 mg Cholesterol; 98 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein; 3 g Fiber. Exchanges: 2-3/4 Veg.
Butter-flavored vegetable cooking spray
Spray large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until hot. Coat tomato slices lightly with flour; cook over medium heat until browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving: 58 Cal; Trace of Fat; 12 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 16 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Veg; 1/2 Bread/Starch.
Sugar-Glazed Fried Tomatoes: Cook tomatoes as above but do not coat with flour. After tomatoes are browned, sprinkle lightly with sugar and cook until caramelized, about 1 minutes on each side. Do not season with salt and pepper.
Cornmeal Fried Tomatoes: Cook tomatoes as above, substituting yellow cornmeal for the flour.
WITH YELLOW TOMATO SAUCE
1 Tbsp fruity olive oil
In a medium-size saucepan, warm oil until fragrant. Add onions, bay leaf, and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add ground fennel and simmer for 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf and serve sauce over fish. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving: 250 Cal; 11 g Total Fat (2 g Sat Fat); 13 g Carb; 62 mg Cholesterol; 144 mg Sodium; 1,350 mg Potassium; 25 g Protein; 3 g Fiber. Exchanges: 4 Very Lean Meat; 2 Veg; 2 Fat.
2 Tbsp vinegar
In a mixing bowl, combine vinegar and pepper; toss with beef. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes; drain. Place flour in a bowl; add beef and toss to coat.
In a skillet, cook beef in oil over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 Servings.
Per Serving: 195 Cal; 8 g Total Fat; 16 g Carb; 24 mg Cholesterol; 364 mg Sodium; 16 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 2 Lean Meat; 1-1/2 Fat.
2 tsp vegetable oil
Heat oil in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.
In a medium bowl, combine egg substitute with remaining ingredients, except tomato slices. Beat with a fork or wire whisk until blended. Pour into hot skillet.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet, and cook 5 minutes. Arrange tomato slices over eggs and continue to cook, covered, 5 minutes more, or until eggs are set enough to invert without breaking.
Slide omelet out of pan onto a plate. Then, invert back into pan so that tomatoes are now on the bottom. Cook, uncovered, 1 minute, or until eggs are set. Invert onto serving plates, tomato-side up. Makes 2 Servings.
Per Serving: 137 Cal; 6 g Total Fat; 7 g Carb; 2 mg Cholesterol; 259 mg Sodium; 14 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 2 Very Lean Meat; 1 Veg; 1 Fat.
1 pound Italian country-style bread, about 3
days old, cut
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Sprinkle the bread slices with water and let stand about 2 minutes. Gently squeeze the bread dry as you tear it into 1-inch cubes. Spread the bread pieces on paper towels and let air-dry for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and basil in a large salad bowl. Add the dried bread cubes.
To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, olive oil, and yogurt. Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Let stand until the bread has absorbed some of the dressing, about 20 minutes, and serve. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 235 Cal; 8 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 36 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 345 mg Sodium; 387 mg Potassium; 7 g Protein; 3 g Fiber. Joslin Choices: 2 Carb (Bread/Starch); 1-1/2 Fat.
11 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
In a mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressing mix until smooth. Cut a thin slice off tops of tomatoes and carefully remove insides; invert on paper towel to drain. Fill with cream cheese mixture. Serve on a bed of alfalfa sprouts, if desired. Yield: 36 Appetizers.
Per (3 tomato) Serving: 40 Cal; Trace Total Fat; 5 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 285 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Veg; 1/2 Very Lean Meat.
AND TOMATO SALAD
3 small tomatoes, diced
Mix tomatoes and basil in a large salad bowl. Toss in oil, vinegar, and cheese; blend thoroughly.
Let the salad stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4 Servings.
Per (1/2-Cup) Serving: 94 Cal; 6 g Total Fat; 6 g Carb; 10 mg Cholesterol; 100 mg Sodium; 306 mg Potassium; 6 g Protein; 2 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1 Medium-Fat Meat; 1 Veg.
1 English muffin, split
On each muffin half, sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese and cayenne. Top with a tomato slice and parmesan cheese. Broil 6 inches from the heat source for 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Yield: 2 Open-Face Sandwiches.
Per (1 Sandwich) Serving: 132 Cal; 5 g Total Fat (3 g Sat Fat); 14 g Carb; 12 mg Cholesterol; 192 mg Sodium; 9 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1 Lean Meat; 1 Fat.
14 very ripe medium tomatoes
Blanch tomatoes by dropping them in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove skins and seeds, and purée using a blender or food processor.
Make bread crumbs in a blender or food processor and pour the crumbs into a foil-lined 9-inch baking dish, prepared with vegetable cooking spray.
In a heavy, nonreactive saucepan, heat the tomato purée until it boils. Add salt, sugar and herbs and mix well. Boil gently for 3 minutes. Pour melted butter or margarine over crumbs in foil-lined baking dish.
Pour tomato mixture over all and mix well. Cool. Cover. Chill and freeze.
When pudding is frozen, remove it from the dish; wrap, label and return to freezer. When ready to thaw, return the casserole to its dish, removing foil.
Place the dish on a cookie sheet on the bottom oven rack; cover loosely with foil and bake 2-1/2 to 3 hours in a 325ºF oven until it cooks down to pudding consistency. Uncover during the last hour of cooking. Yield: 5 cups; 10 (1/2 cup) Servings.
Per Serving: 150 Cal; 6g Fat; 24g Carb;
3g Fiber; 12mg Cholesterol; 213mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Bread/Starch; 2 Veg; 1 Fat.
WITH TOMATOES AND CORN
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
Fresh Basil Dressing:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
To Prepare Salad:
Combine tomatoes, corn, green onions, and pasta in salad bowl; pour Fresh Basil Dressing over all and toss. Makes 8 Side-Dish Servings.
To Prepare Dressing:
Mix all ingredients; refrigerate until serving time. Stir before using. Makes about 1/4 cup.
Per Serving: 135 Cal; 4 g Total Fat (less than 1 g Sat Fat); 22 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 141 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Veg; 1 Bread/Starch; 1 Fat.
GARDEN MARINARA SAUCE
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Coat a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray or with the olive oil, and preheat over medium heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for bout 5 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften and release their juices.
Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pan, and stir to mix. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the flavors are well blended. Serve hot over your choice of pasta. Yield: 3-1/2 Cups.
Kitchen Tip: Prepare the sauce whenever you have the time, and freeze in serving-size containers for later use. When ready to use, heat it up and toss with linguine, use as a pizza sauce or spoon over baked chicken and top with mozzarella for a fast entrée.
Per (1/2-Cup) Serving: 48 Cal; Trace Fat; 10 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 228 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein; 3 g Fiber. Exchanges: 2 Veg.
6 medium firm tomatoes, thinly sliced
Place tomato slices in a circle on crust, overlapping slightly until crust is completely covered. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with green pepper and onion. Sprinkle basil over all. Cover with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Makes 8 Servings.
Sodium Alert! This recipe is not suitable for those on sodium restricted meal plans.
Per Serving: 223 Cal; 12 g Total Fat; 21 g Carb; 22 mg Cholesterol; 599 mg Sodium; 12 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1 Lean Meat; 1 Veg; 2 Fat.
TOMATO AND SPICE CAKE
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
*Tip: If you prefer a milder spice flavor, omit the allspice and replace it with 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
Light Cream Cheese Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
To Prepare Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9- x 13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Measure dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add soup and applesauce. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Add eggs and water; beat another 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently.
Pour batter into pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake and frost with Light Cream Cheese Icing. Makes 24 Servings.
To Prepare Light Cream Cheese Icing.
Cream together all ingredients until smooth.
Per Serving: 140 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 30 g Carb; 25 mg Cholesterol; 190 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 2 Starch.
3 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (5 to 6
In a food processor or blender, purée tomatoes. Pour through a fine sieve to remove peels and seeds. Measure 3 cups of the juice.
Add all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish and freeze. Stir occasionally to reduce ice crystals. For a smooth texture, process in blender or food processor until smooth but still frozen; pour back into dish and freeze. You can also process again before serving. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 63 Cal; Trace of Fat; 16 g
Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 9 mg Sodium; 215 mg Potassium; 1 g Protein; 1 g Dietary Fiber; 14
g Sugar. Exchanges: 1/2 Starch; 2 Veg.
SOUP (SNACK) CAKE
2 cups sifted flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together and set aside.
Combine egg substitute, sugar, and tomato soup. Gradually add flour mixture into liquid mixture. Stir in walnuts.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (check for doneness with a wooden toothpick). Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 258 Cal; 5 g Total Fat (00 g Sat Fat); 47 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 391 mg Sodium; 7 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 3 Starch; 1 Fat.
SOFT MOLASSES COOKIES
Nonstick vegetable spray
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray (if not using nonstick baking sheets) and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, blend sugar and shortening. Add molasses, water, and tomato purée and thoroughly mix.
Sift together dry ingredients; fold into molasses mixture and stir until well blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto prepared sheets. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 6 Dozen (72) 2-inch Cookies.
Per (2-Cookie) Serving: 115 Cal; 3 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 21 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 120 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch; 1/2 Fat.