Tag Archives: tomatoes

AllSpice at Tomato Festival This Saturday

Heirloom_Baby_TomatoesThis Saturday, September 2, AllSpice Owners Rory and Andy are going to Ted Lare Design Build and Garden Center to participate in their Tomato Fest!

AllSpice will be there from 2pm to 5pm, sampling and selling some AllSpice favorites. Rory has made some of our Tomato Jam to sample,  and we will be sampling “Caprese on a Stick”* as well.

The event spotlights local growers and artists and merchants, and will include:

  • A Tomato Tasting of 20+ heirloom varieties of tomatoes, with customers voting for their favorite one.
  • Jeff Naples, aka “The Beard Behind the Bar,” will mixing up samples of tomato-inspired drinks.
  • There will also be a salsa contest, a coloring contest, and farmers market vendors on site, too.

We would so love to see our readers there!


*Caprese on a Stick = heirloom cherry tomato + fresh basil + mozzarella on a skewer, drizzled with your favorite Balsamic Vinegar for good measure


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Sun Dried Tomatoes

Identifiable by their oblong shape, Roma or other varieties of “paste” tomato are more fleshy, and less juicy, than slicing tomatoes, making them a great pick for making sauces and for dehydrating.


3 lbs Roma or “paste” tomatoes

Preheat oven to 170°F.  While the oven heats, slice tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Remove tomato stems and core the fruits (pro tip: Wusthof’s tomato knife is fantastic, and well worth the investment). Arrange cored tomato halves, cut side up, on a nonreactive baking sheet or oven-proof ceramic dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Cook tomatoes in low-heat oven 6 – 8 hours, checking periodically. Tomatoes are done when there is no visible moisture or gel; fruits will have a pliable but not spongy texture. As juiciness and size of tomatoes will vary, some tomatoes may be ready before others. Remove “sun”-dried tomatoes from baking dish to a cool plate and allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, the dried tomatoes can be stored in a resealable bag and stored in the freezer, where they will keep almost indefinitely.

Or, if you like your sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (or you just love the added treat of your own tomato-infused oil), layer dried tomatoes in a clean, lidded jar.  Pour olive oil over tomatoes until just covered. Lightly press on tomatoes to remove any air bubbles, and screw lid on tightly. Store at room temperature.

AllSpicer Chad says: sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, beg for fresh herbs and garlic. If you choose to make any additions to the jar, store your oil mixture in the refrigerator and use within three weeks.

From the kitchen of AllSpicer Chad.

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Spaghetti with Beef Mushroom Sauce


1 lb uncooked spaghetti
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Cup heavy cream
1 Cup (4 oz) grated Parmesan
1/2 Cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped


Fill a 6 qt stock pot 2/3 full with water and add a little salt, if desired. Bring salted water to a boil over high heat on the stove, and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.

While the pasta-water is heating, add the olive oil to a large skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring intermittently, for 5 – 7 minutes, then add the chopped garlic, ground beef, and salt and pepper. Thoroughly brown the ground beef (about ten min), stirring frequently and breaking meat into small crumbly bits.

Once beef is cooked, drain the pan of fat, before adding the canned tomatoes and their juices. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the meat sauce to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and add the cream to the sauce, whisking to combine. Continue to stir as you sprinkle 3/4 Cup of the Parmesan into the mixture. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has warmed through and thickened a little bit, about 5 minutes more.

Add the finished sauce to the cooked, drained pasta and toss to completely coat the noodles.

Transfer finished pasta to individual plates, sprinkling with the remaining Parmesan and garnishing with parsley before serving.

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You say tomato, I say tomatl – fun facts about our favorite fruit (yes, fruit)


The tomato: it’s not what you think it is.  Second only to potatoes, the tomato is one of America’s favorite vegetables. But [spoiler alert] it’s not actually a vegetable. More on that in a minute.

Tomato love, by the numbers. Of American households that have a garden, over 90% are growing tomatoes, and August is peak Midwestern tomato-picking time. This makes us really happy.

Tomatoes_2013If you’re happy and you know it, eat some tomatoes. Let’s take a look back to national tomato-eating statistics: the USDA says that an average American eats about 22 – 24 lbs of tomatoes each year. Now, about three-fourths of that is in the form of processed tomato products stuff (and about half the tomatoes we consume are in the form of ketchup and salsa – that’s a lotta condiment you’re putting on your food!). But that still leaves a good 5 + pounds (on average) of fresh tomatoes that we each consume (on average).

And nothing tastes closer to heaven than the flavor of a fresh, local, ripe tomato. Which is available, in abundance, right now. We’re sort of like the Forest Gump of tomatoes, making tomato salad, tomato pizza, roasted tomatoes, tomato marmalade, tomato jam, tomato pesto and tomato bruschetta, pasta with tomato sauce, BLT sandwiches, and whatever else we can think of to pair with tomatoes.

While we go out to the garden to pick some more tomatoes, read on for some fun tomato trivia that amuses us, that we think you’ll enjoy, too:

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Harissa and Goat Cheese Roasted Tomatoes

6 Roma tomatoes
4 oz. goat cheese, sliced thin
2 tsp Harissa Spice Blend
1 tsp Single-Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus more for greasing
1 tsp hot water

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Combine Harissa spice blend with hot water. Add 1 tsp of olive oil and stir until mixture forms a smooth paste.

Halve tomatoes lengthwise and arrange, cut side up, in the oiled baking pan. Brush each tomato half with the Harissa paste. Next, cover each spiced tomato half with goat cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to soften and the goat cheese browns on top.

Remove baking dish from oven and transfer roasted tomatoes to a pretty serving dish.

Serve tomatoes, warm or at room temperature, with plenty of pita or crusty bread.

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