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Using the last of the fresh garden tomatoes

By Penny Stine

Like almost every other gardener out there, I picked green tomatoes a month or so ago and gave them space to ripen. Some people put them in a cardboard box, others in a brown paper sack, I simply left mine in a couple of baskets and bowls on the counter. I think I had three or four bowls/baskets full of tomatoes a month ago.
I’ve been slowly using them and had five or six red ones and two small yellow ones left yesterday. I’ve also got a couple of green tomatoes in the fridge that I deliberately put there so they would retain their green, unripe and tart flavor to use in a lentil and rice dish. As I wrote the headline for this, I realized what an oxymoron it is... can you call them fresh garden tomatoes when you picked them more than a month ago? 

Although the red ones on the counter looked pretty, they tasted like grocery store tomatoes and not garden tomatoes, so I decided to use them in something cooked, where it wouldn’t make as much difference. Same with the yellow ones.

I also had some kaniwa, which is predicted to be the next superfood, but which I bought at Sprouts mostly because I was curious and it was on sale. I decided to make a hot kaniwa dish with red tomatoes and Swiss chard (which I picked right before Thanksgiving). As I was cooking, I decided to add some amaranth seeds, and then I thought a little corn meal wouldn’t hurt. I also added some cream cheese and grated parmesan, to make a creamy polenta-type dish. The kaniwa are the little brownish specks in the photo. 

My hubby thought it didn’t look particularly good, but admitted it tasted pretty good. (Then again, we’re from the tribe that thinks shoe leather with enough cheese would probably be good.)

For the shrimp portion of our dinner, I sautéed onions, garlic and the yellow tomatoes, then added some shrimp, fresh rosemary and a bit of fresh lemon juice. We ended up eating the shrimp on top of my ancient grains polenta (doesn’t that sound more appetizing than polenta with weird seeds?).
It was all quite tasty and probably incredibly nutritious, since both amaranth and kaniwa are supposed to be some of those nutrient-dense foods. Plus, it was a way to use up the last of my red tomatoes. I’m making the rice and lentil dish tonight.