Dixie Burmeister Column July 01, 2009

Dixie claims victory with first tomato of the season

Let’s talk culinary delights for the Fourth of July, but first a Tomato Update: On Father’s Day, June 21, (note the irony) at 4:35 p.m., weighing in at 3 1/2 ounces and in perfect shape, the first Burmeister tomato was picked.

AND it was MINE! Yippee!

Fred, my husband and adversary in the Tomato War, was bragging and showing me he had two (smaller) tomatoes that were starting to turn red.

So, I bravely said to myself, “get over it, he may pick the first but I’ll have the biggest, most beautiful ribbon-winning tomato at the Mesa County Fair.”

As I was about to give up the “First Tomato” title, a little voice said to me (and it wasn’t Fred’s), “go look at your tomatoes again.”

What to my wondering eyes should appear, hidden on the back side of the plant, but one beautiful, juicy, ripe yellow tomato that fell in my hand as I touched it.

As I was running and shouting to tell Fred and the neighbors, a thought flittered through my mind, “perhaps I’ll need counseling before this Tomato War is over.”

But, oh, it was sweet first tomato victory.

Since then Fred has picked three teeny, tiny tomatoes and I’ve picked another yellow one.

Remember what that first bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich of the season with homegrown tomatoes tastes like?

Well, Fred does, because I shared.

My plea for legal representation regarding our Tomato Throw Down has been answered thanks to my pro-bono lawyer, Larry Beckner. He informed Fred that when they play golf there will be no tomato discussion as I am now his client. How about a “Post-Nuptial Tomato Agreement”?

Now, let’s talk Fourth of July, cherries and apricots.

Linda Stradley shared a couple of her recipes from What’s Cooking America, http://whatscookingamerica.net.

Breakfast Sausage Kabobs
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier Liqueur
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
12 ounces precooked sausage links
3 fresh apricots cut into 1-inch pieces
Glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine apricot preserve, Grand Marnier, and grated orange zest. Bring mixture to a boil; boil, stirring for 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
Preheat broiler of your oven. Heat sausage links until warm; remove from heat and cut into 1-inch pieces.
Using small 8-inch skewers, alternate sausage with apricots. Spread glaze mixture over the sausage and apricots on the skewers. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Variation: Other fruits may be used, such as peaches, nectarines, or fruit combinations. Dried fruits may be substituted.
Makes 3 to 4 skewers.
Cherries in Pinot Noir Wine
An easy gourmet touch for the Fourth.
1 pound fresh sweet cherries (such as Bing, Rainier, or Lambert)
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste) Dixie: (maybe Splenda® Brown Sugar Blend?)
1 cup red wine (Linda uses pinot noir wine)
2 teaspoon lemon zest
Rinse and drain cherries; pit and stem.
In a medium saucepan, add water and brown sugar; bring to a simmer. Add red wine and lemon zest. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Add pitted cherries; return mixture to a simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with lid; let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, refrigerate. NOTE: By allowing mixture to refrigerate a day, flavors develop and blend.
Serve the cherries chilled or at room temperature. Spoon cherries and liquid into individual serving bowls. Serve with your favorite wafers/cookies. Dixie: ( or over gelato, angel food cake or more fruit).
Makes 4 servings.


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