Dixie Burmeister Column June 18, 2009

Fred’s the best father, but best tomato grower?

Before I get to part two of the Tomato War, let me say something nice about the man I am in battle with ... the father of our two children, father-in-law to our sons-in-law, grandfather of our three grandchildren and best son-in-law to my elderly parents.

Happy Father’s Day, Fred. You’re the best.

And a happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there who are always there for your children, even when they’re older (like you, Dad!).

I will be joining our daughters and grandchildren for the cooking of a special Father’s Day feast. Knowing the guys love beef, we’re having a new kabob recipe added to our “special recipes” file.

Add grilled small potatoes tossed in olive oil, caramelized onions, sweet corn and green salad for the cooks, and watermelon for dessert, and it will be a feast fit for the kings. The recipe is below, BUT FIRST:

Are there any lawyers out there who could draw up the papers stating that should one Fred or Dixie Burmeister try to take ownership of a tomato plant purchased and planted by the other, he or she would have to automatically forfeit the Burmeister Mesa County Fair Tomato Throw Down?

Why, you ask, would I seek this legal assistance? Give a guess.

You-know-who discovered Miss Caspian Pink, my heirloom tomato, flourishing among my flowers in our brick planter. I could see the jealousy in his eyes as he asked, “Isn’t that one of my tomatoes?”

As I showed him the plant’s marker that said “Dixie B” on it, I yelled, “Tomato-napper!” Here is how things stand, as I see them, in the Tomato War.


uE06E Twenty-five tomatoes with the almost tomato-napped Miss Caspian Pink showing 45 blossoms and looking strong and hardy as it is lovingly supported by a carefully placed wire and panty hose ties.

uE06E I learned of a secret ingredient for MY tomatoes at a Palisade Peach Festival meeting last week while talking with Mike McDermott of Suncrest Orchard Alpacas. Let’s just say I’ll be “alpacan” something home for my plants, and I don’t mean peaches.

Twenty-six tomatoes. (Funny. I counted 23.)

•  I saw Fred in his farmer outfit looking guilty as he hid something behind his back. I think something fishy is going on again, but perhaps something a bit more diluted.

Did you know three-quarters of dead, brown, shriveled plants can actually make a slow, painful recovery?  They look weak, but there is actually some green appearing on them and those tomatoes are hanging on. However, I see the pained look on Fred’s face as he hovers over the three yellowish-brown, scrawny, terminal looking plants that could just, well, be terminal! Additional plants doing well.

There are 34 days until check-in at the Mesa County Fair, and the cool weather has made us nervous.

So what was Fred doing with an electric cord strung from the garage to his plants?

Fred is The Best Father.

But Fred The Tomato War Conqueror?

I don’t think so!

Beef Sirloin Kabobs with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

From http://www.beefitswhatfordinner.com

1 1/2 pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1-inch thick
2 teaspoons coarse-grind black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
Dipping sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jars (7 ounces each) roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and 3 cloves garlic; cook and stir 2–3 minutes or until onion is tender.
Add red peppers, wine, tomato paste and thyme, stirring until tomato paste is blended. Combine broth and cornstarch in small bowl, mixing until smooth. Stir into pepper mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10–12 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, cut beef steak into 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 1 inch pieces. Combine pepper, salt, paprika and 1 clove garlic in large bowl. Add beef; toss to coat. Thread beef pieces evenly onto six 12-inch metal skewers, leaving small space between pieces.
Place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, about 7–9 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning once. Serve with dipping sauce.


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