Michelle Palmer: 'tis the season for tomato

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Tomato season is here! There is nothing like a fresh NEVER been refrigerated tomato. Tomato, (Solanum lycopersicum), flowering plant of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), cultivated extensively for its edible fruits. Labelled as a vegetable for nutritional purposes, tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and the phytochemical lycopene. The fruits are commonly eaten raw in salads, served as a cooked vegetable, used as an ingredient of various prepared dishes, and pickled. Additionally, a large percentage of the world’s tomato crop is used for processing; products include canned tomatoes, tomato juice, ketchup, puree, paste, and “sun-dried” tomatoes or dehydrated pulp. (Encyclopædia Britannica)

The wild species originated in the Andes Mountains of South America, probably mainly in Peru and Ecuador, and is thought to have been domesticated in pre-Columbian Mexico; its name is derived from the Náhuatl (Aztec) word tomatl. The tomato was introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the early 16th century, and the Spanish and Italians seem to have been the first Europeans to adopt it as a food. In France and northern Europe the tomato was initially grown as an ornamental plant and was regarded with suspicion as a food because botanists recognized it as a relative of the poisonous belladonna and deadly nightshade. Indeed, the roots and leaves of the tomato plant are poisonous and contain the neurotoxin solanine. (Encyclopædia Britannica)

The Italians called the tomato pomodoro (“golden apple”), which has given rise to speculation that the first tomatoes known to Europeans were yellow. It has been suggested that the French called it pomme d’amour (“love apple”) because it was thought to have aphrodisiacal properties. (Smithsonian Magazine)

Cherokee Purple or Brandywine Tomato are two of my favorites. Years ago Linda asked me to have a “pop up” booth at the farmers market with menu serving things created from the farmers as I did with Shirley’s Farmers markets 25 years ago. The farmers educated me on what was best “know your farmer know your food.”

I bought tomatoes from Holley Family Farm and Minton Family Farm YUMMO! With its many uses; my favorite is the “Tomato Steak Sandwich.” They were even on the menu at the Stone House in Reno when I was the Assistant Manager there, years ago. So… simple to make and so very delicious.

Homemade Bread, Mayo, Thick slice of Tomato (aka Steak cut) salt and pepper, that’s it!


8 oz. warm water (110 degrees)

¾ teaspoons salt

1/3 Cup sugar

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

360 grams bread flour

Method: Dissolve sugar in warm water, stir in yeast in small bowl. Mix in a large bowl oil and salt, add water yeast mixture. Then add one cup at a time of the flour. Knead until smooth. Place in a well-oiled bowl, turn to coat. Cover with damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Deflate dough. Shape into a loaf, and place into an oiled 9X5 loaf pan. Rise 30 minutes, or until dough is about 1” above the pan. Bake at 350 degrees preheated oven for 30 minutes until internal temperature is 190 degrees.

Michelle Palmer, has been cooking in the area for over three decades, Owner of Absolutely Michelle’s Chef-for-Hire, Nevada licensed Culinary educator, ACF Chef of the year 2000, ACF Pastry Chef of the year 2018, former dessert maker Adele’s, former Nevada Governors’ Mansion Chef, Corporate Chef BSH for Thermador, Bosch and Gaggenau Western region, an culinary mentor/consultant, Executive Corporate Chef of 5 local Squeeze In’s and outside Nevada franchises. 775/849-2333 absolutelym@att.net


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