Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

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read, cook, eat: Mother’s magic macaroni, tomatoes and cheese

April 11, 2014

TV Dinner Time logo

Dec. 14, 2007 was the original publication date of this blog post, back when my late mother was a going concern (and going and going). One thing we never bickered about was macaroni and cheese. She was the queen. I was standing close by with a bowl to be filled. Bliss. On the fifth-anniversary of this 11th ave blog, of which she was a ridiculously generous supporter (still top commenter, four years after resting in peace), I repost her mac and cheese classic.

Nobody does it like mother does. Macaroni, that is. Unless you’re the boyfriend and you hate tomatoes or even the idea that tomatoes would play any part in that most sacred of TV food groups, macaroni and cheese. Maybe it’s a chick thing. But Mother and I know what we like. So whenever the wind blows me back home to Winnipeg, and we gather with Aunt Daisy and the gals for an evening of cacklin’ good fun, this is what’s cookin. Mother, this one’s for you.

Betty’s Macaroni and Tomatoes and Cheese (TM)

While you’re boiling the bejeesus out of a box of macaroni or some more frou-frou pasta (i prefer whole wheat fusilli: mother is shaking her head no), set the oven to 375 C and haul out the biggest and heaviest casserole dish you own. Bonus points if it’s cast iron. Into that casserole, toss a can of tomatoes, roughly chopped with the edge of the lid if they’re whole, along with a half dozen chopped green onions, an unwise amount of freshly ground black pepper (take the salt shaker from Mother; she knows she’s not supposed to) and a wee bit from the two or three handfuls of cheddar that your mother has made you grate by hand (and now you’re bleeding!) because she’s too stubborn to use the food processor sitting patiently below the counter. Call Aunt Daisy into the kitchen to help you load the casserole into the oven to cook for the duration of the pasta’s cooking time. You’ll know the pasta is done when it is waaaaay past al dente. Limp even.

Call Aunt Daisy back to help pull the too-damned-heavy casserole out and place it beside the sink, where Mother will add the strained, limp pasta to the tomato mixture while trying not to spill too many noodles into the sink. If I am not looking, mother will add a bit more butter before stirring it up very well. Only thing left after that is to add the generous, shaggy mound of grated cheddar.

Place back in the oven and cook for roughly three old family stories you’ve heard a million times before but that still make you laugh (some would say bray). It’s done when the cheese is browned. If Aunt Daisy is not too tipsy, call her back to haul it out. Mother, of course, will serve. You’ll all eat from TV tables and you won’t complain. And of course, you’ll be glad you wore your eatin’ pants.

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read, cook, eat july 2009: summer tomato sandwich

August 11, 2009

Summer time, tomato time

Summer time, tomato time

Despite cool summer weather here in Montreal, there are still nice tomatoes to be found, the real ones with the spiky green fragrance. Could eat them raw, sweet juice gushing, but you know what you need to do.

Summer Tomato Sandwich

Rinse tomato tenderly and cut into slices about one cm. thick, with a knife that will not crush.

Layer like roof shingles on one piece of modestly buttered white bakery bread. Sure you could toast it, but if the bread’s fresh, don’t bother.

Pepper. Tiny bit of salt, if you must.

Hellmanns and only Hellmanns for summer tomato sandwiches.

Hellmann's and only Hellmann's for summer tomato sandwiches.

One the other piece of white bread, spread a luxurious layer of Hellmann’s mayo and only Hellmann’s mayo. If you have ever even raised your eyes to Miracle Whip, you are lost. Best wishes.

If you have fresh basil in the garden, go pluck a couple of leaves, rinse, pat dry and shred. Sprinkle on the mayo.

Join the bread like two hands in prayer. Cut sandwich in half or, if you’re feeling fancy, in quarters. Out loud, say “Thank you for summer tomatoes” (don’t worry, somebody’s listening, even if it’s just your  mildly concerned neighbour) and tuck in.

Repeat until October.

— Denise Duguay

Oh basil, my basil

Oh basil, my basil

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