Tom and I took a journey south this weekend to the Homestead Farmer’s Market. Short history lesson on Homestead: it’s located at the very bottom of Florida (just before the Keys), it was absolutely destroyed during hurricane Andrew in the early 90’s and it’s mostly farmland. One of the best things about living in Florida is the abundance of fresh produce all year long. I especially love that I can get good, local tomatoes whenever I want. I didn’t find any interesting varieties at the farmer’s market, but I did score some outrageously good strawberries, avocados, chili peppers and something that looks like green onions. (Still haven’t used those, so I’m not quite sure what they are. I’ll report back soon.)
After we explored the farmer’s market, we went to Whole Foods where I found some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes in yellow, green, red and purple. Sigh. I’m a grocery store junkie. Tom doesn’t really like tomatoes unless they’re in something, so there’s no way I can get away with a straight-up tomato salad. I also didn’t want to cook them into nothing. That’s what Muir Glen canned tomatoes are for. I came up with a bruschetta-like thing and baked a fresh loaf of bread. I didn’t have any basil for the bruschetta, but I did have cilantro and chives. I also threw in some poppy seeds because I think they look pretty.
After we’d had our fill of bread, there was still some bruschetta left over, so I ate it with a spoon. What can I say? I love fresh, ripe tomatoes even if Tom thinks they’re gross…
Heirloom tomato bread topping (or, Bruschetta-like Thing if you prefer)
3 – 4 heirloom tomatoes (I used 2 brandywines and a large yellow one)
2 cloves garlic
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. sliced chives
2 pinches fleur de sel (or kosher salt)
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. poppy seeds (optional)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Begin by chopping the tomatoes and putting them in a medium bowl. Mince the garlic and add to the tomatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss until everything is uniformly distributed. Let sit for 20 – 30 minutes at room temperature. (Putting this in the fridge will fade the tomato-tastic flavors. I do not recommend it.) Serve with fresh bread or crackers.
Quicker No-Knead Bread from Apartment Therapy The Kitchen
makes 1 loaf
3 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon regular yeast (not instant)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
Mix all the ingredients in the morning before you go to work. This should take about 3 minutes and leave you with a thick, slightly goopy dough. Mark Bittman calls it “shaggy.” Cover with a towel or some plastic wrap and leave it in the warmest spot in your kitchen. It should get a 6 to 8-hour rise.
When you come home from work lightly mist a counter or baking sheet with spray oil and turn dough out on it. Shape it roughly into a ball, mist with oil again, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let proof for about an hour, or however long you have. (You can also proof your dough a little faster in the microwave!)
Heat the oven to 450Â°F. Put a cast iron or metal pot in the oven to heat. When the dough has doubled in size, put it in the pan. You may have to pour it, pry it off the baking sheet, or just roll it in – the dough is very wet. Don’t worry if it looks a mess. Cover the pot with a lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15 minutes to let it brown.
You can be really sure that the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the side of the loaf reads 210-220Â°F.