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The Tomato Festival Cookbook

The Tomato Festival Cookbook
by Lawrence Davis-Hollander
Storey Publishing, 2004

More than a collection of 150 tomato recipes, this cookbook is a celebration of the tomato as it was meant to be savored: vine-ripened, fat, juicy, and fresh-picked from an heirloom plant.

"Heirloom tomato varieties are emphasized in this book because these are the best 'in season' eating and cooking tomatoes available today," explains the author in his introduction. "Many of these great varieties were on the brink of extinction, and some are still very rare. Names such as Livingston's Golden Queen, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Indian Moon, Mortgage Lifter stimulate the imagination into a world of culinary history and taste. Without the seed conservation movement, the practice of saving rare seeds for future generations, many varieties would surely have disappeared."

The recipes offered are mostly "homestyle," with little need for complicated techniques or unusual ingredients. Many have been gathered from chefs and food writers from around the world like Floyd Cardoz of Tabla in New York City, whose Spiced Tomato Salad is included, or the Polenta Concia with Gorgonzola with Fresh Herbs borrowed from the menu of Mistura in Toronto, where Massimo Capra is the chef-owner. 

The book also offers practical advice on growing and preserving heirloom tomatoes, as well as recommendations for the best varieties for slicing, salads or sauces. The appendix includes instructions for seed saving, lists of seed sources and regional tomato festivals.

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Bloody Bull

Odd as it sounds, this is a refreshing drink, best with a bitter India Pale Ale but also good with lager-style beers.

1 bottle (12 ounces) lager or India Pale Ale (IPA) or other beer

1/2 cup tomato juice

Pour beer into a tall glass, and while it is still frothing, pour in the tomato juice. Stir briefly and drink.

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