Friday, August 17, 2007

Hey Good Lookin'...

It all began when I spotted her at the local grocery store. She was all the way on the other end of the store behind the registers, yet somehow, perhaps it was fate, I caught a glimpse of her magnificent glowing skin through the crowd of anxious shoppers. When I turned to take a better look, she was gone, barricaded behind a lady shopper in a garishly green jumpsuit who was examining sweet potatoes from the bin bellow. How long does it take to select a sweet potato? I thought to myself becoming impatient. I decided to better position myself for a closer look and as I crossed the floor I said to myself , out load mind you, this is crazy, I’m not even here to buy produce.
I had absolutely no need for a lemon colored heirloom freckled with shards of lime green. My fridge was full of aging vegetables, all of whom stoically pined for me to snatch them up - like Richard Gere did to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman - and to transform them into a savory and fulfilling meal thus rescuing them from a maggot filled demise at the bottom of the trash bin. If I were to buy this young jolly rancher of a tomato and bring her home with me, it would be a smack in the face to my previously purchased vegetables.

Perched behind her like a stalker, I nervously peaked over the shoulder of the green-jumpsuited-lady-shopper and as she moved on to other produce bins she exposed the object of my preoccupation. It was breathtaking. Staring at her, I couldn’t help but think that some higher power had made great plans for this tomato and was speaking to me in subliminal mouth-watering tones. Who was I to refuse? Without a shred of guilt I placed her in my basket and continued shopping.

When I got her home, I placed her on my countertop, and there she sat with the all the regal pride of an heiress and all the quiet wisdom of the Dali Lama. Days passed as I searched and searched for a recipe that was up to her standards. I felt like a father in charge of my only daughter’s arranged wedding, no recipe will ever be good enough! Then one day I noticed the can of La Morena Choptle Chilies in Adobe Sauce sitting at the top of my pantry. I got to work immediately.

It was too hot to turn on the oven, so I roasted my beloved heirloom on the stovetop, turning her over as each side slowly lost its magnificent color and became charred. I scanned the fridge and was lucky to find lime, cilantro, and a red onion, everything I needed to make a roasted tomato salsa. With a few pulses on the Cuisinart my salsa was ready. For days I enjoyed my heirloom in such dished as Huevos Rancheros, and Beef Fajitas.
I dumped her on sandwiches, and drizzled her over salads. It was like a week-long festival devoted to my exceptional heirloom. When she was all gone, the postpartum set in and was only fortified when I found the corpses of my elderly vegetables huddled together in a wilted heap at the bottom of the fridge, I had forgotten all about them.

Roasted Tomato Salsa
1 large tomato, roasted and chopped
the juice of 1 lime
1-2 La Morena Chipotle Chilies in sauce
1/2 a medium sized red onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
fist full of cilantro

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.


The Passionate Palate said...

Fantastic love story! It has made me think about my vegetables differently. :-)

Vivian said...

I agree with you, those heirloom tomatoes are more than a vegetable.
I think you gave it great honor with your preparation.