Sunday, March 11, 2007

So much promise. These three little plants along with three more just like it will shape our August menus - sliced tomato and cottage cheese, gazpacho, tomato pie, roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce.Last year I put in about a dozen plants with disappointing results. I understand it was a 'bad tomato year' for others as well. But I did put in varieties that are new to me. This year, back to the tried and true - Beefsteak tomato. Hubby's paternal grandpa planted a tomato garden every spring. Each time we would visit, he would take me by the hand to show me his garden. Without fail he would say, 'These are Beefsteak tomatoes. They are a high acid tomato. I like a high acid tomato.'
Having been born after my own grandfathers had passed away, this was the most delightful Papa moment for me. It didn't matter if I had heard it just the day before and knew I would hear it again and again. My garden wouldn't be complete without them.
Check out this fun basket. I picked it up at the quilt shop after class this week. It really 'needed' to come home with me. Later this summer, I can use it to bring in my tomato harvest. In the meantime, I can use it to carry dishes out to the picnic table for a sunny breakfast outside, carry quilt projects from place to place, fill it with books are magazines. The possibilities are fun and practically endless.
Lunch today was another trip down memory lane. Pimento cheese sandwiches. Mom used to make up a batch of this sandwich spread large enough to last a week. She had a food grinder attachment for this hulk of an electric can opener that lived on the counter top. The assembly and clean up of which was no small feat. She would cut chunks of cheddar cheese and run them through the grinder and finish by pushing throughthe contents of a jar of pimento, stir in some mayonnaise. Voila - a week's worth of lunches for the family.

These sandwiches were always served on soft white bread with gherkin sweet pickles on the side. If you want to make it an extra refreshing meal, add a glass of lemonade. Since I don't make it in large batches(and I hated having to clean that grinder), I just use a grater for the cheese and have switched to a nice whole wheat bread. It's still just as deelish as I remember.

With a predicted high of 81 today, thoughts turn to being out in the yard. Not much on the quilting front - I am stitching happily on the whole cloth in the evenings, a quilt is ready for binding, borders for another and cutting a new class project this week. Lots to do . . . better get busy.

24 comments:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Oh, how I love homemade pimento cheese, there's nothing to compare! Your basket is a beauty and I'll agree that the perfect word to describe those freshly-planted tomatoes is "promise". Great post!

Fiona said...

Your post is so full of spring promise - makes me feel that I need to rush down to the allotment and plant something! I want to grow more flowers this year. It will have to wait until next weekend though as our clocks don't go forward until the 25th.

Carol said...

Libby I'm on my way to your house for a sandwich. Boy did that ever bring back memories. Thanks.
Love the basket (I have one just like it and I use it all the time :)

Wendy said...

I can only dream of spring today, we've had days and days of pouring rain, haven't heard of any sun in the forecast. Wonderful post of memories in the garden. Gotta love the basket of many uses.

Angie said...

I love your basket, Libby! Hmmmm, Carol has one too...LOL I just may have to have one of those too. :D Man, you setting out tomato plants makes me want to go dig in the dirt, but it's still early here for anything like that to be planted. Have to wait for May 1st. :) If you don't mind, save me a seat and a sandwich along with Carol's! LOL

Screen Door said...

Sounds like life is good in California--the basket is definitely a keeper (though maybe I should be the one keeping it!!!!)
Your post brings back memories-- my Mom made my Dad a lunch for his his lunchbox w/thermos everyday for the 35 years he work... I remember her getting up at 5:30 AM and making pimento and cheese sandwiches-- thanks for sparking memories....

kjquilts said...

Oh, you have brought back some great memories for me too! My Grandaddy always planted acidic tomatoes. My Mom and I are always saying we miss those tomatoes! The store bought ones just don't measure up. Also, I love pimento cheese! I buy it from the grocery store every single week. We had homemade sweet pickles with ours...they were coated with syrup. Yum! My kids tell me everytime, that's gross! I love your metal basket too. That will come in handy, I can tell.

paula, the quilter said...

Now why have I forgotten about cottage cheese 'salad'? (Chopped tomatoes, cottage cheese, chopped green onions & avocado cubes. Thanks, I need to go to the store now. We get hail in April so I don't plant a garden until the end of April

Linda_J said...

Here's hoping that you have a bumper crop as there is nothing better than home grown tomatoes--nothing. Well except maybe homemade pimento cheese spread. Yummy.

Weirdest place I saw a recipe for cheese spread? MAQS museum during the AQS show. I guess one of the Southern states had a quilt documentation and every site the photographer went to, there was the pimento cheese spread. If I looked in my recipe box, I could find some more detail.

Gotta love the spring!

KCQuilter said...

Oh, one of my mostest favoritest things in the whole wide world--homegrown tomatoes. The past few years we have had such poor luck with ours. Don't know if it is the soil, the lack of rain or what. 'Course the groundhogs have given us fits too!!! One of my DH and I's favorite traditions is when we pick our first tomato of the season is that we have bacon and tomato sandwiches. MMMMM.....

Judy said...

This is completely stupid, but I never thought of making pimento cheese home made. I've never seen it made any other way that in the plastic container at the store!! Stuff you learn even now!

The basket is cute and very versatile! What a nice thing for your Papa to say...mine always commented that I was "quite as plump one". That was okay though becasue I was and I still am! He had a heart of gold and didn't mean a thing by it. Funny the things we remember!

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Oh, please grow my home grown tomatoes for me, mine are long since dried up and gone back the the soil from which they tried valiantly to spring. Even with watering them with the house water, they just got too hot! No green tomato pickles here this year, but I bought a case and still did the sauce and chutney. We wont even mention the fruit trees!!
You have been so busy, what's pimento?
All those quilts are great, the walnut dye worked well, how scared were you when beginning to squirt???
Keep up the good work, Tracey

The Calico Cat said...

You absolutely have to share your tomato pie recipe! (I have strong memories of a ton of "started" tomatoe plants... & of trying to remove the tomato wire after the season was over...)

Darlene - Dazed Quilter said...

I'd completely forgotten about pimento cheese! My grandmother made that when I was growing up. Wow, thanks for the trip down memory lane.

GAZPACHO - yum!!!!!!!

Love the new basket, Libby!

McIrish Annie said...

81 degreees!! I dream of 81, it can't come this way soon enough. I need to move west to a warmer clime. I adore the basket.

Ms. Jan said...

I can see why you had to have that basket--it is wonderful. =) I can taste the tomatoes already!

Finn said...

Hi Libby, what a delightful post...*VBS* I do love anybody's trips down memory lane and this was an especially nice one..*VBS*
I totally missed out on grandfathers also, have two grandmas, but only knowing one. Luck was just about as bad with the DH's family. Your 'Papa' sounds delightful..*VBS*
And how good to be reminded of the pimento cheese sandwich. I've never had homemade, but used to love to spread it from the little glass(juice glasses to use later) jar that Kraft put it into. Especially on rye bread...quite a tasty treat!
Your new basket has the look of an old fashioned bicycle basket...and it's perfect for all the things you mentioned. Looks like it should be yours. Big hugs, Finn

Dawn said...

Our tomatoes were non-existent last year. I think we had 8 plants and got about 7 tomatoes!

Diana said...

There is nothing like the taste of a home grown tomato just off the vine. Our last frost-free date here is the first week of May, so I'll just have to bide my time.

Isn't it great to see everything in the ground reawakening at this time of year?

Cynthia said...

at the time i read your post it was lunchtime here. I'm certainly getting hungry now reading about the tomatoes and all the other goodies. Time to go and have some lunch :-)

Susie said...

We haven't put our tomatoes in yet. You're right that last year wasn't the best for crops. Love your basket and hope it is filled to the brim with those beautiful beefsteaks!!
My Mom and Grandma used to make a cheese spread in the food grinder too. They put in ham, cheese and sweet pickle and ground it all together. It was yummy!!
:)

meggie said...

Libby, What a lovely post! I hope your beefsteaks thrive!
That spread sounds delish.
My FIL tried most of his life to get cucumbers to grow, & he was so proud when he finally managed to. He was a nice old chap.

Quilt Memories said...

My g-parents raised me, so I enjoyed many trips to the garden with G_daddy. He would let me pick the tomatoes and eat them right there in the garden, (Dirt and all) what a treat. I loved them dearly.
I used to make pimento cheese , but I used velvetts cheese, my family really liked it. Haven't made any in a while. may do just that, and soon.
I do enjoy reading your post, it has been very "springy" here for several days, 80 degrees today, but they say we are going to have another cold front come through this weekend. I'M READY FOR SPRING!!!!
Make lots of Quilting Memories

Rabbit Stitchings said...

Home grown tomatoes are simply the best! I am about two weeks from planting mine!

This may post, I haven't been able to get this far with a post in weeks!