Saturday Recipe Share – September 5, 2015

Tomato season is in full swing and tomato soup is one of my favorites.  I found a good recipe which of course I had to “doctor up” to suit my taste buds.  Here it is:

Tomato Soup with Garden Fresh Tomatoes

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons of olive oil (for sauteing)

4 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes

1 onion chopped

4 garlic cloves chopped (let chopped cloves sit for 15 minutes before cooking)

2 cups chicken broth

Spices:  1 tbls. Cumin, 1 1/2 teas. Turmeric, 1 1/2 teas. Ginger, 1 teas. salt, Optional: sugar to taste, fresh basil, dash of hot sauce.

Roux:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons All-purpose flour (I use King Arthur flour)

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In a 3 quart stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Stir in the onions and saute until softened (about 5 minutes).  Place the lid on top of the pot and only remove to stir the onions.  Remove the lid from the pot and add the cumin, turmeric and ginger and stir for about 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for another minute.  Add chicken broth and tomatoes.  With the pot covered, bring to a boil and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors.  Remove from heat and either run mixture through a food mill into a large bowl or pan and discard any stuff left over in the food mill OR use an emulsion blender or heavy duty blender on the mixture.  I use the Blendtec as this will fully chop the tomato skins and seeds.
  2. In shallow pan or small pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is a medium brown.  Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then add the roux to the soup which should be back in the stock pot.  Stir the mixture to incorporate the roux in with the soup.  Season with salt, sugar (if needed), fresh basil, and/or hot sauce.

I give this 5 Yums.

Watering Hole: August 29, 2011 – Tomato

For me, this is the best season of the year.  It is tomato season.

Tomatoes are native to the Americas and along with peppers, eggplant, and belladonna, are members of the nightshade family.

This fruit is so very versatile.  You can cook it and make a sauce which is great on pizza or over pasta.  Add tomatoes to soups.  Raw tomatoes make yummy sandwiches and can be added to any salad.

The only good tomato is a fresh tomato grown in season.  The tomatoes that are sold in the supermarkets in the off season have a high “yuk” factor.  Science keeps trying to genetically modify the tomato so that the consumer can enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes all year round.  So far, they have not succeeded in creating this tomato.  Some of the best varieties are the “heirlooms“.  Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow.  One does not need much space to grow tomatoes as they can be grown in containers.  The only requirements are the warm sun, good, clean soil and water when needed.

Here’s a link to the nutritional information for tomatoes.

So grab a salt shaker and head for the tomato garden.

This is our Open Thread.  What do you think?  Speak Up!

In all likelihood…Your tomatoes are picked by slaves

Yes, I’m talking about the United States.  In Florida, since 1997, there have been seven slavery rings that have been prosecuted by the Department of Justice, freeing over 1,000 workers.  These employers are guilty of beating their workers, chaining them, keeping them in debt and imprisoning workers in U-Hauls for being sick or unable to work.

We still have a ways to go, in Immokalee, Florida, the tomato capital, between December and May, as much as 90 percent of the fresh domestic tomatoes we eat come from south Florida.

According to Douglas Molloy, the chief assistant U.S. attorney based in Fort Myers, Immokalee has another claim to fame: It is “ground zero for modern slavery.”

The beige stucco house at 209 South Seventh Street is remarkable only because it is in better repair than most Immokalee dwellings.  For two and a half years, beginning in April 2005, Mariano Lucas Domingo, along with several other men, was held as a slave at that address. At first, the deal must have seemed reasonable. Lucas, a Guatemalan in his thirties, had slipped across the border to make money to send home for the care of an ailing parent. He expected to earn about $200 a week in the fields. Cesar Navarrete, then a 23-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, agreed to provide room and board at his family’s home on South Seventh Street and extend credit to cover the periods when there were no tomatoes to pick.

Lucas’s “room” turned out to be the back of a box truck in the junk-strewn yard, shared with two or three other workers. It lacked running water and a toilet, so occupants urinated and defecated in a corner. For that, Navarrete docked Lucas’s pay by $20 a week. According to court papers, he also charged Lucas for two meager meals a day: eggs, beans, rice, tortillas, and, occasionally, some sort of meat. Cold showers from a garden hose in the backyard were $5 each. Everything had a price. Lucas was soon $300 in debt. After a month of ten-hour workdays, he figured he should have paid that debt off.

But when Lucas-slightly built and standing less than five and a half feet tall-inquired about the balance, Navarrete threatened to beat him should he ever try to leave. Instead of providing an accounting, Navarrete took Lucas’s paychecks, cashed them, and randomly doled out pocket money, $20 some weeks, other weeks $50. Over the years, Navarrete and members of his extended family deprived Lucas of $55,000.

To put their back-breaking labor into prospective, for every 32 pound basket of tomatoes workers get approximately 40 to 50 cents, this rate has not risen much from what workers were paid 30 years ago. On a good day you could possibly make $50 if you picked a ton of tomatoes, that’s only if you work very fast.  But there are many pitfalls in achieving that goal.

If it rains, you can’t pick. If the dew is heavy, you sit and wait until it evaporates. If trucks aren’t available to transport the harvest, you’re out of luck. You receive neither overtime nor benefits. If you are injured (a common occurrence, given the pace of the job), you have to pay for your own medical care.

The fast food industry contributed greatly to the poor wages paid to workers for the tomatoes that were bought by Burger King & McDonald’s to name a few.  It wasn’t til last year that Burger King finally caved to a salary increase.

Astonishingly, Burger King, until May 29, 2008, refused to go along with a deal that will cost them less than $300,000 annually; last year, the corporation raked in $2.23 billion in revenues.

The Campaign for Fair Food, has put pressure for the past four years on YUM! Brands, owner of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Long John Silver’s, and A&W. Yum! agreed to the one-cent raise in 2005 and, importantly, pledged to make sure that no worker who picked its tomatoes was being exploited.

But the program faces a major obstacle. Claiming that the farmers are not party to the arrangement, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, an agricultural cooperative that represents some 90 percent of the state’s producers, has refused to be a conduit for the raise, citing legal concerns.

The only way to ensure you are buying slave-free tomatoes is to buy them locally or from Whole Foods, which is the only grocery chain that has signed on to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) Campaign for Fair Food, which means that it has promised not to deal with growers who tolerate serious worker abuses and, when buying tomatoes, to a pay a price that supports a living wage.  The tomatoes picked in Mexico, laborers have even worse conditions than our workers face here in the US.

It’s hard to believe in this day and age we are still prosecuting people for slavery.

Government to Bail Out Tainted Tomato Industry?

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

The Wall Street Journal reports that Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-FL) plans to introduce legislation to give tomato growers and shippers $100 million in compensation for their losses due to the recent salmonella outbreak.

The WSJ states that the FDA has listed its ban on the tainted vegetable, while the CDC says that there still may be more cases not yet reported which resulted from tomatoes. More than 1200 people were sickened in this latest produce disaster.

Congress has scheduled several hearings next week concerning the salmonella outbreak and why thee was such a lengthy delay in determining the cause.

The sought-after amount is based on an estimate from Florida growers and includes crops abandoned in the field, products thrown out by retailers and tomatoes forced to be sold as low as $5 a box, compared with as much as $20 in a normal market, said Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, a cooperative of tomato farmers. The Agriculture Department hasn’t released a firm estimate of the cost to farmers or distributors.

Call me crazy, but shouldn’t we try to figure out exactly what happened first, before we opt to shovel $100 million dollars to any industry? Especially one which may be at fault?

Consumer advocates oppose the bill. Sarah Klein, a staff attorney at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the food-industry lobby over the years has weakened federal food-safety oversight, and consumers shouldn’t foot the bill now. “We’d like to see the industry focusing on how to prevent these outbreaks for the future to protect consumers and their bottom line,” she said.

Gee, you don’t say?

Oh, and watch those Jalepeno peppers. They’re still hot. The FDA and CDC found a single pepper tainted with the Saintpaul strain of salmonella in Texas.
Continue reading