Tomato Feast Tomato Famine
Tomato Water Mocktails
By mid-September, most of Oregon has entered a definite early autumn. Usually. But not this year.
For the longest time, summer refused to come. I took the flannel sheets off of the beds in early June, and it was a month too soon. The flowers took their sweet time coming into robust bloom. The vegetable garden languored to the point that we anticipated our gardening efforts would be a bust. Let me add here that we had planted somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen tomato plants, and there are only two of us. I'm sure you can see where this is going.
I'm not complaining. Last summer, we ended up at this time with tiny hard, green tomatoes, and you can only fry up so many of those.
All summer we've made lovely "mocktails" with a squeeze of lemon or lime, ice, a glassful of mineral water and a shake or two of any number of delicious bitters as the mood strikes. Fee Brothers makes a huge variety of bitters, and I couldn't help but to stock the pantry with lemon, West Indies orange, plum, cranberry, mint, cherry, peach, rhubarb and celery flavors. (My local liquor store only stocks a few flavors, but happily ordered in the rest on request.) This again, for two people, amounts to what I'm sure is a lifetime supply of bitters.
As I pondered a pile of very ripe tomato orbs of multiple varieties, this variation of a little afternoon refresher came to mind.
Tomato Water Mocktailsmakes one
1 large or 2 small very ripe tomatoes
one small sprig basil
1 small wedge lemon
ice to fill glass
mineral water, chilled
- Chop tomatoes roughly. Place a few pieces at a time in a wire mesh strainer and crush with the back of a spoon over a small bowl.
- Tear off several basil leaves. Muddle in bottom of glass with the back of a spoon.
- Squeeze in the lemon wedge and toss the remains into the glass.
- Pour tomato water back through the strainer into the glass.
- Fill glass with ice.
- Fill glass with mineral water.
- Top with two or three shakes of celery bitters.
- Gently push down just a little on the top ice cube, not enough to disturb the lovely red tomato water layer on the bottom.
- Garnish with a sprig of basil flowers. Serve with dispatch.