It may be the year of the fire rooster according to the Chinese New Year calendar but here at Village Farms 2017 is the year to “Empower the Chef Within”. The fire rooster moves at high speeds and has a sharp focus and drive, always determined to reach its goals and we want the same for you! You may not think of yourself as a chef, you may not even really cook, but one thing’s for certain – we all have to eat. There are countless reasons we find ourselves leaning on take-out, meal kits, or frozen dinners to satisfy our hunger. As our society has transitioned into such a fast-paced environment a more eat-to-live versus live-to-eat mindset has emerged. The traditional family dinner and the preparation that go along with it have suffered, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
This year we’ll be providing you with the tools to get back to the dinner (or lunch, or breakfast table) using our fresh, healthy products in a way that is approachable and best fits your lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to eat healthy, cook on a budget or spend less time in the kitchen we’ve got you covered and more this year. Being a chef doesn’t have to mean weeks of training, hours of slaving over a stove or piles of dishes, it’s about creating meals we enjoy. Fresh, healthy, homemade meals are just around the corner and we’re here to help.
Choosing – Look for bright colors, the green star (calyx) where the vine is attached to the tomato (if it’s on the vine) should be green and supple, not brown, shriveled or dry.
Storing – Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature for optimum flavor and texture. If it’s absolutely necessary they can be put in the refrigerator, however we recommend allowing them to come back to room temperature before enjoying them.
Prepping – When it comes to cutting your tomatoes, it’s all about deciding ahead of time what their final use will be. For larger beefsteak tomatoes, like what’s typically used on sandwiches you may want slices, so place the tomato on its side and simply make them as thick as you’d like. For a hearty tomato salad slicing the tomatoes in half first and placing them flat side down on the cutting board will give you a more stable tomato to cut into wedges or quarters.
For smaller varieties like Campari, cherry, and grape tomatoes if you cut them in half at the stem you’ll get tomatoes that hold their pulp and juices better whereas if you cut them into quarters you’re allowing those juices to disseminate, which is great for salsas and bruschetta.
Our mini San Marzano tomato has a unique oblong shape, often leaving people wondering just how to cut it. Slicing them long-ways once or twice works great for adding them as a pizza topping or if you want them to hold up a little better in the oven. Cutting them into coins (as shown in the video) is a great option for salads or thicker sauces!
Now put some of these skills to the test, check out our recipe page and Empower the Chef Within!