what should i do with vodka marinated heirloom tomatos?
So last week I watched an episode of Alton Brown's Good Eats where he dissected the bloody mary. I didn't think his recipe was entirely amazing, but one thing stood out: heirloom tomato vodka. So the next day I go out and buy some of the most amazing heirlooms (and cherry heirlooms!) I've ever seen (it was a shame to soak them in vodka, really), and dumped them in with some rather decent vodka.
Tomorrow the vodka is destined for some bloodies and I will have about 2 lbs worth of amazing vodka heirlooms. What can I do with them?
Thoughts so far:
- Blend them up and throw them in the bloody mix
- Drunken pasta
- Drunken caprese salad
- Tomato water (not sure how this would do with the vodka)
Also, any ideas or tips for not messing up my precious heirloom tomato vodka with bad bloody mary mix? Is it bad to use blended and strained fresh tomatoes in lieu of tomato juice in bloody mary mix?
What do you mean when you say bloody mary mix? Your own seasoned tomato juice, or are you buying a premade bottled mix? Please tell me you're making your own.
If you have very well-flavored tomatoes, I see no reason why you couldn't use them as a base for a bloody. Skin, deseed and blend the tomatoes. I wouldn't necessarily strain, as you want some pulp and body. Remember to season well, as most canned or bottled tomato juices have a fair share of sodium, and you might find your fresh tomato juice to be a little flat. You might be used to that sodium level, regardless of the good tomato flavor.
Tomato water, or water made from any vegetable that contains a lot of liquid, can be made by pureeing the product, placing that into a cheesecloth bag, tie it to a wooden spoon and suspending the contents over a bowl placed in the sink overnight. I prefer the bowl in the sink method. The resulting liquid can be used for different things, including cocktails. If you make tomato water from your drunken tomatoes, you'll get a the perfect flavorful add-in to a bloody, but you will need to add tomato juice as well for body.
And more vodka.
Definitely making my own, but all the recipes I've found (even martha's!) call for store bought tomato juice, which I know is very doctored. I'm a little nervous the homemade won't taste as full and rich. Is cooking it to get rid of some of the water a bad idea? I know it would cook out the vodka but I should have plenty.
This method may not be for everyone, but when I want tomato juice, I use tomato paste. I slowly add water, and when the proportion of puree to liquid looks good, I add my seasonings (lemon juice, celery seed and what-have-you). I can control the salt content this way. It may not be very chow-ish, but when I was trying to perfect my bloody mary recipe, this was a cheap and easy way to keep the base on hand.
I don't think I would cook the tomatoes, unless you are talking about using them in a dish, instead of integrating them into the drink. Bushwickgirl's method for draining the tomatoes is a good one.
I don't have one I'm loyal to (contandina and muir glen are good, and hunts is always easy to find), but I stay away from the cheaper ones. They tend to have a bitterness that seems, to me, to go beyond the expected acidity.
If I can get to one of the little markets in my area (rather than Jewel), my selection is a bit better than what I've listed above, but I can't remember any of the names of other brands I've tried. Which I guess means I haven't found one that 'wowwed' me. I do remember one with a yellow can (with tomatoes in the middle of the label . . . maybe there was a field in the background) that I liked well enough to buy a few times.
Sorry I couldn't be more help.
For making your own mix-
1. Do you have a juicer? Juice those tomatoes, along with carrot or beet, some lime or lemon, herbs of your choice, garlic and/or shallots, fresh horseradish, cucumber or celery (other additions can include peppery radishes, ginger, bell peppers, fennel, green onions or ramps, pickled jalapeno), for incredibly fresh tomato juice base. You can even juice actual pickled vegetables to get that rich complexity from sodium filled brine. Then add the standard black pepper, celery salt, worcestershire, tabasco (I prefer chili-garlic cholula) whatever other flavoring you like.
With this fresh juice, 'asian' bloody marys take well, using wasabi, pickled ginger, five spice. Ditto for versions that are herb heavy (i.e. fresh dill and thyme, adding mustard powder or dijon, and cider vinegar).
2. Bring sundried tomatoes, canned whole tomatoes, roasted red pepper, shallot, onion, garlic, herbs, white wine/red wine or vinegar, a touch of brown sugar or other earthy sweetener (molasses, pomegranate molasses, etc) and water (or broth or clam juice), to a simmer, season and reduce and allow it to cool. Blend with the alcoholic tomatoes, strain, add citrus juice, additional seasonings to taste.
I'll often use achiote oil or paste, garam masala, some heavy heat from homemade harissa, chipotles in adobo, serrano, or other chilis depending on the rest of the flavors involved, directly in the sundried tomato mix before reducing. Tamarind paste, anchovies, smoked paprika, curry, bbq sauce, balsamico, and marmite have also made appearances, to name a few more spins.
You could also:
- use those tomatoes for a simple, traditional gazpacho.
- Smoke Them!
- grill them, sprinkle salt and black papper, eat as is, or on toasted ciabatta with mashed avocado, with an english fry up, over creamy polenta with lemon-dressed arugula and sliced parm, whatever.
- use in a salad. Like, with cucumber and feta, mint and basil, caperberries, and sherry dressing.
- use in pico de gallo, salsa, gucamole, bruschetta,
- make ketchup.
- use it in risotto.
- stuff them into wonton wrappers with herbs and cheese, and maybe bacon, fry them.
Some wonderful ideas there, gwendolynmarie. I like the wasabi sub for horseradish and the cholula sub fo the ubiquitous Tabasco. I'm curious toknow how much flavor the tomatoes will have left after the vodka marinade.
I also agree that tomato paste makes a good base for a number of dishes and juice. It has a rich tomato flavor and is low sodium.
For garnishing the bloodys, try a pickled jalapeño, pickled okra pod, a half sour spear, or a lightly roasted or grilled asparagus spear. I like 3-4 anchovy stuffed green olives on a skewer for mine.
thanks gwendolyn marie! awesome ideas
the bloody marys i made turned out great - not sure exactly the proportions i used, but i combined organic tomato juice, the juice from a jar of pepperoncinis, a ton of old bay seasoning, lots of salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, a tad of balsalmic, tiny bit of lemon juice and of course the heirloom tomato vodka...highly recommend to all. we were taking them on the boat so we simply garnished with some celery.
had a ton left over so tonight i'm making bloody mary chicken, and tomorrow probably using any leftover for the base of a tortilla soup.
i tried tasting one of the tomatoes and to me it tasted like all vodka. i'm going to make a simple penne a la vodka with half of them tomorrow to see how it goes and how the flavor held up...if it works out i like the grilling idea...i wonder if i could even do fried tomatoes! homemade ketchup also sounds awesome. i'm glad i didn't go the salad or pasta salad route, they're just too vodka-y. i need to cook some off!
final opinion: glad i made my own heirloom tomato vodka, and with all the leftovers involved it's a rather economical recipe!