"OK, 'rice and tomatoes'--it couldn't be simpler. But simple dishes are often the hardest, aren't they?"
We are not always so lucky to have a bumper crop of tomatoes (they used to be easier to grow when I was only harvesting :/) but if you love fresh tomatoes, you need this book. Farmstand aficionados, vegans, vegetarians, and meat-lovers will all find something here to favorite. Brian Yarvin gives simple, delicious, and diverse recipes using tomatoes for those days when our heat-addled or work-dead brains come to a halt at spaghetti.
I cook a lot. But even I have days when the juices are not flowing and I have used up the repertoire stored in my hard drive. I just need a little inspiration to make something wonderful and Yarvin’s book is so handy to remind me of things I love. He adds a little something I hadn’t thought to use, tells order of ingredients, and length of sauté (things I am sure I never knew), and I have come up with truly splendid cuisine from this small book. Besides, I love his stories, like the one of looking for canned tomatoes in Italy, or judging a chili cook-off in Texas.
I immediately discovered a new favorite, “Sicilian Vegetable Stew (Caponata)” served atop Parmesan Couscous, which is not the same as “French Vegetable Stew (Ratatouille)”, another classic. His vegetable lasagna won over hardened meat-eaters, and was a dream dish on my table. And he tells us how to make our own frozen pizzas for those days we simply will not spend another dime (more like ten dollars) or another minute eating out.
There are many delicious choices here for quick dinners, as well as dinners as aromatic and fragrant as an Italian don’s Spaghetti Sauce. They smell so good you don’t ever want the simmering to end. Yarvin doesn’t stop at the Mediterranean, however, but shares Central African, Romanian, Albanian, Chinese and Japanese (!) specialties featuring tomatoes as well as American favorites from all parts of the country. His stories interspersed among the recipes give one a chance to savor his particular brand of travel writing.
With heirloom tomatoes making a comeback and farmer’s markets getting up to speed for the season, you may want to pick up a copy of this cookbook which is sure to become one of your favorites. There are enough ways to vary your tomato dishes that you will never again say you have “too many tomatoes.”
Brian Yarvin is a travel writer, photographer, and cook. His recipes are simple to follow, and often might be one-dish meals.
You can buy this book here: Tweet