The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

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The waiting is the hardest part,

Every day you get one more yard,

You take it on faith, you take it to the heart,

The waiting is the hardest part.

Tom Petty

For the past month or so I've partook in the excruciating exercise of watching my tomatoes ripen. The unseasonably cool temps in my area have not helped! Little by little, they are shifting to yellow. Two I would label pale orange. But none are ready to pick.

My pain is exacerbated by the fact that the tomatoes stand in our front yard, in the very sunniest spot possible, behind my garden that borders the sidewalk and in front of my garden along our house foundation. I can't help but look at them several times a day. They look awkward, block the view of my finally-completed foundation planting and detract from my flowers. This is by no means "edible landscaping" at its finest. To be totally honest ,I can't wait for the tomatoes to ripen just so I can compost the plants!

You may recall this is a side-by-side comparison of the MightyMato grafted plant and the non-grafted just plain ol' 'Big Beef' tomato. At this stage in the game I can't tell any noticeable difference between the two. I would say they're both doing well. They haven't really come up against any challenges—no pests, I kept them watered, I pruned them according to our resident veg expert Peter Garnham's suggestions. So I can't really say if the MightyMato lives up to its billing as more disease and drought resistant. It does have a few more fruits and seems a smidge larger and sturdier.

As I wait for them to ripen, I've been thinking of ways to use the tomatoes, aside from just slicing them for sandwiches. Here is a favorite recipe—

Spinach Casserole with Tomato Topping

This is from one of Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette's From a Monastery Kitchen cookbooks, though I'm not certain exactly which one.

Ingredients for white sauce:

6 T. butter

6 T. flour

3 c. milk, divided

1.5 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

dash nutmeg

Other ingredients:

4 eggs, beaten

1.5–2 c. stale whole wheat bread, cubed

16 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, drained & chopped

6–8 oz. cheddar cheese, sliced

2 or 3 large tomatoes, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

oregano & parsley

salt & pepper

To make white sauce:

Dissolve the flour in 1 c. milk. Melt butter; when butter starts to foam, add milk/flour mixture, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the milk and the spices; bring to a boil. Lower heat and keep stirring until thick and smooth.

Add eggs, bread and spinach to the white sauce. Stir. Place into buttered casserole dish. Cover with cheese slices.

Fry tomatoes briefly with onion and herbs. Arrange on top of casserole. Bake at 350˚F until bubbly and browned—about an hour.