Monday, May 5, 2014

Arianna Trading Company organic tomatoes: A "good news, bad news" story

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GOOD NEWS: Last week I got to see my friend George Menzelos of Arianna Trading Company. George has been importing the most beautiful single-estate organic olive oil from Greece for a few years now, and this year he's also bringing in organic tomatoes, currants, and a sesame herb salt. George left me samples of all his products to inspire my cooking and, we hoped, a blog post or two.

BAD NEWS: After George's visit, I got buried in work, both for a new client and for Not Ketchup. A few days after I saw George, I was stuck in my home office until after 10pm. I didn't even have time to make dinner for my family.

GOOD NEWS: My 15-year-old son Emery decided to make dinner. He cooked up penne pasta with a rich tomato meat sauce. Emery even brought a bowl down to the office for me.

GOOD NEWS: That was the most delicious bowl of pasta I've ever eaten - not only because my child made it for me (what mother could resist the charms of that?) but because the tomato sauce was sweet, thick, and intense.

BAD NEWS: A few hours later I realized that I might have heard Emery say something like "I decided to make pasta because you had all these tomato products." I went to the refrigerator. George's tomatoes were gone. And on the drying rack I found this:

BAD NEWS: I hadn't taken any pictures and we'd eaten all the pasta. Hard to write a blog post without pictures.

GOOD NEWS: I found some leftover sauce in the refrigerator, so I photographed that instead. It was so delicious that I ate it the next day straight from the plastic container with a spoon. Cold.

GOOD NEWS: See the line above about "the most delicious bowl of pasta I've ever eaten."

Arianna's organic strained tomatoes will be available very soon - and when they are, I suggest you run right out and get some (keep an eye on the Arianna website to find out where to buy them). Here's what George says about his organic strained tomatoes:
Our organic heirloom tomatoes are hand-picked ripe from the vine, then peeled, seeded, and strained by mechanical means in an allergan-free facility. These GMO-free "true breed" tomatoes have been cultivated by the Gousiaris family in the village of Ilias in central Greece for over 100 years. It takes 5 kilos of tomatoes to produce about 1 kilo of our strained tomatoes, which are pasteurized in the jar the old-fashioned way. They are tomatoes your grandmother would love.
CONCLUSION: Emery's pasta was indeed a happy accident. I'm thrilled that I'm no longer the only cook in the family, but clearly I need to get better about labeling the food in the refrigerator if I need to keep it for blogging!