Sunday, March 11, 2012

From Japan to L.A. -- The Stylish Tomato that has a Cult Following!

FROM JAPAN TO L.A. -- THE STYLISH TOMATO THAT HAS A CULT FOLLOWING:  Foodies, take note! We have to admit that we are thoroughly spoiled here at Studio of Style when it comes to tomatoes.  And we're gonna let you in on a true gourmet secret. You see, we've been eating the little-known "Momotaro" (Tough Boy) tomato for 10 years! And we've been buying them from the same hydroponic grower: Beylik Farms just north of Los Angeles who uses bumblebees to pollinate their eight to ten thousand plants! Sold only at select farmers markets in the L.A. area (Hollywood, Santa Monica, Silver Lake -- or you can grow your own), these tomatoes are snapped up first thing by informed foodies the moment the farmers markets open! We've seen people rush to the stalls and purchase upward to $100 worth at a time -- and we've witnessed people elbowing each other just to get at these gems before they're sold out!  About now, you're probably asking yourself what's the big deal about Momotaro tomatoes?  Developed by Takii Seed Company in Japan (and arguably the most popular variety in that country), these tomatoes start out pinkish-red and turn to a deep red over the course of several days (so don't rush them, never refrigerate them and check them daily for firmness; you don't want them to go mushy on you).  The sugars will develop and turn these tough boys into sweet fellas! At our farmers market, we meet the same group of people each week -- anxious to get their Momotaro tomato fix -- and we share stories about them too -- who knew?? Their sweet, juicy, firm qualities evoke thoughts of summertime and perhaps the "good ol' days" when a tomato used to taste like a tomato! With the taste of summer in mind -- here is Studio of Style's own twist on a grilled cheese sandwich: butter the outsides of artisan bread with mayonnaise instead of butter (it will caramelize nicely -- and we use Trader Joe's organic mayo).  Put the mayonnaise side down on a medium hot pan, then put the sliced tomatoes, a slice of Jarlsberg cheese (or any Swiss) and sprinkle a light pinch of crushed dried oregano over this, and then put on the top slice of bread.  Carefully flip it over -- and you'll have a taste of summer any time of year!  If you're not in the L.A. area where you can try the Momotaro tomato first-hand, you might want to ask your local organic or hydroponic vegetable grower if they want to give it a try -- and you just might have a tomato cult following in your area too! We never thought we'd reveal our secret to you (but you're worth it!) and never thought we'd go bananas over a tomato, but guess what...we have!
Farmers Markets in the L.A. area:
Photos & Food Styling by Greg Firlotte / Studio of Style has a fixation for Blue Willow dishes