As someone lacking a green thumb, I am in awe of those with a natural passion for gardening. In our own neighborhood alone, it’s impossible to walk a block without spotting a beautiful window flower-box or an array of strategically placed potted plants. Our friends, TJ and Jenny, have a lush, backyard garden, and they put a lot of care into keeping it healthy and abundant. Not only is it an attractive feature of their home, it’s as functional as it is eye-catching.
Their summer harvest of tomatoes was so ample, they were generous enough to share the fruits of our labor with us. TJ and Jenny put together a variety of just over two pounds of plump tomatoes – all different shapes, colors and sizes – some of which you’re not likely to find in the local grocery store. They were all way too pretty to cut up for a simple salad, and I couldn’t bear to use them as a secondary ingredient in a recipe; they deserved to be the star of the show. This homemade bloody Mary mix put them at the forefront of everything else.
Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary Mix
2 pounds tomatoes, various varieties (cut larger tomatoes into quarters)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup horseradish
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons Sriracha or other hot sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
32 oz vegetable juice
Salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss tomatoes, garlic and olive oil in a large bowl and spread onto baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, tossing on pan midway to avoid burning. Allow tomatoes to cool, then pour into food processor. Add horseradish, mustard, hot sauce and Worcestershire, and blend until smooth. Pour into large container or pitcher and mix in vegetable juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve over ice with preferred garnish.
A savory beverage, Bloody Mary’s are popular for some as a cure the morning following a rambunctious night out. That being said, you can mix the above recipe with a little (or a lot) of vodka and make a delicious adult beverage. They’re just as good served without alcohol, over a little ice, as a jazzed up liquid breakfast. I do realize people can be particular when it comes to the flavors that are highlighted in their mix, as I like mine on the spicy side. Horseradish and Dijon mustard offer a similar level of potency while the Sriracha adds true heat. Worcestershire, compared to the other ingredients, is on the sweeter side and brightens up the tomatoes’ caramelized flavor. The blended combination is concentrated, so I mixed it with a small bottle of Mott’s vegetable juice to get more out of the recipe without compromising the flavor. The best part of this Bloody Mary mix is you can have fun playing with the combinations of ingredients and spices, adjusting them to sit your preferences.
Using fresh ingredients to make a homemade version of something normally bottled and shelved at the grocery store for who knows how long is one of the reasons I wish I had my own garden. For now, though, I’m perfectly happy having good friends with a green thumb who are generous enough to share.