"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST — with photos and your story behind the dish — and we’ll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you’re giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it’s chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your most lively raw-ish tomato dish.
THIS WEEK’S WINNER:
Tomato-rubbed Mediterranean Tuna Sandwich by Linda Shiue: This week, Linda tells us a lovely story of the importance of befriending even intimidating neighbors, both because it’s the right thing to do, and because they might give you their homegrown tomatoes and tell you how to make this awe-inspiring Maltese specialty of tomato-rubbed toast topped with all manner of good things — tuna, hard-boiled eggs, olives, herbs, onion and olive oil.
THIS WEEK’S CATEGORY WINNERS:
In the Plain, but not Plain-Old category:
The complexities of a simple tomato salad by Gavin Fritton: There may be seemingly nothing to making tomato salad, but when you’re in the hands of a man passionate about tomatoes, you’ll find all kinds of techniques to find enlightenment. Not a recipe per se, but an intense walk-through of everything you need to know from how to peel tomatoes to the importance of salt.
In the Tomato-Cucumber Salad category:
Farmer’s Tomato Cucumber Salad With Creamy Dressing by Grace Hwang: Inspired by a rather odd afternoon in a potato farmer’s home, Grace keeps one eye on the Mediterranean for this salad and one eye on Idaho, blending yogurt and mayonnaise with vinegar and dill for an intriguing dressing.
In the Pasta category:
Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato and Fontina Cheese by Lucy Mercer: There is definitely a school of thought that says, “When the tomatoes are good, just let them be,” and this pasta is a testament to that: cut, left to marinate with garlic, basil and creamy cheese, it becomes its own sauce for pasta without any cooking at all.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE EXCELLENT HONORABLE MENTIONS
Tomato Bread (aka Bruschetta, if you must be fancy) by Coogansbluf: Not to denigrate this classic snack, but Coogs is laying it down this week for anyone who’s ever not made it because its Italian name makes it sound difficult. It’s tomato bread, and it’s as simple as that. (Especially if you know the trick he shares with using a grater to quickly peel and chop them.)
Summer pesto with tomatoes by Felisa Rogers: As simple and classic a dish as can be, Felisa’s pasta with fresh pesto tossed with ripe tomatoes is irresistible … as in, we’re taking a break to make some now.
Pizza by At Home Pilgrim: In a detailed and illustrated post (too many photos, in fact, to re-post comfortably in Salon!), the At Home Pilgrim teaches us how to make pizza from the ground up.
Tahini-stuffed tomatoes by Fusun Atalay: The Mediterranean sesame paste called tahini is usually used as a condiment, but here, Fusun mixes it with lemon juice to form a rich stuffing for cherry tomatoes.
Variations on a tomato sandwich theme by Lori Covington: In the matter of the ‘mater sandwich, are you a butter, mayonnaise or cheese kind of person? Any way is OK; we won’t judge.
Grilled Tomato Relish for Steak by Lisa Kuebler: If you’ve got the grill going for a steak anyway, why not let a little char take care of the sauce for you? Here, Lisa shows us how to simply grill a bit of tomato and onion for flavor, mix it up into a tart relish, and use it to enliven meat.
Tomato salad with goat cheese, almonds and blueberries by Sheba Marx: If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be traumatized by a raw tomato, Sheba’s Catholic school child-self is happy to tell you. Psychic healing all finished, though, here’s also a lovely, simple tomato salad.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE:
Thanks so much for all of your gently handled tomato recipes last week! But of course, the glories of the fruit aren’t only to be found when raw. And come later in the summer, when the crop is heavy and they’re all around, it’ll be time to think about what you’re going to do with pounds and pounds of the stuff, and there will be no avoiding a hot kitchen. Thoughts will turn to cooked sauces and stews. Some for canning, some for freezing, and some for serving with a wink that says, “Yes, it’s 150 degrees out, and yes, I just stood over a stove for hours to make this for you.”
So this week, as promised and/or threatened, please: your finest slow-cooked tomato sauces, stews or whatever you come up with, as long as the tomato gets nice and concentrated.
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC cooked tomato (Please note that by participating, you’re giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it’s chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you’d like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and tomatoliciousness.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)