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Smoked Tomatoes Evoke the Sensation of Summer

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The sweet and smoky tang of these tomatoes is the quintessence of summer, and one taste will remove you from the perpetual gloom of our Northwest winter right back into the halcyon days of summer.

The senses of taste and smell have an uncanny ability to produce in us powerful and vivid memories, an ability that is unrivaled by the other senses. Many of us have experienced a flurry of images and associations from our past life when encountering a certain flavor or aroma.

For instance, anytime I catch a whiff of Nag Champa incense I am immediately transported back to my adolescence with such intensity that I can almost hear the Beatles’ White Album wafting through the blacklight.

Indeed, the author Marcel Proust famously credited the experience of tasting a Madeleine—a cookie he had enjoyed as a child—with bringing on the flood of memories that inspired his opus, A Remembrance of Things Past.

The scent of an ex’s fragrance or the taste of your grandmother’s lasagna—they can make the past palpable.

I say it’s time we use the power of these senses to good effect.

Winter is coming, and before long we’ll be pining for sunshine and feeling the effects of vitamin D withdrawal. But thankfully, there is a remedy—smoked tomatoes. The sweet and smoky tang of these tomatoes is the quintessence of summer, and one taste will remove you from the perpetual gloom of our Northwest winter right back into the halcyon days of summer.

So go out and snatch up what remains of the local tomato harvest, fire up the barbecue one more time, and prepare your spirit for the dark days to come. Then, several months from now, pull this magical ingredient out of your freezer, stir it into your favorite winter stew or tomato sauce, and prepare to be transported.

These can replace (and will be much better than) canned tomatoes in any recipe that would benefit from a smoky fresh tomato flavor.