RED BANK: TOMATOES, JUST OFF THE BOAT

dibartoloJimmy DiBartolo gives PieHole a crash course in imported Italian tomatoes. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

A few months from now in the fertile fields of Foggia, Italy, farmers will sow seeds for Roma plum tomatoes. Prized for its role in red sauce, this variety of tomato will mature and ripen under the warm Mediterranean sun. Come August, there will be an enormous crop of sweet, slightly acidic tomatoes with just a few seeds inside.

What’s got PieHole hot on the trail of these particular tomatoes is that if you’ve eaten red sauce or had pizza anywhere on The Green lately, there’s a very good chance that you’ve tasted these exact tomatoes from Foggia.

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RED BANK: ITALIAN MOMS TALK CHESTNUTS

chestnuts_moriRed Bank neighbors Melissa Bartolone and Christina Dostie give PieHole a lesson in buying, roasting and eating chestnuts. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

It is of questionable value that we can walk into any grocery store in America and buy tasteless tomatoes in December and bland blueberries in February. In fact, it’s thanks to this dubious convenience that culinary traditions— especially those that were passed down from generation to generation as a way to best feed ourselves based on the harvest season — are such a rarity.

And so it goes that PieHole seeks out the last remaining vestiges of these traditions around the Green and shares the tastiest ones.

Roasted chestnuts are one such truly delicious culinary tradition.

We’re lucky to live around the corner from a pair of Italian moms who are well versed in the art and science of roasting chestnuts, as their parents were before them. PieHole paid a visit to the sun-filled Mori Place, Red Bank kitchen of Melissa Bartolone, joined by neighbor Christina Dostie to get some instruction on choosing, roasting and eating chestnuts.

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