Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

It’s been a year since we started Crustcrumbs with a series of Ghostbusters-inspired Lime Slime posts that have successfully managed to haunt our top posts tiles, so accordingly, this year we’re celebrating our Halloversary or Anniversoween (your choice) with another bizarre mashup of childhood nostalgia and food blogging.

For those that don’t remember, after the 1978 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes movie—a kind of less popular Sharknado of its day—in 1990 there was a cartoon of the same name, which acted as my introductory lesson into grotesque foods that I don’t think anyone would’ve ever guessed could have come in useful in my career.

Hot House

Hot House: Beefsteak tomato, bean sprouts, pig tongue, chicken toes, black-eyed peas and pink pistachios.

To pay homage to this cheesy and not-so-classic cartoon, we thought we’d play around with some different varieties of tomatoes, some of which already look pretty strange on their own, seeping juices as they burst and split from their tender skins.

Legs-A-Tronic

Legs-A-Tronic: Bali tomato, Silkie legs, glacé cherries, and black-eyed peas.

To add to the creepiness we butchered one of the food world’s hottest birds right now, the Silkie chicken, in addition to some run-of-the-mill chicken feet for teeth and horns, a pig tongue for well, a tongue and mini octopus tentacles to add a slimy alien touch to these fruity nightmarish numbers.

Touchy the Tooth

Touchy the Tooth: Green Zebra tomato, pumpkin seeds, baby octopus, black-eyed peas and pink pistachios.

With no access to pig’s eyes and no stomach for extracting goat or fish eyes, we went with something a little more rated G: black-eyed peas and pink pistachios.

The "Mother Clucker"

The “Mother Clucker”: Hugh’s tomato, Silkie wings, beak, and cockscomb, black-eyed peas and pink pistachios.

We took graphic inspiration from the original Attack of the Killer Tomatoes 1978 movie poster and 90s toy line, and mixed that up with the witty word play of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards of the 80s. Collect them all!

Ugg and the Gang

Ugg and the Gang: Tomatillos, chicken toe nails, octopus tentacles, black-eyed peas.

Happy Halloween and thanks for all the support over the last year! We hope to keep making weird and fun posts that, at the very least, entertain ourselves and continue to let us play with our food.

The Finale: Plumtopf Rumtopf

Well we took long enough before our last addition in our mini rumtopf series. It wasn’t our intention to make this the only thing on Crustcrumbs over the past four months but here we are. We’ve been keeping extraordinarily busy over the summer and fall with barely a chance to catch our breath but thankfully, when these blue plums showed up at the market, I was able to focus my bleary-eyed attention over to them so we could put this rumtopf to rest.

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These late-summer plums found under the label of blue plums, prune plums and Italian plums, not only make a satisfying deep purple preserve after their skins have bled into their flesh and preserving liquid but they also make for the ideal fruit for the lazy preserver—such as myself—because their pits practically fall out after slicing them open.

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Our rumtopf is now full or our favourite summer fruits, drowning in overproof rum, and suspended in enough sugar to keep it preserved for the next 50 years—not that we’ll be keeping it around that long. Come Christmastime, when we decide to crack it open (and rest assured there will be photographic evidence) the fruit and liquor will make it into our trifle bowls and cocktail coupes. The important thing to remember will be that the mix of alcohol and sugar is sky high making whatever we use it in a deceptively evil dish that’s able to knockout anyone who dares to overindulge.

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Rumtopf Raspberries

Just a very quick note to add some raspberries into the rumtopf! The season is…well…over but add them in anyway, like we did. Their bright red colour is going to lend a rich deep red to our already crimson jar. Even in this late summer, visions of Christmas cocktails are starting to pop into our heads—we may have to crack this rumtopf open when we start planning to gather around the holiday punch bowl.

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We couldn’t resist taking a few pictures of these glowing berries on display at the farmer’s market.

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Witness Jen’s first styled shot for Crustcrumbs, as I worked on weighing out the sugar for the rumtopf.

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We’ll be back soon (sooner than the last time we did this) with one final addition into the rumtopf before we dress up for Halloween!

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Sour Cherries in the Rumtopf

It’s rumtopf time again and we’re so happy we have the privilege to add sour cherries to the jar. Bing cherries are nice and all—totally worthy of giving yourself cherry-belly over—but these tiny sour cherries are tart and taste like the “real” cherry flavour that was surely the muse for the likes of Lik-M-Aid and Twizzlers.
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Sour cherries preserved in rum is the simplest way to have a taste of their elusive flavour in the winter months but you shouldn’t stop there. These little orbs would also make darling Maraschino cherries, something I may have to try out before their cruelly short season is up. They could make amazing candied cherries too, something David Lebovitz has a recipe for in his book, Ready for Dessert. The syrup from those candied cherries is also pretty wonderful when paired with some bourbon. And while I’m recipe dropping over here, Nigella’s “Cloudy Lemonade for a Sunny Day” found in Nigella Express, with it’s whole puréed lemons, adds bitter lemon oils essential in lifting a bourbon-based lemonade, and can be over-the-top beach-ready if sweetened with that aforementioned sour cherry syrup.

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Now add those sour cherries to your rumtopf and let’s have a party!

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What’s in your Rumtopf?

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In our new mini-summer-series, we’re asking “What’s in your Rumtopf?”. A rumtopf, for those not in the know, is a straight forward summer-fruit preserve consisting of fruit, sugar and overproof rum. It’s an old tradition, with origins in Germany and naturally, variations abound. There are versions that use brown sugar and dark rum for added notes of treacle and caramel, where some opt for gin or brandy in place of rum to suit personal spirit preference. Almost any combination of fruit will work and indeed no combination at all—no one is going to balk at a rumtopf made up solely of sour cherries and brandy though maybe just don’t call it a rumtopf.

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Our rumtopf, apart from not using a proper rumtopf crock, will be retaining its rumtopf purity with a mixture of fruit as it comes into season, white granulated sugar, and overproof white rum. The proportion to keep in mind is that you’ll be adding half the weight of whatever fruit you add with sugar (500g of strawberries = 250g sugar). Top each addition with just enough spirit to cover. As another fruit comes along, add it in and repeat with sugar and rum. Make sure to wash and sterilize your rumtopf vessel before beginning.

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By the end of it, what you’re left with is some boozy preserved fruit in a homemade cordial. Preserving in alcohol may be the easiest method but it’s also one of the slowest, meaning this rumtopf won’t be ready until Christmastime, at which point the fruit can be eaten alongside cake or on top of ice cream and the cordial mixed into a cocktail or sipped straight up.

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So, what’s in our rumtopf this week?
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Strawberries!
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