Recipe & Photos by Mackenzie Smith Kelley.
We learned about Tomato Soda from our dear friend, Mackenzie Smith Kelley. Mackenzie is a talented photographer and director (see her website here) with work featured in publications like Texas Monthly, New York Times Magazine, and cookbooks by Chrissy Teigan and Priya Krishna. Her food photography and fun stop motions truly make you feel something which is mostly, hungry.
In addition to her talent behind the lens, Mackenzie makes excellent food herself. We've seen her whip together a restaurant-worthy snack plate with meager odds and ends from a fridge, complete with dippy swirls and crunchy accoutrements. She tempts us to put Hot Cheetos on our curry and she knows how to bend her dad's red chili enchilada recipe to assume the flavors of the season - garlicky chard in the winter and tender zucchini in the summer. She assembles humble but BEAUTIFUL food in the way of an artist, and like anyone who truly knows the ingredients around her, mostly does this untethered to a recipe. Like a biographer who sees the heart of her subject, Mackenzie is able to capture the vibrant liveness in food.
This tomato soda recipe isn't a joke, and each and every June we thank Mackenzie for sharing the idea. Would pair excellently with gin and a just-filled cowboy pool. Cheers!
Tomato Soda, or Tomato Peach Soda Recipe + Photos by Mackenzie
Ahhh, tomato season. The time of year when, if you have a garden or know someone who does and you also subscribe to a CSA, there is a good chance you will have more tomatoes than you know what to do with.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy the nuanced flavor of tomatoes is to make a shrub by covering them in a 1:1 ratio (give or take) of sugar or honey to vinegar with a pinch of sea salt and letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Vinegar and sugar work harmoniously to and extract and concentrate the flavors of whatever you are preserving, and I consider this to be easier than pickling or canning because you never have to turn on the stove.
I keep shrubs going all summer long as a way to preserve the essence of seasonal fruit — and to celebrate those nuanced flavors in drinks and salad dressings.
After we got halfway through this pitcher of tomato shrub, which was truly perfect on its own, I noticed a couple of slightly overripe peaches on the counter, so I washed them off, and squeezed them into the tomato shrub before topping off with a bit more sugar and vinegar. Now we have tomato peach shrub and it tastes like Summer.
Make tomato peach soda by pouring shrub and sparkling water over ice using a 1:1 ratio and serve with a sprig of fresh mint.