To prepare the tomato juice, begin with very ripe, juicy tomatoes. The better the flavor of the tomatoes, the better the juice. For every quart of juice, you will need approximately 2 quarts of fresh tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes coarsely. Place tomatoes in a stainless steel pot and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook until the tomatoes soften completely and their juices are released. Remove from heat, cool, and run the tomatoes and juice through a food mill, fine sieve or juicer to remove the seeds and skin. Pour the tomato puree into a bowl and let stand for approximately half an hour. Tomatoes that contain a significant amount of water may separate, causing the water to rise to the top. If this happens, skim off the water. If necessary, keep skimming as long as the juice keeps separating. The more water you remove, the thicker the tomato juice. Taste the juice. Remember, this is not canned. It might taste slightly bland without the salt, sugar and citric acid used by commercial canners to bring out the flavors. It should have a heavy, rich tomato aroma, and if the flavor doesn't quite meet your specifications, add salt, sugar or lemon juice to suit your palate. Refrigerate the juice immediately. It will keep for a few days, but the flavor diminishes with time.
In a 2-quart pitcher, combine the tomato juice with everything except the celery and lime wedges. Pour into 4 tall glasses full of ice and garnish with a celery stalk and lime wedge on each. If you are in a flamboyant mood, top each Bloody Mary with a cooked, chilled jumbo prawn.
(In the absence of fresh tomatoes, we use either V-8 juice or canned tomato juice, and the results are still spectacular!)
Oklahoma.....where the buffalo roam!
Your Bloody Mary from Loren Martin is ready. Good luck!
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