Friday, September 16, 2011

Food For Thought - Tomatoes

I have taken up a new hobby.


As I walk around our garden boxes, I am thrilled by the buffet in my own back yard:  Blood red, meaty Mortgage Lifters; sweet, pearl-shaped Cherry Tomatoes; hefty, juice-filled Beefsteak Tomatoes and more than a few volunteer, yellow pear tomatoes.

A mini-Mortgage Lifter - it was delicious!

I have decided that there is nothing quite as delightful as walking out to the garden, plucking a Cherry Tomato fresh from the vine and popping it into your mouth.

Warmed by the sun, only ever touched by your two fingers and exploding with the flavor of summer!

They are awesome just eaten straight from the vine, but if you feel the need to dress them up, here are a few of the many ways that we enjoyed our tomatoes this summer.

Grilled Panzella
(from Bon Appétit, August 2011 via Epicurious ... with a few changes.)

1 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
2/3 cup olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tsp lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
3 pounds of tomatoes, any variety
12 oz loaf of sourdough bread (day old is best)
Coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, puree basil and 1/3 cup olive oil until only tiny bits of basil are left.  Add shallot, jalapeno, lemon zest and lemon juice to basil oil and whisk well.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Slice the tomatoes (chose to leave the cherry tomatoes whole) and toss with basil dressing.  Let marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the bbq.  Slice the sourdough bread into 1 inch slices.  Brush each side of the bread with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Grill bread on both sides until lightly charred.

Tear or cut grilled bread into bite-sized pieces.  Toss bread with the tomatoes and serve immediately.  The crunchy, chewy bread combined with the flavorful, juicy tomatoes is a party for your mouth!

We also grilled chicken and zucchini.  Bon Appétit, indeed!
(This recipe is just what I would throw together.  A little of this and a little of that.)

1 pound tomatoes, quartered
1 large cucumber, peeled and quartered
1 bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1/2 yellow onion, in large pieces
1 lime
Crushed red pepper
Sour cream

The tomatoes and cucumbers were from our garden.

In a food processor or blender, add half of the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and onion.  Puree until smooth.  Transfer this to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining veggies.  Stir in a dash of red pepper flakes and the juice of one lime.  Stir well and let chill for one hour.  Top with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro.

Summer spooned up in a bowl.

Tomatoes on a Plate
(Sometimes there is no need to dress them up!)

Enough tomatoes to go around, cut into wedges or thick slices
Coarse salt
Fresh herbs (in this case, basil and chives)

Arrange the tomatoes on a large platter, sprinkle with coarse salt and herbs.  Serve on the side of ... well, anything!

My kids' favorite ways to eat tomatoes!

1 comment:

  1. That looks delicious - I've never craved tomatoes for breakfast until now! We have a pear tree in our backyard and I can't seem to get enough of them lately. Food tastes better when you know where it comes from :)


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