Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summertime = Ripe, Juicy Tomatoes.

As a kid, I never tasted a really ripe, juicy, sun-ripened tomato.  In the midwest, tomatoes came in a can.  In the northwest, tomatoes are available year round but they are usually underripe, hard and tasteless.  
I've never been a big fan of fresh tomatoes.  Until now.
Now, I grow my own in my little backyard garden.  I'm not an experieced gardener but I've managed to grow lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, chard and tomatoes.  I've learned along the way what works and what doesn't.  I've figured out that there are good years and bad years for some veggies.
This year has been very good tomato year!  I have a mix of juiciness to choose from this year's bumper crop.  From sweet, orange cherry tomatoes to huge, juicy beefsteaks.  
Recipe ideas abound, of course.  But my favorites are among the basics because they show off the purity and juicy flavor of a truly sun-ripened tomato. 
1.  BLT
What a classic.  Toasted whole grain bread, mayo, homegrown lettuce, thick sliced tomato from the garden and crisp, nitrate free bacon.  Yum!
2.  Fresh garden greens topped with ripe tomato slices and tossed with vinigrette.
3.  Tomato Mozzarella and Basil Salad
Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella.  Arrange on a bed of fresh basil leaves.  Drizzle with olive oil and top with salt and pepper.  Eat!

4.  Tomato Fritatta
Beat 4 eggs.  Add olive oil to a skillet, saute green onions and garlic.  Add eggs.  Arrange sliced tomatoes on top, sprinkle sliced black olives and mediterran spiced feta.  When bottom's done, broil the top under a broiler until the cheese is melted.  Serve with crusty bread!
5. Slice the ripe tomatoe, sprinkle with salt, pop in your mouth and close your eyes.

Now that's summer!

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