Everything’s Coming Up…Tomatoes!

medium_DSC00635.JPGI posted for the Loveliness Fair of Elegant Simplicity in the Kitchen a picture of a basket of our homegrown tomatoes.

I, for one, never tire of fresh tomatoes. For dh and me, the tomatoes are the reward for the work in the garden. It’s the treat of summer.

But what do you do with all those tomatoes?

Even though our garden is producing many tomatoes, I don’t think it’s enough. 😉 What I mean is it’s perfect for daily eating, but I don’t have enough to do canning or freezing yet…nor have I tried that. We eat too many to get enough to make a large batch of sauce. Did I mention that we LOVE tomatoes?

Inspired by Donna Marie’s upcoming Carnival of Yum I want to share our summer tomato treats. Keep in mind that we avoid wheat, eggs and dairy, so that limits our combinations.

medium_DSC00656.JPGSliced tomatoes: The easiest and tastiest way to serve a ripe, homegrown tomato is to simply slice and serve.

Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes: I like to have eggs in the morning, and a nice change was scrambling eggs with chopped tomatoes. Add green onions and garlic (either a dash of garlic powder for a hint of taste or small amount of minced garlic) and keep stirring until eggs are cooked. One could do an omelette, but I like the scrambled eggs better.

Eggs in Purgatory is another way to use tomatoes with eggs. This could be breakfast or a meatless meal. I omit the cheese.
4 large tomatoes, peeled
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 to 8 eggs
salt and pepper
3/4 cup (3 oz.) Jack cheese, shredded
Fresh parsley, chopped

Cut tomatoes into cubes and drain in a colander for several minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 10″ to 11″ frying pan, over high heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring until they are soft and juices have evaporated. Add tomatoes and stir to heat thoroughly.

With a spoon, make 6 or 8 nest spaces and break an egg into each space. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover evenly with cheese. Cover pan and cook on low heat until eggs are set as you like. Garnish with parsley. (Source: Sunshine Italian Cookbook, 1981)

Different Versions of Marinated Tomatoes: The cherry tomatoes are perfect to serve alone. I cut them in half and marinate them in various ways:

This version was my paternal grandmother’s recipe:

Marinated Tomatoes
tomatoes, sliced or chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 clove garlic, cut real fine

Serve it just as is. The earlier you make it the better.

Lemon Dressing for Tomato Salad:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and ground pepper to taste

Add to tomatoes chopped red onion and fresh basil, mix the dressing and pour over tomatoes.

Marinated tomatoes or Tomato Bruschetta
I make a quick version of this recipe to serve just the tomatoes (since we can’t have the French bread). I use less of basil and garlic for the quick treat, and no cheese, obviously. But it so yummy. For guests, serve the gusto with the bread, too. I suppose I could also serve with corn chips.

5 ripe tomatoes (on the vine), cut in small pieces and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Vidalia onion, chopped fine
hand full of fresh basil, chopped
4 tablespoons Olive oil
dash balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh mozzarella, tiny pieces, optional
Bread or Crostini
1 loaf French baguette slices, cut horizontally in thin slices
1 clove garlic, halved
olive oil

Mix first ingredients together (except mozzarella). Let tomato mixture sit 30 minutes or so to let ingredients seep together.

Take bread slices, rub each slice with halved garlic clove. Brush with olive oil and broil until crispy. You also can broil the bread and then add garlic and oil (crostini).

Serve with crostini, either on tray with each slice with tomato mixture added, or let guest put mixture on bread slices.

Chicken Sautéed with Fresh Tomato: I used our tomatoes for on St. Dominic’s Feast Day. I didn’t have time to let the sauce cook down further, but still it was sweet and delicious…definitely a different taste than canned tomatoes.

Pasta Salad

1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
dash red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces pasta (such as macaroni, rotini)
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can kidney beans
1/2 medium vidalia onion, sliced or chopped

I didn’t have this, but it would be nice to make this an antipasto salad, by adding some pepperoni. Broccoli florets would be a nice touch, also. Whisk first six ingredients together, then pour over cooked pasta. Put in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to soak up the marinade, then add other ingredients, toss together and serve.

Last but not least, my pièce de résistance is my homemade salsa. As soon as I mention my tomatoes are coming in, my family and friends start asking when will I start making a batch of salsa. It’s that good. I use the food processor to make things chopped and even. Confession: I don’t like cilantro, so I omit. But some love it, so I include it in the recipe.

medium_DSC00655.JPG

Jenn’s Own Salsa
8 ripe tomatoes, size medium to large, peeled and chopped
2 jalapeno chile peppers, finely diced
5 green onions, or one small yellow or Vidalia onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
cilantro, to taste
salt, to taste
1 lime, to taste
Dash of Tequila (optional)

Blanch and peel tomatoes. Remove core, seeds, and chop tomatoes. Drain in colander after chopped to reduce amount of juice.

Remove seeds and chop jalapenos very finely. Be sure to protect your hands (and eyes). I use rubber gloves when chopping. Also, taste the jalapeno for heat. Each one varies. Dice onions and chop/mince garlic.

Use food processor or chopper to make chopping a bit easier. Add all above ingredients until to consistency desired. Add juice of 1-2 limes. Add salt, cilantro and Tequila.

Chill for 30 minutes or so before serving. Taste again to see if more salt is needed before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips. I usually make large batches because it goes fast!

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