Monday, September 21, 2009

Some Ideas for Summer's Ripe Tomatoes

Got tomato plants? What will you do with them when they finally arrive? Here are some ideas to get you in the mood once those red little spheres of delight ripen on the vine.

A simplest dish is the Caprese Salad. Combine sliced tomato, sliced fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil. You can pierce these items onto a skewer or oversized toothpick (use halved cherry tomatoes for this method) and cover with a white balsamic vinaigrette for a colorful hors d'oeuvre.

Stuffed Tomatoes might be a nice side dish to try, and is relatively simple to make. Core tomatoes and fill with seasoned white or brown rice, and cover with cheese. Broil until cheese is melted. It’ll look more impressive than a side of rice with a tomato salad, but requires no extra effort.

How about ketchup? I love making things from scratch that seem ridiculous to make from scratch. From bagels to tortillas, I find some to be a labor of love and others to be just plain laborious. However, this recipe for ketchup doesn’t seem too difficult. There is a plethora of ketchup recipes on the web, and a wide variety of flavorings and spices to suit your particular palette. Who knows, maybe you will put Teresa Heinz out of business!

Okay, if you don’t want to go as far as making ketchup, won’t you at least try to make your own salsa? A fresh, preservative-free dip might be just what your chips have been begging for – not to mention, your belly. Combine six finely chopped tomatoes with a teaspoon or more of your favorite seasonings like cumin, fresh cilantro, parsley and oregano. Add some finely chopped red onion, a tablespoon of olive oil, a little bit of salt and a diced chili pepper that matches your heat needs. You can also add corn, garlic, lime juice or chopped red bell pepper; whatever you like!

I’m really looking forward to my tomatoes this year. What will I be doing with mine? My favorite thing ever: a tomato and mayonnaise sandwich with a little salt. Hmmm…maybe I should make my own mayonnaise?

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