Aug 13, 2015

Tomato, Tomahto

Once thought to be poisonous, tomatoes are now one of the widely consumed vegetables and summertime is the best time to enjoy them.  Tomato farming has expanded to include amazing varieties of multicolored and deliciously flavored species. Tomatoes range from the darkest of black skin to pale yellow and orange varieties. Each is carefully cultivated and perfected. Some varieties are grown from old seeds and are known as Heirloom Tomatoes. Others are new breeds created by grafting different colors and shapes.
Enjoying tomatoes during the summer months when their flavor is at its peak requires nothing more than a sprinkle of salt or a drizzle of olive oil. Slice colored tomatoes, season and enjoy a feast for the eyes and tongue.
Roasting and grilling tomatoes enhances their sweetness and makes a great addition to your favorite burger. Serve broiled or grilled tomatoes with pesto or layer them with portabella mushrooms for a delicious appetizer. 
Store tomatoes on your countertop; never in the refrigerator. The cold destroys their amazing flavor. Use raw tomatoes within a few days or cook them in your favorite sauce. 

This salad is a feast for the eyes before it touches your tongue!

1 pound scrubbed small beets
2 pounds tomatoes, heirloom or colored
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, checked
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets in a foil packet, sealing tightly. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 75 minutes. When cool, rub beets with a paper towel to remove skins; slice. Slice large tomatoes, and halve cherry tomatoes, then arrange with beets on a platter. Top with feta, basil, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Spaghetti and Fresh Tomato Sauce
This is a far cry from pasta with a can of tomato sauce thrown over it!

2 1/4 pounds ripe tomatoes (choose pretty colored ones)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, checked
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, checked
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (from 2 garlic cloves), plus more if desired
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti or linguine
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Finely chop tomatoes, basil, parsley, and garlic, and mix together with oil (or pulse ingredients, including oil, in a food processor to blend).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce. Transfer to 6 shallow bowls, and drizzle with oil. Serve with cheese.

Gazpacho is a cold soup made of pureed raw tomatoes. Traditionally made of red tomatoes, this light colored version will enhance any summer meal.

1 1/4 pounds ripe yellow tomatoes
1 1/4 pounds ripe orange tomatoes
½ an English cucumber, peeled and seeded
10 yellow grape tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
4 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
For garnish: 2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped or diced tomatoes or croutons

Using the large holes of a box grater, grate yellow and orange tomatoes, into a large bowl; discard skins. Using the small holes of the box grater, grate cucumber into bowl with tomatoes.
Add grape tomatoes, garlic, vinegars, salt, and oil. Season with pepper. Whisk well to combine. Refrigerate gazpacho until chilled, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).
Divide chilled gazpacho among 4 bowls. Top each with garnish just before serving.



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