Recently I invited some friends to the house to help Catherine and me with a ‘shoot’ for an article that I was writing for the AGFamilies Magazine about tomato recipes. We really appreciate Mary Bess and Scott Ross and Shelia and Steve DeMoss eating the recipes I prepared and being in the photos for the food article that is in the most recent AgFamily Magazine
Good friends and good food always go together.
Below is the article that was in the AGFamily Magazine, as well as additional photo and great pizza dough recipe. Enjoy!!
Nothing says summer like a vine ripened, “dirt ground” tomato. Of course everyone thinks about the quintessential BLT, a slice on a hamburger or sliced as a salad when thinking how to eat tomatoes.
But tomatoes can be so much more!
The first thing to do to when expanding tomato opinions is to add basil. This annual herb is easy to grow and can be purchased at garden shops or grown from seed. It’s a must with tomatoes, it brings out the flavor and some how just makes the tomato taste fresher.
Here are some tomato recipes which can provide a great menu for a patio party or summer dinner. A recent taste tasting by friends proved that statement to be correct, very correct.
A basic recipe has the following proportions.
2-3 ripe tomatoes
5-6 basil leaves
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Baguette – French or Italian, a small diameter baguette is easier to eat
2 Garlic cloves
Bruschetta is a recipe that can be “tweaked” for personal taste. Opinions for extras will be noted during the steps.
- Choice of tomatoes, a meaty, plum type tomato works well, but any tomato especially different colors are great. If using a “watery” tomato, just take out the seeds. The number of tomatoes is also an option as well, just be sure and make plenty so every baguette slice is covered, left overs can be eaten as salad.
- Chop tomatoes – again this is personal taste, some recipes will say chop until the tomatoes are almost paste, other chop, or even thinly sliced. What’s important is that the tomatoes get covered with the basil, vinegar and oil and fit on the baguette
- Add basil – again if you like more add more. Roll the leaves together and slice for neat little strips
- Add vinegar, most recipes call for balsamic, but red wine vinegar is delicious too.
- Add 3 tablespoons olive oil along with the salt and pepper, stir
- Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.
- Slice baguette, thickness again is personal choice, crisp or thick it’s up to you.
- Place slices on cookie sheet and drizzle or brush with olive oil, lightly toast
(Be sure and watch, they will get too dark quickly, this is from personal experience)
- While slices are still warm rub with a garlic clove, this is like grating the clove; the rough edges of the toast will “take up” the garlic according to a Florence, Italy cooking class.
- A personal preference can also be adding cheese. Fresh Parmesan or mozzarella cheese can be added to the tomatoes. The baguette can be topped with a slice of mozzarella, popped under the broiler for a quick melt or just served fresh with the tomatoes.
- Top each baguette with tomatoes and enjoy!!
The absolute best pizza ever! No heavy, greasy meat. No salty, sugary sauce, just fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients – Tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese and a little garlic and salt and crust.
Making homemade pizza crust is really easy. The important thing is the water temperature for the yeast. There are lots of recipes, check out No End to the Adventure, www.noendtotheadventure.com for some that are easy with great instructions. If you must – purchase a crust.
- 1-2 tomatoes, as with the bruschetta, the number is personal preference, but don’t use to many and take out the seeds if the tomatoes are watery, you don’t want a watery, soupy pizza.
- FRESH mozzarella cheese – 8 oz. works well on a 12-14 inch pizza.
- Basil – 5-6 leaves
- Prepare pizza crust as per instructions.
- Cover crust with cheese
- Sprinkle basil over cheese
- Place thinly sliced tomatoes over basil. (This keeps the basil from burning and becoming bitter), this can be reversed because the basil is pretty on top of the tomatoes. Some recipes will call for chopping the tomatoes and adding oil and vinegar like the bruschetta – that’s up to you.
- Bake in hot 450-degree oven, for 10-15 minutes or until browned and bubbly. (Baking this hot is really important to get the crush crisp)
- Remove from oven and let rest for a couple of minutes.
Tomato and cantaloupe salad, serves 4-6
At first glance this combination doesn’t sound appealing – but it is!
2 cups chopped or balled cantaloupe
2 cups chopped or quartered tomatoes.
4-5 chopped mint leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1-tablespoon maple syrup or honey
These amounts can be adjusted to meet personal taste.
Combine dressing. Pour over tomatoes, cantaloupe and mint, lightly toss and refrigerate ate least 30 minutes.