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Tomatoes* – Seven Ways

Recipe for July 22, 2007

Lots of tomatoes, hot temperatures and little incentive to spend time in the kitchen.  That’s July for you.  Here are 7 quick ways to do something easy with tomatoes.  Only one requires you to turn on the oven.  You could do that recipe in the early morning, the coolest part of the day.  Look for heirloom, yellow or green zebra tomatoes for colorful contrasts.

1.  Pasta with fresh tomatoes, uncooked: combine chopped tomatoes (the amount depends on how many you are serving), two cloves of minced garlic*, and a little olive oil. Add 10-15 torn or chopped basil* leaves, salt and pepper.  Serve over cooked pasta.

2.  Pasta with fresh tomatoes, cooked:  gently cook chopped fresh tomatoes in butter or olive oil with minced garlic until tender, while pasta cooks.  Combine and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

3.  Sliced tomatoes:  arrange a colorful array of sliced tomatoes of all sizes on a platter.  Tuck slices of fresh mozzarella* between the slices.  Sprinkle with basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher or sea salt and pepper.

4.  Easy Gazpacho soup:  combine one pound tomatoes cut into chunks, a cucumber* peeled and cut into chunks, two or three slices stale bread torn into pieces, a quarter cup olive oil, two tablespoons sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic in a blender or food processor with one cup water and a couple of ice cues.  Process until smooth, adding water if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve and then drizzle with a little more olive oil.  (Thanks to Mark Bittman of the NYT)

5.  Slow Roasted tomatoes: remove stems from ripe tomatoes and cut in half, horizontally. Arrange halves on an edged, foil-covered baking sheet.  Drizzle generously with olive oil and lightly with sherry vinegar.  Add thinly sliced garlic cloves, fresh thyme leaves and kosher salt.  Heat oven to 350° and roast for three hours.  Serve over pasta.  This can be frozen, minus the pasta, to enjoy in the dead of winter!

6.  Tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad: use a good canned tuna (Progresso, packed in olive oil), chopped celery, a small amount of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, salt and pepper and stuff a tomato.  Or, be creative and add whatever strikes your fancy.

7.  BLT sandwiches:  start with slices from a good loaf of bread*, white or other-wise, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, sliced tomatoes, some peppery arugula, bacon, fried almost crisp, and you have yourself a meal.

*Available at Old Cheney Road Farmer's Market