You say Tomahto...

I say I LOVE SUMMER FOOD! Yes, this is a picture of a tomato that came from our garden. It isn't the first one--the first one we ate yesterday, too excited to be finally eating the fruits of our labors to take a picture of it. There are two more coming right along on the vine, if you will. And now, I am going to tell you the most delicious way to eat fresh tomatoes, even if you don't have them growing in your garden. Ok, cut them into thin slices. Put the slices on a platter of some kind (I just used a casserole dish as well as a platter I have--a 9x13 will work ok too), pour some balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the tomatoes. Then slice up some mozzarella cheese, and put the slices on top of the vinegar/olive oil soaked tomatoes. Top them off with some chopped up fresh basil, and voila! You have a delicious, fresh, very healthy snack or side dish that looks incredibly fancy. Yum! Ok, your kids probably won't eat it, but that leaves more for Mom, I always say. Also, we went blueberry picking today, and I learned something about freezing summer berries: Freeze them on a cookie sheet to keep them from sticking together. I told my SIL this tip today, and she basically said, "Um, duh!", but hey, I thought I'd share for those of us who are frozen-berry challenged. I may have mentioned this before, but I love iced mint tea. You take some fresh mint leaves, put them in a cup, and pour boiling water over them. Just let them seep for a while, and then pull the leaves out or strain the water, add sugar to taste, and you've got a lovely drink. Stick a large portion in the fridge, and in a few hours, you have a lovely, refreshing drink that is fantastic at the hot pool. You can also add mint leaves to lemonade for the extra something special. Any other fun summer food tips? Recipes, things you love, yummy drink concoctions? Liesl, if you are reading this, I want your watermelon slushie recipe. That stuff rocks!


Blogger Susan said...

Use goat mozarella. I go to the farmers market each weekend during the summer and come home loaded with various versions of goat cheese from a local vendor. Yogurt, etc. Today mozarella. With tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olive oil, balsamic, and a fine cherry/pumpernickel bread I bought at the market (who would have known). I'm floating in a fine after bliss. . . . .

And I have beans, squash, cucumbers, strawberries, sugar snap peas, onions, good to go out in the garden. . .

7/16/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Heather, you already posted my TWO favorite summer recipes! I do the motarella/basil/tomato salad (YUM!!) and the mint tea too!

One thing I make that DH likes more than I do is a steak salad. Sounds weird, but he LOVES it. Grill a small steak on the grill, then slice thinly and place on top of the baby-greeens you get at the farmer's market, tossed with olive oil vinagrette. Top with blue cheese crumbles, thinly sliced grilled onions and tomatoes. I co-opted this from a local restaurant, and it translates well at home. And I can get DH to eat dark greens this way!

7/16/2006 01:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Idahospud said...

Yay! Tomato season!

My friend taught me a yummy way to eat garden tomatoes: Cut them into chunks, put in a bowl and sprinkle salt and papper and enough rice vinegar (no substitutes) over them to make a kind of salsa (maybe half a teaspoon vinegar per tomato). Let the mixture marinate while you make pasta. When you drain the pasta, run cold water over it so it is room temp or colder. Now pour the tomato mixture over it, and crumble feta cheese on top of that. I could eat it every day!

7/16/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

A real, home-grown tomato. Pretty and delicious! I will have to try the tomato/mozarella recipe, sounds like bliss.

A summer "recipe" we love is to make our own popcicles out of fruit juice, add some frozen or fresh berries for fun.

While I"m talking about berries, one of my college roommates introduced me to a yummy treat of a dollop of sour cream topped with raspberries and brown sugar. It sounded strange, but it is soooo good!

7/16/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

Heather, I think a fresh caprese salad is definitely the best way to eat a tomato too. SO YUMMY.

Mary, you reminded me of a time when I loved to dip fresh strawberries in sour cream and the roll them in brown sugar. And to all the critics out there--don't knock it till you try it!

7/16/2006 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger miggy said...

Here here! to the strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar . . . that is heaven. I love fresh garden tomatoes (since I grew up eating pretty much every summer meal out of my grandparents garden) and my grandpa used to always eat sliced tomatoes sprinkled with sugar. Definitely not as sophisticated as the above mentioned combos, but I like it.

7/16/2006 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Bek said...

You can take the little grape tomatoes or Santa Sweets (Costco..I don't grow them!!) and douse them in olive oil, balsamic or red wine vinegar, salt and pepper....broil them in the oven until the skin pops...then toss them with fresh pasta. Yumm

You can add to your tomatoe caprise (tom's and cheese...I use buffalo mozz...) by making it a bread salad. Take the same tom's and cheese, cut in smaller pieces, cube hearty bread (or stale french bread..otherwise, use a pugalese bread). Add the chopped basil and some red onion and toss w/ red wine vinegar and oil (or I just cheat and use red wine vinegaretter). Use LOTS. The bread soaks it up. Yummmm. Great way to get more mileage out of the tomatoes and use up old bread....

Sigh. I love the summer recipies...

7/17/2006 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger Liesl said...

Okay, Heather:

Here are two varieties of cool watermelon beverages. The first is the one I've been making for years and the second is a new, more subtle one that can be eaten as described or similarly served with sprite as a drink.

FIRST Original Watermelon Slush

2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz can fruit punch concentrate
5 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
chilled lemon-lime soda

Combine water and sugar in a large saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil 3 minutes uncovered. Remove from heat. Stir in frozen fruit punch concentrate until dissolved.
In a blender or food processor, puree melon in batches. Stir into fruit punch mixture. Add lemon juice. Pour mixture into large freezer-safe container. Freeze at least 8 hours.
To serve, let frozen mixture thaw at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Scrape the top of the frozen melon with a spoon or ice cream scoop to form a slush. Spoon about one cup slush into individual glasses. Slowly pour in about 1/2 cup chilled soda. Serve immediately.

(I make up a huge batch at the beginning of the summer to keep in the freezer and keep a couple cans of sprite in the fridge. After playing outside, my kids are always grateful for a cool yummy drink)

SECOND Watermelon Granita
Adapted From Sunset

Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes, plus 8 hours to freeze.

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
2 pounds seeded chopped watermelon (about 3 lb. unpeeled)
About 1 teaspoon lime juice
1 cup lightly packed fresh Mint leaves (optional)

In a 1- to 2-quart pan over high heat, combine 1 cup water, sugar, mint leaves and lime peel and bring to a boil. Let cool, then pour through a fine strainer into a bowl.
In a blender, whirl watermelon and 1 cup of the lime syrup until smooth. If there are seeds, pour mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in the lime juice. Add syrup and/or lime juice to taste (mixture will taste less sweet once frozen).
Pour purée into an 8-inch square baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until mixture has started to freeze at the edges but is still slushy, 2 to 3 hours. Stir the mixture thoroughly, scraping the sides down. Cover and freeze until solid, at least 8 hours.
To serve, scrape with a fork to make large flakes and spoon into chilled glasses or bowls garnish with mint leaves or wedges of watermelon. (Or alternatively serve with Sprite as a drink)

7/17/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Thanks, Liesl! When are you going to join us over here, anyway? :)

7/17/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

If you can make that salad taste like the official Maggie's version, I'm coming over for dinner!

My favorite Summer food is these great cookies. I don't remember where I got the recipe, But we've been making them for years

Lemonade cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup sweetened lemonade mix, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl
cream together butter, sugar and 3/4 cup lemonade
mix. Beat in egg, lemon extract, and vanilla. In a
separate bowl, mix flour and baking soda. Add to
batter and mix thoroughly.
Pour the remaining lemonade mix into a shallow
bowl. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in
lemonade mix. Place 2 inches apart on a well
greased cookie sheet and bake until the edges
begin to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Cool for a
few minutes on the sheet before placing on a
cooling rack.

7/17/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I'll vouch for those lemonade cookies- Mo brought be some when I was pregnant with Abby- and I didn't barf them up! SUPER good!

7/17/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Wow, that didn't look at good in print as it did in my brain...!
The cookies are awesome, and since I was constantly ill with Abby, it was wonderful to eat something so good!

7/17/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger fMhLisa said...

My verrry favorite food in the whole wide world is a tomato sandwich. Just toasted bread (a hearty whole wheat), melted butter, tomato, and salt and pepper.


7/17/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I don't even have any green tomatoes yet! I really have to get better at this gardening thing.....

7/17/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger mullingandmusing said...

Frozen grapes are a favorite summer treat!

I love tomato sandwiches...esp. with a slice of a mild white cheese like provolone.

I once had home-grown tomatoes with a homemade mayonnaise on them. I seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven....

7/19/2006 08:04:00 PM  

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