Here in the Midwest it’s impossible to get a decent tomato for most of the year, so when August rolls around, I really try to take advantage of the bounty.
I know that a lot of people had trouble with their tomato plants this year since it was miserably hot, but apparently (luckily) that was not the case for my friends Troy and Sarah. On a recent visit to their farm, they gave me a delightful goodie basket of produce, including heirloom tomatoes. A couple of days later, I had my BFF over for dinner. I heated up some gnocchi and jarred pasta sauce from Trader Joe’s—nothing too exciting—but as an appetizer I used one of those fresh garden tomatoes to make bruschetta.
It was easy peasy. I just cubed half of a very large heirloom tomato then added a couple tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a handful of chopped fresh basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, I toasted some baguette slices. When they came out of the oven, I rubbed them with a garlic clove, sliced in half lengthwise, and then spooned the tomato mixture on top.
I used the other half of that heirloom tomato to make BLTs. Now, of course, bacon is a challenge for vegetarians. Let me warn you: the Morningstar Farms brand bacon substitute tastes like cardboard. However, Lightlife makes a tempeh product called Fakin’ Bacon that is not terrible. It’s not quite crispy like bacon, but it’s salty and rich enough to make a decent sandwich if you have really good tomatoes…which I did. Also, I really like Follow Your Heart brand Vegenaise instead of mayonnaise for sandwiches.
I knew that I also needed to use up all of the other produce from the goodie basket before I left for California, so I made coleslaw out of the cabbage. I used a Rachael Ray recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/oil-and-vinegar-slaw-recipe/index.html
…and I roasted the beets in a little olive oil.
Of course, when I got back from California I had absolutely no food in the house, but luckily I had time to hit the Saturday farmer’s market during my lunch break at work. I bought the staples of summer: tomatoes, corn, and fresh herbs.
That allowed me to make one of my favorite dishes for dinner…one that I only get to make about once a year…Tomato and Corn Salsa Cruda: http://healthy.food.com/recipe/summer-tomato-corn-salsa-cruda-raw-sauce-for-pasta-320178
Before discovering this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, The One-Dish Vegetarian by Maria Robbins, I had no idea that fresh corn could be eaten raw! It’s really sweet and juicy that way.
This time I decided to go with multi-colored cherry tomatoes, and instead of pasta I tossed it with the Harvest Grains blend from Trader Joe’s, which I had in my cabinet. It’s a mixture of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. The textures worked really nicely together.
- Garlic: $0.15
- Salt: $0.05
- Olive oil: $0.38
- Tomatoes: $3.00
- Corn: $1.50
- Basil: $0.50
- Parsley: $0.50
- Harvest Grain Blend: $1.50
=$7.58/5 servings = $1.52/serving!
It’s best when served immediately, but the leftovers made good lunches for a few days. School started this week, so it feels like summer is coming to an end, which is always sad. Before I know it, I’ll be posting pumpkin creations.