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Our Favorite Tomato Recipes

One recent survey indicated that 98% of American vegetable gardeners grow tomatoes. And, to many gardeners, the appearance of the first fresh ripe home-grown tomato is a significant annual event that arrives after much anticipation. Soon, however, many of us have all of the tomatoes we can use... and then some.

Here are a few recipes to expand our usage of tomatoes beyond simple slices on sandwiches and salads.

Tomato Mozzarella Appetizer

Tomato Mozzarella Appetizer

This dish is so simple that it hardly qualifies as a recipe. Simply cut several medium sized tomatoes into half-inch slices, arrange them on a serving platter, and adorn each slice with a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese and one or two small basil leaves. The combination of aromas and tastes creates a savory appetizer that can be enjoyed by itself, with large crackers, or with small pieces of toasted bread.

Gazpacho & Cold Tomato Soup

A most refreshing soup for a hot summer day, Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish raw vegetable soup that requires no cooking and is always served cold. There are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes for Gazpacho- you might even enjoy experimenting with different ingredients from your garden or pantry, but all recipes include the basic ingredient: fresh tomatoes.

Main Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 red or purple onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), seeded and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar

Other Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped chives
  • 2-6 drops of Tabasco™ sauce to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Salt and pepper - to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together. Taste and adjust any seasonings, if necessary or desired. Cover the bowl and refrigerate from 2 hours to overnight to allow flavors to blend. Serve cold. Soup may be garnished with cucumber slices or small pieces of sourdough bread.

Black Bean Salsa

This salsa recipe is great for summer or fall entertaining.

Black Bean Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium tomatoes - chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper - remove seeds, chop
  • 1 green bell pepper - remove seeds, chop
  • 1/2 medium red onion - chopped
  • 1 can (11 oz) corn niblets
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans (drained)
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or chili powder, or paprika)
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped chives
  • 2-6 drops of Tabasco™ sauce to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Salt and pepper - to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for several hours. Serve with tortilla or dipping chips.

Tomato Bisque

Here's a classic hot soup that can be served immediately, or frozen for later use.

Tomato Bisque

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 5 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • croutons for garnish

1. Melt butter over low heat in 4 qt. soup pot or pan. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Do not allow to brown.

2. Add tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, salt, wine, and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Puree the mixture in batches in a blender or food processor. Return batches to the pot, but don't boil. Serve with a topping of shredded cheddar cheese and croutons.

Yield: about 1 qt or 4 servings.

You can grow tomatoes in raised beds. Learn more about raised bed gardening.

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