Cooking with Fresh Tomatoes

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Tomatoes

Photo by Donar Reiskoffer
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It’s tomato season here at Brighthill, so we’re posting some of our favorite easy recipes. One of the hallmarks of an abundant home is having an abundant table, filled with good homemade food. We know that a lot of people are intimidated by cooking meals from real ingredients, but so many good meals are easy to make, without resorting to processed convenience foods. Tomatoes lend themselves well to easy dinners!

Tomatoes are easy to grow in pots, particularly in warmer climates. They do require a lot of water, however. But they are so versatile and easy to use, that they are worth a little effort to have around. Nothing beats the taste of a fresh-picked tomato that has never been refrigerated.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

If you need a quick vegetable to go with your meal, few dishes are easier than this one! It also lets you take advantage of summer’s abundance.

6-8 ripe medium tomatoes
2 cucumbers
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup feta cheese

Chop the tomatoes and cucumbers and combine in a bowl.

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, and a little salt and pepper and mix with a whisk until it emulsifies.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix. Mix in the feta cheese and serve.

Tip:  You can use any dressing recipe here that you like, but simpler is better, particularly if you are using the feta cheese.

Easy Tomato Sauce

If you happen to have fresh tomatoes, it’s incredibly easy to throw together a delicious sauce that you can serve on any kind of pasta. Although it’s incredibly easy, it’s so good that your guests will think you slaved all day over it.

10 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped (or more, depending on the number of guests)
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves of chopped garlic, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or other herb

In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium low heat, and then add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook until soft, but not brown.

Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften and start to resemble a chunky sauce. Season with salt and pepper until it tastes right to you. When the sauce is done, add the chopped basil and stir, then remove from heat.

Serve hot over pasta. Optionally, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Tip:  You can use any kind of tomatoes in a sauce, even cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are delightfully sweet, but you will need a lot more of them to make a sauce. If you are using cherry tomatoes, just cut them in half and cook them as directed.

 Nancy’s Gazpacho

Few things can rival the taste of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers on a hot summer day. When the weather is warm, this traditional cold soup will cool you down deliciously.

6–8 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 purple onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 cucumber, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups tomato juice
vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste
1–2 tsp Tabasco sauce, or to taste (optional)

Combine the vegetables and garlic in a food processor or blender. For a chunkier soup, blend slightly. For a smoother soup, blend longer.

Transfer the blended vegetables to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, mixing well.

Refrigerate the soup for several hours. Serve garnished with croutons.

 

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes can be served with anything, and you will get raves! You can serve them over toasted bread, on grilled cheese sandwiches, or on pasta.

fresh tomatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Toss them in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat them. Season with salt and pepper.

Grease a cookie sheet, and then add the seasoned tomatoes. Roast at 425° F for 30 to 45 minutes, checking them periodically to make sure that they do not burn. The cooking time will vary based on the size of the tomatoes.

Asha Hawkesworth

Asha is passionate about enjoying life and making the most of what she has. She is a writer and painter and enjoys being with her family. She has written children's books and a book about the inner child (www.imaginalovemedia.com), as well as other blogs at brighthill.net and ashahawkesworth.com.

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