Updated August 1st 2017 with my latest recipes! There are so many, don’t be intimitaded, just scroll through my enticing photos (!) and pick one or all of them…because in my opinion, there are never enough ways to cook with tomatoes!
We are in the heart of summer and it’s time to enjoy those beautiful bright colored vine-ripened tomatoes growing in our gardens and showing up on the farm stands!…BUT first, let me really set the right tone here: Want to learn how to cook tomatoes in ONE MINUTE?
This won’t help at all…(via our hilarious daughter Corinda)
I am still laughing!!! OK, now onto “serious” Cuisinicity stuff….
This sweet juicy fruit comes in a myriad varieties of shapes, sizes and colors and every one of them is as delicious as it is versatile! Tomatoes are really ideal for someone who loves to create new recipes so it’s no surprise that I just love them!
Tomatoes can be served raw, cooked, canned, sundried, stewed, in salads, in sandwiches, in marinara sauce, the list is almost endless, and whichever way you eat them, they are a great addition to your diet.
Tomatoes are remarkable for their health attributes. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and fiber. They are also high in lycopene, which is a potent carotenoid antioxidant that is even more “bioavailable” –that is to say, available for absorption and making contributions to our health–when tomatoes are heated in combination with an oil.
This week, as a way of celebrating the summer harvests, I am devoting this post to all things tomatoes. If you don’t have them growing in your garden, make sure to go to your local farmer’s market. It is so worth it!
If you want more tomatoes in your breakfast, what better way to start your day than with my Spinach Tomato Feta Omelet!
The Red Potato Provençal is a delicious side dish for those family barbecues and so easy to make:
Another wonderful side dish perfect for a family barbecue is my Seared Black Rice & Beans:
My favorite, most ridiculously (actually!) simple recipe of all, are my Simply Oven-Dried Tomatoes! They are the next best thing to homemade sundried tomatoes! They burst with flavor and are a cinch to make. They are wonderful as appetizers with a little goat cheese sprinkled on them, or simply naked, as a side dish and my guests always rave about them!
Another simple way to take advantage of fresh tomatoes during the summer months when they are just perfectly ripe off the vine, is to serve them in a Caprese Salad: simply sliced, with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and just a drizzle of the most fragrant extra virgin olive oil you can find with a little balsamic vinegar, a pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper…oh my goodness…so delectable and this is all you need to make it! You can’t go wrong!
Tomatoes also go beautifully with fish or seafood. My Halibut in Wine Tomato Broth is so full of flavor and so beautiful on the dinner table! It’s a “throw”-everything-in-a-pan-and-just-bake-right-before-your-guests-arrive kind of dish! The white wine, fresh tomatoes, cilantro and turmeric all blend in perfectly with the halibut.
I also love them in my Baked Tilapia Provençal. This is a very tasty way to bake tilapia with a southern French flavor. All the ingredients for this quick and easy dish are mixed right in the baking pan so it literally entails one dish to clean. How delicious is that!
They give just the right touch to my Tuscan Shrimp with beans over polenta.
or my Tuscan Bean Spinach Pasta : This is a throw-everything-in-the-pot kind of dish that you make 15 minutes before you sit down to dinner!
Of course, tomatoes are also wonderful with poultry and I have several recipes that highlight them: My Chicken Fricassee over quinoa is a French stew loaded with fresh vegetables and the tomatoes give it a delightful provençal twist. My Turkey Bean Pot-au-Feu is another Provençal dish with lots of tomatoes, garlic, red wine, cannellini beans and herbes de Provence.
They are also crucial in my soups and chilis. I have so many, you may just want to peruse Cuisinicity (http://cuisinicity.com/category/soups/) to pick your favorite!
I also have a lot of recipes that use a simple marinara sauce, such as my Chicken Parmesan, Turkey Meatballs, Pasta Fagiole with Spinach Mushroom Marinara Sauce, Fresh Tomato Olive & Basil Galette, Sneaky Cheese Pizza.
A homemade marinara sauce is “nothing” to make, and there are many wonderful available recipes elsewhere but if you do not have the time to make it from scratch, you can use any number of store-bought simple tomato marinara sauces, so that’s one less thing to fuss about.
I find that as long as the brand of marinara sauce you use has no added sugar (I cannot stress that enough, my husband has personally analyzed marinara sauces that, calorie for calorie, contain more added sugar than chocolate ice cream topping!) and has those few simple ingredients you would expect in a marinara sauce (tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, onion, garlic and salt), you’ll be all set and can save yourself the time and hassle! Here are some I personally like (click here and here). The same applies to salsa, watch out for added sugar, there is no need for that!
There are so many ways to incorporate tomatoes into our diet all year round but now that summer is here, it brings them to a whole other level, the options are endless!
So, go pick one right now and bite into it as you would an apple and just relish its sweet flavor and with it, welcome the summer season whole heartedly!
Alternatively, just follow my daughter Corinda’s ridiculously simple recipe, after all, it takes less than 1 minute!