Summer tastes like tomatoes

Back in March I wrote a guest blog over at The Cusp about how I got fooled by a March tomato. I know better than to buy a tomato in March…even if I did get it at the hippy-dippy produce store. It was red on the outside, white on the inside and had no taste whatsoever.

But now it’s July and fabulous tomatoes are a dime a dozen. I can’t get enough of them.

tomatoes

I eat them in sandwiches with Swiss cheese. Roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and sea salt and topped with Argentinian reggianito cheese. Split open and filled with homemade almond tarragon chicken salad. With fresh mozzarella  and basil in a classic caprese salad. Simmered with olive oil, garlic, carrots, celery, onion and basil  into a fabulous marinara and frozen so a taste of summer can be had in the depths of winter. And, of course in BLTs.

But tomatoes aren’t the only things we’re sinking our teeth into during high summer.

Purple hull peas are another favorite. They’re akin to black-eyed peas…just better. I cook them over low heat with a piece of Tennessee country ham. Add a little cumin, some black pepper and touch of butter toward the end and you’ve got one great bowl of peas.

I hardly ever cook desserts, but last night’s dinner finished with a blackberry cobbler. Cobblers are Southern specialties…fresh berries baked with a flour/sugar/milk/butter combination that’s just simple goodness with every bite.

Recently, Webster’s dictionary added the word locavore to its listings. Simply put, a locavore is someone who only eats food grown locally. It’s a noble ambition, but one that’s impossible for most people to adhere to. One simple reason is that for most people, coffee comes from far, far away. Theoretically, eating locally reduces your carbon footprint. My ever-s0-practical husband points out that just boiling some of that locally grown produce in a huge pot of water without a lid pretty much negates the good karma from buying local.

I imagine he’s right. He understands thermodynamics a lot better that I do.

But when it comes to taste, I say nothing beats the food grown in your own hometown. That’s why the chablis I had here

Europe 07-April 059

 is without a doubt the best I’ll ever have.

 

If you have a farmer’s market, go check it out. Tomato season, like football season, is way too short. Make the most of it.

20 Comments

Filed under Food/Cooking

20 responses to “Summer tastes like tomatoes

  1. I don’t know, I differ with your husband’s opinion. If you’re shipping produce in from overseas it has a pretty high environmental cost.

    Beyond that though, stuff that hasn’t been on a truck or in a ship for a month always always tastes better.

    And NOTHING tastes better than a big ripe heirloom tomato picked fresh off the vine.

  2. you have managed to turn me into a drool-encrusted tomato-vore… will hit the local markets as soon as possible!

  3. I want to be a locavore. Mostly because it reminds me of the word loco. Which I am tonight.
    Luckily, I’m also loco over this post! You made me drool.

  4. You have just made me so incredibly hungry! I love tomatoes too.

  5. One of the things I hated about living in NYC is that, for 20 years, I could not get a decent tomato. My rolly-polly Italian mom thought this was a disgrace. The first time I visited a supermarket in New Jersey post-move, I almost wept from the sight of the beautiful tomatoes. I thought I had just relocated from the Soviet Union.

  6. Julie Fisher

    JI have actually been thinking of you lately, remembering a blog involving tomato sandwiches. I think I even remember pretty well your poetic description of such. Daily these have been my lunch of late. Pure poetry indeed!

  7. I see you’re a foodie like me.

    My entire life is based around tomatoes and olive oil. Mmmmmm I love me some gazpacho on a hot summer day.

    As far as buying local, I don’t know if I’m buying local. I just go to the market and it seems as local as it gets, but I don’t know how to be sure.

  8. J9

    A farmer named Marvin used to bring tomatoes by my dad’s business when I was growing up in West Nashville. Don’t know what he did to perfect the taste, but everyone in the neighborhood would line up to wait for the delivery truck to arrive. Mannn, I miss Marvin.

    But, I did have my first good tomato this weekend purchased from the back of a pick-up truck. Nothin’ better than a July tomato “samich” for breakfast.

  9. Do you notice how nicely cheese goes with those tomatos?!!!!! Grrrrrr. 😉

    I have fresh thyme and basil in the garden. My Man, being a good urban boy, is suspicious of these herbs. He thinks we might get sick from the critters that might crawl on it … or even worse chew it themselves.

    This, of course, cracks me up.

    Love this post. Makes me smell the tomatoes from my father’s July collection.

  10. Pueblo girl

    How lucky are you! Unlike blues (who lives in the south of Spain) I live in the north, and a good tomato is even harder to find than a good man…

  11. AFM–You’re right, of course, when you say that anything shipped or trucked in tastes like caca.
    DF and MG–don’t slip and fall down in that drool. 🙂
    Sarah–If I made you hungry, then I did my bloggy job.
    UB–I thought that you coud get ANYthing ANYtime in the center of the universe…also known as NYC.
    Julie–I eat at least one a day. Sometimes more.
    Blue–Please send me your gazpacho recipe…I never can find one I like.
    J9–I love buying tomatoes off trucks. It’s just so old school.
    Ellie–I grow herbs too, but nobody is worried about eating them here. Truth be known, they’ve probably been peed on by every raccoon in the county. But that’s why I wash them off. What I don’t know won’t hurt me, right?
    PB–oh that’s too bad. Maybe you can grow your own?
    .

  12. You do some stuff I’ll have to try. Two for you:

    First, you missed the classic summer late afternoon meal of bacon and tomato sandwiches and corn on the cob.

    Second, a bit more fancy, thick cut tomato slices under mozzarella crumbles, a ring or two of raw Vidalia onion, capers and a light vinaigrette, and over a slice or two of prosciutto. Heaven.

  13. Dave–I mentioned BLTs, look again. Love the recipe though and will be trying it this weekend for sure. Such a good idea to add proscuitto to the mix. Thanks!

  14. Someday, I’m going to be a foodie. I’m going to cook things, and they are going to taste good. And when people mention something like “purple hull peas” I am not going to imagine a violet spaceship. I will be able to make things other than “stuff with rice” and microwaved soup.

    I cannot wait.

    This made me hungry.

  15. Rass–I’m sure you can learn. Just go slow. Is there something in particular you’d like to learn? E-mail me and I’ll help you.

  16. Little Sister

    I ate a big fat slice of tomato on white bread for lunch!! It was so good,with mayo and tons of sea salt and ground pepper!!!

  17. Niece Lash

    Yummy in my tomato filled tummy…

  18. Now my mouth is watering for a grilled tomato and cheese sandwich or a caprese salad. YUM! Believe it or not, it’s only been the past couple of years that I’ve enjoyed eating tomatoes.

    Locavore – that’s a cool word. I wish I ate more local produce. We have an abundance of farms in the area. I definitely need to hit a farmer’s market or two. Thanks for the suggestion!

  19. Gwen–I did not like tomatoes when I was young, despite the fact that locally grown ones were all we ever had. Today I can’t get enough. Check out your local markets…corn and tomatoes are the best…and garlic. I love having real garlic.

  20. I had my first tomato sandwich this week. Good! And the local, as in our yard (I mean, “garden”), tomato harvest should be starting soon.

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