Holy Tomatoes, Batman!

Last summer, I grew a tomato plant on the landing for my back stairs.  After vacation-induced drought and squirrel attack, I was left with exactly two tiny red cherry tomatos for eating.  I was sad.

This summer, I promised myself it would be better.  I bought TWO cherry tomato plants and put them in a self watering container that could go a day or two without being filled.  I bought that smells-like-predator-pee spray and doused the wood surrounding my precious plants.  And, I joined a CSA, where I’d get even more tomatos through my farm share.

The result?  Here’s ONE day’s harvest:

And that's just the little ones!  I have a couple of full-sizers, too!

And that's just the little ones! I have a couple of full-sizers, too!

 

Clearly, I’m not going to be making it through this bounty by just plopping one or two on top of a green salad.  Sounds like time for an old stand-by…Greek salad minus the salad.

(Yeah, I know there’s a real name for this.  But, I had it first in Prague.  It was on the menu as Greek salad, and I had been eating more than my fill of fatting, overly filling foods.  So refreshing and yummy!)

Yum!

Yum!

 

Basically, take everything you would put on a Greek salad, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, feta, olives (if you’re into that sort of thing.  I am NOT!) and just don’t bother with the lettuce.  So good, especially if you’re like me and have been eating way too much lettuce anyway.

Like most of the rest of the female population, I eat a lot of soups and stews in the wintertime and a whole lot of salads in the summer. (Yes, I’m stereotyping, but am I wrong?)

One would hope that a person who eats as many salads in a week as there are days in the week would mix things up. But, no, I tend to stick to a few tried and true favorites. Like…

Smoked Ham and Swiss Chef’s Salad

Lovely fresh green beans add a little special kick.

Let’s face it, ham and swiss are meant to be together. On a sandwich or on a salad, it doesn’t matter. It’s a fantastic combination no matter what the medium. I like mine with celery, carrots, and some slightly steamed green beans.

Pear, Gorgonzola, and Dried Cranberry Salad

You know this already, but pretty colors make me happy!

Okay, okay, okay…I admit it. This one started out as a pizza. My friend, Jeanne, told me about a pizza she had at Za in Somerville. It sounded so good, I had to try it. For my version, I used homemade pizza dough on the bottom. I top that with a little salad dressing (really!) and the caramelized onions. Next comes the gorgonzola and some fontina cheese. On the top, slices of pear, and a sprinkle of dried cranberries and walnuts. So yummy!

Other than the obvious substitution of romaine lettuce where the pizza crust should be, I also omitted the caramelized onions. I’m not gonna heat up the house for an hour in the summertime to make caramelized onions, just to put them on top of a nice, cool salad.

I also left out the fontina and the walnuts. I think I didn’t need the calories that day. But, if you have a few to spare, walnuts go great on this salad!

Roasted Beet Salad

Beets and pistachios. Two of my favorite foods.

Okay, okay.  You caught me.  This one isn’t mine.  I had it at Grafton Street in Harvard Square a while back.  Red and golden beets, pistachios, and some sort of fresh, creamy sauce.  (Maybe yogurt?)  I’m gonna have to come up with a home-grown version of this one soon!

Pesto Pasta Salad

If you and I have attended the same summer barbeque, and it didn’t happen to occur on a day when I was super-duper-rushed, this is probably what I brought. It makes a lot and I always wish there were more leftovers to take home!

First, you gotta make your own pesto.

Yeah, you heard me. You’re making your own pesto. If there’s one thing in this world (besides salad dressing) that has completely unnecessary amounts of fat in it, it’s pesto.

You’ll need:

A big, huge bunch of basil. At least 2 cups of leaves. More if your garden is bountiful.
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

This was not enough basil. My garden was not bountiful enough. But, you make due with what you got, right?

Pulse the garlic and pine nuts together. Add oil. Pulse some more. Add basil, cheese, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

You’re done! If you ask me, this is healthier AND yummier than the kind you buy in the store. Win-win!

You’ll also need:

1 zucchini, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped (I like to use red and orange…or orange and yellow. Whatever!)
one carton grape tomatos
one box rainbow rotini (corkscrew) pasta, cooked and cooled

More pretty colors. Really. Are you getting tired of me and my pretty colored food, yet?

Throw everything in the biggest bowl you own, mix, and chill for a couple hours before serving. Check the seasoning at the last minute to make sure you don’t need more salt. This salad sometimes needs salt.

Sometimes it's hard to wait to dig in, but it really is better if it chills for a couple hours.

Everyone will rave about this one, I promise. Don’t believe me? Invite me to a barbeque some time and I’ll prove it!

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One Comment to “Holy Tomatoes, Batman!”

  1. that all looks delicious – however, you seem to be ignoring the alcohol possibilities… http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/577508

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