I never tire of eating the tomatoes I grow in my garden. Our tomato harvest has been positively phenomenal this year (you can see some instagram photos of my tomatoes below), so I thought it would be fun to write up an epic tomato blog post. I’m going to give you one of my new favorite recipes for fresh tomatoes, along with 50 other ideas (from my blog archives and other bloggers) for using them!
Let’s talk about the quick tomato sauce first. In past years, I have water-bath canned my own tomato sauce and wasn’t that thrilled with the results. I far prefer to make and enjoy this sauce when tomatoes are abundant, and to freeze any leftovers. (Now if someone can tell me how to make a home-canned sauce that tastes like Rao’s, I’ll be ecstatic!).
I make this with my homegrown San Marzano tomatoes. San Marzanos are a type of plum tomatoes: they have thicker flesh and fewer seeds than other tomatoes, and I grow them every year because they have terrific flavor and are perfect for making sauces, tomato paste, etc. If you don’t have access to San Marzanos, use a variety of plum tomatoes that’s easier to find- such as Romas- for this sauce.
I’ve been a big fan of Anya Kassoff’s blog Golubka for a long time. It’s a lovely site full of gorgeously-photographed, health-promoting recipes, many of which are vegan and raw. Anya’s new book The Vibrant Table is just as beautiful and inspiring as her blog.
I received The Vibrant Table from publisher Roost Books a few months back. I’ve flipped through the book many times, reading Anya’s intriguing stories and “ooh”ing and “aah”ing over the photos (taken by her talented daughter Masha Davydova), but I could not decide what to make. I recently settled on the Apricot and Lavender Tart, and was so happy that I did…it’s fabulous!
Anya’s tart crust recipe is gluten-free and while I changed up the flours, mine is gluten-free, too. This recipe is also vegan. It’s the perfect dessert for when you want something that’s very visually appealing, but isn’t particularly over the top in terms of calories. This tart is actually very light, though you can certainly up the decadence factor by serving it with some vanilla ice cream.
Be sure to use very ripe apricots, otherwise your tart won’t be as flavorful as it could be. I found organic apricots at my local natural foods store and used those; I bought my dried lavender flowers at my natural foods store, as well. If you don’t need the tart to be vegan, I imagine butter will work well in the crust.
Amanda from HeartBeet Kitchen is one of the sweetest bloggers I know, and I’ve fallen in love with her new cookbook: Smitten with Squash (Northern Plate). Since my squash plants are incredibly prolific this year, I am so grateful for this resource. It has many, many wonderful-looking recipes for both summer and winter squash.
The first recipe I decided to try was the Tomato and Summer Squash Cobbler: I served this last weekend at my family birthday dinner. I used a combination of Sungold and regular cherry tomatoes (the Sungolds were from my garden but I didn’t have a whole pint of ripe ones so ended up buying the others) along with homegrown pattypan squash and zucchini.
I also grew the thyme, onion, and garlic!
The flavors of the tomatoes and squash really deepen in a beautiful way when they are baked…this dish is SO delicious.
It’s been almost a month since I last wrote a blog post: I don’t think I’ve ever taken this long of a break! Why the silence? No particular reason except that I’m having a fun summer ;)
I haven’t taken any big trips or done anything super exciting: I’ve just been tending to (and eating/cooking from) my garden,
The strawberries I recently planted haven’t fruited yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from eating a whole lot of local strawberries this season already. Lately I am buying them from a few different farm stands in my town and they are fabulous.
I love eating them “as is,” but use them in all different recipes, too.
Strawberries are pretty fragile: in the past, I’ve sent far too many to the compost because I didn’t store them properly. But that was before I was really tuned into the food waste issue…things are different now! Since I’ve been writing posts to help promote Glad’s #SAVEITSUNDAY program, I’ve really learned a ton about food protection, including how best to store strawberries.
How to Prep and Protect Strawberries:
When you get your berries home from the grocery store/market, or even if you pick your own, you want to avoid washing them before you store them (wash them right before eating/using in a recipe instead). This helps stave off the molding that can happen due to the moisture the strawberries soak up when you wash them. Place the unwashed berries in a single layer in a bowl, on a plate, or in a glass or plastic food protection container, like GladWare, that you’ve lined with a tea towel (or paper towel).
Seal the container and keep on the countertop if it’s not too hot in your kitchen and/or it’s just for a few hours. Otherwise, store them in the refrigerator. (Source: Glad)
Before you even head out to purchase your strawberries though, it’s a good idea to have a plan for how to use them. This will allow you to buy the proper amount! (But if you end up with too many, never fear…just trim them and freeze for adding to smoothies and such).
What To Do with Strawberries:
Here are some of my recipes that use strawberries along with recipes from blogging buddies. And scroll down for a simple strawberry jam recipe that you’re going to love.