June 5, 2017

Jill makes things grow; it’s what she does. After a few hours digging around in the dirt, she comes in more vibrant (if smelly). From plumerias to eggplant, she’s happier when she’s growing something, more like herself. She comes by this honestly—raised by two people whose backyard garden was massive, beautifully orchestrated, and ridiculously prolific—she’s now raising Shiv to understand, enjoy, and appreciate how food is grown.

I do not make things grow; instead, I try not to kill them when Jill is out of town. But I fit into this equation nicely, as someone who loves to spend lots of weekend time in the kitchen, figuring out what we should do with a counter piled high with tomatoes and a crisper full of homegrown zucchini & squash. There’s nothing lovelier than being able to walk out to the back patio (or send Shiv!) to grab a handful of mint, or basil, or oregano to toss into whatever’s cooking. And it’s especially gratifying to serve up a meal comprised primarily of ingredients that came from our own backyard.

Since the school year is winding down and the summer winding up, I thought I would share some of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy backyard tomatoes (other than sliced onto a mayo-slathered piece of good bread and topped with salt & pepper, of course). Jill is not a big fan of tomato-based sauces, so I’ve found other ways of using up the bounty. I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as we do.

Favorite tomato recipes from this blog—

Corn & Tomato Pie – it’s high time for me to make the first of these for 2017; this is one of those beloved favorites that makes an excellent summer meal, paired simply with a salad and some dessert. Take it to a potluck, make one for friends who just had a baby, etc.

Indian-Style Tomato Rice—I have fond memories of my mom packing this for me in my lunchbox. Simple but flavorful, keep a batch of this in the fridge and serve on its own, with plain yogurt, or use it as a bed for kabobs or other grilled meats.

Tomato Bread Pudding—this decadent recipe is another one I need to revisit. The perfect dish for a summer brunch, you could certainly switch up the cheeses (Fontina is delicious but $$); just make sure to choose a hard cheese that shreds and melts nicely.

Favorite tomato recipes from elsewhere—

A Diary of Tomatoes: 5 Recipes {via Casa Yellow}
I’ve made all of the recipes in this beautiful booklet from my friend Sarah; no one knows how to handle excess garden bounty better! Her tomato jam is an especially great way to consolidate & preserve your harvest; it’s perfect for all of those hamburgers you’ll be grilling this summer.

Fresh Tomato Tarts {via King Arthur Flour}
This crust recipe is one that I keep in my back pocket, pulling it out when I want to impress people but don’t have the bandwidth to do anything super-laborious. I tend to make the smaller tarts, adding fresh herbs like oregano and basil to the tomatoes before baking.

Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes {via Smitten Kitchen}
I remembered this recipe over the weekend, when the kitchen counter was beginning to be crowded with beautiful yellow-grape and red-cherry tomatoes. Thanks to a recent deal on pine nuts at Trader Joe’s and the gift of feta from our favorite goat farmers, I had everything I needed on hand to make this. I love that the recipe makes a big batch—another great potluck recipe, or something to keep on hand to pack in lunches, whip out when your kid is hungry after swimming for two hours solid, etc.

Ratatouille {via Saveur}
My favorite ratatouille recipe because it’s so hands-off; other than prepping vegetables, the oven does the work here for you. The result is tender and deeply flavorful; you can use it as a sandwich topping, paired with some good cheese, or serve atop couscous for a healthy side.


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