Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Monday, May 11, 2009

Summer Food - Tomatoes!

Days 'till Memorial Day: 14

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 15

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 41

Yes, it's summer FOOD week on my Countdown to Summer! Get your recipes ready...

Tomatoes are one of my top summer foods. I think I inherited my love for this luscious treat. I'm the granddaughter of Italian tomato farmers who immigrated from Calabria to South Jersey, and summer just doesn't seem right without tomato plants growing in my garden.

When I first started growing tomatoes (the year my husband and I bought our first house), I planted store-bought seedlings. Then I caught onto the heirloom tomato craze and learned how to start my own plants indoor from seeds. There's really no comparison between a store-bought winter tomato and an heirloom tomato picked out of the garden (or the farm stand) in mid-August.

I love tomatoes sliced with olive oil, salt, fresh mozzarella, and fresh Italian basil (also from my garden). Homemade salsa and pico de gallo is also fantastic. Here's an unusual--and easy!--pico de gallo with avocados recipe that my daughter found on the Internet somewhere and made for her Spanish class fiesta. Throw in some tortilla chips and this is a whole meal!

Pico de Gallo with Avocados

3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup chopped white onion
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro - chopped
1 lime - squeezed
2 fresh jalapenos - chopped (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large avocado - chopped

Chop up all ingredients and toss in a big bowl. Serve immediately (or within a few hours) with the tortilla chips of your choice. Serves 6.

Anyone else have a fresh tomato recipe to share?

This week's prizes...FIVE great summer reads courtesy of the nice folks at Dorchester Publishing. Comment on any post from today (May 11) through Saturday (May 16) to enter the contest. Five winners chosen at random and posted on Sunday May 17.
  • A TASTE OF MAGIC by Tracy Madison
  • GOTCHA! by Christie Craig
  • SIREN'S SECRET by Trish Albright
  • DEEP MAGIC by Joy Nash

Joy Nash

Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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Blogger Unknown said...

I'm with you Joy on those tomatoes! I am going to the nursery today to get some tomatoe plants. Because I love fresh tomatoes. I usualy plant them the first of may but it has been so rainy this year and I haven't had the chance to put them out. Great books this week!

11:58 AM  
Blogger Estella said...

Home grown tomatoes are awesome. We grow ours in containers on the deck.

3:42 PM  
Blogger robynl said...

I love tomatoes; Dad always planted tomato plants.
I love this:
2 slices bread toasted and buttered
cut tomatoes slices and lay on one piece of toast; add Bread and Butter pickles on top of this
on other piece of toast slather on Miracle Whip.
Put slices together to form a sandwich, cut in half and devour; sorry, I meant enjoy.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Kammie said...

One of my favorite sandwiches is tomato and shredded cheddar cheese heated under the broiler. My girlfriend's mom would make this for us for lunch when I was young. I still enjoy it as much today as I did back then and it's so easy to make.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yep I got my five little tomatoe plants out today! Finally had a dry day to do it.

9:48 PM  
Blogger darbyscloset said...

I love to take burchette (sp?) bread, cut in slim slices, brushed with olive oil a sprinkle of fresh basil, a slice of mozz. chesse and topped with a fresh toemato slice then bake for around 20 mins on 200 or until chesse is melted..yummy, I make this for a meal for myself when my husband is out of town..I'd cook it for him yet he likes meat with his meals and this is to "foo-foo" for him, which means all the more for me!!! ;-*
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

10:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Love fresh garden tomatoes. We started growing heritage varieties. Have grown some yellow and some pink and yellow striped ones the past few years. The are less acidic and really good. My favorite recipe isn't really a recipe. Can't wait for those first tomatoes so we can have sliced tomatoes on toast with lots of mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Hi Joy! My hubby is doing alot of tomatoes in the garden this year! I don't know how to can but I do boil and freeze them for the winter for spagetti sauce and the like. In the summer I think we are having every day with different ways.

One of my favorites is The Tomatoes and Cucumber Salad.

Cut one cucumber to cubes
Cut tomatoes to cube size
Add mayo to lightly moist it
Add drops of vinegar

Stir all together and refrigerate for one hour.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Pam P said...

There's nothing like tomatoes fresh from the garden. My aunt and several friends have gardens and have lots to give away. We'll do the bruschetta, but just as good plain old tomato sandwich - Italian bread, tomato and mayo, nothing like store-bought, yum! My aunt has plenty left over to make gravy to jar for her macaroni all winter.

Zucchini is good, too, and they'll take the flowers as they pop up and saute in olive oil after dipping in batter (beaten egg and flour, season if wish), they get eaten as fast as they come out of the pan.

Garden string beans are good too, taste so much better than canned or frozen.

3:33 AM  
Blogger VickieC said...

My best memory of tomatoes was when I was a little kid follow my grandpa to the garden an picking them an eating them right off the vine,with juices dripping everywhere,back then they didnt use any chemicals but mother earth,just like eating a apple,boy was it good too!

8:48 AM  
Blogger CherylS22 said...

Homegrown tomatoes are one of my favorites. I just cut them up, put salt on them & eat them like fruit.


3:54 PM  
Blogger traveler said...

Tomatoes are so delectable. My favorite dish is Bruschetta. What a treat.

6:48 PM  
Blogger chey said...

Garden fresh tomatoes are great. I'm trying to grow my own tomato plants indoors this year until I can plant them outside. Last time I tried that, they got hit by a freak hail storm the day I put them out.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Joy Nash said...

I learned the hard way not to put out tomato plants too early. One year I planted before Memorial Day and we got hit by a late, hard frost. All the plants died and I was so upset! But miracle of miracles, they all came back from the roots a week later.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Sue A. said...

We just brought some cherry tomato plants to put in this week. We don't seem to have as much luck with full tomatoes with our rainy climate. Not enough sunlight hours I think.

7:58 PM  
Blogger kimmyl said...

I like dicing my tomatoes, cucumbers, purple onion and a little italian dressing together.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Gaby317 said...

I love eating the tomatoes fresh with a bit of salt!

I enjoyed the story of when you first started growing tomatoes!

Just got married and moved to our own place in the last year. It's our first Spring here and I am excited to grow things on our small balcony. So, I could totally relate to how you started gardening - though I just have a few pots, they're the first thing I check on in the morning.

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

3:06 AM  
Blogger Cynthya said...

We just put our tomatoes in on Sunday and I hope the storms we're having don't batter them too much. I love to pick a perfectly ripe tomato, slice it and drizzle it with a little balsamic vinegar. Of course we use them in recipes, too, but I think my favorite is just sliced.

3:37 AM  

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