The reason why summer meals are so lovely -- besides that bottle of Rosé on the table -- is all thanks to those ripe, juicy tomatoes that perfectly complement any menu.
Summer is the perfect time to experiment with these colorful, plump little gems; from cold, refreshing salads to warm, buttery pastries, fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes are delicious this time of year and we’re taking full advantage of them this sunny season.
Bloody Mary Gazpacho
*Adapted from Foodie Crush’s recipe
4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 large cucumber, cut in 2-inch chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut in 2-inch chunks
3 ribs celery, cut in 2-inch chunks
1 large shallot, quartered
2 cups canned tomato juice or V-8 vegetable juice
1 T red wine vinegar
1-2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice, depending on taste
1 1/2 T prepared horseradish
1T celery salt
3 T Worcestershire sauce
3 T olive oil
1 T Tabsasco sauce, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
garnish: thinned sour cream, chopped green olive, chopped yellow bell pepper and celery
1. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine first 6 ingredients.
2. In a blender, pulse half of ingredients in bowl until smooth. Pour pulsed mixture into a large bowl.
3. Add the rest of the batch to blender and pulse until chunky, you’ll want it this portion to be somewhat chunky for texture. Add to the smoothly blended tomato mixture.
4. In another bowl or 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine tomato juice and next 8 ingredients. Pour into large bowl with tomato mixture and combine.
5. Chill for 1 hour for flavors to combine or eat at room temperature. Garnish and serve.
Tomato Salad with Red Onion, Dill and Feta
*Adapted from The Kitchn's recipe
Ingredients (Serves 6)
1/2 red onion
1 pound tomatoes, about 2 large, 1 red and 1 orange
1 clove garlic
Flaky sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 pound cucumber (approximately 1/3 cucumber), thinly sliced
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Finely slice the red onion and put the slices in a bowl of cold water while cutting up the rest of the vegetables, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Drain the onion and pat dry.
2. Place the garlic, a pinch of salt, and the vinegar into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.
3. Add the red onion, red pepper, cucumber, olives, and herbs and let marinate for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and feta, and toss gently to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Lift out of the bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving juices behind. Place on a large platter and serve immediately.
Grilled Sourdough with Buttery Herbs, Heirloom Tomatoes and Honey Drizzle
*Adapted from How Sweet It Is' recipe
4 slices sourdough bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced and covered with salt + pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1. Heat your grill over medium heat. In a bowl, stir together butter, basil, oregano, chives, thyme and salt until combined.
2. Spread the butter on both sides of each sourdough slice. Place the bread on the grates and grill until the bread is toasty and char marks appear, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.
3. Remove the bread and immediately add the sliced tomatoes with a drizzle of honey.
Vanilla Cornmeal Crumb Cake with Candied Cherry Tomatoes
*Adapted from How Sweet It Is’ recipe
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
whipped cream for serving
For the crumb topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
For the candied cherry tomatoes
2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
6 tablespoons sugar
1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla paste and extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined, then stir in the melted butter until combined. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and pour the batter in the pan.
3. To make the crumb topping, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter until combined. Whisk for a a good minute or two until the sugar begins to dissolve, then use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour. Sprinkle the crumb on top of the cake. Bake the cake at 450 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.
To make the candied cherry tomatoes:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and place the quartered tomatoes on top.
2. Sprinkle the sugar on the tomatoes 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Roast the tomatoes for 25 to 30 minutes.
Tomato, Goat Cheese and Scallion Puff Pastry Tart
*Adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking's recipe
2 cups all purpose flour
20 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small squares
2 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp cold water
6 oz Goat Cheese
3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
8 scallions, thinly sliced
sea salt, pepper
For the Puff Pastry:
1. Place the flour and 1/2 butter in a food processor with a steel blade. Pulse until the mixture becomes the consistency of sand. Add the remaining butter and pulse for a few more seconds until the mixture is course. Add the salt and pulse for 1 second. Slowly drizzle in the cold water and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball.
2. Remove the dough from the food processor onto a piece of parchment paper or a floured work surface. Shape it into a rough rectangle and lightly flour the top of the dough.
3. Fold the dough into thirds, like a brochure, and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
4. Once chilled, remove the plastic wrap and roll out the dough to another 12x18 inch rectangle. Repeat the folding process then cover and chill. Repeat this process 1 more time and voila - you have a quick puff pastry in about 1 hour!
For the tart:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Roll the dough out into its final 12x18 inch rectangle. Cut the pastry into long strips and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
3. Brush the pastry with a little olive oil, sprinkle on the crumbled goat cheese and some tomatoes.
4. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with scallions, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!