Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Fruit

I love summer, most of all because every piece of fruit and every bite of vegetable is sweet, juicy, tart, crisp, and fresh, fresh, fresh.

You can literally smell the sun and dirt emanating from these fresh tomatoes.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the quissential summer fruit is really the tomato. Oh yeah, you thought that was a vegetable? It's ok, I used to think that too.

Sandwiched in a juicy, fresh off the grill hamburger, chopped up with onions, garlic, lime, a jalepeno and served with crunchy tortilla chips, or glistening on a plate with a dollop of fresh mozzerella and basil leaves, the tomato is the perfect center piece to any recipe.

Sure tomatoes get their fair share of air time all year round - ketchup (barely tomato), marinaras, sundried tomatoes, and those pale pink, mushy, measly tasteless things that insist on calling themselves tomatos in the winter.

But nothing compares to the fresh taste of tomatoes in the summer. At first bite, you notice how they are firm, yet utterly tender and juicy. None of the that fuzzy, stuff from the winter that dissolves in your mouth. The summer tomato begs to be chewed slowly, with eyes closed and a blissful smile.

There are so many ways to enjoy tomatoes, and I'm sure you already have a few tricks up your sleeves. If you are one of those people who can't stand tomatoes, I beg you to give the freshest, ripest, redest ones from your farmer's market or gourmet grocery store a try again. You might be surprised by what a *real* tomato tastes like.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes is in a salad. Here's an untraditional take on a summer salad.

The Red Salad

2 large fresh red tomatoes, I used Roma tomatoes in this recipe
2 cups watermelon, chopped in bite size cubes
1 cup strawberries, halved)
1/4 cup feta (I used a feta made from sheep's cheese
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Sea salt to taste
1/4 cup mint, chopped

Mix all ingredients, except vinegar and salt together. When ready to eat, add the balsamic vinegar, salt if necessary (the feta will add salt, so add to your taste. I like my food salty to usually add more even with feta). This salad is best made 1-2 hours before eating.

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