One of the great things about summer are all of the colorful fruits and vegetables. And ranking at the top are the bright and colorful heirloom tomatoes.
What is an heirloom tomato?
An heirloom is generally considered to be a variety that has been passed down, through several generations of a family because of it’s valued characteristics. Since ‘heirloom’ varieties have become popular in the past few years, there have been liberties taken with the use of this term for commercial purposes. At TomatoFest Garden Seeds we chose to adopt the definition used by tomato experts, Craig LeHoullier and Carolyn Male, who have classified heirlooms down into four categories:
- Commercial Heirlooms: Open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940, or tomato varieties more than 50 years in circulation.
- Family Heirlooms: Seeds that have been passed down for several generations through a family.
- Created Heirlooms: Crossing two known parents (either two heirlooms or an heirloom and a hybrid) and dehybridizing the resulting seeds for how ever many years/generations it takes to eliminate the undesirable characteristics and stabilize the desired characteristics, perhaps as many as 8 years or more.
- Mystery Heirlooms: Varieties that are a product of natural cross-pollination of other heirloom varieties.
Heirlooms are hard to find, even when they are in season. But one place where I have always found them recently is Trader Joe’s. They have them in a mini size at a reasonable price. And they are not mushy; they are very firm. Also, the flavor varies from the savory Black Cherry to the tart Green Zebra. So on Monday night, I went to Joe’s to pick up a carton and waiting right at the door was a whole display of basil plants. At $3.99, I couldn’t pass up grabbing one to use with my tomatoes. I could already see…and taste, a great heirloom tomato salad with fresh basil and a balsamic garlic vinaigrette. I thought about adding small, creamy fresh mozzarella balls but I didn’t want to add more fat or salt to the salad. I love a good Caprese salad but I just wanted to focus on the flavor of those tomatoes.
In addition to mozzarella, I could see adding some sautéed shrimp or scallops to this salad. Fresh parsley, oregano or mint would also be good compliments.
I also like to saute the tomatoes with oil, fresh herbs and garlic and toss with some pasta.
Potato Skins (from Good Housekeeping magazine)
yields 8 servings
(contributed by Gail Meis)
4 large (12 ounces each) baking (russet) potatoes, well scrubbed
4 slices center cut bacon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1 large (10-to-12 ounce) tomato, finely chopped
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- With fork, pierce each potato 3 times. Place potatoes on parchment paper. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Turn over; microwave on high for 10 minutes longer or until tender. Cover with kitchen towel; let cool.
- Meanwhile, in 18” by 12” jell-roll pan, arrange bacon in single layer. Roast 10 to 12 minutes or until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels. When cool, crumble. Discard fat from pan but do not wipe clean; set pan aside. Reset oven to 475°.
- Cut each potato in quarters lengthwise. With spoon, scoop potato from skins, leaving about ¼ inch of potato with skin and being careful not to break through skin. Reserve cooked potato for another use.
- Arrange skins, skin side up, in single layer on reserved pan. Brush with oil; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Roast 13 to 15 minutes or until browned and crisp. Transfer, skin sides down, to serving plate.
- To assemble, spread 1 teaspoon of sour cream on each skin. Top with cheese, tomato, bacon and chives.
Calories 120; Total Fat 5g; Saturated Fat 2g; Cholesterol 13mg; Sodium 160mg; Total Carbohydrates 16g; Dietary Fiber 3g; Protein 4g
Stop buying the vitamin enhanced water! In most cases, it’s just sugar-water with trace vitamins and minerals added.
Take control and make your own. You can add just fruits, vegetables and herbs. Or you can also add sweetness with a little stevia. Or light or amber agave.
There are pictures and links all over social media. Many of them just have you throw the fruits and herbs in a jar with ice and water. But you might want to check out the vitamin water combos on The Yummy Life website. It makes more sense to muddle the ingredients a bit to get more of the health benefits.
Click here for the basic recipe and other ideas.