I have to tell you about a cherry tomato that I’ve been growing in my vegetable garden this summer that is absolutely marvelous. It is called ‘Sungold’ and as its name implies, it is a golden yellow variety. It is a prolific producer and one of the juiciest tomatoes I’ve ever eaten. The tomatoes have a “melt-in-your-mouth” quality that is a perfect blend of acid, sweet, and earthy flavors.
The plant is at its peak production so I’ve been collecting lots of the half dollar sized fruits. Most of them I eat on the spot, but I did manage to collect a few for a tasty tomato, shallot and caper marinade.
The first time I tasted this no-fuss tomato salad was at a friend’s house. She made it with some homegrown pear tomatoes that gave it that fresh just-off-the-vine flavor. Since then, I’ve tried her recipe with several different varieties of tomatoes and each time found it to be a delicious, versatile dish that works well as a side, sauce or appetizer.
A few weeks ago I featured a tomato and Vidalia onion pie that I discovered while at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. Well, this cucumber and onion salad is another great recipe that I was introduced to while there. It is a perfect way to use up end of the season cucumbers that you have growing in your garden.
If cucumbers aren’t a part of your garden’s harvest, select those at the supermarket or farmer’s market that are firm and deep green. Avoid any that are overly large or shriveled. Cucumbers will keep for several days in a refrigerator crisper.
Sometimes cucumbers have a bitter after taste. This is due to a naturally occurring compound called cucurbitin. All cucumber plants contain varying amounts. Sometimes this compound makes its way to the fruit.
It has been suggested that peeling your cucumbers from the blossom end toward the stem end, and stopping about an inch from the stem end, will eliminate some of the bitterness. This is because the cucurbitin is often concentrated in the skin, stem and light green layer under the skin of the cucumber. It is best to rinse your peeling knife after each slice so as not to spread the bitter taste.
This salad is extremely easy to prepare. It is a great addition to those end-of-the -summer cookouts!
My friend Capi Peck, chef and Owner of Trio’s in Little Rock, Arkansas, visited me at Moss Mountain Farm one summer when the tomatoes were at their peak. It highlight the juicy flavor of the tomatoes she made a salad topped with Green Goddess Dressing.
The Cobb Salad is a classic for lunch or a light dinner. My friend Amy James gave me this recipe as part of her series for making four meals from leftovers of Pan Roasted Chicken, Lemon Herb Potatoes, and Oven-Roasted Farmers’ Market Vegetables. Also in the meal plan are Rosemary, Feta and Potato Grilled Pizza, Chicken and Black Bean Burrito Bowl and Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice.
For more of Amy’s recipes visit her blog www.OurEverydayDinners.com.
It’s been reported that 90 percent of all gardeners grow tomatoes. There’s just something about this fruit that makes us want to plant a few. This past summer at the Garden Home Retreat we planted over 50 varieties — slicers, cherries and paste types. For this simple Greek salad I picked five ‘Celebrity’ tomatoes, which are large, meaty and flavorful.
To many gardeners spring doesn’t really start until the first crop of lettuce is in the ground. When you are ready to make your first salad with your homegrown lettuce you will need a great tasting dressing. Here is a recipe that a local chef shared with me that includes fresh basil. It is a delicious complement to any salad.
I was introduced to this salad while on a trip to Columbus, Georgia. With all my lettuce coming on I decided to try it again and was reminded of how delicious it is. A young, garden fresh head of a bib type lettuce such as Buttercrunch is opened onto each plate topped with a luscious homemade mayo dressing and sprinkled with fresh Parmesan cheese.
Chef Anthony Devoti at Five Restaurant in St. Louis prepared this dish for my Garden to Table show. It makes an elegant entree salad for spring luncheons.
It’s funny how fruits and vegetables that grow in the same season often complement each other in recipes as well. Even as unlikely a pair as spinach and strawberries.
The strawberries in my garden start to come on just as the spinach is at its peak so this fresh spinach salad with sliced strawberries and homemade strawberry vinaigrette is a regular meal in late spring.
Both spinach and strawberries are suitable for container gardening, so you can make this recipe with homegrown ingredients even if you don’t have a lot space.
This dressing recipe from my cookbook Seasonal Recipes from the Garden is a good one to pair fresh spring lettuce, especially the Bibb types like Buttercrunch. There is just enough bite to complement the mild flavor of the lettuce without overpowering it.