This cheap$kate gardener seldom has a bumper crop, but the ones I pick will be put to delicious use. If you don't have a garden, maybe you have a generous neighbor, a local fave farmers market, or if you are on the road and just pull over into a roadside veggie and fruit stand with a hand-painted tomato sign.
So read on for the freshest tomato recipes that are just a slice away. And click on any recipe name to be directed to my blog post for the complete recipe text with photo illustrations.
For a fresh garden tomato just simply slice it and add a couple more ingredients. My favorite recipe is for a Caprese Salad that's composed of fresh mozzarella, a few basil leaves, salt, olive oil, and of course, thick slices of fresh tomato.
Arrange the parts on a plate and serve at room temperature. Set out a plate for your guests, and be sure to have a couple bottles of wine ready to pour.
I find heirloom tomatoes at my local 99c only Stores from time to time and they are usually the real thing, too.
And summertime is the right time for a chilly tomato soup by way of Spain called Gazspacho. It is a great way to start a patio party, just set out a bowl and let your guest serve themselves while you man the grill.
Gazsphacho is a tasty medley of fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, onion, and cucumber. It gets a rich hit of olive oil to finish in the blender. No cooking needed for this recipe and you can see how easy to pull off below.
An Italian version of salsa on tortilla chips, are lightly marinated chopped tomatoes served on wedges of toast, that's called Bruschetta. Serve it as a crunchy appetizer.
Salads and large chunks of sliced homegrown tomatoes belong together. Go light on the salad dressing though, because you want that fresh tomato flavor to come through clearly.
A Warm Corn, Tomato & Cilantro Salad is a simple side dish to make. It's okay to use always cheap, fresh, frozen, or even canned corn.
I have a 2 Minute Salad made with easy-to-get ingredients, including canned chicken (okay to substitute canned tuna,) spinach, canned beets, and tomato.
Click on any photo to see larger.
This cheap$kate salad travels well and can be quickly put together for lunch at your workplace.
My most unusual salad uses canned hearts of palm. I came up with Hearts of Palm Salad - Brazilian Style because I keep seeing the mild-tasting main ingredients on sale at my local 99c only Stores. If you have never tried heart of palm, then break yourself in with this fresh salad idea.
Another salad takes the crown for Best Classic Salad, my version of a Crab Louis Salad. While expensive ingredients are called for, I have found asparagus frequently on sale, and I use cheap fake crab, or krab.
Of course, if you are cooking to impress then use real lump crab meat.
Sauteed sliced steak, or feta cheese, on a salad needs a strong flavored tomato, and a garden tomato is up for the job in my Warm Steak and Armenian-Style salads, that features pungent feta cheese.
Italian pasta sauces will not be much improved upon with a fresh garden tomato. However, the exception is my Rustic Tomato Sauce with Pasta. The fresh tomato is added at the last minute and only cooked until it starts to collapse, but still at peak flavor.
A big fat tomato slice is what every sandwich requires, at least in my recipe book. I like tomato on my Breakfast Egg Sandwich, and even a wedge of tomato nestled in my Chicago-style Hot Dog.
For a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich, you gotta have a good tomato. I kick my BLT up a notch with the addition of avocado.
For my vegetarian visitors add tomato to my delish grilled Portabella Mushroom Burger, or a Veggie Wrap with Hummus.
Veggie Wrap with Hummus - ingredients
Mexican cuisine loves the tomato. And the freshest way to use it is chopped into a chunky Pico de Gallo salsa. Serve it with your favorite tortilla chips, or add this salsa to most any Mexican entree like: burritos comprised of Carnitas (pork,) Carne Asada (steak,) Eggs & Refried Beans, Pastrami & Coleslaw (?!!) -- and tacos made with: Fish, Carne Asada, Carnitas, Poultry, Breakfast, Tinga (spicy chicken stew,) Chicken Green Chile Verde, and Chorizo & Egg,
Pico de Gallo - chunky salsa
A Summer Ceviche made with krab, drained black beans, cucumber, tomato, onion, cilantro, and creamy avocado is my go-to patio party starter. Set out a big bowl of chips to scoop up my cool Krab Ceviche. And be sure to have some Picante hot sauce at the ready.
Summer Ceviche - Video
I'll leave you with a bit of cheap$kate comedy about my video visit to a local garden nursery for free noshing on fruit picked fresh from the vine, including a beefsteak tomato. Bon appetit !