Fresh vine-ripened tomatoes. Grown in my own backyard. One of my favorite summer foods. But not this year. The remaining days of summer are few and I have become acutely aware that I missed out on one of the season's best treats. Because I didn't plant my tomatoes. Got too "busy" and let planting time pass me by.
So there were no lush vines heavy with tiny grape tomatoes warming in the sun, begging to be eaten by the handful. No Big Boys or Early Girls ready and waiting to grace an impromptu BLT. No Romas ripening faster than we can use them on fat, shrubby plants.
Last year's garden yielded all of that and more. Beautiful, bright, juicy tomatoes that became the main ingredients for salads and salsas and sandwiches. One day in late summer, we picked every single ripened fruit--our last harvest--brought them into the house, washed them up and super-chef husband turned them into a great big batch of marinara. Of course, we ate some fresh that night. The rest was frozen in batches and used over the next several months in all sorts of yummy, savory recipes.
No last-harvest marinara this year though. Or fresh pico de gallo chopped up in a jiffy because company's coming.
I think this weekend I'll make a stop at the farmers market and pick up a selection of someone else's homegrown tomatoes to turn into something yummy like this:
a cheesy tomato tart,
a light tomato linguine,
fried green tomatoes (that I will eat by myself because I still can't get super-chef to give them a try),
or maybe this delicious looking ham and tomato pie. Recipes for all of these fresh tomato dishes, including the pico and at least a dozen more, can be found at southernliving.com. I'll be sad that I'm not cooking with my very own, but I know the farm-grown tomatoes will be every bit as good. Just not as special. I won't let this happen again next year!
What's your favorite summer comfort food?
And did you get your fill?
Farmers market photo via sunset.com
Recipe photos via southernliving.com
Others either taken by me or borrowed from an unknown source