Conscious Cook: You say tomayto, I say tomahto

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasurable thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” — Lewis Grizzard

Tomatoes, tomatoes everywhere! In August, farmers’ markets overflow with round, red globes of goodness. The splendid summer heat has ripened the Big Girls and Boys, Beefsteaks, Jet Stars, Yellow Pears, Sweet 100’s, and heirloom varieties such as Oxheart, Cherokee Purple and Brandywine to a fantastic state of rich, sweet succulence.

How glorious is the sight of these swollen, scarlet fruits, tumbling off the vine, so heavy and full of pure, natural flavor?

Summer fresh tomatoes are incredibly delicious. Utterly simplistic summer tomato preparations are pure culinary heaven. Slice up some of these beauties, whatever color and size, arrange on a platter and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and dust with a smattering of fresh basil. Take a bite and savor the taste of sunshine.

Chopped and mixed with minced garlic, fresh oregano leaves and balsamic vinegar, and piled onto crisp toast, fresh tomatoes become a sophisticated bruschetta, a perfect prelude to dinner on a sultry summers’ night.

Whether roasted and blended into a silky soup, or stirred up into a sensational salsa, with a zesty bite of jalapeno and cilantro, or sandwiched with thick, crisp bacon, basil mayonnaise and creamy avocado slices, the humble tomato turns grandly gourmand as the cooks’ love child of summer.

Pomme d’amour, or “love apples”, as tomatoes are sometimes referred to in France, love the body inside and out.

Purifying the blood, improving the texture and color of skin, tomatoes also protect against infection, as they are a natural antiseptic. Tomatoes also contain nicotinic acid, which may reduce blood cholesterol, and as a powerhouse source of lycopene, tomatoes are considered to be an amazingly potent antioxidant, capable of staving off the growth of numerous types of cancer.

Prepare your delicious life with lush and lovely homegrown summer tomatoes.

You Say Tomayto Summer Bruschetta

1 day old baguette, or any crusty loaf of choice, cut into ¼ inch thick slices

extra virgin olive oil

4-6 homegrown tomatoes, washed and chopped

1 clove minced garlic

¼ cup finely minced fresh oregano

½ cup slivered basil leaves

balsamic vinegar

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Coat a frying pan with enough olive oil to fully cover the bottom. Heat over medium low heat until slightly smoking. Place bread slices in pan. Cook, turning over until both sides have a bit of crustiness and golden brown color.

In a bowl, mix together chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, oregano, basil, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a grinding of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add more oil or vinegar if desired.

Top each bread slice with a bit of the tomato mixture and enjoy right away. You could also top bread slices with a smear of goat cheese, ricotta cheese, cream cheese or slices of fresh mozzarella before topping with tomatoes.

For more on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, The Conscious Cook, go to www.theconsciouscook.net.

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