Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Is Near!

My garden is shaping up quite nicely this year.

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As you can see above, the radishes (in rows on the left) are in need of a thinning, but the edamame (in rows on the right) are filling in perfectly, and though it’s hard to see, the green leaf lettuce (potted) has proven to be tender and tasty.

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I even have tomatoes starting in my Topsy Turvy planters! That’s very exciting, as it’s my first year trying out what I find to be an intriguing product.

Unfortunately, a cold spell mid-spring greatly hurt sweet basil growth here in Central P6150013Pennsylvania this year. Unless the nurseries pulled their basil indoors at night, most of the crop didn’t thrive. And though I did manage to find two Italian basil plants, the sweet basil I really crave is struggling. Look at the poor little guy to the right.

I finally broke down and bought a small potted sweet basil plant at a local grocery chain … because without basil, my summer would not be complete.

P6110001At the farmers’ market on Saturday morning, I got my hands on the lovely hothouse tomatoes to the right. I thought they’d be a nice addition to the heirloom tomato that came in our produce co-op package-of-the-week … and I knew summer was near: I had everything I needed to make Mom’s Tomato Salad.

Now, when I purchased Rachael Ray’s original cookbook in 2002, one of the first recipes I noticed was her Tomato and Onion Salad. I knew it was authentic, as I’d grown up with something very similar on our dinner table in the form of my mom’s tomato salad. Rachael uses tomatoes, white onion, basil, parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper; Mom’s recipe is a bit more basic (I say that’s a good thing) and looks like this:

  1. Chop up three or four tomatoes.
  2. Add several slices of red onion, diced, along with sweet basil from the garden, several tablespoons of olive oil, and lots of salt.
  3. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for a bit.

That’s it! Great over grilled flank steak:

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…savored by my son over ditalini:

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…or perfect all on its own:

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L'estate รจ vicina!

(Click here to print recipe)

Tomato and Onion Salad on Foodista

2 comments:

Beth said...

Mmmmmm, yum, Maria! I do the same thing with my summer tomatoes, but add some sugar too. Does that make it less authentically Italian? I love it over hot pasta. Your garden looks terrific!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your garden looks wonderful, Maria! I wish I ahd all that space to plant veggies.

My basil is growing slowly this spring...I bought some seed and I'm fillin more flower pots with it so I have different growths in progress.

Your tomato sald makes me yearn for my tomatoes to begin to rippen!