Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Homegrown Tomatoes

They're kind of puny, but they're very sweet.

It's about that time of year for bumper crops of tomatoes. I usually just pick 'em, cut 'em up, salt and pepper 'em, and eat 'em, or make a tomato and cheese sandwich, but occasionally I make something with them. Here are a few of my favorite recipes if you have a bumper crop.

Tomato Crouton Casserole

8 med. tomatoes, peeled and cut into thin wedges

8 slices bread, crusts removed and cubed
½ cup plus 2 T. butter or margarine, melted
1 t. salt
1 t. dried basil
1 t. thyme
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange tomatoes in a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with bread cubes. Combine butter, salt, basil and thyme; drizzle over bread cubes and tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes or until tomatoes are tender.

BLT & C Salad

6 lrg. ripe tomatoes
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 cup chopped lettuce
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup seasoned croutons
2 green onions, sliced
¼ cup mayonnaise
⅛ t. pepper
pinch salt

Cut 1/2” slice off tops of tomatoes. Scoop out seeds and flesh leaving a layer of pulp attached to skin to form a bowl. Cut larger pieces of discarded tomato into small cubes and reserve. Discard seeds and juice. Combine tomato cubes with chicken, lettuce, bacon, croutons, green onions, mayonnaise, pepper and salt. Spoon chicken salad into tomato shells.

NOTE: When I make this recipe I skip the "stuffing part," just chop all of the tomatoes, and toss with the other ingredients. Not as pretty, but less trouble too.

And if you have a couple zucchini:

Zucchini and Tomato Pasta

1 med. zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch bites
3 to 4 plum tomatoes, chopped in 3/4-inch bites
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 T. olive oil
1 t. coarse salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
½ lb. fusilli
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Start water to boil for pasta. Heat skillet and add olive oil when hot. Add zucchini and garlic and saute on med-high for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browning (stir occasionally). When pasta water boils, add pasta and cook until done. When zucchini begins browning, add tomatoes and continue cooking. When pasta is done, drain and add to skillet. Salt and pepper and toss with parsley. Pour in serving bowl and top with cheese.

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