If your garden is overflowing with a bountiful harvest of tomatoes, here are 10 easy recipes and ideas to extend your enjoyment of your terrific tomato harvest including Linda Link’s Old Fashioned Savory Tomato Soup
. Variety is the spice of life so try incorporating your ripe, juicy tomatoes into your everyday meals with these fresh ideas.
1. Linda’s Old Fashioned Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup garnished with basil
1/3 cup butter
2 garlic cloves
4 cups sliced celery
2 onions, sliced
1 peck very ripe tomatoes (1/4 bushel or about 8 cups,cut up)
1 quart water or stock, optional
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons salt ( or to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup honey
Melt butter in large, heavy enamel or stainless steel pot. Saute garlic, celery and onions lightly. Add cut up tomatoes, water or stock (I don’t always add water if tomatoes are good and juicy) and parsley. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Put the soup through a food mill or Victorio strainer to remove vegetables, tomato skins and seeds. This process makes a smooth, beautiful tomato soup. Return the soup into the pot and reheat. Add salt and pepper to taste. At this point make a thin paste of 1- 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water and slowly add into the simmering soup to thicken. ( Ed note: Linda, usually skips that step but I prefer the soup to have a little more “body”). Add the honey.
The soup recipe can be frozen or pressure canned for 35 minutes for quarts, 20 minutes for pints to enjoy in the cold winter months ahead.
When ready to serve, you can add 1 pint milk or cream per pint of soup and 1 tsp butter and reheat but Linda’s family likes the fresh tomato taste so she eliminates this step. (Ed note: My soup base was strong and flavorful that I LOVED it mixed with cream and reheated without the butter.)
Garnish the soup with fresh basil sprinkled on top with homemade croutons, if desired. This soup is great on a cold day served with grilled cheese sandwiches. Linda’s grand daughter is already asking for her Meme’s (Grandmas’s) tomato soup and she is only three.
2. Grilled Tomato with Basil Vinaigrette
Fire up the grill for these colorful kabobs featuring red and yellow tomatoes. After grilling, drizzle Basil Vinaigrette
over the tomato halves just before serving for added flavor. This side dish pairs well alongside grilled chicken or fish
3. Tomato-Egg Sandwiches
Hard-boiled eggs and fresh tomato slices are set atop pieces of toast making quick and easy finger sandwiches for your next summer gathering. Don’t forget the delicious ranch, cream cheese spread; it gives the sandwich that something extra.
4. Tomato Feta Salad
Tangy feta cheese pairs perfectly with the sweetness of chopped tomatoes in this flavorful side salad.
5. Salsa with a Twist
Salsa with a twist – make salsa with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime, or try adding in some watermelon peaches and tomatoes for a new twist on salsa.
Combine pie crust, swiss cheese, basil, and fresh sliced tomatoes for a delicious, savory lunch or dinner.
7. Tomato-Herb Pasta Dinner
Combine crisp flavors such as fresh mint, basil, or cilantro with sliced green onions and chopped tomatoes. Mix in whole grain spaghetti or cheese filled tortillini’s and top with vinaigrette. Add cooked chicken or shrimp for a one-dish dinner.
8. Pico de Gallo
Pico de gallo
Pico de Gallo is a classic Mexican condiment made of fresh ingredients such tomatoes, onions and chile peppers such as jalapeño or serranos. This version also includes chopped avocado for added flavor and nutrition. Add this versatile topping to Tortilla Crusted Pork, tacos, omelets and more.
9. Bacon, Tomato, and Basil Sandwiches
Sandwiches made using basil rather than lettuce gives this traditional sandwich a fresh twist. Serve for a snack, for lunch, or as a finger food .
At some point, when your windowsills and counters are buried in tomatoes, you will discover that you no longer really want to eat all of your tomatoes right now. This is when you start cooking the tomatoes so that they are in a form you can enjoy at a later date. Pulling a fresh tomato sauce, juice, or soup off the shelf or out of the freezer in February is a happy reminder of summer and that it was worth all the work. Click on the link for detailed instructions.