This week for Father’s Day, we’re focusing on features and essays dad will enjoy. Today, Director of Publicity Kelly Bowen tackles the tomato with three tasty treats for dads who like to garden, for dads who like to eat and for the ones who like to do both.
$10 Summer Tomato Recipes
by Kelly Bowen
Last year in honor of William Alexander’s 52 Loaves, I baked the perfect loaf of bread. Of course, it became a comedy of errors that quickly turned into a mythic-like odyssey where I faced numerous dangers (levain-making, burning hot ovens, numerous trips into dark places searching for hidden goods), an evil naysayer (me for putting myself on this quest), all of which ultimately lead to the golden, flaky crust of the perfect loaf of bread. (Which will never, ever be repeated.)
For Father’s Day this year, I tackled Alexander’s first book, The $64 Tomato. Poor guy, he didn’t have any clue that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in the backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids. A suburban odyssey, if you will.
In the end, Alexander conquered all with a beautiful crop of Brandywine tomatoes (except when he ran a cost benefit analysis and was shocked to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved tomatoes). So in honor of The $64 Tomato and a carefree summer not spent battling vermin or long recipes, here are three easy summer tomato recipes that will not only cost you less than $10 each, but will take less than 30 minutes to make. Enjoy!
- ¼ lb. goat cheese
- ¼ cup minced basil
- Salt and pepper
- 24 cherry tomatoes
In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, basil, and pinches of salt and pepper (to taste). Cut of the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp (I recommend a grapefruit knife, small spoon, or melon ball scooper). Flip upside down and drain on a paper towel for 10 minutes.
Pour cheese mixture into a ziplock bag, and cut off one small corner. Using the ziplock bag, insert the cheese mixture into each tomato. Sprinkle with more fresh basil for garnish.
BAKED PARMESAN TOMATOES (TAKEN FROM PINTEREST!)
- 4 tomatoes, halved horizontally
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 450° F. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
- 1 cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 1 stalk of celery
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. (The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.) Can top with sour cream and serve with toasted bread.