Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are generally more delicate than high volume varieties, but are full of flavor and come in a bounty of colors and sizes. Every heirloom variety is genetically unique, because it has evolved to resist pests and diseases and adapted to specific growing conditions and climates. Heirloom tomatoes don’t fit well into the commercial process, so choosing an organic heirloom tomato, will give you more flavor and less harmful ingredients.

You can find heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers markets and at specialty grocery stores. Shop now, because tomatoes are best during June through September. I encourage you to grow or purchase heirloom variety tomatoes. You’ll be surprised at the color and flavor they will add to your dishes. And don’t forget to save the seeds – you’ll be ensuring the survival of the fruit for years to come.

Read the entire August issue of City Social magazine at www.citysocial.com and read the full article in the Stirring It Up column! Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of City Social on stands all over town.

Couscous1

Roasted Tomato and Vegetables over Pesto Couscous
1 package couscous
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Steen’s Cane vinegar
2 heirloom tomatoes (8 to 10 ounces total), cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 medium red onion
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash
1 box sliced mushrooms
1 red or yellow bell pepper
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
Sliced fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish
1 cup fresh feta cheese crumbles
1 pound large boiled shrimp, if desired

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, salt, cumin, pepper and vinegar. Slice tomatoes, onion and squash into 1/4-inch rounds. Wash sliced mushrooms. Seed and cut bell peppers into strips. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables over a greased jelly roll or half sheet pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare couscous according to package directions, replacing half the water with chicken or vegetable broth. After it’s done, stir in the prepared pesto. Spoon the couscous into a large serving bowl, top with roasted vegetables and feta and sprinkle with basil and serve warm.

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Pepper Jelly ReductionMozzarella1
1 red heirloom tomato
1 yellow or other colored tomato
1 6 or 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup pepper jelly (any kind)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

Slice tomatoes into thin slices. Slice mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices. Heat balsamic vinegar and pepper jelly until well blended, about 5 minutes. Arrange the tomato and cheese slices alternating them on a platter. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with strips of basil. Serve room temperature.

Polenta1Tomato, Onion and Goat Cheese Polenta
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups polenta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of goat cheese crumbles, divided
1 tablespoon of bacon fat
1 garlic clove
1 large red onion
2 or 3 heirloom tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farhenheit. In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a rapid boil. Slowly stir in polenta. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in the olive oil and 1 cup goat cheese. Pour the polenta into a greased 10-inch pie plate or tart pan and press down evenly. Let the polenta cool on a wire rack.

Slice the tomatoes and onion into thin slices. Melt the bacon fat in a skillet and sauté onion and garlic until slightly tender. Arrange the slices of onion with tomato slices covering the top of the polenta. Top with the second cup of goat cheese.

Bake the polenta for 15 minutes, then brown 3 minutes under the broiler until golden brown. Serve warm.

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