Janet's Notebook
For the Love of Tomatoes: Creative, Garden-Fresh Recipes

Tomatoes Shine in Salsa Fresca

You know how you sometimes hear folks say you can never have too much of a good thing? Well, my bet is they're talking about tomatoes! No matter how many plants we have each year, the Kitchen Crew and I still manage to use every last tomato. Whether we serve 'em up in the raw as an al fresco snack or put them up in cans for a taste of summer later in the year, we just cannot get enough of the red guys.

Kim Phillips-Randolph of Centralia, IL enjoys the bounty of her friends' and neighbors' gardens as much as she does her own. "We have so many generous friends with gardens who send fresh vegetables our way this time of year," explains Kim who recently earned big Blue Ribbon kudos for her Bacon Tomato Pie recipe. " I love tomatoes and my husband loves bacon, so I concocted a bacon tomato pie. Served with a salad, it hits the spot on a warm summer day." Now that may just be the understatement of the century! Cheese, onion, mayo and basil pair up with delicious layers of fresh tomato and salty bacon for a deceptively easy dinner idea. In a rush? Use a pre-made pie shell... no one will ever know.

Home cook Sheri Mullins sweetens things up with her Watermelon Summer Salad, a tasty way to blend fresh 'maters with other flavors of the season. "This is a light, refreshing side dish for the heat of the summer," says Sheri. "Our summers here in Texas routinely go over 100 degrees. My turn at Bunco [game night] fell on a 102-degree day. The last thing I wanted was to heat my kitchen, so I came up with this dish by combining a few different recipes. It was a hit!!" Feta, cucumber, watermelon and tomatoes get a toss with high quality red wine vinaigrette for an unlikely - but delicious - summer side. Sheri's favorite pairing? Chicken salad croissants! Yum.

Of course, there's really nothing more classically tomato-tastic than homemade salsa. Shawn Chant of Birmingham, AL is on board that tomato train with her fresh take on Salsa Fresca. This fun recipe offers up a refreshing twist by incorporating kidney beans and fresh avocado right into the salsa itself. The result is a colorful relish perfect for parties or afternoon picnics. Prepare at least an hour ahead to let the flavors meld, then serve yourself... liberally. It's like the whole of summertime right in your bowl.

So, feeling hungry yet? Goodness gracious, just the thought of biting into a perfectly ripe, juicy tomato has me smiling from ear to ear. What a blessing to know the joy of ample food and fresh flavor. What do you say we make the most of our harvest... and head into the kitchen? Happy cooking!

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Nancy Thomas - Sep 3, 2012
Anxious to try the Bacon Tomatoe Pie! Thanks!
gina daoud - Sep 3, 2012
hi does anyone have a good taco salad recipe thx
sheila farrah - Sep 2, 2012
Thanks Sherri how do you post it now?
Millie Johnson - Sep 1, 2012
You "Pinch" now. Same thing just a different name.
Carla Tipton - Sep 1, 2012
How can you save a recipe in your recipe box? I don't see the "save" anymore. Thanks!
sherri gage - Aug 31, 2012
Sheila, POST IT!!!!!!!! You'll get mega votes!
sherri gage - Aug 31, 2012
Sheila, I have always thought I was the only person on Earth that LOVES this combo for a salad!!! I've even made my entire meal out of this!!! Gotta love ya! :))))))))
Kami Roberts - Aug 30, 2012
One of my favorite memories of home was mom bringing in all the tomatoes from the backyard, and her getting busy making spaghetti sauce, salsa, stewed tomatoes -- canning like crazy. I can still smell how fantastic the house always smelled this time of year.
sheila farrah - Aug 28, 2012
I love chopped tomatoes, string beans red onions, and sometimes tuna or salmon all mixed together with a red vinegar dressing. Try it you may liked. Even eat it in the winter with canned tomatoe wedges! Sheila Farrah
Millie Johnson - Aug 28, 2012
The Bacon Tomato Pie is delish ! We love tomatoes . This year I have grown several varities and came up with Grilled Tomato Salad . The tomato flavor really pops !