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Fresh ideas for garden tomatoes

Try these new and exciting recipes to use up your surplus of one of America’s favorite summertime fruits

By Traci Smith - Grit Magazine | May 25, 2021

Grilled Corn & Cherry Tomato Salad


Grit Magazine

Tomatoes are all the rage this time of year, as they should be. After all, who doesn’t love fresh, juicy, mouth-watering tomatoes? However, after a couple dozen BLTs, we’re ready for something different. And, when we have a lot of tomatoes, we need to figure out a way to preserve them, so all of our hard work isn’t wasted.

Here are some simple, delicious recipes from the Capper’s Farmer archives for using fresh tomatoes to make everything from salads to pizza and flatbread, to salsas, frozen marinara sauce, and even ketchup.

We’ve also included a few recipes for dishes that call for salsa, ketchup, and marinara sauce–because if store-bought sauces are good, then homemade sauces are sure to be even better, making these favorite meals all the tastier. Enjoy!

Tomato salad with goat cheese

Yields 6 servings.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

11/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut in bite-size pieces

1/2 red onion, sliced thin and separated into rings

1/3 cup whole basil leaves

1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

In a large bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic, and whisk to combine.

Add the chopped basil, tomatoes, and onion, and toss to coat.

Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing occasionally, to allow flavors to blend.

Sprinkle whole basil leaves and goat cheese on top before serving.

Tomato-zucchini bruschetta

Yields 8 servings.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 small zucchini, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound tomatoes, diced

1/2 small red onion, diced

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Italian bread of your choice, sliced and toasted

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and garlic, and cook for 1 minute, or until they begin to soften. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.

Add the tomatoes, onion, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, vinegar, and remaining oil to the zucchini mixture, and stir gently until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Spread a spoonful of the tomato mixture over your choice of Italian bread, and serve.

Margherita flatbread pizza

Yields 2 to 4 servings.

3 cloves garlic, minced

11/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 naan bread

3 pieces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/2 inch thick

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tomato, sliced thin

11/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

6 basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic and oil, and mix well. Brush half the mixture over the naan. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the top is crisp.

Arrange the cheese on the hot naan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a layer of tomatoes, and season again with salt and pepper. Bake for another 5 minutes, and then broil for 2 to 3 minutes.

Mix the remaining garlic-oil mixture with the vinegar, and stir until a smooth emulsion forms.

Drizzle the vinegar mixture over the pizza, and sprinkle with basil. Slice, and serve hot.

Freezer marinara sauce

Yields 4 to 5 quarts.

10 to 12 pounds fresh tomatoes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

2 teaspoons sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fill a pot with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Working in batches, blanch the tomatoes for 1 minute. Remove them to a large bowl to cool, then peel and core them.

Place the tomatoes in a food processor, and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes. Reduce the heat, and let the sauce simmer for 2 to 4 hours, or until it’s thickened and reduced. Cool completely.

Divide the sauce into freezer-safe containers, and freeze for up to 6 months.

Simple salsa

Yields about 5 cups.

3 cups chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 cup diced onion

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 teaspoons chopped hot peppers, including some seeds, as desired for spiciness

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, green pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice, hot peppers, and cumin, and mix gently but thoroughly.

Season with salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust the seasonings and hot peppers as needed.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours–overnight is even better–to allow the flavors to blend.

Note: The salsa will last for 1 week in the refrigerator. For longer storage, freeze it in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags for up to 2 months.

Meatloaf with ketchup glaze

Yields about 8 servings.

1 pound lean ground beef

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup Homemade Ketchup, divided

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried parsley

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or a pinch of white pepper

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, milk, egg, 2 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well, using your hands, until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan, pressing it into the corners, and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ketchup with the brown sugar and red wine vinegar, and stir to blend. Pour on top of the meatloaf, and use the back of a spoon to spread it to the edges.

Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour. If the top starts to get too dark during the cooking time, cover it loosely with foil.

Let the meatloaf stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up before slicing and serving.

Baked ziti

Yields 6 servings.

10 ounces uncooked ziti pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 pound Italian sausage

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

31/2 cups Freezer Marinara Sauce

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the ziti according to the package directions for al dente. Drain, and return to the pot.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the garlic and onion, and cook for 2 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

Add the sausage, and cook until browned, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks. Add the fennel seeds, paprika, red pepper flakes, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in the marinara sauce, water, basil, oregano, and sugar. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste, and add additional salt and pepper as needed.

Add about 21/2 cups of meat sauce to the pasta, and toss to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining meat sauce on top, and sprinkle with the cheeses.

Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Grilled corn and cherry tomato salad

Yields about 8 servings.

12 ears of corn, husked

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup black beans

1 small red onion, sliced thin and separated into rings, optional

2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn if large

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare the grill for high heat.

Rub the ears of corn with 1 tablespoon oil. Place the corn on the grill, and cook, turning often, until it’s charred and hot, about 10 minutes. Cool, then cut the kernels off and place them in a large bowl. Discard the cobs.

While the corn is cooling, place the beans in a strainer. Rinse with cold water, and allow them to drain thoroughly.

Combine the beans, onion, tomatoes, basil, lime juice, thyme, and corn, and toss gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, and add additional salt, pepper, and lime juice as needed.

Cover and let salad stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Homemade ketchup

Yields about 2 cups.

4 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

1/4 teaspoon whole allspice

2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped (Romas work well)

11/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

5 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 yellow onion, peeled and diced

1 Anaheim chile, seeds removed, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

Place the cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, celery seeds, chile flakes, and allspice in a single layer of cheesecloth, and secure it with kitchen twine. Set aside.

In a large stockpot, combine the tomatoes, salt, vinegar, brown sugar, onion, chile, and garlic. Add the spice packet. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes and chiles are soft, stirring occasionally.

Remove and discard the spice packet. Pour the tomato mixture into a blender, and blend until smooth.

Pour the blended mixture through a fine mesh strainer back into the cooking pot to remove any seeds that may have escaped the spice packet.

Cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the ketchup reaches the desired consistency. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Pour the ketchup into a container with a tight-fitting lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Excerpted from GRIT. To read more articles from GRIT, please visit www.grit.com or call 866-803-7096 to subscribe. Copyright 2021 by Ogden Publications Inc.

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