Cooking On A Budget: Summer Tomato Recipes

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Tomato Recipes


The arrival of fresh from our garden tomatoes, vegetables and herbs can't come soon enough. But I'm not wanting to wish my life away either. These seasonal recipes are delicious as a side dish or a light lunch.

Google Photograph
We have so many to choose from now - varieties of cherry and grape tomatoes. Aren't they gorgeous?
Nothing like visiting your local farm stands to get the cream of the crop. We are planting cherry tomatoes along with larger tomato varieties this year. One (Jet Stars) will be planted by memorial day and the Super Sonic about two weeks later. That will give us a longer growing season for tomatoes.

This very first recipe is a Tomato Salad made with cherry or grape tomatoes - in any color combination you choose. Unfortunately, these tomatoes can be a tad pricey in the grocery store so purchase what you can on your budget. I've made a similar salad but without the nice garlicky croutons. This will be good.

Tomato Salad

  • 1 - 2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes - halved
  • 8 oz. bocconcini mozzarella
  • 1 large clove garlic - finely minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil - minced
  • 2 dry measuring cups garlic/Parmesan croutons (Homemade Croutons recipe is on this site.) 
For the dressing whisk together in a bowl the following ingredients and add in the salad ingredients. Toss well to combine the flavors. As the dressing sits the flavor intensifies.
  •  3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  You could also add black olives or calamata olives to this salad if you like them.

Puff Pastry and Tomato Tart


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry - thawed according to box directions
  • 3  large tomatoes - 3/8 inch thick 
  • 3-5 oz. feta cheese - crumbled
  • 2 large cloves of garlic - minced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme - leaves removed from stem and rough chopped (about 1 tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley - minced.
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a touch of all purpose flour - for rolling the pastry.
  • parchment paper
  1. Thaw the pastry according to the manufacturer's directions.
  2. Lay a piece of parchment paper on your baking tray.
  3. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the pastry sheet from bottom to top. Turn the sheet and roll again from bottom to top until you have the desired size you want. Place the puff pastry on the parchment paper. Cover with a towel and set aside.
  4. PREHEAT your oven to 400° F.
  5. Cut your tomatoes and lay the slices on paper towels to absorb some of the moisture. Lightly (as Feta cheese is salty already), salt the slices of tomato and grind some black pepper on them as well.
  6. While the tomato slices are resting on the paper towels, crumble the feta cheese in a small bowl if you bought a small chunk of it.
  7. Mince the garlic cloves and combine with the feta cheese. Mix well.
  8. Prepare the fresh thyme as noted above and add it to the bowl with the feta and garlic and mix, or as I did just sprinkle the thyme leaves on top.
  9. When the juices from the tomato have been absorbed (this may take a little time), begin to layer them on the pastry sheet leaving about an inch or so all the way around so that the pastry can get folded over.
  10. Sprinkle on the fresh parsley then the feta cheese mixture over the slices of tomato. Drizzle on some olive oil.
  11. When the oven is up to temperature, put the sheet pan in. Close the oven door and reduce the heat to 350°.
  12. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the pastry is a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it rest for just a couple of minutes then cut into nice sized squares.
Again, if you like olives, chopped them up and sprinkle in as well. Or, make this tart like caprese salad and do it with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Makes a great vegetarian meal.

I bought a box of the puff pastry, used one sheet and did not use all of the thyme or the feta cheese, which leaves me with a cost of $7.59. As a side dish feeding six people = $1.26 per person. As a main dish for lunch, probably 4 people at $1.89 per person.

If you want, use both sheets of puff pastry and you will use up more of the feta cheese and thyme. Ramp up on the number of tomatoes. This is absolutely fabulous! 
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