Tomato slices with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil
The two container tomato plants I have in our backyard haven’t been super-productive, but I have had several very nice tomatoes from them, with a couple more on the way (provided the squirrel or chipmunk who has been getting to them before I can does not strike again).
On Sunday, we had a very basic dinner of spaghetti (with Rao’s marinara sauce, which is our current go-to jarred sauce) and sweet Italian sausages, and I sliced up this tomato to have alongside. A drizzle each of a high-quaity balsamic and EVOO, with a spirnkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper is all I need on a fresh tomato.
Here’s my first homegrown tomato of the season living its best life as a BLT. Last year, I somehow screwed up and bought two cherry tomato plants, so I never got a homegrown tomato big enough to make a proiper BLT. This year’s plants produce an average size fruit perfectly suited for the task. This particular tomato was hiding in the middle of one of the plants and I would not have even noticed it if I hadn’t gone looking. There were two others also inside, but some critter got to enjoy partially eating those. There are still probably half a dozen waiting to ripen and one or two I will be able to pick this week.
Greek phyllo pizza with spinach, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives
This Greek phyllo pizza comes from the classic Molly Katzen cookbook “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest”. It’s one of our favorite recipes from that cookbook, and I’ve made it many, many times over the years. Like most of the recipes in that book, it’s a little time-consuming but not really complicated, and very much worth the effort.
You start by layering sheets of phyllo pastry dough, painting each one with a little bit of olive oil as you layer them. Once you’ve got the base put together, you sautee some fresh spinach with onions, garlic, and some lemon juice (I have also done it with frozen spinach, but it’s better with fresh), and spread that mixture on the base, along with shredded mozzarella. Then you top that with fresh sliced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and crumbled feta. Bake until the edges of the phyllo are cirspy and golden and the cheese is melty.
I’ve got a couple of containered tomato plants in the back yard, and once they start producing fruit, I will be making this again sometime this summer. I’ll be sure to post a photo of that when it happens.
Since we moved in 2019 and have a backyard available to us again, I grew a couple of pots of tomatoes in 2020 and 2021. The 2020 tomatoes were fabulous. The 2021 pots got off to a cracking start thanks to sunny, hot weather, but I didn’t realize I had bought a variety that produces small fruit, and then the weather got wet, and so I was a little disappointed. Nevertheless, I got a few that were good enough to make a few homemade BLTs.
My preferences for the other main ingredients (the B and L) are North Country Smokehouse Cob Smoked Bacon and Boston (or Butter) Lettuce. The North Country Smokehouse bacon is simply the absolute best bacon I have ever eaten anywhere. I was amazed and delighted to find it at our local Market Basket, since I had originally only seen it at higher-end markets, so we buy it (or the equally good Applewood thick-cut) on the regular. Boston lettuce, for me, is the perfect lettuce for sandwiches of any kind, not just BLTs.
I know people are all about adding avocado slices these days, but the only other thing on this sandwich is a little mayonnaise. If I’m in the mood, I will make my own mayo, but usually rely on good old Hellmann’s.
This was good-but-not great. Next year I will be more careful about what tomato plants I buy and hope the weather holds.