50 Shades of Tomatoes {recipe}

organic_heirloom_tomatoes_seedylawyer

Curvaceous. Juicy. Bursting. Plump. Tempting. Exotic. Heavenly. Sinful. 50 Shades. No, this isn’t the sexy Hollywood movie. It’s 50 Shades of Tomatoes.

Grow_organic_tomatoes_heirloom_seedylawyer

My organic heirloom tomatoes are show stopping in spectacular shades, shapes and sizes with exotic names like: Black Tula, Principe Borghese, Large Barred Boar, Brandy Wine, Purple Russian, Big Pink and Green Zebra.

heirloom_tomato_seedylawyer

 “Only two things that money can’t buy,  

that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.” Guy Clark


grow_organic_tomato_seedylawyer

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”  – Lewis Grizzard


summer_tomatoes_seedylawyer

 “Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.”


homegrown_tomato_seedylawyer

 “The tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness.”

  -Pablo Neruda


principe_Borghese_Tomato_seedylawyer

“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.”

-Laurie Colwin


Nothing screams “Summer!!” like just-picked tomatoes, sun-kissed and dripping with juicy ripeness.  To highlight your mouth-watering garden gems, keep it simple. Start by adding fragrant basil…

organic_garden-basil_sedylawyer

“A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.”

– Sir Thomas Moore 


Add soft, fresh mozzarella cheese…

capreseSALAD_seedylawyer


Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a thick, rich balsamic glaze.

SeedyLawyer_caprese_salad

Now, how sexy is that?


Caprese Salad

(Shhhh. The secret is the glossy balsamic glaze.) For a more dramatic presentation, vary different shades, colors and shapes of tomatoes.

Serves 8 to 12

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

2 Cups balsamic vinegar

3 ripe heirloom tomatoes, preferably organic

12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced

Fresh basil leaves

High-quality olive oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Make the glaze: Pour balsamic vinegar into saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat.

Cook for about 15 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the balsamic has reduced to a thick (but still pourable) glaze. Cool.

Assemble: Cut tomatoes into thick slices and arrange them on a platter. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Alternate tomato slices with mozzarella slices. Tuck whole basil leaves in between the tomato and cheese slices.

Drizzle olive oil in a thin stream over the top. Drizzle balsamic glaze.

Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.

***

Buon Appetito!

Recipe_caprese_salad_seedylawyer

“Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes

What would life be without homegrown tomatoes?

Only two things that money can’t buy

That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”

– John Denver/Guy Clark

(click on link to sing along to “Homegrown Tomatoes”)

***

Photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Post shared with:  Fiesta Friday, Motivation Monday, Creative Mondays, Mix It Up Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Try A Bite Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Foodie Fridays, Thursday Favorite Things, Link Party Palooza

Do you grow tomatoes? What’s your favorite heirloom tomato?

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Herbal Lemonade

IMG_1251

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.

– Sam Keen

Summer is definitely here.  My herb garden is growing wild. Lemonade stands are popping up everywhere.

I spotted this classic lemonade stand while driving down a mountain road in Western North Carolina. These smart girls even sold Moon Pies!

Lemonadestand3NC_LisaLesperance

This adorable family was serving cold lemonade on a hot day in South Florida. It reminded me of my childhood in Miami.

Lemonademiami3_Lesperance

Not sure she was so happy when life gave her lemons…

girlbluelemonstand

You can always find frosty lemonade during the summer at the farmer’s market.

LemondadeFarmersMarketStPete2_Lesperance

Fortunately, you don’t need your own lemonade stand to indulge in refreshing lemonade.  Just mix lemons, water and a sweetener of your choice to create your own tasty treat.  For an extra twist, add fragrant herbs from your garden. It’s simple:

Squeeze lemons…

lemonsMix in a handful of fresh garden herbs…

Basil2_LisaLesperance

and…Pucker up!

IMG_1258

Experiment with your favorite herbs and fresh fruit.  Though you many not have a lemonade stand, these mouth-watering recipes are sure to have friends lining up for more.

Here’s my absolute favorite recipe. My friend Birgerbird can relate to the lemonade story, so I invited her to guest post a recipe.  She offers a refreshing, floral and aromatic lemonade enhanced with strawberry and basil that will disappear when you serve it.  The addition of a few strawberries gives it a lovely, almost amber, color. Cheers to Summer!

IMG_1250

IMG_1252

IMG_1255

 

Lemonade with Strawberry and Basil

Serves: about 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup raw sugar
1 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
about 20 medium-size basil leaves, torn into rough pieces
3½ cups fresh lemon juice (from about 24 lemons; wait to juice the lemons until after you’ve made the sugar syrup)

PREPARATION:

Make syrup:  Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl. Wash the lemons and rub the sugar over the outsides of them, which releases some of the aromatic oils into the sugar, gently flavoring it.  Scrape off sugar back into bowl to the best of your ability! Then, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool.

Combine the strawberries and 15 basil leaves in a blender (use the remaining leaves to garnish in a pitcher) along with ¼ cup of the syrup. Blend for 1 minute.  Pour into a pitcher with all of the lemon juice and stir well.  Add ice cubes.  Alternatively to make a glass of lemonade, stir together approximately 3 Tbs. strawberry mixture with 3 Tbs. lemon juice and 1 or 2 Tbs. sugar syrup. Add ice cubes and top with a bit of cold water (still or sparkling water are both tasty). Stir well. Enjoy!

I am sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #22!

Do you have memories of your childhood lemonade stand?  Have a special summertime lemonade recipe?

Photos courtesy of  Rob Bertolf,  Nina Frazier

Original photos by BirgerBird and Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.