Twelve Favorite Tomato Recipes ♥ Never Take a Good Tomato for Granted!

My twelve favorite tomato recipes, a perfect dozen selected especially for the last few weeks of the very best summer tomatoes. Never take a good tomato for granted. That's the lesson folks Out East learned in 2009 when the late tomato blight struck tomatoes across the eastern half of the U.S., dooming the entire crop. I felt their pain, remembering the year when four days of a late-spring hard freeze nipped the blossoms on peach and apple trees. That year? No peaches, no apples, for Missouri and Illinois. But no tomatoes? Un.Thinkable. I vowed to never take good tomatoes for granted. So for a couple of months, it’s red heaven on a plate, tomatoes morning, noon and night. Sliced and salted. Sliced and sugared. Sliced and slivered with basil and slippery with mozzarella. Then grilled, broiled, roasted, sandwiched and then finally, souped. One night I even drizzled a little tomato syrup over ice cream! Don't let the tomato season pass without reveling in the glory that is t

Israeli Couscous Salad with Yellow Squash & Sun-Dried Tomatoes ♥

Today's latest summer salad recipe: Take sexy Israeli couscous and match it up with pretty yellow squash. What do you get? Summer in a bowl. Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Aiii, culinary nomenclature can be so confusing. First there's couscous , which we tend to think of as a natural whole grain and cook and serve like a grain, but is really just another form of dried pasta. But did anyone else love the word 'couscous' as a kid? I did. "Koos-koos, koos-koos, koos-koos" I'd try to say three times, failing except for the real point, which was to laugh out loud, that was a success. And then there's Israeli couscous . It's still another form of pasta, toasted instead of dried, and shaped in perfect tiny pearls somehow way sexier than other itty-bitty pastas and their cousin, regular couscous. But Israeli couscous is as much a 'food product' as couscous, it's not a natural whole grain either, albeit one born of necessit

No-Guilt Grilled Corn with Chipotle-Lime Browned Butter ♥

Today's easy summer recipe for the grill: Grill sweet corn with the husks off to reveal corn's natural sweetness, then brush with just a touch of a bright and spicy butter. What a summer treat! Sweet corn is one of the summer's most-anticipated vegetables, so worth waiting for, so worth savoring each and every kernel. But calorie-wise, corn gets a bad rap, one it doesn't deserve. Why? FIRST An ear of corn has built-in portion control: one ear of corn yields about a half cup of corn kernels. Even for Weight Watchers, that's a small enough portion that it counts as, get this, 1 point (Old Points) or 2 points (PointsPlus). NUTRITION ESTIMATE for CORN ONLY Per Ear of Corn, assumes 1/2 cup kernels : 66 Calories; .84g Tot Fat; .14g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 11mg Sodium; 14.65g Carb; 2.08g Fiber; 2.48g Sugar; 2.48g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1, PointsPlus 2 (for the record, for Old Points, the exact points are .97, not 1.47 or something approaching 2 point

Sautéed Cucumbers ♥

Today's easy cucumber recipe: For all of us, including me, who stop at 'salad' when thinking what to make with a surplus of cucumbers, here's a new take, a quick sauté. Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". We're eating like rabbits this year. Wait, that's not quite right, let me say it differently. The truth is, we are not eating like rabbits because the neighborhood bunnies are. They munch-and-crunch on the garden's baby zucchini and nascent tomatillos while the resident humans chew on cucumbers the size of bats, all the rabbits deign to leave behind. The resident Mr. McGregor has declared war, preparing for battle with the big guns: bottles of hot sauce and jars of cayenne pepper. Back to the cucumbers. I've cooked cucumbers twice this week and both times was pleased how the gentle cucumber flavor emerges while much of the crunch, albeit softer, remains. The first time, I sautéed the cucumbers with onion and crispy bits of leftover h

Tossed Caprese Salad ♥

Today's easy summer salad recipe: A 'tossed' version of the tomato and fresh mozzarella salad that we call 'caprese' that's usually served as a 'composed' salad, all perfect and arranged but here is carefree. Vegetarian and low carb. Weight Watchers 2 (Old Points) and 3 (PointsPlus). Check the price of fresh mozzarella these days and yikes, odds are, our eyes will get as big as the mozzarella balls themselves, at least if they are the real thing, not the mass-produced, made-some-time-this-year 'fresh' mozzarella balls from Trader Joe's, say. (Don't get me wrong, however, Trader Joe-style quality fresh mozzarella has its place, given the price. But to my taste, this just isn't it.) Surprise surprise, Whole Foods often has fresh mozzarella on sale during the summer-tomato months, some times half the price of my local groceries.

Toad in a Pattypan Hole ♥

Vegetables for breakfast? You bet! Just cut a pattypan squash into slices, remove the centers to create a ring and add eggs cupped by leaves of fresh basil. Very pretty, very tasty! This time of year, UFOs show up at the farmers market. Oh wait, they're not UFOs, they are satellites! Oh wait, they're not satellites, they are pattypan squash! Not sure what I mean with the UFO and satellite references? Here's a photo of pattypan squash . These little guys (and some times, not-so-little guys) may look daunting but really, pattypan squash belong to the family of summer squash that includes the more familiar zucchini and yellow squash. Pattypan squash are just so cute, I want to grab them all up and let them sit pretty in a basket on the counter, reminding me that, glory be, it's summer. But glory be, pattypan squash are too good, cooked, to let sit around just looking pretty. This is a great way to cook pattypan squash for breakfast, especially for large pattypans whic

Raw Beet Sandwiches ♥

Today's open-face sandwich, perfect for summer's best vegetables: Thin slices of beet, tomato and cucumber on good bread. You're gonna have to try this one to believe it, I know I did. Okay, so this is one recipe I never imagined eating, let alone sharing. (Barring the question whether a simple vegetable sandwich even qualifies as a 'recipe'?) But some times you just go with your gut. Or trust the experience of a cook whose food you have learned to love – love – over the years. Back in March, my friend Nupur Kittur who writes the food blog One Hot Stove taught a food class for a group of St. Louis food bloggers in one of the fabulous kitchens at Kitchen Conservatory , the top kitchen store and cooking school in St. Louis. "Indian Street Food" was the theme and oh my, what a feast we did eat. (Want to see more? I've posted pictures from our class on Flickr.) But it was Nupur's simple sandwich that most captured my own attention. (Or maybe it