By PAMELA REDWINE
Here are 5 great ways to celebrate fall tomatoes before their season is gone forever.
Which recipe will you try first?
with Balsamic Glaze
(These make a perfect snack for any fall day.)
Slice one large, ripe tomato (we recommend beefsteak or heirloom) and arrange 2-3 slices on each plate. Drizzle the slices with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Then pour a ribbon of balsamic vinegar glaze (about a tablespoon) down the center of the slices. Garnish with mini saltine crackers.
Warm Tomato Salad
(Ripe tomatoes blend well with balsamic vinegar, onion, and sweet peppers in this amazing side dish.)
Place 3 medium tomatoes (cored and diced) into a microwave-safe container. Add 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, 1 cored, seeded, and diced green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon of cilantro, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Toss gently, then microwave on high for two minutes and serve.
Tomato Basil Spaghetti
(For a quick, warming meal on a cool fall evening, you really can’t top this spaghetti.)
Cook 8 ounces of whole grain spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, then set aside. Place 2 cups pasta sauce, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, 1/2 cup sliced green onions, and 1 cup of diced fresh tomatoes into a 3 quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes, then add cooked pasta to the pot. Mix well and serve hot.
(Bruschetta is a perfectly refreshing appetizer.)
Combine 2 cored, seeded, and chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning in a mixing bowl and toss gently. Divide mixture between 4 slices of grilled 100 percent whole wheat bread, then top with a dash of grated Parmesan cheese and olive oil.
Green Bean Tomato Salad
(This salad is a fantastic way to start any meal.)
Mix 1 pound of green beans (boiled and drained) with 2 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped red onion, 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon each of vegetable oil, oregano, and basil. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve. If you plan to wait a while before serving, be sure to "shock" the green beans in an ice bath before adding them to the salad. Otherwise, the beans will continue to cook as they sit, and you'll end up with mush.
Pamela Redwine is a nutrition and food safety agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Article provided by Oktibbeha County Extension Service; for more information call 662-323-5916.