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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Summer Lovin'

It's September now, but summer days are still here in spirit. It's been colder outside these days and I am not quite ready to accept the autumn. Looking back at this summer, I think my best culinary discovery was not a new thing, but rather a rekindling of my love for tomatoes. I had grown so accustomed to the hard, grainy, tasteless tomatoes found in the grocery store, that I had given up on them. However, I remember the day at the Farmer's Market when I saw the curiously beautiful "black cherry tomato," and I couldn't resist. I popped one straight into my mouth and I was transported to my youth when tomatoes grew in my mom's backyard, and we would sneak out into the backyard to eat my mom's crop during the Brady Bunch. The cherry tomatoes were so juicy and fresh, we would gobble them up and when my mom would go out into the backyard, she would find her vegetable garden raided by her children.

A colleague of mine, who happens to be Italian, told me that Italians only eat tomatoes when they are ripe and that's why there is such a profound tradition of canning tomatoes to enjoy throughout the year when the snow is on the ground and the sun is now where to be seen. Perhaps next year, that will be on my to-do list!

This summer, I fell in love again and we feasted on the meaty beefsteaks, gorged on the workhorse romas and snacked on the sexy cousins, the marble-sized orbs, cherry tomatoes.

Several weeks ago, I was in Montreal and found myself in heaven at the Jean Talon Market. Bushels upon bushels of roma tomatoes, hand-tied chilis dangling from tarpulin roofs, and large buckets filled with fragrant bunches of basil. Of course, it was absolutely frustrating trying to walk through the aisles and not buy anything to take home! Oh and the heirlooms! I almost cried when Ryan told me they wouldn't be able to make the train ride home two days later. Sigh.

However, all that pent-up demand drove me straight into the arms of the farmer's at the St. Lawrence North Market the following Saturday. I bought a small basket of romas. Oh boy, did we enjoy those bad boys.

Roma Tomato Salad
5 roma tomatoes - cut into 8ths
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
4 basil leaves, chopped roughly
grinding of salt and pepper
1/4 c of large caperberries
2 tbsp of goat cheese

1. Toss the tomatoes, olive oil, basil and lemon juice together.
2. Season with salt and pepper, as you like.
3. Top with crumbled goat cheese and caperberries.
4. Enjoy!
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