One of my favorite things about summer is homegrown tomatoes, especially super-sweet cherry tomatoes. Homegrown tomatoes really taste different — sweeter, with more vibrant, tomatoey flavor notes — than the varieties found in the produce aisle at the grocery store.
Tomatoes are easy to grow and, if you’re camp hosting or are settled somewhere for a few months, you can grow a plant or two in pots in your RV space. Or you can pick up farm-fresh tomatoes at the local farmers market. You’ll find red, yellow, orange, purple and even green striped tomatoes — each with a little different flavor.
Tomatoes are healthful because they’re loaded with carotenoids, plant pigments responsible for red, yellow and orange hues. Carotenoids act as antioxidants that help prevent cell damage. They have strong cancer-fighting properties, are anti-inflammatory, help the immune system and may prevent heart disease. Tomatoes, in particular, contain all four major carotenoids, and they work together to promote good health. And tomatoes are a major part of the Mediterranean diet, one of the tastiest and healthiest, in my opinion.
You can hit the road in search of tomato festivals. In August and September, communities from California to Maine celebrate tomatoes.
Got a favorite tomato recipe? Email Bobbie with “Tomatoes” in the subject line.
Fresh Tomato Feta Tart
This crispy fresh tomato feta tart uses a pound of beautiful, end-of-summer cherry tomatoes. And, because it uses ready-made puff pastry, it’s easy-peasy. It makes a great breakfast or lunch or, served with a salad, a light supper.
- 1 piece frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1⁄3 cup feta cheese
- ¼ cup cream cheese
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- Cover a sheet of frozen puff pastry with a towel and thaw for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and scatter over parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes in the oven. Set aside.
Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll the thawed puff pastry into a 9-by-11-inch rectangle. Transfer to baking sheet and put back into freezer to firm up.
Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and use a sharp knife to trim the pastry into a rectangle. Mix the egg and cream and brush the edges of the puff pastry. Use the pastry trimmings to create a wall around the edge to create a dam for the cheese and tomatoes. Return the pastry to the freezer for a few minutes.
Mix the remaining egg/cream with the feta, cream cheese and garlic. Spread the mixture out to the edges of the chilled puff pastry. Top with the roasted tomatoes. Add oregano and Parmesan cheese and a little salt and pepper.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are done. To ensure the bottom of the pastry is baked, lift up the bottom and see if it’s crisp and golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.