Tomato Season: Bruschetta, Corn Chowder, Taco Salad

Tomato plant progress!

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This week I harvested the majority of the remaining tomatoes on my patio tomato. Here are the ones I picked tonight. I think I probably harvested about 15-18 tomatoes from my plant. The first five that ripened a couple weeks ago were big, red, perfect beauties! The remaining tomatoes seem to quite a bit smaller, and many have cracked for some reason. They still taste good though!

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I think I lost a couple to critters, as well. After a little research, I learned that tomatoes can be picked as soon as they enter the “blush” stage; that is, when they first start turning orange or red. At this point, the fruit basically seals itself off from the plant at the base of the stem, and it possesses all of the sugars, water, and vitamins it will ever have. There really isn’t any advantage (that I know of!) to letting the tomatoes fully ripen on the vine. In fact it might be advantageous to pick them as soon as they enter the “blush” stage, because there is a smaller chance that a critter will come snatch them up.

This is probably common knowledge for experienced gardeners, but this was a lesson I learned as an amateur this year. (Though I’m not a total amateur! I happen to think I have a rather green thumb, and spent a lot of time helping my dad with our big vegetable garden as a kid!).

Brats, Watermelon, and Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salad

Summer meals are so wonderful! We grilled some of our favorite Biercamp brats this week: Jalapeño Pepper jack. On the side we had watermelon and Corn, Black Bean, and Avocado Salad.

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Favorite Non-Grilled Summer Dinner

My favorite non-grilled summer meal is this menu:

    • Summer Squash and Corn Chowder
    • Tomato Bruschetta

The chowder begins with cooking diced bacon, which is then removed from the pan and set aside, so that the veggies can be cooked in the bacon fat. I always double the amount of bacon (4 slices instead of 2).

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Diced summer veggies: zucchini, summer squash, celery, and green onions.

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And corn. One pound of frozen, or use fresh. Reserve one cup.P1080896

Blend the rest of the corn with milk, salt, pepper, and thyme. I used dried thyme this time, but I HIGHLY recommend fresh. Fresh thyme makes a HUGE difference, especially given it is the only herb/spice in this dish.

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Corn smoothie anyone!?P1080899

Combine the pureed portion with the sautéed veggies, and heat through.P1080901

Top with reserved bacon crumbles, green onion, and sharp cheddar cheese. So delicious!

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My favorite part is actually the tomato bruschetta, though. I used toasted baguette slices, rubbed liberally with garlic, as the base. The topping is simply fresh basil, diced tomato, balsamic vinegar, EVOO, salt, and pepper. It is divine.P1080907

I could just eat an enormous plate of this for dinner and easily call it a day.

I use Cooking Light’s bruschetta recipe as inspiration, and the Corn Chowder is also a Cooking Light recipe!

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Quick Taco Salad

Another summer meal using tomatoes! Using a recipe from Kraft as inspiration, I quickly threw together Taco Salad this week. Lean ground beef with taco seasoning atop of giant bed of Ranch-dressed romaine, served with cheddar, tomatoes, crumbled tortilla chips, jalapenos, and a dollop of Greek yogurt (great substitute for sour cream, I am finding, since I tend to have the yogurt on hand more frequently). This tasted awesome and came together in a cinch. This will totally be added to my frequent meal rotation. Huz made a big deal over how tasty it was too.

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Quick Taco Salad:

  • Recipe from Kraft
  • My rating: 9/10
  • Calories per serving: (1/4th of recipe): 480
      • I only used 3/4 lb of ground beef, instead of 1 lb, and the two of us split the recipe for dinner. We didn’t quite eat all the beef though; there was still a scoop left.

NoteCurrently listening to: Born to Die – Lana Del Rey.

I have a mild to moderate recent girl crush on obsession with Lana Del Rey. For one I love her completely captivating, sultry 1970s-esque voice. And her raw, and even at times alarming, lyrics. And her face. And her hair. And she is the same age as me! Which automatically makes me feel even more bonded to her. Can’t stop pinning her on my Pinterest board!

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12 thoughts on “Tomato Season: Bruschetta, Corn Chowder, Taco Salad

  1. That meal looks so delicious ! I want to make that taco salad. It is so nice to have fresh, home grown tomatoes ! MOM

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