Tuesday, May 10, 2016

tomato celebration toast

Tomato season! This makes me so happy, y'all. And so does this thick slice of multi-grain toast, topped with a smear of chevre and juicy, red slices of Arkansas Traveler tomatoes, sprinkled with a confetti of coarse sea salt and black pepper.  Now that's downright gloriously simple goodness.  I could eat this every single day.  And, during tomato season, often do just that.

One of the really beautiful things about eating home grown or locally grown produce according to the season is the actual anticipation of each season.

Around mid-February every year here in central Houston, I set up my tomato plants.  I dig my hole, mix in MicroLife, add a teaspoon of rock phosphate and carefully tuck the tomato plant into the soil.  I tenderly envelop her in a wall of water, or set the cage and wrap with frost cloth to create a warm and safe place for her, protected from the wind and elements.  I do this multiple times over for each plant.  I wait, and I watch as they grow. Peeking in the little makeshift greenhouses around each plant, watching them get bigger and stronger.  Once the Ides of March pass and the winds settle, it's off with their protective shields and out into the bright, warm sunshine.  I wait and watch some more.  Until, usually near the beginning of May, I spot the first color on the Sweet Chelsea cherry tomatoes, and I know it has finally arrived.  Tomato bliss—on the precipice of full-on tomato season.

The garden team at our community donation garden also love watching the tomatoes grow into "trees," and anticipate their arrival—knowing they will help provide bountiful harvests for our neighbors in need via the food pantry.  

My mouth starts to water and I have crazy tomato dreams,  thinking about all the tasty bites coming soon.

Like these butter cracker fried green tomatoes using green Early Girl tomatoes...

for this Butter Cracker Fried Green Tomato Salad

And, please, don't forget the Caprese... with bright red Celebrity tomatoes...

For me, the Caprese always initiates a time-shift a few years back to the most perfect Caprese on the most perfect girls trip to Italy...

and this must-have Aperol Spritz...

One of my favorite varieties is a large cherry tomato, called Sweet Chelsea.. it's super productive, and reliable.

So good in this loaded salad lunch...

The big, beautiful Brandywine heirloom has the loveliest pink blush!

So here we are.  It's May, and we're ready to celebrate the season, and start it out with this simple tomato celebration toast.   Come late July, we'll likely have had our fill of tomatoes—until next season, that is.  We'll be well on our way to craving the next season's crop by then. And therein lies the beauty.
Let the games begin!

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