How Do I ? Lunch Side Dishes

Terrific Tomatoes!

They say that gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes! 

I did try gardening, the first year didn’t go so well, my friend Carol felt sorry for me and gave me some of her tomatoes.  Another great gardener friend of mine, Jim was convinced I could do it so he gave me a plant the next year-it worked because he would stop over and water them.  

So maybe the magic gardening green thumb skipped me but I sure do love a good tomato. A few of my favorite tomato ideas:

  • Tomato Brie; use your favorite tomato, grape or cherry tomatoes work great.  Top the brie with your tomatoes, basil, fresh garlic and a little olive oil.  Bake it until warm or even better use a cast iron pan over the campfire.
  • Tomato Basil Cheese Tortellini; easy!  Just cook frozen tortellini per package directions, toss with basil pesto and cool in the refrigerator for a couple or hours.  Skewer on tooth picks with a half of a grape tomato-yum!
  • Traditional Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil with Balsamic Vinegar;  two ideas on how you can jazz that up a bit; 
  • Purchase Wegmans Organic Glaze with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena-delish!  If you are not by a Wegmans-it’s worth the trip!
  • Make Balsamic Pearls.  Sounds elegant, sounds easy-I will be honest it’s not as easy as it sounds.  These can be tricky so have patience and remember the key is cold, cold oil.  The amazing flavor is so worth it.

Balsamic Pearls

1 cup Balsamic Vinegar

2 pkgs gelatin

1 cup vegetable oil

  1. Chill oil in fridge in bowl for at least 2 hours.  
  2. Whisk gelatin into 1/4 cup vinegar then bring remaining 3/4 cup vinegar to a quick boil.  Remove from heat and whisk together. 
  3. Remove chilled oil from fridge and set bowl of oil in another bowl of ice.  
  4. Once vinegar is slightly cooled use a turkey baster or an eye dropper (food use only of course) to drop vinegar into cold oil-little droplets. Don’t over crowd, work in batches and gently remove balsamic pearls into a separate bowl.  

I know a lot of gardeners who harvest so many tomatoes it’s hard to use them all.  Consider inviting your friends for A Terrific Tomato Party-everyone can make a speciality tomato dish.  I have a lot of experience helping people plan all kind of theme parties-contact me today at to help plan your next party!

Do you grow your own tomatoes?  If not where do you purchase a great tomato? 

Have a great day!