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Tomato Vortex

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08/22/2014

Tomato Vortex photo

The thing I love most about summer is how it’s the opposite of winter. Maybe that’s too basic, but after last winter, can you blame me? I’ve been doing a little happy dance every time I walk outside and see the sun shining and realize that we’re not in a polar vortex.

There are other things I love about this time of year: longer days filled with extra sunshine, beach visits, bare feet and Chicago’s many street fests. Those are all fine and dandy, but I think it’s time we recognize the one true king of summer—the summer tomato.

Sure, tomatoes aren’t all that hard to find any time of the year, but that’s because we’re spoiled brats. We can have any old thing we want to eat any time we want it. We’re lucky to be alive when out-of-season produce can be shipped all over the place. You can have a peach in January or asparagus in November. The old days of only eating foods that are in season are gone.

While that is amazing, we shouldn’t forget that there’s a difference. A tomato is a tomato is a tomato, right? Well, no, not exactly. Nothing can compare to the taste of in-season tomatoes or other produce that didn’t need a passport to get to your grocery store. So, friends, prepare your taste buds, summer tomatoes are coming.

What will you do with this season’s tomato bounty? I’m looking forward to tomato sandwiches, sliced tomato with a sprinkle or two of salt, and caprese salads. While large tomatoes are delicious, we shouldn’t forget grape tomatoes. Those little guys are like nature’s candy. I recently discovered a new way to eat these little mini treats of summer. It’s quickly becoming my most favorite way to enjoy them. You really must give this recipe a try – it’s sure to knock your socks off.

Tomato Shortcakes

Ingredients

1 can of biscuits (I use a Southern-style)
1 small container of soft herbed spreadable cheese

Tomato Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil (I use garlic infused oil to add a little zip)
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound grape tomatoes (mixed colors, if you can find them)

Directions

Prepare the biscuits according to the directions on the package.

For the tomato salad, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar, and freshly ground black pepper in the bottom of a bowl. Quarter the tomatoes lengthwise and add them to the bowl with the dressing, tossing them together gently.

To assemble the shortcakes, split each warm biscuit in half. Smear a bit of the cheese on to the biscuit halves. Generously spoon each half with the tomato salad and its dressing. Eat!!

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