Friday, August 25, 2017

harvesting tomatoes

What's growing in your garden right now? Zucchini? Tomatoes? Green beans? Blueberries or apples? Here in northern Illinois, at least in my backyard, it's tomatoes.

As a member of the Wayfair Homemaker program, I have been compensated for this post. All ideas and  opinions are completely my own.

We planted four cherry tomato plants this year: two red and two yellow. I've been picking tomatoes every day this month. But let's face it ~ there's only so many raw tomatoes you can eat, right?

What I like to do with an overabundance of fresh tomatoes is to roast them. Roasting brings out their natural sweetness and there's so many ways you can use these summer a sandwich, burger or grilled chicken; toss in salads; use in soups and stews; even on grilled cheese. You can use them right away, refrigerate for up to three days, or freeze for up to a year. To roast, I simply put the tomatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with 1T of extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly grated pepper and garlic salt. (Have you tried this garlic salt from Trader Joe's? It comes in its own little grinder. This stuff is amazing! I use it on everything.) If you're not into garlic salt, I don't know you use regular salt. I then incorporate all the ingredients by using my gloved hand to gently rub the oil and spices over all the tomatoes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Once the oven is ready, put the pan of tomatoes in and roast for 15-20 minutes.

This is what the tomatoes should look like when you pull them out of the oven. Let them cool down until you're ready to incorporate them into a recipe or refrigerate or freeze them.

I'm making caprese salad, but I put a little twist on the classic recipe by using roasted tomatoes instead of fresh ones. I also have a surprise ingredient for even more of a switch...

Fresh mozzarella balls, fresh basil, and the surprise ingredient - kalamata olives.

Unfortunately, my late summer harvest does not include basil. This is how pitiful my supply looks right now. That's why I had to buy the packaged stuff at the store.

I'll include the exact recipe at the end of this post, but just as a guideline, cut the mozzarella balls and kalamata olives in half, chop the fresh basil, and put in a pretty bowl.

Gently add the roasted tomatoes and sprinkle with more freshly ground pepper.
That's it! This caprese salad doesn't need a dressing since the tomatoes were roasted with olive oil and seasonings. It incorporates into the entire salad. Yum!

I think this salad is so appealing with the yellow and red tomatoes, ribbons of fresh basil, and the addition of kalamata olives. And since it's quick and easy to make, it's perfect for a light lunch, as a side dish for dinner, or to take to a summer potluck. 

3-1/2 cups fresh grape tomatoes (a combination of red and yellow looks best)
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Freshly ground garlic salt, to taste (or regular salt)
1 - 8 oz. container whole milk fresh mozzarella (ciliegine), drained and cut in half
1/3 cup kalamata olives, drained and cut in half
Fresh basil, cut into fine ribbons, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Place tomatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the pepper and garlic salt and using a gloved hand, gently incorporate the oil and spices over every tomato. Roast tomatoes in oven for 15-20 min. Let cool.

In a medium-sized bowl, place the halved mozzarella balls, the halved kalamata olives, and the fresh basil. Add the cooled roasted tomatoes and gently stir.

If you should need a pretty serving bowl for your caprese salad, may I suggest one of these...anything from classy to casual to whimsical:

Torcello Glass Serving Bowl

Whatever's growing in your garden ~ or whether you've been getting your late summer harvest veggies at a farmer's market ~ I hope you're enjoying the fresh bounty that this season has to offer.


  1. This looks delicious! I can almost taste it. I didn't plant basil this year. None of the plants looked good and I never got around to planting seeds.

  2. Yum! That salad looks perfect, exactly the kind of food I like to eat. I haven't had enough tomatoes to do much with, just a few to pop in your mouth as they ripen, but they've been very good. I love fresh mozzarella. I'm going to make pizzas for dinner with a ball of it tomorrow night, actually. Hope you have a good weekend, Melanie!

  3. The salad looks delicious, but wow, I love that pig bowl...and the footed one! Off to shop. Happy Friday!

  4. This looks like a keeper, Melanie! I'd love it all....except the olives, which I would pick out but sweetie would love!

  5. The tomatoes look pretty! I try to grow them but the birds and squirrels eat the plants before they flower. I have a lemon tree growing from a seed in a pot on my patio right now.

  6. Well to be honest I am growing weeds. But your harvest looks delicious.

  7. Oh, that pig bowl is so cute!

    Your tomato salad looks beautiful, wish I cold have shared some of my basil with you. I haven't tried T J's garlic salt grinder yet but I love their lemon pepper.

  8. The salad looks delicious! I didn't have as many cherry tomatoes as usual this year as we had a draught in June and July and then a very rainy August.

  9. My family and I are enjoying garden tomatoes here right now as well :)


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