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Best Tomato Recipes

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It’s Hotter than Georgia Asphalt

Tomato recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

It’s super hot and the peak of summer. We may be wilting, but tomatoes are thriving! A garden-ripe, fresh tomato is the absolute ultimate in summer produce. Out of season tomatoes are flavorless rock-hard orbs shipped from some other hemisphere. Out of season tomatoes are pure disappointment. In season, tomatoes are bursting with flavor, juicy and luscious. There is nothing as wonderful as the full, rich, almost wine-like flavor of a vine ripe tomato. So, when it’s tomato season, I heartily endorse eating those glorious ripe ones as often as possible.

'Mater Sandwich on www.virginiawillis.com

Dynamic Duo

In my opinion, there is nothing as wonderful as sliced tomato and mayonnaise with a simple sprinkling of salt and a grind or two of pepper. First of all, you have to recognize that mayonnaise is a food group in the South. Southerners for generations have basked in the spell-binding glory of a ‘Mater Sandwich, the magnificent sum that is far grander than its simple parts of cheap squishy white bread, sliced tomato, and mayonnaise. (BTW I am convinced these sandwiches are served as a welcome snack at the Pearly Gates — or at least the Southern entrance.)

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Tomato Pie

And, let’s face it — Tomato Pie is essentially a ‘Mater Sandwich topped with melted cheese. In Secrets of the Southern Table I have a recipe for Pimiento Cheese Tomato Pie. Click HERE for my recipe featured in the New York Times. You’re welcome. 😉

Tomato Recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Best Tomato Recipes

And, here’s a smattering of other Tomato Recipes for you to try:

Mashama Bailey’s Green Tomato Chowchow

Nathalie Dupree’s Tomato Conserve

Sandra Gutierrez’s Shrimp and Tomato Empanadas

Rebecca Lang’s Cathead Biscuits with Tomato Gravy 

Ronni Lundy’s Tomato Pie 

My Stone Fruit and Cucumber Fruit Salad with Cherry Toms

Tomato Recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Flavor Combinations

There’s a saying that I believe holds true, especially in summer, “What grows together, goes together. With that in mind — and the heat wave that’s coming this weekend — I’m sharing a recipe for a refreshing gazpacho. And, here’s a little how-to video for the Georgia Peach and Tomato Gazpacho recipe, too! I hope you enjoy this selection of the best tomato recipes for summer. 

Bon Appétit, Y’all!

Virginia Willis

Best Tomato Recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

 

Peach and Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber-Herb Yogurt

Makes 6 cups to serve 6
Servings: 6
Author: Virginia Willis

Ingredients

  • 4 large peaches peeled, pitted and quartered (about 2 cups)
  • 2 large tomatoes cored and quartered (about 4 cups)
  • ½ sweet onion coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/3 cup plain 2 percent Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup finely diced peeled English cucumber about 3 inches
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram or chives plus more for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove very finely chopped
  • Best-quality extra-virgin olive oil for garnish (optional)
  • ¼ peach pitted and thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions

  • Combine the quartered peaches, tomatoes, onion, and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. (Take the time to chill the serving bowls at this time, as well.)
  • Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Add the cucumber, chives, and garlic and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready for use.
  • When ready to serve, taste and adjust the soup for seasoning with salt and pepper. (Chilling dulls the seasoning so it may need to be adjusted.) Ladle the chilled gazpacho into the chilled bowls. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cucumber-yogurt mixture into the center. Garnish with a peach slice and a sprig of marjoram. Drizzle over a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

I told my mama about this soup and her slow response, in a very dubious drawl, was “Peaches and tomatoes?” I’ll admit my family can be a bit slow sometimes in accepting my version of “new Southern cooking.” Guess what? She loved it and I think you will, too. This soup is indeed summer in a bowl. It’s light and refreshing, just the right balance of sweet peaches and slightly acidic tomatoes. Best yet, this elegant soup may be made ahead. Take the time to chill the serving bowls, as well, for an extra special touch.


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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 1 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

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