Woah. When did it become June? Also, when and why did it become a steady 100+ degrees? Do those things combined mean we can ignore all formalities and just call it summer now? I think so.
I’m sure this is true of almost everyone, but most of my favorite memories happened in the summer. Playing giant games of neighborhood-wide capture the flag, catching lightening bugs and toads, the street lights not coming on until 9 p.m., spending the whole day at the pool eating candy and soft pretzels, sleeping in, running through the sprinkler, slip ‘n slidin’ and how about not going to school? So good.
Now that I’m slightly older, don’t live in the Midwest and don’t get summer break (crying) I have other things to look forward to, like sangria and tomatoes. The tomatoes are a rather recent development. Growing up my dad used to make tomato sandwiches every day during the summer. Literally sliced tomatoes between two pieces of bread. I thought it was so gross. The only way you could get me to eat a tomato was when I was dipping a french fry in ketchup. He always tried to convince me of their deliciousness, saying as a kid he ate so many tomato sandwiches his skin turned red (I think that was like the time he walked to school in a foot of snow going uphill both ways, so, you know). But I never took the bait.
Then the years went by and I started eating tomato sauce and I think the day I tried my mom’s bruschetta it was all over. I mean, I think it’s pretty obvious I have a bruschetta addiction (exhibit A, B, C and D) and I frequent, talk about and obsess over the best place for bruschetta (please say bruschetta one more time) here in the valley way too often. And although there are so many ways to top a grilled baguette, juicy tomatoes at the peak of their ripeness covered in all kinds of delicious seasonings (and probably paired with some fresh mozzarella for good measure) has got to be my favorite.
What’s even better about fresh, summer tomatoes marinated in robust flavors is that you can use them for so many things. Topping crackers, chips and bread; filling an omelet; throwing in with some tender pasta or zoodles (hot or cold); and tossing with fresh mozzarella cheese pearls to eat all on its own, like a salad.
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I like to use the heirloom, multicolored ones)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano)
- Salt, to taste
- Optional: ¼–1/2 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
- Wash and slice the tomatoes in half or in quarters, depending on size and preference.
- Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil, oregano and salt in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours to let flavors combine. Add in mozzarella just before serving.
- Use to top grilled bread, eat as a salad or anything else you can think of!