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The Real Tomato Time!

By Mark Mulcahy
Image of Organic Tomatoes
We see them all year long in our favorite grocery stores in all shapes, packages and sizes. Most suffice when needed for a basic recipe, but despite the excellent appearance of some new breeds and the advanced storing and growing techniques, most taste just ok. By now, I’m sure you know I’m talking about tomatoes.
Image of Organic Heirloom Tomatoes
If you like Melissa’s tomatoes in salads, soups and sandwiches, then August is your month. You have many organic tomatoes to choose from at Melissa’s: orange clusters, grape and cherry tomatoes, Roma’s for sauce or grilling, yellow tomatoes, vine sweet strawberry tomatoes, and even organic heirloom and baby heirloom tomatoes. As most of us do, I’m sure you have your favorite, but if you haven’t tried a summer heirloom tomato yet, you are in for a real treat.
Image of Red Pepper Hummus
Summer heirlooms have an amazing diversity of flavors, shapes and sizes. They originate from every part of the globe and have interesting names. One of my favorites is the Black Krim from Russia. It has dark reddish-brown skin with green shoulders and a unique sweet, smoky flavor. I love them sliced thick on a piece of whole-grain bread with hummus. I can eat this practically every day for lunch during the late summer and fall. Tip: If you want to make your own hummus check out James Beard award-winning chef Cheryl Forberg’s recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. It’s tasty, easy to make, and good to use for lunch or snacks.

Like the Black Krim, the Stupice tomato, native to the Czech Republic, is jam-packed with flavor. Then there is the deep dark red tomato known as Costoluto Genovese, a popular old Italian heirloom. We can’t forget about the Polish Giant, which has a mild flavor and big fruit (weighing up to 1½ pounds). And, how about the Druzba from Bulgaria. This fruit has a great acidic taste and is excellent for canning. Omar’s Lebanese tomato is a rich and meaty tomato from a small town in Lebanon, and the Jaune Flammee from France is an orange-colored tomato with a refreshing, tangy flavor. Other Melissa’s heirloom favorites include Brandywine, Evergreen, Zebra and Jubilee. The list goes on and on. You could try a different tomato every day in August and September and still just barely scratch the surface.

Now that you know what they are and some of the names, why not pull out the grill and add them to your next barbeque.

Here’s an easy grilling recipe. Use Melissa’s Organic Heirloom Tomatoes in this recipe to create an exciting appetizer or fantastic hot sandwich.

Grilled Eggplant, Tomato and Goat Cheese

You’ll need:
1 medium organic eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 large Melissa’s Organic Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced
1 (11 ounce) log goat cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the grill to 350°F.

In a large bowl, coat eggplant with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange half of the eggplant slices on a tray. Place a slice of tomato and a slice of goat cheese on each piece of eggplant. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the tomatoes and cheese. Top with remaining slices of eggplant and secure each bundle with a toothpick.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Remove toothpicks and arrange bundles on the grate. Cook about 7 to 8 minutes, and then carefully flip. Continue cooking for 6 to 7 minutes.  When they come off the grill top with fresh basil leaves and voila, you are set.

I also used feta and blue cheese for this recipe so let your imagination run wild. These would go perfectly with grilled corn on the cob or Melissa’s grilled organic peaches for dessert.

Now, if that doesn’t make you want to get out the grill, I don’t know what will.
Stay cool and take a bite out of summer.
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