I really love going out to the garden to see what has ripened since yesterday...what is ready to be picked...what looks like it will be ready in a couple of days. Right now, our tomatoes are starting to turn red, with loads of green ones at about a week to 10 days from being at the STOP PRODUCING FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE stage. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to see this beautiful baby (left) on the vine this weekend. It is a giant, compared to the first ones I picked last week. As I approached the vine, I could almost taste the juicy flavor...yum, yum, yum. How would I prepare it? Would I slice it for a sandwich? Or, chunk it for a salad?
Then, as I grabbed it to put it in my basket, I felt the juices run down my fingers. Looks like "someone" got there before I did and enjoyed it alfresco. Ewwww! I hope that bunny got his fill because I'm thinking about calling on Farmer MacGregor to help me defend my bounty. Not really, but I can threaten, can't I? What a disappointment when I had to add this beauty to the compost bin instead of enjoy it. Drat!
Hope springs eternal for most of my crop, however, as it appears that several are growing way too high for Peter the Poacher Rabbit to snack upon...unless he has a pair of bunny-stilts, that is.
Meanwhile the cherry tomato plant on the deck is yielding several plump beauties. I used those in what I'm calling Patricia's Pasta Salad...a knock-off of the Mt. Carmel Hospital's delicious Pasta Salad recipe. (I haven't found the box with my Mt. Carmel recipe book, so I had to improvise.) Anyway, I boiled 6-8 ounces of Tri-colored Bow Tie Pasta (1/2 of the box I had) for 12 minutes in salted water. During the final minute of boiling, I added: 3-4 T. of diced green pepper, 3-4 T. of diced red pepper, and 3-4 T of diced onion. Drain thoroughly, season with several shakes of Paula Deen's House Seasoning (I make my own, according to her recipe...it's just salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but boy howdy, it's good on everything!) and add about 1 cup (more or less) of Creamy Italian dressing (I use Marzetti's). Throw in some black olive slices, some Cherry tomatoes (quartered), and some feta cheese. (I like lots of all three!) I also had some sun-dried tomato slivers and some banana pepper bits that joined the party. Chill in the fridge for several hours or overnight (best). Right before serving, add about 1/2 cup mayonnaise (more or less), mixed with 1-2 T Dijon mustard (essential for the right taste) and more Creamy Italian dressing...enough to make the pasta salad "hold together" but not too much to make it soupy. I also added a tiny (peeled, diced) cucumber that I picked from the one vine that is producing. I could eat the whole bowl by myself, but I'll be nice and share.