Summer Fest!

by Matt on August 18, 2009


summerfest-badgeYes Yes and YES!  We’re on Week 4 of our Summer Fest and can I tell you how jazzed I am to be featuring tomatoes? I’ve written so much about them before so I won’t tell you how I’m a freak for them, alrighty? For me it’s just not summer without them.

I think the biggest attraction I have with summer tomatoes, heirlooms to be specific, is that there’s not a lot that needs to be done to them. They’re excellent as is and with minimal prep. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them because you certainly can. Here are ten of my favorite things to do with summer tomatoes.

1) Sliced and drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, maybe some shavings of really awesome Pecorino? Hell to the yes.

2) In a Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary.

3) Chopped with garlic, olive oil, basil and shallots for bruschetta.

4) Sliced and SLATHERED with mayo on really good bread. I SAID SLATHERED.

5) Made into a nice chilly sorbet!

6) Pop them in my mouth like there’s no tomorrow (provided they are the lil ones).

7) Grated and tossed with pasta, olive oil and lemon juice for a quick no-cook sauce.

8)  Chopped in a bowl and sprinkled with nuoc mam (this makes my eyes roll back into my head I’m telling you).

9) Heirloom & Fennel Soup that’s raw and chilly and perfect on a hot day.

10) Look at them and weep tears of happiness.


This is the last week of Summer Fest and I can’t thank you everyone enough for the participation! I’ve been so inspired with all the amazing ideas for using all these amazing fruits and vegetables that summer brings us. Leave your suggestions in the comments and make sure to check out what our other Summer Fest Hosts have been doing with tomatoes!

• Margaret’s making Quick Tomato Sauce, Ever So Slowly

• White On Rice Couple are doing Tomato Jam and Preserves with an entire cast of cute kids and Sierra, my girlfriend.

• Paige gives us her Curried Carrot & Tomato Soup and I can taste that marvelous combo already

• Jaden and her delicious Caprese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

• Marilyn’s — wait for it, wait — Upside Down Tomato Bread. I think I just saw Heaven.

• Shauna makes a mouthwatering Smoked Tomato Salsa

{ 5 trackbacks }

Simmer Till Done » Blog Archive » Upside-Down Tomato Basil Bread
August 18, 2009 at 6:21 am
Heirloom Tomato Napoleon « Pen & Fork
August 18, 2009 at 7:53 am
Tomatoes 10 Ways « Reading About Cooking
August 31, 2009 at 1:56 pm
summerfest -
February 5, 2010 at 11:32 pm
Heirloom Tomato Sandwich Recipe | Pen & Fork
April 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Paige Orloff August 18, 2009 at 5:13 am

Roasted tomato bloody mary? Sign me up, pronto. Meanwhile, I’m reinventing my favorite tomato soup in a chilly version, perfect for a steamy day like this one. LOVE your graphic, btw. Gorgeous.

cosmic cowgirl August 18, 2009 at 5:22 am

such great tomatoes ideas-love it! thanks for hosting summer fest, i enjoyed participating this year! here are my thoughts on tomatoes:

DebIFF August 18, 2009 at 5:55 am

Matt, fresh vine ripened tomatoes are delicious just about any way you can serve them.

My hands down favorite pasta sauce in the summer is this no cook one that when mixed with hot pasta just explodes with flavor.

And we all love our salads in the summer especially when gorgeous tomatoes are everywhere! Here is my easy Heirloom Tomato Salad With Goat Cheese Crumbles at


fiOrdivanilla August 18, 2009 at 6:02 am


Pamela Levis August 18, 2009 at 6:02 am

I love them “slathered” in blue cheese dressing with crumbles of blue cheese on top.

fiOrdivanilla August 18, 2009 at 6:03 am

fantastic photo!

Kristina August 18, 2009 at 6:23 am

I’ve never even thought of doing a sorbet! Love that idea! Here’s my entry for this week – my favorite ways to use raw tomatoes:

Danielle August 18, 2009 at 6:47 am

Oh, I am absolutely sending that Bloody Mary recipe to my friend – she’s been looking for one.

My take on this week is a bit of a cheat, but with my mom’s hand-me-down recipe, which I think makes up for it:

Charmian Christie August 18, 2009 at 6:58 am

Great ideas. Never considered a sorbet or roasted in a Bloody Mary.

Yes, I can weep with joy when the tomatoes are at their best. I also weep with frustration when faced with a winter’s worth of tasteless, soapy-textured hot house non-tomatoes.

My contribution this week is a simple salad.

Chef Gwen August 18, 2009 at 7:58 am

I’m coming over right now for that roasted Bloody Mary. Wow. Or the bruchetta, or fennel soup, and I must try the sorbet! So many good ideas.

I’ll bring this along with me to share:

greta August 18, 2009 at 8:27 am

Matt, I have just discovered your blog, and I think I have gone to food and photography heaven. Really, truly, your photos are amazing. Breathtaking. I am so inspired and excited. I looked at our whole site. I love your portfolio. It was especially fun to see places and people I know: Number 9, and my apple man from the Sunday farmers market. I am so excited that I found your stuff! I dream of one day attending one of your photo workshops..until then I’ll just look here and learn.
I love all these recipes. Here is one from me–a no peel, cherry tomato pasta sauce that is so fresh, easy and good, you’ll make extra to freeze and eat it all winter long!

Anita / Married ...with Dinner August 18, 2009 at 8:37 am

We made a version of your #7 (no-cook sauce) but we added pieces of mozzarella cheese and some homegrown basil. The post and recipe are here:

darya August 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

Wow, what a wonderful resource for tomato recipes! This will definitely be bookmarked for later.

Today I am sharing my favorite tip for getting tomatoes home from the farmers market without squishing them:

Kim (Edible/Usable) August 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

I may have mentioned this before, but one of the best Bloody Mary’s I’ve ever had was made with mint infused vodka, fresh tomato juice (right from the garden) lemon and pickled dilly beans. So refreshing and nice.

I love tomatoes any way. Here’s my contribution – Tomato Peach Salad

deena August 18, 2009 at 9:07 am

Tomato Paella:

The tomatoes roast and concentrate their flavor on top of saffron-scented rice. Fancypants enough for company, yet shockingly easy. And delicious.

Gaby August 18, 2009 at 9:15 am

Love it! I am making that no-cook sauce tonight – it sounds so delicious!

keiko August 18, 2009 at 9:39 am

LOVE the shot so much! kxx

cheryl August 18, 2009 at 10:38 am

Thanks to Charmian Christie for inviting me to Summer Fest. I’m feeling a little underdressed.

I also see that I’m not the only one wearing cold tomato soup. Too late to change:

Thanks for organizing, Matt.

Anne August 18, 2009 at 11:01 am

Oooooh! I forgot to send you mine……made a savory heirloom tomato galette for a dinner party:

Seriously, is there a more perfect summer food than a ripe heirloom? NO!

Jen H August 18, 2009 at 11:35 am

All fabulous recipes for the delicious tomato. I made a roasted tomato and cheddar tart, that was delish!

Cathy/ShowFoodChef August 18, 2009 at 11:42 am

I used to eat tomatoes from my grandma’s farm, hot from the vine like they were apples, with a sprinkle of salt in one hand for dipping. Here’s a small post I did on herbs (yeah, I’m late to the party, but I brought somethin’)

Lorene August 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm

You had me at Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary!!! Here’s my take on our uncharacteristically warm Pacific Northwest tomato season
Eat. Savor. Share. Enjoy. Repeat

Marilyn August 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Outside the obviously call-me Bloody Mary, I’ll take tears of joy, thank you. I am so sad when good tomatoes disappear and leave us with mealy pink zombies!

And why are you so graphically gifted? Everything here is just beautiful.

Kelsey/The Naptime Chef August 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Don’t forget roasted tomatoes! Slow-roasted tomatoes. Sometimes I add them to pesto, sometimes I eat them w/ mozzarella and drizzled with olive oil and basil. Other times I add them to pasta as a “sauce” because the flavor is so intense! I also bake them w/ zucchini. Happy Summer Fest!

j.cro August 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Sadly my tomato plants JUST started to flower – so I’ll be lucky if I get a few by the end of September. However the farmer’s markets have had some lovely grape and cherry tomatoes lately and they’re just delicious with salt, pepper and a teensy drizzle of olive oil. Nothing is finer than a fresh Jersey tomato.

Gavan August 18, 2009 at 1:46 pm

REALLY want to try the sorbet. Looks amazing. As for the bloody Mary….Sunday morning kick start, oh ya!
I made 3 types of homemade ketchup this week for the final installment.

cherie August 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Heirloom tomato and mayo sandwich? I’m on my way to the kitchen!!!

Diana August 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I’m totally on board with your tomato obsession! I’m a week behind you guys for tomato posting, next week I’m posting slow roasted tomatoes and some delicious recipes to use them in like pastas and salads. But I do have some older yummy ones, like parmesan crusted tomato slices.

Sally August 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I’ve spent this summer fussing and fretting over a jungle of 50 tomato plants. I’ve enjoyed flavour packed Sungolds that drip off every truss and am waiting impatiently for the jurassic looking Carbons to spin through the colour wheel from green to plumblack.
So everyone’s recipes are a wonderful glut gift.
My post is a variant on a Jamie Oliver tomato salad. He calls his the Mothership Salad so I’ve called mine the Satellite Salad.

yasmin August 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm

i’m with everyone else, the roasted bloody mary sounds amazing! all these ideas to. and i really really love the opening graphic. sigh. we’re equally obsessed about tomatoes. this time last year i had a post dedicated to ways to pay homage to heirloom tomatoes too, but…

this year, with tomato season being less than perfect, i think this is the recipe i’d like to submit for summerfest. it coaxes the best out of even less than perfect tomatoes with a little trick–a quick vinegar soak.

yasmin August 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm
Lindsay August 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm

I think I could live off of heirloom tomatoes… and I completely agree that they are best served raw. Do you believe that I hated tomatoes up until last year? That was when I discovered the deliciousness that is our local Tennessee heirloom tomatoes.

Needless to say we’ve been cooking a lot of them lately, but this recipe really stood out:
Panzanella, with fresh local heirloom tomatoes, basil, and cucumber, it’s like summer on a slice of bread. Yum!

Alex August 18, 2009 at 6:12 pm

I made the classic today…. gazpacho!! added a little smoked paprika for depth… so good… and just baked up a fluffy and creamy apricot bread pudding.. going to be great in the AM with my coffee!

Natalie Sztern August 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I do a recipe that I cannot remember the link for but I did read it on some blog so I cannot take all the credit but here goes….using grape or cherry tomatoes I layer with mozzarella slices and basil slices onto a stick like a brochette and then we eat it either in one bite if it is on a toothpick or as if we are eating corn if it is on a larger stick… time tho I use Jaden’s vinaigrette

Jenn August 18, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Ending Summer Fest with tomatoes is truly saving the best for last! Here’s the sauce that converted my formerly red sauce phobic middle child. With only 4 ingredients in Marcella Hazan’s recipe– tomatoes, butter, onion, and salt – what’s not to love?

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Julie August 18, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Thanks for giving me something better to do than write the article I’m supposed to be writing right now. Just thanks a lot. No really.

To add a couple more to your list, I made a roasted cherry tomato clafoutis – – but my favourite tomato thing this year was a roasted Roma tomato and goat cheese Tarte Tatin.

Rosy August 19, 2009 at 1:30 am

Some seriously good ideas there – I still say my absolute favorite way is 1) simply sliced and seasoned. Add some basil there and I could eat it forever! Our tomatoes are just starting to ripen but lots of fab ideas of things to do with them once they’re good to go!

Liz August 19, 2009 at 5:25 am

The bloody mary would have been a perfect drink for last week’s Sunday brunch, a sweet & savory tomato tart:

Great roundup – this is one of my favorite photography sites out there.

Diana August 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm

i loveeeeeee tomatoes especially if that nuoc mam is garlicky & spicey (with a touch of tang)! yummm!! <3

joey August 19, 2009 at 7:49 pm

What a wonderful coincidence! I just finished a series of tomato salads on my blog so I can join in on the summer festivities! Here are my 3 favorite tomato salads:

Glad to celebrate tomatoes with you all! :) Love you ten ways…especially the Bloody Mary! :)

john August 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Hi Matt, Margaret’s A Way to Garden postings got me to post ( about our enjoyment of the tomato harvest and led me to your site. Great photography and enthusiasm for food!

Romney (Nani) Steele August 19, 2009 at 8:53 pm

ah, wonderful ideas and a fantastic cover photo.
love them simply drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh oregano and basil from the garden; add in fresh mozzarella and you have a traditional Caprese. Slowly roasted in the oven with garlic and an onion, then pureed, sieved, and combined with some fresh chicken or vegetable stock for a divine soup. Tossed fresh with pasta-yum! Or combined with the makings for salsa: chiles, cilantro, onions, garlic, and lime juice, or a late summer gazpacho. Oh, so much tomato goodness.

Randy August 20, 2009 at 4:24 am

Matt, try your chopped tomato/nuoc mam with chopped fresh cilantro. It will make you roll your eyes back into your head even more!

Gabrielaskitchen August 20, 2009 at 6:54 am

So late to the party again! Salsa Huevona – a salsa recipe for those of you who are feeling hot and lazy towards summer’s end! xogabriela

shauna August 20, 2009 at 9:33 am

Why do you live so far away? Every single post you write makes me want to hang out with you even more!

And that top shot? good god. I would like a poster of that on my wall to sustain me through January.

ElGuappa August 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Wow. Fantastic career-fantastic blog! I quoted you on my blog today. Godspeed! Keep cooking, keep eating and keep lovin’.

Gillian August 21, 2009 at 3:38 pm

My first ever blog post. I feel a little shy about it.

Michelle @ August 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm

I love to make an Heirloom Tomato Salad with Watermelon Sorbet and Pickled Watermelon Rind! The recipe and a photograph can be found here:

rick @ à la mode August 23, 2009 at 10:53 pm

oh the roasted tomato bloody mary sounds sinful! i recently had an amazining tomato-based cocktail i hope to write about soon, but for now this will have to do:

Ashley August 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

Great ideas! Plus, is there anything better than a tomato SLATHERED in mayo? I think not!

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