For the love of all that is good in life – Tomatoes!

Posted on Friday, September 18th, 2009 at 9:48 am by Engine Communications

A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins. ~ Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking 


At this time of year tomatoes have to be my most favorite vegetable, or is that fruit? Technically, tomatoes are a fruit. The tomato is the fruit of the tomato plant, but can be used as a vegetable in cooking. Ask yourself this question when trying to figure out the “fruit or vegetable” query: Does it have seeds? If the answer is yes, then it is a fruit. No seeds? Simple, it’s a vegetable. 

Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals, according to Canada’s Food Guide. Tomatoes are commonly red but can also come in a variety of other colours, such as yellow, pink, purple or green. Tomatoes are often eaten fresh or used as an ingredient in recipes. Popular types of tomatoes include beefsteak, plum or roma, and cherry tomatoes. 

When choosing your tomatoes, be sure to pick those with the most brilliant shades of red. These indicate the highest amounts of beta-carotene and lycopene. Raw tomatoes are great for you, but cooking them fully releases their lycopene (healing compound and potential agent in cancer prevention), which is located in the cell wall of the tomato. If you cook them in olive oil that’s even better, the oil enhances the absorption of the antioxidant. Now who said that cooking with oil is a bad thing? Not me that’s for sure! 

You should also look for any signs of bruising or cuts on the skin and flesh of the tomato, and remember, they continue to ripen once they are picked, so you should always purchase tomatoes that are firm but not hard. 

Store whole tomatoes unwashed and uncovered at room temperature, they make a beautiful centerpiece on your table or counter when placed in a wooden or antique bowl ~ just make sure that they are stored out of direct sunlight. When the tomatoes are ripe, they should be stored in the refrigerator and should be used within a few days (that’s never a problem at my house, I even enjoy them as a snack with nothing but a little bit of vinegar, salt & pepper).

OMG, I’m drooling just thinking about them, I guess it’s time for lunch! 

It’s also time to share one of my newest and most recently tested recipes. We went to visit my cousin and her family in Mississauga last weekend, and I used them as my guinea pigs. I have to say, they loved this dish and it will now have a prominent place on our summer & fall menus. 

kerrytomato33 Cheese Baked Tomatoes 

  • 3 or 4 large Beefsteak tomatoes (bright red & ripe)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of softened cream cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp mayo
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced
  • 1 green onion chopped fine
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to lightly sprinkle on the tomatoes

 Thickly slice the tomatoes and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet or stone (I prefer using cooking stones, they cook evenly and keep food warm when serving). Sprinkle lightly with salt. Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl (even better if you can make this ahead of time and let sit for at least 1/2 hr). Cover each slice of tomato evenly with some of the mixture, place in preheated oven (350 degrees) and bake for about 15 min. or until warmed through. Then broil till tomatoes are bubbly and a nice caramel brown ~ remove from oven and serve immediately, not that they will last long enough to get cold!

 kerrytomatowineMy wine pick, we shared a bottle of Wayne Gretzky’s Merlot with dinner, give it a try. We were pleasantly surprised by this wine. One of the world’s greatest hockey players could produce such a wine that would boast exceptional quality and delightful taste. Who knew?!




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