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Tomatoes are simply delicious

Sherrel Jones writes about her love of the simple, flexible garden-fresh tomato.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: August 1, 2012

Tomato love is in my genetic make up, passed down through a long lines of tomato lovers. Cherokee Purples top my list of slicers and then come a group of baby-size, sweet-as-candy ones just right for popping into your mouth. Bite into them and they burst with flavor.

My friend Sherry Riggs has grown the all-time big tomato this summer. She brought one by recently that weighed more than 2 pounds. It was 5 to 6 inches through the middle and 5 ½ inches tall. It looked like a heart and was worth a photo as you probably couldn't grow one like it if you tried. It was like two very large Beefsteak varieties that decided to cuddle up and grow together. It made the other big slicers ripe with envy.

The heat may soon curtail what has been a good year for tomatoes as the blooms don't pollinate well when temperatures rise. If you can keep them going, there could be a chance for more into the fall. A good tomato year has you thinking of all sorts of ways to use them.

Sliced for breakfast, lunch and dinner they are wonderful. Just a tiny sprinkle of kosher or sea salt and a generous grind of pepper is my favorite way to enjoy a good tomato. Then, of course, there is the cottage cheese and chopped tomato with green onions and chunks of avocado.

The BLT classically prepared with fresh sliced tomato, mayonnaise, leafy green lettuce and crisp bacon all sandwiched together with white bread is hard to beat unless you bring on some avocado again.

Too many mini tomatoes on hand? Slice them in half and add them to a saute or roast them with sliced new potatoes and onions. Sprinkle on a bit of coarse salt and some fresh thyme if you have it. To oven roast: Spread on a baking sheet prepared with a silicone mat, parchment or nonstick foil in a 375-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until mixture begins to brown slightly and potatoes are done. This dish makes a great side for grilled entrees.

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