Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: – Nothin’ Beats A Vine-Ripened Tomato

Published Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 1:39 pm

By Sherrie Norris

The time has come and it’s something we’ve all been waiting for — a vine-ripened tomato from the garden.

Oh, my goodness, there’s nothing to compare. Whether slapped between two pieces of bread and slathered with mayonnaise for the world’s best sandwich, or joined with bacon, lettuce and yes, mayonnaise — or stewed, baked, made into a salsa or spaghetti sauce — tomatoes are a mainstay in many households today. They are known as the third most widely consumed vegetable in the US, lagging behind potatoes and lettuce. Some consider the tomato a fruit, but all I know is, it’s just a good thing to have on hand and something I absolutely love.

Let’s see what we can do with some of those homegrown goodies before they disappear from our garden this year.


Tomato Casserole

4 medium tomatoes, peeled and sliced

4 cups thinly sliced onions

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. dried basil

1 cup shredded cheese of choice

½ cup packaged breadcrumbs

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease casserole dish. In medium saucepan, in one inch of water, boil onion for 5 minutes and drain. (You can do this in microwave, too, for just two minutes, using microwave-safe dish/bowl.)

In casserole dish, layer in order, half of tomatoes, onions, ½ tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, ¼ tsp. basil. Repeat. Spread cheese on top layer; toss breadcrumbs with melted butter and sprinkle over cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned.


Ripe Tomato Chili Sauce

1 gallon chopped tomatoes

1 qt. chopped onions

3 green sweet peppers

4-6 hot peppers

¾ cup salt

Mix ingredients and set aside for 2 hours. Put in cloth sack and drain overnight.

Next morning, mix drained ingredients with the following:

1 qt. vinegar

4 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. allspice

Cook for one hour or until thick. Seal in hot jars. Makes 4 or 5 pints.


Fried Green Tomatoes

4 large green tomatoes

½ cup cornmeal

¼ cup flour

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Bacon drippings or salad oil

Slice tomatoes. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper; dredge tomatoes into cornmeal mixture. Place in heavy skillet containing hot bacon drippings or oil; fry slowly until brown, turning once.


Easy Green Tomato Jam

4 cups ground green tomatoes

4 cups sugar

Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.


6-oz. pkg. berry Jell-O (strawberry, raspberry or blackberry)

Stir until dissolved; pour into jars and seal in hot water bath.


Baked Tomato Halves

6 tomatoes

¼ cup chopped onion

4 Tbsp. butter

1 cup bread crumbs

4 Tbsp. chopped parsley

½ tsp. salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut stem end out of tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in halves, taking out part of pulp, and place in shallow baking dish. Cook onion in butter until soft. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Stuff mixture in tomato halves. Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned.



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