One of the best things about my apartment are the community plots.  Especially since I have a gracious neighbor who lets me pick from her plot.  Fresh purple basil, chives, lettuce, and most recently a surge of tomatoes.  Her vines went nuts, so the most logical thing to do we concluded, was to host Tomato Fest 2012.  What’s better than freshly picked tomatoes on a summer night? An in-season tomato is a treat in and of itself.

In honor of Tomato Fest, and at the risk of sounding a little Benjamin Buford ‘Bubba‘ Blue here are 5 quick things you can do with tomatoes:

1. Tomato and Eggplant Lasagna

No noodles required. 100 percent vegetarian.  You can throw any veggies you like in there, but it’s as simple as slicing, stacking, cheesing, and baking.

2. Tomato Bruschetta

Quick little tartlets are a bite-sized favorite.  Slice and toast bread.  Spread some goat cheese, tomato, and a little basil.

3. Broiled Tomatoes

Broiling is kind of like upside down bbq’ing.  Sprinkle cheese on top. Put in under the broiler for about 20 minutes.  Toasty, cheesy tomato delight.

4. Grilled Tomatoes

If you have a bbq, you don’t need much more.  Tomatoes in their prime don’t need much more than some fresh herbs, a little drizzle of olive oil, and a couple minutes face down on the grill to get some great char marks.  Season with salt.  Eat with your fingers if you like.

5. Stuff the Tomato

You can put whatever you so please inside, but if you cut a small, skin-deep X on the side of the tomato, cook it in boiling water for 30 second, peel the skin, and with a small spoon empty out its insides, a la this recipe it might be the bell of the fest.

-Arianna Schioldager

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