cherry tomatoes

Top Ten Tomatoes!

by Anne Maxfield on August 20, 2015

Accidental Locavore Blue Bowl With TomatoesSince you might have a few beautiful tomatoes kicking around, the Accidental Locavore is happy to share some of my favorite things to do with them, starting with:

  1. How to pick a good tomato: some tips to make sure you get the best from the market, whether they’re Purple Cherokees or good ol’ beefsteaks.
  2. But before you go poking all those tomatoesAccidental Locavore Tomatoes Stem Side Down
  3. Why should you store tomatoes upside down? We all know not to store tomatoes in the fridge (kills the flavor), but did you know to store them on the counter, stem-side down? It keeps them fresher longer because the moisture can’t escape through the opening where the stem was. Peaches work this way too.Accidental Locavore Gazpacho With Croutons
  4. If you’re in the mood for soup, here are two very different but equally delicious recipes for gazpacho, smooth and chunky. My current fave is the smooth, but what about you?Accidental Locavore Tomato Mozzarella Basil
  5. You know how to do the classic caprese – tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. If I can find good smoked mozzarella, that’s what I go for, although recently these little mozzarella balls have caught my attention. A drizzle of good olive oil, sea salt and maybe a splash of balsamic and you’re done!Accidental Locavore Chili Tomatoes
  6. If you’ve got a plethora of cherry tomatoes, here’s a recipe for them, packing some heat. It’s simple and quick (and the Martha Stewart story with the recipe will make you smile).
  7. Still have a lot left, or some small heirlooms? This recipe from Ottolenghi is a little more complicated, but well worth the extra 20 minutes!
  8. Moving into main courses, but still using the cherry tomatoes, here’s a good, fresh pasta sauce that comes together in no time. And you can keep it simple, or dress it up, depending on your mood.Accidental Locavore Tomatoes Stuffed
  9. One of my all-time favorite things to do with tomatoes, especially the biggies like the German Stripes I adore, is to stuff them. Any kind of sausage is good, and any size will work, but the really huge ones make a great presentation!
  10. To end, how about a pie? When I make a ratatouille pot pie it’s always a big hit with my friends (and worth turning the oven on for).

Serve and enjoy!



Chile Cherry Tomato Salad

by Anne Maxfield on May 28, 2015

Accidental Locavore Chili TomatoesThe Accidental Locavore first saw this salad being made years ago on Martha Stewart. The film producer Ismail Merchant was showing Martha how to put it together. What made it particularly memorable was watching Martha struggling to control herself as Ismail was literally pouring on the cayenne. In her recipe, his quarter cup got cut down to a quarter teaspoon. Either way, it’s a great use for a box of cherry tomatoes – good now and better in August! Serves 4:

  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 12 small tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix the parsley and chile pepper with the tomatoes. Let sit for twenty minutes. Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, mustard, olive oil and salt together in a small bowl. Dress the tomatoes, toss, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I’ve made this salad a few times – it’s great when you have a plethora of cherry tomatoes. Frank thought this batch had a little too much mustard (and although it pains me to say so, he was probably right). Even if your tomatoes aren’t wonderful, the spice and lemon make up for less than stellar fruit. I recently served it with my favorite Indian chicken, as we were a little shy on vegetables that evening and I had a couple of boxes of cherry tomatoes. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, go easy on the Serrano and cayenne and add as much or as little as you’d like. Cilantro is a nice addition or replacement for the parsley and if you don’t have a freezer full of chilies (like I do), just add more cayenne.



Accidental Locavore Box of Cherry TomatoesThis is a basic pasta sauce that you can dress up or down. Try adding shrimp or some cooked chicken for added protein, or chopped olives, capers and anchovies for a fresh version of puttanesca.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 cups basil, very thinly sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 pound cavatelli, shells, or penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated Pamesan
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium heat until warm. Add garlic and cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes until it is just soft. Stir in tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, crushing them with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle in basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the drained pasta to the tomato sauce in the pan. Toss to mix well. Divide the pasta between four bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Top with a dollop of ricotta. Serve and enjoy.


Accidental Locavore: Spicy Cherry Tomato Salad Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on August 5, 2011

Accidental Locavore Cherry TomatoesWhen the Accidental Locavore has a mess of cherry tomatoes, or it’s winter and that’s the best you can do (tomato-wise), remember this salad. It’s an easy and  good way to use a bunch of cherry tomatoes. Depending on your love/hate relationship with heat, use as much or as little cayenne and chiles as you like. Start off slowly and add more to taste. If you like cilantro, you can substitute it for the parsley, or do half and half. Serves 4.

  • 24 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, or cilantro, or a mix, chopped
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (use the good stuff here)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • Salt to taste

Accidental Locavore Tomato Salad With ChilesIn a medium bowl, add the tomatoes, chile and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, mustard, cayenne pepper, mustard, olive oil and salt together. Pour over the tomatoes and toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!