Food column: Summer may be cooling off but tomatoes are still hot |

Food column: Summer may be cooling off but tomatoes are still hot

Susie Jimenez

The summer is almost over, but one thing I must say I’m still enjoying and have enjoyed all season is tomatoes. There are so many kinds around, so it’s nice to make each one stand out depending on its flavor, texture and sweetness. A bare tomato has such complex textures in my mouth. If you ever get a chance, quarter a ripe Roma tomato and start by eating the seeds. You get a caviar like texture in your mouth, you can taste each seed separately, and you get baby explosions of tart. But there’s nothing like a cherry tomato ripe from the sun that just bursts into your mouth with lots of flavor. I love them just the way they are, but here are some other great ways of using your tomatoes for the rest of the season.

Spicy Tomato Salsa

2 cups Roma tomatoes, small dice

4 chile de arbol, whole

2 scallions, chopped

1 cup cilantro, chopped

3 garlic cloves, whole

1 lime, juiced

1 teaspoon cumin

salt and pepper to season

Set tomatoes aside. Place remaining ingredients in a blender for two minutes until well-blended. Place in a bowl with the diced tomatoes and season.

Caprese Skewers

12 cherry or pear tomatoes

12 basil leaves

12 fresh mozzarella mini balls

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

pinch smoked sea salt

Assemble skewers: Use tomatoes first, fold basil leaves and place on top, and follow with a mozzarella ball.

Mix garlic and extra virgin olive oil with cracked black pepper. Drizzle on top of the skewers, then sprinkle smoked sea salt over the top.

Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio

1 heirloom tomato, cut very thinly across

5 kalamata olives, slivered

¼ cup cucumber, small dice

1 small shallot, minced

1 cup shaved arugula

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted

Place heirloom tomato slices at the bottom of a platter, spreading them so they are not stacked on each other but covering the platter. Sprinkle cucumber, shallot, olives and arugula equally on top. Drizzle the red wine vinegar and let it sit for five minutes. Add the olive oil and shaved Parmesan on top. Crack some pepper or even chili flakes on top.

Tomato Watermelon Salad

3 Roma tomatoes, large dice

3 cups seedless watermelon, large dice

¼ cup red onions, sliced

½ cup lime juice

3 tablespoons feta cheese

1/8 cup cilantro, basil, parsley or tarragon, chopped

Place the lime juice over the red onions and set aside for 15 minutes. In a bowl combine the watermelon, tomatoes and feta cheese with your herb of choice. Add the lime onion mixture to the bowl and mix well.

Susie Jimenez was the runner-up from season 7 of “Food Network Star” and owns a local catering company. She can be reached at

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