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We’ve really been enjoying the beautiful home grown tomatoes from our garden this spring! It has been a very warm May in Arizona, which I think has slowed our production a bit. Thanks to the protective canopy of a large mesquite tree, the tomatoes are hanging in there. Of course, a daily drink of water has kept the plants happy and bird netting draped over the plants has kept the precious fruit safe from the birds.

It’s so fun to just go out a pick a couple of tomatoes for breakfast, lunch or dinner! One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in a classic Caprese Salad of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, a drizzle of delicious olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. So simple and so delicious!

However, when I’m a little more ambitious, I turn the tomatoes into a colorful bruschetta served with the fresh mozzarella on a bed of baby greens and a decadent drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar – now that’s a meal! You could even add a grilled chicken breast or salmon filet – keep it simple.

Here’s a recipe for a flavorful Bruschetta – but of course you can vary the ingredients based on what is available and whatever pleases your palette! I like to use a variety of tomatoes for different sizes, color and flavor – whatever happens to be ripe at the time.

2 pounds of mixed tomatoes
1 roasted red or yellow bell pepper, peeled and diced

(You can also use a jarred roasted pepper or the little red peppadew peppers you might find in a jar or at the “olive bar” in the market.)

6 cloves garlic, minced
10 leaves fresh basil, chopped or torn into small pieces
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stems and finely chopped
6 leaves of fresh sage, finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh oregano – leaves removed form the stems and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 teaspoons capers, chopped
cup Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and let the flavors develop for hour. Serve with the fresh mozzarella and/or grilled bread and some wonderful balsamic vinegar. My favorite balsamic is Villa Manodori – it’s pricey, but so worth the splurge! That’s what summer tastes like!

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