Every spring and summer I dedicate time to plant a vegetable garden. Those who have a vegetable garden knows full well that having one takes quite a bit of work. Fortunately, my garden is small in size. It consists of 2 – 5′ by 8′ raised beds, a 3′ by 6′ planting strip and 5 large half barrel containers. Chances are that you’ll find me in my garden every night after I come home from work. I generally spend about 20 minutes a day watering, weeding, and tending to my vegetables and herbs. It may be an effort but I love it. Gardening is one of those activities that is productive, therapeutic and good for the soul. Not to mention, the ultimate reward is delicious fresh picked vegetables and fruit for you and your family.
Everything that I grow in my little garden is organic. That means I don’t use bug sprays, processed fertilizers or non-organic composts. I prefer it that way. I’m far from perfect but I do try my best to feed my family healthy foods free from chemicals and pesticide residue. So I do take the extra time to pull weeds or deal with garden pests the old fashioned way by plucking them off the leaves by hand. Planting, weeding and watering is the easy part of gardening. Dealing with the garden pests such as snails slugs or beetles is not. It’s not my favorite part of gardening but, left unchecked, those annoying little pests can destroy your precious plants within a few short weeks.
Every year I plant several Green Zebra Tomato plants in addition to the dozen other varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Green Zebra Tomatoes are my son’s favorite variety of tomato so I grow at least three plants just for him. Green zebras are immensely flavorful and have a beautiful green color. And, don’t let the bright green color fool you. The green tomatoes that you see are perfectly ripe and ready to eat. After growing many heirloom varieties for many years, I have learned to pick my tomatoes by touch and feel, and not by color. Why? Heirloom varieties come in a variety of colors such as yellow, green, orange, red and even black. When picking tomatoes, I gently squeeze the fruit to check for ripeness. If it’s too firm, it remains on the vine until it’s ripe and ready to be brought into my kitchen.
My Heirloom Tomato Salad with Green Zebra Vinaigrette is a simple combination of ingredients that packs some serious summertime flavor. Don’t worry if you can’t find Green Zebra Tomatoes… My the tomato vinaigrette can be made with any kind of tomato you wish. Enjoy! Tessa
- 4 – 5 cups Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (mixed)
- 3 – 4 Tbs Green Zebra Tomato Vinaigrette (See recipe below)
- Sprigs of fresh snipped Basil
- salt and pepper to taste
Begin by washing and stemming the cherry tomatoes. Cut in half. Arrange on 4 salad plates. Garnish with the fresh basil. Drizzle with Green Zebra Vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 salads.
Green Zebra Tomato Vinaigrette:
- 4 – Green Zebra Tomatoes (quartered, about 10 ounces)
- 1 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 shallot (finely chopped)
- 2 Tbs White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Honey
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tbs Fresh Parsley (minced)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- garnish with sprigs of basil
Grab a small saucepan and heat 1 Tbs olive oil on the stove over medium high heat. Add tomatoes and shallots and cook about 10 minutes stirring constantly, be careful not to burn. Remove from heat and add the white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic and honey. Use an immersion or stick blender and add olive oil slowly until the mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper. Taste and correct your seasonings. Stir in the minced parsley. Cover and chill. Makes about 1 cup. Keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for about 3 – 4 days.