I love to head home to Kansas in summer so I can sample my parents' garden-fresh produce, most importantly, their tomatoes. No matter where I buy my tomatoes—at the supermarket or a farmers' market—the ones from my parents' backyard always taste the best. They actually pick them right as they start to turn red and let them ripen inside (the rabbits and squirrels will get them if they don't pick them quickly). My mom even showed me a new peeling trick: Run a paring knife lightly over the skin (the skin will turn a darker red as you work around the tomato) and then cut a small slit in the bottom and start peeling from there. The skins comes off very easily. We prepared several dishes while I was home with their tomatoes, such as the salad above with garden cucumbers, onions, and basil dressed with red-wine vinegar and olive oil. I also carried a dozen tomatoes onto the plane so I could cook with them here as well. Check out my photos after the jump.
While still in Kansas, we, of course, had to make BLTs, which were extra good because of fresh loaf of honey-wheat bread from my mom's breadmaker. Back in New York, I tried out a new breakfast of buttered English muffins topped with tomatoes slices. The tomatoes color was so vibrant, they almost looked like jam. Taking inspiration from a Tomatoes Provençal recipe last year, I sliced my remaining tomatoes and topped them with fresh mozzarella slices, and then scattered breadcrumbs and fresh thyme on top. I baked it at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. It tasted great on a bed of pasta.