Recently, I was asked to contribute to the The Party Dress Magazine. My contribution was to be... a party celebrating Tomato Season.
It was an easy task for me as for the last three years I have attended my cousins' Fahrmeier Farms Tomato Days back in Kansas City- a festival held at their farm with local chefs that prepare recipes featuring heirloom tomatoes picked fresh from their fields.
Many of the chefs had created great inventive dishes- sorbets, spicy gazpachos, soups, etc., but my favorite stop at the festival was the actual tomato tasting tent. They had out every variety (15+), sliced ready for tasting and comparing- inspiration! A tasting would be the perfect start for my Tomato Celebration Dinner Party.
So, for the Tomato Celebration Party, I decided to start the evening off with the "Tomato Tasting" instead of hors d'oeuvres. I displayed a variety of sliced tomatoes and a board, served with sea salt and a bit of fresh basil... the perfect and simplest way to enjoy real summer tomatoes.
With the Tomato Tasting I offered another Summer favorite- Frozen Watermelon Margarita with an Heirloom Cherry Tomato Garnish.
Fresh Watermelon Margarita Recipe- here!
For the setting, I created a custom Painted Linen Napkin (the easiest craft you'll ever do- see other samples here!) with red stripes on an oatmeal linen. Click here for more details on the setting.
For the main course, I decided to use the tomatoes in a different way than typically served- they're grilled. In fact, I used every Summer vegetable I could find- tomatoes, eggplant, squash, peppers- brushed them with olive oil, then they were grilled and tossed with fresh pasta. The tomatoes and eggplant broke apart, creating this amazingly fresh and flavorful sauce that coated the pasta- it was almost the texture of a meaty bolognese sauce. It was really amazing- Mike was convinced there was meat in it!
It had never occurred to me to grill tomatoes. They had such great flavor from the grill and were cooked perfectly- ready to fall apart into a sauce, but not into a mushy mess. The texture was amazing.
For dessert, a really fresh taste of the best of Summer- a Strawberry, Watermelon and Tomato Salad with a sweet basil drizzle. Recipe coming later this week!
For more Summer Inspiration, visit my Summer Entertaining Guide home page- I've created links and shortcuts for everything from great Grilled Appetizers, Summer Menus, Tomato Recipes, Simple Summer Table Settings, Summer Travel and more.