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For a tomato side dish, borrow an idea from summer fruit

Recipe: Try a savory crisp with yellow tomatoes

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My yellow tomato varieties this year, clockwise from top left:
Pork Chop, Chef's Choice Orange, Limmony
and Lemon Boy. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

My counter runneth over with tomatoes.

The heat this past week meant lots of ripening, and I wanted to use some of this fresh bounty quickly before I got into canning or freezing the rest.

Gazpacho is always a possibility, or a quick pasta dish, but I poked around for ideas among the go-to recipes for other summer produce such as peaches. Cobbler, sure, and what about crisp?

Sure enough, I found a couple of recipes, latching onto one developed by a pair of gardeners who also cook, at
whiteonricecouple.com . Since this seems to be the Year of the Yellow Tomato in my garden, I decided to use all yellows, a mix of heirlooms and hybrids. (Well, one pink Brandy Boy that HAD to be used immediately snuck in there.) This produced a mild crisp in which all the spices were in the crumbly topping. It was delicious served alongside turkey meatballs and green salad. Italian sausage would be another good accompaniment.

The yellow tomatoes I used, if you’re taking notes for next year, were: Lemon Boy, Limmony, Pork Chop, Chef’s Choice Orange (OK, it’s gold) and even a couple Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes, just to say I did. I also peeled most of them -- they were very ripe and peeled easily -- but that’s up to you.

Savory tomato crisp

Adapted from a 2013 recipe at whiteonricecouple.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Butter for greasing dish

For filling:
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled if desired, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
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 Bubbly filling and a crunchy top: It's a tomato crisp

For topping:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick or instant)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole or baking dish.

Place the tomato wedges (peeled if desired) into the dish. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tomatoes, stir, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Set dish aside while you make the topping.

Whisk together the flour, cheese, parsley and thyme. Stir in the garlic, brown sugar and the 1 teaspoon salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Blend in the rolled oats.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the tomatoes. Bake the crisp 45 to 50 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving, or allow to cool to room temperature.

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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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