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

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

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 . 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
Serves 4-6


Butter for greasing dish

For filling:

2 pounds tomatoes, peeled if desired, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
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)


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


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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