August 20, 2009

Fight the Blight: Tomato Alternatives

I'm interrupting the Greek Week posts to a) brag about the perfect tomatoes my stepfather has grown, and b) present some ideas for the tomato blight-stricken folks out there. First, check out these Sun Gold beauties I've been snacking on all week:

Now, for those of you out there who are suffering without a decent supply of tomatoes for your summer salads and other dishes, a few ideas:
  • For salsa, skip the canned tomatoes and simply mix diced mangoes and cucumbers with some lime juice and cilantro. Depending on your spice preference, add some minced habanero or jalapeno pepper as well.
  • For salads, try adding other flavorful fruits such as strawberries, peaches, or dried cranberries (in small quantities) to punch up the flavor. I recommend keeping your dressing light--no one wants to eat strawberries doused in Chipotle Ranch dressing, for example.
  • For sandwiches, I love using slices of leftover beets instead of deli meat. They'd work equally well in place of tomatoes, as their color and flavor will complement many different sandwich ingredients. A favorite veggie sandwich of mine is a toasted English muffin with thinly sliced beets and cucumbers, sprouts, and melted havarti--a sure winner.
If you're really desperate for something sweet to replace your tomatoes, you could try what the New York Times' Melissa Clark suggests: a BLP. That's right, instead of a Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato, Clark suggests a Bacon-Lettuce-Plum.

If you get freaked out by the idea of fruit in salad, I have a secret for you...tomatoes are fruit! I know, I know--it's shocking. But you'll survive, I promise.

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