Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It isn't Mary who is quite contrary at my house. It is my garden. The first year we moved here, I did have a decent garden with lots of fresh tomatoes and peppers. However, as time passed, my garden became as obstinate as an old mule. Seedlings withered and drooped. Tomato plants never produced fruit. Even the flowers that I planted dropped their blossoms. Last year, my pepper plants were the same size at first frost as they were when I planted them. They gave up, and so did I.

Someone told me that the black walnut tree that I had allowed to grow beside the garden was leaching something toxic into the soil. I don't know if this is true. I didn't research it. I just readily agreed when Hubby decided that my garden would be the perfect spot for a large shed, and didn't waste my time and money with planting this year. We don't yet have a shed, but I also don't have the frustration of a non-growing garden.

Gardenless, I am finding myself missing the joys of fresh tomatoes and peppers. There is nothing like a home grown tomato. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can compare to savoring a fresh picked from the garden, sliced while still warm, and eaten with just a sparse sprinkling of salt tomato. That is pure bliss.

So...how does your garden grow? If yours isn't contrary as mine, and you have some beautiful tomatoes clinging to your vines, I suggest you try a Tomato and Mozzarella Burger. Roasting the tomatoes makes the experience even better, if that could really be possible. The flavors become richer, and what isn't better with the addition of garlic and olive oil? The fresh mozzarella becomes ooey, gooey and just sinful when sandwiched between the warm tomato slices. It is a burgerless burger that will have you drooling. I am. If you have any extra tomatoes, I would love to share. I want a Tomato and Mozzarella Burger On My Plate.

Tomato and Mozzarella Burger

Large Garden Ripened Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Garlic, minced
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil sprigs

Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Slice a thin piece from the rounded bottom of each tomato, so they sit upright.
Slice each tomato in half horizontally. Arrange the tomato halves, cut side up on a shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.
Drizzle with the oil, then sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
Scatter the garlic over the tomatoes.
Roast until they're softened and warmed through, approx 15 minutes.
Mean while, cut the mozzarella into 6- 1/2 inch rounds.
Using a spatula, sandwich each cheese slice between 2 hot tomato halves.
The heat of tomatoes will melt the cheese slightly.
Drizzle with the juices collected in the roasting pan and garnish with basil.

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