June 8, 2011

Summer Vegetables

Besides swimming in the lake and eating ice cream every day, my favourite thing about summer is my gardens.

Flowers, grasses and ornamental bushes at the front, and a big old vegetable patch out back. I’ve had some form of veggie garden every year since I was seven years old, and I never get tired of watching things grow. It’s not too late if you still want to get in on the green thumb action yourself.

I usually go with a Provençal theme for the veggies, planting copious tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce and herbs.

Once things start to mature, usually towards the end of July, I basically sustain myself on this garden through the rest of the summer (especially when the feral cats and downtown squirrels and raccoons leave me their leftovers).

On warm summer evenings I invite family and friends over and fire up the barbecue, and then, besides burgers, chicken and corn, we eat everything I grow. From my backyard plot. In downtown Toronto. (I think that’s pretty cool.)

Another thing that’s cool is my quick recipe with a new take on the classic French dish, Tomatoes Provençal. (For more great Provençal-inspired recipes, check out the food feature in our July issue.)

New School Tomatoes Provencal

(serves 4)

2 bunches vine ripened cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tsp
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of chili flakes
4-5 oz. goat cheese, sliced into small rounds

Step 1: Mash together breadcrumbs with a tbsp of olive oil, minced garlic, herbs, salt, and chili flakes and then sprinkle all overtop the tomatoes set in a baking dish.

Step 2: Drizzle the lot with 2 tsp olive oil and set it under the broiler. After a couple minutes, or when the tomatoes start to blister, add goat cheese and broil until cheese is lightly browned.

Click here for more recipes with summer tomatoes.

Photo credits:
1-3. Amy Rosen