You Say Tomato!!!

Fresh Tomato and basil over Angel Hair Pasta

2 pounds ripe tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 oregano sprig
Pinch chili flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound dried angel hair pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chiffonade basil, plus whole sprigs for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice water bath. Cut a small "x" on the bottom of each tomato. In batches, place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch them for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the skins are easy to peel away. Remove and immediately plunge into the ice bath. Peel the tomatoes and halve horizontally. Squeeze out the seeds, using your fingers to get them all. Roughly chop the peeled and seeded tomatoes. Set aside. (You can also use whole peeled canned tomatoes. Simply drain them, seed, and roughly chop).

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add the thyme leaves, oregano sprig, and chili flakes and saute until the garlic begins to turn golden brown. Add the tomatoes and the sugar and stir well. Lower the heat and cook slowly until the mixture is fairly dry, about 15 minutes.

Cook the angel hair pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Add the Parmesan and basil and toss well. Place in a large pasta bowland garnish with Parmesan and basil sprigs.

Two Tomato & Basil Bruchettas

1 thick baguette, about 22-inches long, end trimmed, loaf angle cut into 36 1/2-inch slices
1/3 cup olive oil

Tomato Caper Topping with Lemon:

2 large ripe tomatoes, about 1 pound total, trimmed, seeded and diced (1/4-inch)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons drained small (nonpareil) capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced lemon zest or lemon herb
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed through a press
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Yellow Tomato Smoked Mozzarella Topping with Olives:

2 large ripe yellow tomatoes, (1 pound), trimmed, seeded and diced (1/4-inch)
3 ounces smoked mozzarella, diced (1/4-inch), at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped drained pimento stuffed green olives
1/4 cup chopped fennel bulb
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the bruschettas, preheat a grill. Brush the bread slices lightly on both sides with the olive oil. Lay the bread on the rack or pan, cover, and grill, rearranging the position of the slices on the rack to create attractive markings and turning them once, until they are crisp and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes total. Remove from the heat and cool. The bread slices can be grilled several hours in advance.

For the tomato caper topping, in a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, basil, capers, oil, lemon zest, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the tomato smoked mozzarella topping, in a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, fennel, basil, oil, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning on both tomato mixtures. Serve them, accompanied by the grilled bread slices, letting guests top their bruschettas to taste.

Mexican Pasta Salad

1 pound fusilli pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large tomatoes, seeded, diced (4 cups)
3 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
3 large carrots, thinly sliced on diagonal, slices cut lengthwise into thin strips
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or herb
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Cook fusilli pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse pasta with cold water to cool. Drain pasta. Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and mix thoroughly to coat. Add diced tomatoes, corn kernels, carrot strips and chopped onion and toss.

Mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and fresh lime juice in small bowl. Mix in minced jalapeno chilies, chili powder and ground cumin. Add dressing and chopped fresh cilantro to salad and mix to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Quick Bacon and Tomato Dip

1 Firm tomato chopped

1-2 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1-2 T Chopped Basil

1 T chopped chives

1 T salad Burnett (optional)

2 T Salad Dressing

1 t herbal vinegar (Red Rubin Vinegar works Great in This!!)

1 t sugar

salt & Pepper to taste

Cream together cheese, salad dressing, add vinegar and sugar and blend until smooth. Fold in remaining ingredients, tomatoes last to hold firmness. Serve with crackers, bread, or veggies.