From Sara Leibman: "Tomato season in the D.C. area is way too short, and I don't want to miss any of it. As soon as the local red beefsteaks and Better Boys hit the farm stands, I start buying them by the bushel. And while it's lovely to take a homemade soup or sauce out of the freezer in February, nothing compares to fresh tomatoes in the height of the season.
3 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup coarsely crushed plain baked pita chips
3/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons tahini
6 ounces low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 Persian cucumbers, peeled and diced
6 ounces fresh feta cheese, diced
Pomegranate molasses, for garnish (may substitute fig balsamc ivinegar)
Combine the tomatoes, half of the oil, the lemon juice, half of the pita chips, 1/2 cup of the mint, 1 teaspoon of the oregano and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a mixing bowl. Let the mixture sit until the pita chips and oregano have softened, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender, along with the sugar, tahini and yogurt. Puree until smooth. Press through a fine-mesh strainer into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to a day.
Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of mint. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions to make the frozen fattoush (a sorbet).
Meanwhile, combine the cucumbers, the feta and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil, teaspoon of oregano and teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl, stirring to incorporate. Let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Divide small scoops of the frozen fattoush among individual bowls or dishes. Top each scoop with a few tablespoons of the cucumber-feta mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining crushed pita chips. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Serve right away.
Nutrition: Ingredients are too varied for a meaningful analysis.
Mama's Tomato Preserves
Makes 8 1/2 to 9 cups
(a generous 2 to 2 1/4 quarts)
From Easton, Md., resident Frances O. Pyles: "This is a family recipe, passed down in my family for years." Using yellow tomatoes and lemons makes for a sweet-tart, sunny condiment. The preserves can be frozen in freezer-safe zip-top bags for up to 3 months. If you use yellow tomatoes, we do not recommend water-bath canning (due to reduced acidity).
About 9 pounds ripe yellow tomatoes (about 15 large; may substitute
red ripe tomatoes or a combination of yellow and red)
3 large lemons, seeded and cut crosswise into very thin slices
4 cups sugar
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Score an X in the bottom of each tomato. Working in batches, drop them into the boiling water to loosen the skins. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins.
Place a flexible cutting board inside a rimmed baking sheet; this will help corral the tomatoes and their juices. Chop the peeled tomatoes into small pieces (including the gel and seeds) and transfer to a large colander seated inside a mixing bowl. Press on the tomato pulp to extract as much juice as possible; reserve the juice, if desired, for another use. There should be about 8 cups of pulp.
Transfer the pulp to a large pot along with the seeded lemon slices. Cook (uncovered) over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally; the lemon slices should be quite soft. Stir in the sugar, making sure it has dissolved. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes; the preserves may be a little loose.
Cool completely, then transfer to zip-top bags for freezing, pressing to extract as much air as possible before sealing.
Nutrition: Per tablespoon (based on 9 cups): 25 calories, 0 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar.