Tag Archives: basil

Heirloom Tomato Salad

20 Sep

What a real tomato looks like!

In my container garden, I grow three kinds of tomatoes – Better Bush, Celebrity, and Pink Brandywine (an heirloom tomato). The large, oddly shaped tomatoes in the photo below are the heirloom tomatoes. My collection isn’t as pretty as the “field tomatoes” or the “tomatoes on the vine” you see at supermarkets, and they are not all nearly the same size, either. But looks are deceiving, because these taste so much better!


Their flesh is sweet and dense. There are not nearly as many seeds as regular, store-bought tomatoes, so they are also not as drippy, with the juice that surrounds the seeds. These home-grown tomatoes are perfect for recipes like a tomato tart, where you don’t want the pastry to get all soggy. They are also perfect for this tomato salad, where you don’t want the tomatoes to drown in their own juice. I like to make this quick and easy salad to bring along on a picnic.



  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped to ½-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used a raspberry-flavoured one)
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped into thin strips
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp feta cheese (optional)


Toss tomatoes in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with basil. Top with feta, if desired.

Pesto Chicken and Ravioli

28 Jul

I bought freshly made porcini mushroom and cheese ravioli, and sweet pea ravioli packed with whole peas from Russo’s Market in Watertown, MA. The sweet pea ravioli is not always available, but when it is, it sells fast. One lady told me she will plan her dinner around the availability of the sweet pea pasta!

I am also excited about my basil plant – it’s now two feet tall! I used fresh basil to make a pesto sauce. A light sauce lets the richness of the mushrooms and the crispness of the peas shine. Shown below with grilled chicken breast.

ravioli with chicken

Spinach and basil pesto

In a food processor, pulse to blend:

  • 2 cups packed basil and spinach
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Add and continue to blend:

  • 1/2 cup (or a little less) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pecorino-romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sometimes I use leftover pesto to stir-fry with zucchini and summer squash. You can also freeze pesto in ice cube trays to store for longer (don’t add cheese to the pesto if you plan on freezing it).

Basil-spinach pesto

%d bloggers like this: