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If I could only choose one food to grow myself, it would without a doubt be tomatoes. If you have never had a home-grown tomato, you really don’t know what you are missing out on. Growing up, my dad always had a decent sized garden. There were 5 of us kids, and each of us would be assigned our rows in the garden that we had to keep weed free. I hated that. We would get up and out in the garden early on Saturdays, hoping to finish our weeds before the heat started to hit. Sometimes we were lazy, waiting until further into the day, but that is when we really hated that garden – having to sit and pull weeds in the heat of the sun. But when my mom would make a “garden dinner”, all ill thoughts of having to weed the garden were gone. These were my favorite nights – chile rellenos, yellow squash mashed with milk and butter, and slices of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. My mouth starts watering just thinking of these meals.

Summer and fall was really the only time I ever remember eating fresh tomatoes growing up. It could be that I just don’t remember, but I don’t think my mom ever bought tomatoes from the store. So I grew up knowing that taste of straight-out-of-the-garden tomatoes. Then I moved away from home, and tomatoes lost a lot of their magic. They just don’t taste the same coming from the grocery store. Gone were the days of eating fresh tomato slices with a little bit of salt sprinkled over the top. Until I started to grow my own, that is!!

We are harvesting the first of our tomatoes right now. I think we went a little overboard on the tomatoes this year. There is just no way possible we are going to be able to keep up with them, so my family and co-workers will probably get to share in the bounty. But last night, when I went out and picked these first tomatoes (I think they are called sweet 100s, but I don’t remember!), I was in pure heaven!

Since it is a new month – August already!! – I have chosen a new cookbook of the month. I was going over my shelf, looking for one that I hadn’t posted a recipe from yet. Most of these at this point are dessert cookbooks, and we all know how I feel about desserts right now, so I passed on those. I ended up choosing Donna Hay Modern Classics – Book 1. And why I haven’t cooked from this book before is beyond me!

Food blogging actually introduced me to Donna Hay, whom I had never heard of before. I quickly went to the library and checked out one of her books and fell in love. They are some of the most beautiful books! I bought this one shortly after looking through that book at the library. And although I haven’t made anything out of it until last night, this book has gotten a lot of use. It is pure eye candy, and I love to flip through the pages, loving the beautiful, simple food and photographs. I chose this book for 2 reasons. 1 – so I’d finally try some of the recipes I have marked, and 2 – most of the recipes sound quite simple, which is what I really need in my life right now.

Like this salsa – it took all of 10 minutes to throw together, and I got to use a few items from my garden!! The tomatoes, basil and onion all came from my garden, and the rest of the items were pantry staples. This is not a normal salsa. I ate mine with chips, but it would be better suited over fish or chicken because it’s lacking the spicy factor. The original recipe didn’t even have the onion in it, but I loved the flavor of it in there. Also, because my tomatoes were quite sweet, I wish I would have left out the sugar, but I think it all depends on the type of tomatoes you use. I had some of the salsa in my breakfast this morning – eggs on a tortilla with a little cheese and the salsa – and it was delicious!

Tomato and Basil Salsa
slightly adapted from Modern Classics Book 1 by Donna Hay

4 diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
1/4 cup sliced black olives (I chopped mine)
1/2 cup basil leaves (chopped as well)
1/4 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper together until the sugar is dissolved. Combine tomatoes, capers, olives, basil and onion with the olive oil mixture and mix together.

And a quick overview of July’s cookbook of the month – Southern Living Annual Recipes 2007. Southern Living is put out by the same people as Cooking Light, so this book was a lot like the Cooking Light annual cookbooks. I really enjoyed going through this book, but it’s not making me jump out of my seat, wanting to subscribe to the magazine. And it’s not for everyone – a lot of the recipes use premade products. I’m not against this myself (nothing wrong with taking short cuts when you need to!) but I know that a lot of food bloggers would rather go without eating than use a component that is premade. The way the cookbook is organized is not all that effective if you are looking for something specific – all of the desserts aren’t together, or the soups, main dishes, etc. But you have to remember that it is just a compilation of the magazines through the year. It’s more like one of the cookbooks you have and just play cookbook roulette – opening the book and making the first thing you see. (If you haven’t played, it’s a lot of fun!) But overall, I think the book is filled with lots of tempting recipes. I know I have another already on my list for next week!

Recipes made from Southern Living Annual Recipes 2007:

Grilled Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

Whole Grain Marshmallow Crispy Bars
Spicy Southwestern Deviled Eggs
Breakfast Banana Bread

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23 Responses to Cookbook of the Month Recipe – Tomato and Basil Salsa

  1. Liz says:

    I love the addition of capers in this recipe! Looks great!

  2. Steph says:

    I have about 20 HUGE green tomatoes in my garden just waiting to ripen. I can’t wait, I’m so impatient. Every single day I go out to check on them and it drives me crazy, because I want them now!!! The salsa looks amazing!

  3. Patsyk says:

    I think I need to add another cookbook to my library hold list! That salsa looks wonderful!

  4. noble pig says:

    You and I have tomato on the brain today!

    The salsa sounds great and I can’t wait to see what else you come up with from Donna Hay’s book. I love her too.

  5. Jenny says:

    What a beautiful looking recipe Deborah! I love that Annual Southern Living Cookbook, it’s a great one!

  6. Paula says:

    I so enjoyed reading about your growing up in the garden story! How neat that your mom would prepare garden bounty meals, too! That salsa looks great! I’m such a sucker for capers, and I like how you added onion to you recipe. Serving this over breakfast eggs was a terrific idea. YUMMY!

  7. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, I’m so glad to hear you like this book, because I love it! In fact, I love anything Donna Hay. 🙂
    I bought another one of her books this morning, I can’t wait to get it! 🙂

    your reviews are always so useful, tks for sharing your opinion with us!

  8. kat says:

    I feel exactly the same way about tomatoes from the garden. Our sweet 100s are ripe now too & we pop them like candy. Salsa sounds like a great use for them.
    Now I can't wait for the heirlooms to ripen.

  9. Courtney says:

    your tomatoes looks great. i planted some in spring but our wonderful dog got into them. I wasnt able to replant due to an over abundance of rain, the soil was always super wet. hopefully i will be able to plant some for fall. sure wish i was your neighbor!!

  10. Birdie says:

    We eat this for lunch, alot in the summer. When you are from the south tomatoes and summer go together like peas and carrots

  11. Valentina says:

    gorgeuos salada. And great post. There is definitely nothing like homegrown tomatoes. I have never grown my own but often get some from a girlfriend who grows them herself.to die for.

  12. Psychgrad says:

    Will you be my coworker? Please?

    Growing up, I was always a garden cucumber girl. But, I would love to have some tomatoes from the garden too.

  13. hot garlic says:

    Your Gateau for the DB turned out beautiful!

    This recipe looks delish as well! I’ve never had a salsa with basil in it!

    Not sure if there is a connection but I did go to Jr. High in Lindon and half of the kids from PG went there, so maybe… I’ll go out on a limb and say I am in my upper-twenties, not sure how old he is. Anyway, my parents don’t live in UT anymore, and except for some students actually no one in my family does anymore! Ben’s family is from there though so we will be back for Christmas.

    Do you like Orem? Which part do you live in?

  14. Grace says:

    what a coincidence that your garden plant of choice is tomatoes because they’re the only thing i’m able to grow successfully (knock on wood). 🙂
    this looks perfect for summer and (shameless plug) perfect for my beat the heat event. feel free to send it my way! 🙂

  15. RecipeGirl says:

    We’re at the end of our tomato plants already here in Southern California. We got them early! Wish I had the bounty that you do… we didn’t get great producing plants this year.

    I love the addition of capers and olives in this classic sort of recipe. Worth trying out!

  16. glamah16 says:

    I am loving the additio of Capers to this! I was new to Donna Hay before all this bloggin, but I love her style.

  17. Lina says:

    your salsa looks killer!!!

  18. Heather says:

    ooooh how yummy looking 🙂

  19. Melanie D. says:

    Oh wow. We both love tomatoes and i’m just so happy that everyone is posting a lot of stuff about tomatoes nowadays. Thanks for sharing this recipe, i’ll try this asap. Ever heard of tomato poke? I stumbled upon this http://www.foodista.com/2008/07/28/garden-fresh-tomato-poke-tomato-week-part-1/
    and i thought i’d share it to everyone including you. Doesn’t it look yummy? Surely, i’ll try this one up with your tomato and basil salsa. Can’t wait!

  20. Emiline says:

    That looks scrumptious.

    I’m jealous of your tomato harvest.

  21. jb says:

    Yeah, I went overboard on the tomatoes too- this was my first year planting them and I have about 4 dozen plants. I’m trying to give some away. Definitely going to cut back next year! But anyway, I also planted basil and oregano, so I’m going to be making some Basil-Tomato soup (yeah, I tend to go crazy with the basil in my tomato-basil soup, so I have to reverse the title. : )

  22. Kevin says:

    Homegrown tomatoes are the best. That salsa looks like a good way to use some of them.

  23. Elle says:

    What a great recipe! I love Donna Hay, but I only have one of her books so far. Clearly, i need more. And you’re right–there’s something special about a garden tomato, isn’t there? We’ve had a few small ripe ones, but no big ones yet.

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