Tomatoes are my favorite part of the summer. We always had tomato plants growing on our deck during the summers; they never yielded much bounty, but plucking tomatoes right off the vine and eating them on the deck, juice running down our chins was most certainly the best part of the summer (besides the smell of chlorine and no school).
I can eat a tomato like an apple. Heirloom tomatoes are my favorite. Often, they are so thick with flesh on the inside that I have to slice them and eat them like a steak, sprinkled with salt and drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and chunks of mozzarella.
I haven't been successful at tomato-growing, here in the dry and dusty southwest (but let's face it, I haven't been very successful at making anything grow--even weeds). Thank heavens for stores and farmer markets. There is a lovely place, just down the street, called the Fruit Barn which always sells delicious and fresh tomatoes a short walk away.
In honor of summer, here is my new favorite summer tomato recipe (so easy, I can actually make it after work):
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart
Two sheets of puff pastry dough, thawed according to package directions. Slice one sheet into four equal squares. Cut the second sheet into strips about 1" thick. Lay the strips along the outside of each of the squares (goal is a tart with raised sides).
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes on a cookie sheet.
While the tarts are baking, different varieties of baby heirloom cherry tomatoes in half (yellow, orange, red, etc.). Set aside. Take 2 oz of goat cheese (or more) and mix with sizable pinches of rosemary, thyme and oregano. Add two or so Tbsp of milk and mix it with the cheese so it becomes thinner and more spreadable.
When the pastry is finished baking, spread the goat cheese mixture on each of the tarts equally, top with cherry tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and put back in the oven for another five minutes.
Top with torn fresh basil and serve warm (or room temperature).