Thursday, December 3

Bite-Sized Summer on the Vine

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Cherry tomatoes, delicious and sweet, may prompt the age-old question, “Is it a fruit or a vegetable?” Our answer is, “Who cares? They’re delicious!”

No room for a garden? No tomato stakes or trellis? No problem! One cherry tomato plant will find a way to keep you in tomatoes until the first hard frost. Plant them near a stair or deck railing, and they’ll grow along that. Leave one near another plant, and soon it, too, will be covered in cherry tomatoes. Whether you pick your own ripe tomatoes or purchase these little gems from a local farmers market, these recipes will showcase their rich flavor.

Summer Garden Pasta

Yield: 3 servings
  • 9 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 2 large sweet corn ears with kernels removed from the cobs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and saute 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm. In the same pan, add the oil and when hot, add the shallots, garlic and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes and stir in the stock and lemon juice. Cook 3 minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta and reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Divide the pasta among serving bowls. Fold the butter and reserved corn into the tomato mixture. Add the salt and pepper and enough of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce. Pour evenly over the pasta. Top evenly with the Romano, basil and oregano. Serve warm.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

Yield: 6 servings
  • 36 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Place the tomatoes and shallots in a single layer in an 11-by-13-inch casserole dish. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinegar, sugar, oil, celery seeds, salt and pepper. Shake to emulsify and pour over the tomato mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Bring to room temperature for 20 minutes before serving over salad greens or hot pasta.

Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes

Yield: 2 servings
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  1. Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring gently for 4 minutes or until the skins begin to split. Garnish with the parsley and serve warm.

Cherry Tomato Couscous

Yield: 6 servings
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1½ cups couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 40 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover and set aside 5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic and shallots. Saute 3 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften. Stir in the basil, salt and pepper. Add to the couscous and toss to mix. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.

Gruyere Cherry Tomato Salad

Yield: 4 servings
  • 26 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, cubed
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Mixed salad greens
  1. Place the tomatoes and cheese in single layer in an 11-by-9-inch casserole dish. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the garlic, vinegar, oil, soy sauce, basil and pepper. Shake to emulsify and pour over the tomato mixture. Cover and set aside for 45 minutes. Place the salad greens on individual serving plates. With a slotted spoon, evenly divide the tomato mixture on top of the greens and serve immediately.


Yield: 6 side servings
  • 60 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cubed day-old French or Italian bread
  1. Place the tomatoes in a shallow 11-by-13-inch casserole dish. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, basil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over the tomatoes and toss gently. Add the bread cubes and toss again. Let stand at room temperature for 12 minutes. Toss again and serve.

Dear Tammy,

Is there an easy way to remove seeds from roasted peppers? I roast peppers whole, then quarter them, but the seeds are hard to remove.


Dear Natalie,

Yes! After quartering the peppers, dip the pieces briefly into a bowl of cold water. That will remove a lot of the stickiness and allow you to easily remove the seeds with a sharp knife.

Dear Tammy,

I am trying to make “burgers” from an abundance of canned (in water) tuna, but they fall apart when I broil them. I am adding dry bread crumbs and chives with two cans of drained tuna. Help!

Jackie Miller

Dear Jackie,

Since canned tuna is already cooked, the mixture you describe isn’t naturally adhering together when heat is applied. Add an egg or 1 tablespoon of leftover mashed potatoes and a teaspoon of mayonnaise. You don’t say how much breadcrumbs you are using, but the trick is to have just enough binder to make tuna burgers vs. bread crumb burgers. I would start with a tablespoon and add another if the mixture feels too wet. It should hold together like a regular beef burger.

Email your cooking questions to Tammy Algood: You may be featured in the next issue of The Tennessee Magazine!


About Author

Tammy Algood

Tammy Algood develops for The Tennessee Magazine recipes that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add cleaner, more flavorful foods to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce. For more information about our recipes, contact Algood at

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