Freshly Plucked

Heirloom Tomatoes with Shallots, Herbs, and Feta
I'm generally not one to walk around espousing conspiracy theories, but my garden has been so sadly unproductive this year that I'm blaming it on my water company. I mean really, the weather's been pretty divine, I have a new irrigation system hooked up, and I purchased high quality plants. Is it a mere coincidence that a dismal lack of rainfall and a unproductive garden could happen in the same year?

Of course, if my garden were dependent on rainfall, I'd see the connection. But our rainy season (or lack of) ends by March, so I'm more inclined to think that the water company might be adding all sorts of things to the mix to improve the water, just not necessarily for the plants.

In spite of all the trouble and low production, I managed to pluck a few big, beautiful heirlooms this past weekend, just in time for a poolside luncheon with friends. I love the heirlooms because they never disappoint with their unique characteristics (that's a black tomato on the plate), whether in color or shape or taste.

I've grown weary of the common basil and tomatoes, so I decided to venture into new territory and top these delectable wonders with a healthy handful of chopped mint and cilantro. Add a really good fruity balsamic, some salty feta and it was so good that I almost forgot about my conspiracy theory.

But still, I think they're up to something at the water plant...

Heirlooms and Herbs

4-5 heirloom tomatoes, different varieties, colors and shapes; sliced
30 cherry tomatoes; halved
1 shallot, finely minced
1 bunch of mint, finely shredded
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
1 bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
a good fruit balsamic vinegar--I used a tangerine balsamic
good fruity olive oil
good salty feta (buy the kind that's imported from Israel)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare this about 2 hours before serving.

1. Artfully arrange tomatoes on a large platter.
2. Scatter the cherry tomatoes over the top.
3. Top with the chopped shallot.
4. Sprinkle with salt and top with fresh ground pepper.
5. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
6. Top with the fresh herbs.
7. About 15 minutes before serving, top with crumbled feta cheese.
8. Serve with crusty bread for sopping up all the tomato juice and herbs.


  1. I wish I liked sliced tomatoes, its a seed thing - but I love pasta sauce! Have a great weekend Mel!


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