Perhaps it's because I've had rotten luck with raising tomatoes the past few years, but this time, something went right.
I don't take full credit. My own stubborn-headedness forced the early garden prep and plantings.
I told my garden shop friends, hey, if it dies, it dies. I'll plant it again.
But boy, it hasn't died. And the fruits of ye ole labor are so sweet and delicious that I fairly sing every time I see the fat rubies waiting to take their turn on my tongue.
A special thanks is due to my farmer friend, the Southern Gentleman. Finally, I took his advice and installed a drip hose on my tomato plants, and I really think that is a big reason why they've grown so firm and sweet.
And so, it is with great delight that I pass along a tip I got last week from a Food Network cook I watch when I go home for lunch.
We both recommend that you take "extra" tomatoes or those which aren't entirely perfect, chop them into good-sized pieces (like quarters for large ones, halves for Romas), arrange on a baking sheet and roast for two hours at 275 degrees.
Saturday night, as I cooked up some pre-done spinach-and-cheese ravioli, I tossed my roasted tomatoes into a sauce pan with a little olive oil, garlic and basil I'd processed and frozen.
Slap me down, the sauce was so sweet I almost cried.
Never again will I stove-top tomatoes. The oven is the answer.
Next, for anybody who loves summer tomatoes, you've got to make your own mayonnaise.
Never fear, I am not about to tell you to get out that whisk and hold your breath over a warm aluminum bowl.
No ma'am. Get out your immersion blender or go buy one. Then find yourself a tall, quart container like a Ball jar or similarly situated strong plastic.
Let's not quibble - make sure your two eggs are room temperature. No tempting Fate unnecessarily.
Eggs into container, then 3 tablespoons mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Just slightly stir this with a fork.
Pour in 2 cups vegetable oil with 4 tablespoons lemon juice.
Lower your immersion blender to the bottom and let 'er rip! Carefully up and down, up and down about a dozen times and you should have mayo.
If it doesn't work, which happens rarely but it happens, throw it all out, wash your blender and jar, and start again. Or, let those eggs warm up while you have a glass or two of wine while you think about the lovely sliced tomatoes you're going to top with that mayonnaise, or those wonderful BLT sandwiches on soft bread.
Now, did I say I love summer?
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.