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oh september, you know what i like

Recipe: heirloom tomato salad

I’m wearing fleece right now, because September flipped the switch on summer and we’ve been relishing this glorious cool down! The neighbor was firing up their hot tub (because the pipes can burst when we get down to freezing overnight), we saw morning frost in the high country, and snow is predicted on the high peaks this week. Just in time too, because we upgraded our tele gear this weekend. Now we’re poor and happy!

i chose the rossi s3s over the k2 kung fujas

soon all this will be covered in snow… precious precious snow

Labor Day marks the end of the vacation season. Kids are back in school, people go back to work. It is the start of when I like to spend time outside the most. The weather is cool enough to my liking and the backcountry isn’t filled with a bunch of yahoos from the city. Kaweah can happily trundle along on her walks without overheating. That smell of crispness on the air means autumn fast approaches. We’ve already seen early bird sprigs of aspen turning yellow around our local trails. The sun journeys across the sky a little lower each day and the remaining late season wildflowers dot the landscape with their humble whites, yellows, and purples. I love the transition from summer to autumn.

colorful sunsets

weekend hiking

plants turning yellow


k-dawg pooped out after her hike

I don’t hate summer. It’s really the heat that gets me more than anything else. And while I’m gleefully anticipating ski season, I have to say that it is with great sadness that the love affair with the summer bounty must come to an end. Corn, tomatoes, peaches (oh my goodness, those Colorado Palisade Peaches), melons, baseball bat zucchini, cherries, plums, berries, peppers, beans… I enjoy most all of these prepared in the simplest of ways. It’s too hot to futz with stuff over the stove or in the oven. Minimalist preparation means that the foods are allowed to shine and that you have more time to go out and play. One of my favorite fruits of summer? Heirloom tomatoes.

i buy the hell out of them at the farmers’ market

a little olive oil, some fresh basil, and smoked mexican sea salt

I will eat a good, fresh tomato the way I eat a peach. They are sweet enough to be dessert. Jeremy has always eyed tomatoes with suspicion. He would pluck them out of his dish and onto my plate. This year, we’ve been eating a lot of heirloom tomatoes around town and at home… and he likes them. Perhaps tomato haters hate crappy tomatoes? If that’s the case, it’s totally justifiable. I hate crappy tomatoes too. They aren’t even worth eating. But once you get your hands on farm or garden fresh tomatoes, please don’t put them in the refrigerator. That’s a sure fire way to kill the flavor and reduce the flesh to a mealy imposter. People like to serve heirlooms sliced thin, but I really love them in chunks so I can get a nice juicy, meaty bite of the sweet and tangy flesh. Then I just add some olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.

slice however you like

drizzle a little olive oil

a pinch of salt

Next to eating a tomato like a peach, this is my simplest and favorite way to enjoy sunshine on a plate. They are still at the markets and I intend to indulge in these beauties until I can’t find them anymore, by which time I hope I’ll be sufficiently distracted with the start of an early ski season. One can always hope.

serve with fresh basil

Heirloom Tomato Salad
[print recipe]

heirloom tomatoes (as many as your heart desires)
olive oil
fresh basil (optional)

Cut the tomatoes into bite-size chunks (or slice thin for carpaccio). Drizzle a little olive oil over the tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

30 nibbles at “oh september, you know what i like”

  1. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Snow? Really? Wow, a switch really did flip on us, huh? I hate crappy tomatoes, too, and am determined to eat myself sick this last month on the heirlooms.

  2. Perfecting Pru says:

    I love how happy the words were on this post – you seem so excited! Enjoy the first skiing it’s incredible how quickly the seasons change.

  3. Melissa | Dash of East says:

    We finally got a break from the summer heat too! And while we’re still in the mid 60s here, I’m loving it. I can’t wait to see your photos of snow in the upcoming few months – hooray!

    And I’m absolutely loving your photo of the olive oil pouring on the tomatoes. Now, I’m itching to get my camera out to practice some pour shots :)

  4. The Hungry Traveler says:

    My bf doesn’t like tomatoes either, or says he doesn’t…this may be a way to convert him, but honestly I kind of like that I get to eat the tomatoes off all his sandwiches and salads when we go out to eat! One of my favorite ways to eat heirlooms (besides just sliced thick and sprinkled w/ sea salt) is in panzanella – stale bread salad, I’m sure you’ve had it. It’s basically the same thing as your salad but with chunks of dry bread added (my mom also does cucumber and fresh mozarella, but I’m not sure how authentic that is). The bread soaks up all the tomatoey juices and swells up and gets all soft. It’s delicious – no matter how big a bowl there is my family always polishes it off.

  5. Cooking with Michele says:

    I feel about winter the way you feel about summer – it’s not that I hate winter, I just hate dealing with the snow. And although fall is probably my favorite season here in CO – especially early fall when we still have warm days with cook nights and tons of fresh produce ready to harvest – I get just a little sad knowing that winter is coming sooner than I’d like.

  6. Cookin Canuck says:

    Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. I am relishing every moment of the cool down. I am with you on a eating a summer tomato like an apple, but would be just as happy to dig into a plate of this pretty salad.

  7. diane and todd says:

    You both live in a magical land as far as I’m concerned. Your freaking amazing shots, especially of the sunset, make me want to quit everything here and move there!
    I’ll be Kaweah’s roomie on that bed and clean house good for that heirloom salad.

  8. Kath says:

    This is my favorite time of year, too! The air feels so great and there’s such a bounty available, not only at farmers’ markets, but luckily for me at my grocery stores which carry local, organic produce!

    Beautiful photos, as always. And now I must go out and get some heirloom tomatoes!!

  9. Cynthe says:

    On the same wave hubby and I bought pounds and pounds of heirloom tomatoes Saturday at the Farmers Market to gobble up freely. Multiple tomato-y snacks per day. YAY! Considered making preserves, but decided to eat them fresh, first. Still plenty of tomato season left here in CA to do tomato preserves later…

  10. Bev Weidner says:

    Gorgeous photos! And that dog just made me giddy.

  11. Jessica says:

    I live down South of the mountains and I am already mourning the loss of summer! I don’t like too much heat, but I am not ready for the cold! We planted tomatoes this year and I am loving how fresh they are! Next year I hope to plant a few heirloom, rather than the Big Boy variety.

  12. Bebe says:

    I LOVE your new skis – they’re beautiful!!

  13. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says:

    I used to get giddy this time of year as well, when I lived in Idaho. Now, not so much. Texas heat…Oh, and what beautiful heirlooms!

  14. Lauren @ hey, who cut the cheese? says:

    This dish is beautiful in its simplicity. Your photos are gorgeous, too! And, might I add, your dog is a cutie as well =)

  15. julia says:

    just gorgeous as always

  16. Barbara says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous tomato salad. And Kaweah looks so sweet. Did you stand in the stream to get that water shot?

  17. Heather says:

    I love love love the farmer’s market tomatoes, and I too collect them like that….one of each. Thanks for sharing that lovely taste of summer!

  18. Michael Frye says:

    I love that transition from summer to fall too: cooler weather, shorter days – which means I don’t have to get up so early to photograph sunrise! But it’s supposed to be 95 today in the Sierra foothills, so autumn seems far away.

  19. Bahia says:

    I just read about your blog on Eatocracy. I really enjoyed reading about the evolution of your blog. I’ll definitely be checking out your recipes, especially the Chinese cooking ones.

  20. Dana says:

    We are very reluctant to see the fall starting to arrive here because of our late-start-summer. It is glorious and warm but the mornings are cool and some of the leaves are starting to turn. NO! But the boys started school today (hallelujah!) and I think the heat will keep us in tomatoes for a few weeks still. Randy is kind of the same as Jeremy. He tolerates tomatoes but doesn’t really like them. He has loved the heirlooms that I have been buying at markets though!

  21. Susan/@latenitepho says:

    Fleece, September, heirloom tomatoes, incredible photography, beautiful pup…it all makes me smile.

    Thanks, Jen.

  22. Julie from Burnt Carrots says:

    I totally agree and have no idea what happened to the weather here! Its in the 50s today!! I love your pictures. They are so beautiful and inspire me to get up from Boulder and into the mountains!

  23. Margie says:

    Those tomatoes are beautiful, but the puppy dog wins my vote! :)

  24. lynn @ the actor's diet says:

    the tomatoes are looking gorgeous! i can’t wait to get to the farmer’s market this weekend for some.

  25. jenyu says:

    TKW – yes! Except I don’t think I can afford that many heirlooms ;) They are esspensive!

    Perfecting Pru – it does change quickly, although I know we’ll swing back to Indian Summer before long :)

    Melissa – good for you! practice practice xoxo

    The Hungry Traveler – oh, I love panzanella. How come I’ve never tried it before? I think I’m just too impatient and I scarf the tomatoes down. Then I drink the juices straight. Hee hee.

    Cooking with Michele – But you live in Denver, so you guys don’t really get that much snow. I suppose that’s a consolation, no?

    diane and todd – MOVE HERE NOW!!!

    Kath – thanks!

    Cynthe – mmmm, I’m soooo jealous of you Californians.

    Bev Weidner – awww xo

    Jessica – if I could cultivate some nice heirlooms in this mountain environment, I would. So grow extra tomatoes for those of us who can’t :)

    Bebe – more than that, I can’t wait to see how they shred!

    Melissa – oh, Texas heat :( I’m sorry!

    Lauren – thank you!

    Julia – xo

    Barbara – Thank you, dear. I have stood in streams before, but this stream had a nice bridge over it for me to shoot from :)

    Heather – I feel bad if I leave any group out ;)

    Michael – ugh, that sounds miserably hot!! And I couldn’t agree more – summer is brutal as sunrise/sunset goes.

    Bahia – thank you :)

    Dana – Who wouldn’t love heirlooms? And yeah, I can totally understand you Seattlites feeling like you got the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Perhaps we should trade places in summer?

    Susan – thanks.

    Julie – yay!!

    Margie – awww!

    lynn – *yes*

  26. Ski Reviews says:

    Nice skis! I’ve heard good things about both, what made you go Rossignol over the K2s?

  27. jenyu says:

    Ski Reviews – basically it came down to weight. I want to take these into the backcountry and K2s tend to be heavier skis.

  28. Jenn says:

    The picture of the plates tomatoes and basil is soooo beautiful I want it in my kitchen. Have you ever sold prints of your pictures because I would buy that one.

  29. jenyu says:

    Jenn – thanks! I do sell prints, although mostly my nature photography and generally only commissioned food photography. I’ll send you an email directly.

  30. Christine (CookTheStory) says:

    I love my heirloom tomatoes chunky or sliced thick too. I love your presentation.

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