NORTHWOODS COOKS: Enjoy fresh garden tomatoes

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Home made cheese and tomato pie
Tomatoes fresh from the garden and baked in a pie make a tasty main dish when served with a salad.
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There are many uses for ripe juicy tomatoes that are available in gardens and farmer’s markets now. Tomato pie and roasted tomato linguini are a tasty main dish when served with a salad and rustic bread, while blender salsa pairs perfectly with tortilla or pita chips.

Tomato Pie

9-inch deep dish pie crust

4 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced


1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 lb. bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In alternating layers, fill the pastry shell with tomatoes, basil, scallions, bacon, garlic powder, oregano and red pepper. In a small bowl, mix cheese with mayonnaise. Spread mixture over top of pie. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil from top of pie and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Fresh Tomato Blender Salsa

2 cups cherry tomatoes can also use Roma or plum tomatoes too

1/2 small red onion or 1/4 of a large red onion

1/2 small jalapeno pepper or 1/4 of a large pepper (seeds removed unless you like it spicy)

1-2 limes, juiced (or roughly 1-2 Tablespoons of juice)


1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 large garlic clove or two small garlic cloves

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

salt to taste

In a large blender container or food processor, add all of the salsa ingredients with a pinch of salt. Rather than blend, pulse the blender until the ingredients come together and form a salsa. Try not to blend it too long because you still want some texture in the salsa.

Pour into a serving bowl, season with salt to taste until the flavor is just right, then serve with additional chopped cilantro over top.

Keep leftover salsa fresh refrigerated in a mason jar with a tight lid, or in an airtight glass container for up to five days.

Roasted Tomato Linguine

4 very thin lemon slices

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

6 ounces linguine pasta

1-1/2 cups arugula

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 cup roasted tomatoes

3 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup fresh basil, or dollops of pesto

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the lemon slices on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until they’re golden brown around the edges. Finely mince the lemons and set aside.

In the bottom of a medium-sized pot, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, cooking until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Scoop the hot pasta into the pot, along with the reserved pasta water and the arugula, and toss. If necessary, gently heat until the arugula wilts and the pasta is warmed through. Add the thyme, tomatoes and lemons, and toss again. Top with the mozzarella, pine nuts and basil. Gently toss, season to taste and serve.

Jersey Fresh Tomato Soup

7 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes

1 cup finely chopped carrots

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

13.75-oz. can chicken broth

1 Tbsp. white sugar

2 tsp. sea salt

3 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup 2% milk

2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. celery salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Bring the tomatoes, carrots and onion to a boil over medium-high heat in a stockpot, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, sugar and salt.

Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour, stirring until thick. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook and stir, whisking constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes, then stir milk mixture into the stockpot. Season with basil, celery salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Continue to simmer the soup on low to reduce and thicken, about 1 hour.

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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