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Monday, July 26, 2010

Pickled Tomatoes

It's summertime and that means time for refreshing, delicious foods. I love all the fresh fruits and veggies available this time of year. Tomatoes are definitley at their peak right now and I just can't get enough of them. I've tried to broaden my horizons and try out some different recipes with them. Of course, one of the easiest ways to eat them is raw on a sandwich or salad. Put a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground pepper on them to make them even better. They're also delicious roasted, with a sprinkle of thyme. Tonight I'm going to try out a roasted corn and tomato pizza, which I'm pretty excited about. The recipe I want to share with you today is one I tried out yesterday and fell in love with. It's a excellent way to add a little pizzazz to your salad. You can even use the pickling marinade as a salad dressing too, a double whammy if you ask me.

As if the flavor of the pickled tomatoes isn't enough reason to eat them, I thought I'd share the health benefits of eating them as well. Let's start with the wonders of vinegar. Vinegar is great for digestion and bowel function. It can help keep cholesterol in check and help you avoid ulcers. It has been shown to kill viruses and can be used to cure hiccups. Studies have found in to be helpful in weight loss and in relieving headaches. The list could go on and on. Now on to tomatoes. Tomatoes are great for your skin and your circulatory system as it purifies the blood. They can also help prevent heart disease. The red pigment, lycopene, is a powerful antioxidant which can fight off cancer cells. They're high in vitamins and low in calories. Garlic, another ingredient in this delicious mix, is great for you as well. It can be a powerful antibiotic if eaten raw and is very good for your immune system. It is full of antioxidants. Just don't overdo it. A little goes a long way!

And now for the recipe:

Pickled Tomatoes
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp mustard seed
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 cup agave nectar (or organic sugar)
1 tsp salt
6 small, firm plum tomatoes halved and sliced

1. Warm oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add other spices and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
2. Add vinegar and agave nectar, return pan to stove and cook 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Stir in salt and remove from stove to cool a bit again.
3. Place half the tomatoes in a jar or bowl, and then pour half the vinegar mixture on top. Put the rest of the tomatoes in the bowl and pour the remaining vinegar mixture over the top.
4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!

I tried this recipe with bell peppers too and found it to be equally enjoyable. Play around with pickling all kinds of veggies to liven of your vegetable reproitoire.

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