10 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating More Tomatoes

10 reason to eat tomatoes 07.28.2015

Have you ever wondered how many health benefits tomatoes actually have? Read 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating More Tomatoes from FloridaTomatoes.org.

1. Tomatoes are good for your skin.

Tomatoes contain a high level of lycopene, which is a substance that is used in some of the more pricy facial cleansers that are available for purchase over-the-counter.
If you want to try tomatoes for skin care, you need to start with about eight to twelve tomatoes. Peel the tomatoes and then place the skin on your face with inside of the tomato touching your skin.
Leave the tomatoes on your face for a minimum of ten minutes, then wash. Your face will feel clean and shiny. Some redness may occur, but should fade with time.

2. Tomatoes help prevent several types of cancer.

A number of studies have been conducted that indicate that the high levels of lycopene in tomatoes works to reduce your chances of developing prostate, colorectal and stomach cancer.
Lycopene is a natural antioxidant that works effectively to slow the growth of cancerous cells. Cooked tomatoes produce even more lycopene, so go ahead and cook up a batch of your mom’s famous tomato soup.

3. Tomatoes help maintain strong bones.

Tomatoes contain a considerable amount of calcium and Vitamin K. Both of these nutrients are essential in strengthening and performing minor repairs on the bones as well as the bone tissue.

4. Tomatoes help repair damage caused by smoking.

No, eating tomatoes is not the most recent fad to help you quit smoking. However, tomatoes can reduce the amount of damaged done to your body by smoking cigarettes.
Tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid that work to protect the body from carcinogens that are produced from cigarette smoke.

5. Tomatoes provide essential antioxidants.

Tomatoes contain a great deal of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. This is primarily because these vitamins and beta-carotene work as antioxidants to neutralize harmful free radicals in the blood.
Free radicals in the blood stream are dangerous because it may lead to cell damage. Remember, the redder the tomato you eat is, the more beta-carotene it contains. In addition, you also want to keep in mind that cooking destroys the Vitamin C, so for these benefits, the tomatoes need to be eaten raw.

6. Tomatoes are good for your heart.

Because of the Vitamin B and potassium in tomatoes, they are effective in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. Therefore, by including tomatoes in your regular balanced diet you can effectively prevent heart attacks, strokes as well as many other heart related problems that may threaten your life.

7. Tomatoes are good for your hair.

The Vitamin A in tomatoes works perfectly to keep your hair shiny and strong. In addition, it also does wonders for your eyes, skin, bones and teeth.

8. Tomatoes are good for your kidneys.

Adding tomatoes without seeds to your diet has been proven in some studies to reduce the risk of kidney stones.

9. Tomatoes are good for your eyes.

The Vitamin A found in tomatoes is fantastic for improving your vision. In addition, eating tomatoes is one of the best foods to eat to prevent the development of night blindness.


Tomatoes are packed full of the valuable mineral known as chromium. It works effectively to help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels under better control.



Grilled Pizza with Harissa and Herb Salad


YIELD: Makes 6 individual pizzas



  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups (or more) all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 6 teaspoons harissa sauce*
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Herb salad

  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn
  • 1/2 cup chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as chives, chervil, tarragon, and dill)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Harissa, Tunisian hot sauce, is available at Middle Eastern markets and specialty foods stores, and from adrianascaravan.com. For a quick homemade harissa, mix 1/4 cup sambal oelek or other hot chili paste, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon ground coriander in a small bowl to blend. The harissa keeps for at least a week covered and chilled.

Preparation For dough:

Mix 1 1/4 cups warm water and sugar in large bowl; sprinkle yeast over. Let stand until yeast dissolves and mixture looks spongey, about 10 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup all purpose flour; let stand in warm draft-free area until mixture is bubbling, about 35 minutes.

Stir whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and coarse salt into yeast mixture, then stir in 2 cups all purpose flour. Knead dough in bowl until almost smooth and beginning to pull away from sides of bowl, adding more all purpose flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Form dough into ball. Place dough ball in oiled large bowl; turn dough to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough; divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each dough piece on floured surface into ball. Cover dough balls loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle 2 large baking sheets with flour. Roll out each dough ball on lightly floured work surface to 7- to 7 1/2-inch round, letting dough rest briefly if springing back. Transfer to floured baking sheets. Brush tops lightly with olive oil. Working in batches, grill dough rounds, oiled side up, until bottoms are firm and grill marks appear, watching to avoid burning, about 3 minutes. Turn crusts over, grilling until dough is set, about 2 minutes. Transfer crusts, grill-marked side up, to baking sheets. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Spread 1 teaspoon harissa very thinly over top of each pizza crust. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Gruyére and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Return pizzas to grill; cover and grill just until cheese melts, about 4 minutes.

For herb salad:
Combine baby greens, parsley leaves, basil leaves, chopped assorted fresh herbs, and olive oil in medium bowl; toss to coat thoroughly with oil.

Place pizzas on platter. Divide salad among crusts; sprinkle with pine nuts.

Courtesy of Epicurious



Honey & Thyme icream with dandied thyme 07.27.2015

YIELD: Makes about 3 1/2 cups
ACTIVE TIME: Active time: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: Active time: 15 minutes Start to finish: 30 minutes

  • Ice cream
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 15 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 8 (2 x 1/2-inch) strips lemon peel (yellow part only)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Candied thyme
  • 1 large egg white
  • Sugar
  • 10 large fresh thyme sprigs


For ice cream:
Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep 2 hours.

Whisk eggs and sugar in medium bowl. Add honey to cream mixture. Simmer over medium heat, stirring until honey dissolves. Gradually whisk cream mixture into egg mixture. Return custard to same pan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens enough to coat spoon and thermometer reads 170°F to 175°F, about 4 minutes (do not boil). Strain into clean bowl; whisk in vanilla. Cover; chill until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to bowl, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

For candied thyme
Whisk egg white in medium bowl until frothy. Place sugar in shallow bowl. Dip thyme sprigs, 1 at a time, into egg white to coat, then shake off excess. Add to sugar and turn to coat. Place on paper towels to dry. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours before using.

Scoop ice cream into bowls or goblets. Garnish with candied thyme.
Courtesy of Epicurious.com

Guess What’s Growing Wednesdays!

Thai Basil

Guess What’s Growing Wednesdays! Let’s play! Today we have a highly fragrant flower, sometimes called ‘night-scented stock’. The flowers tend to be pinks, purples and whites. Think you know your flowers? Well, let us know by leaving a comment with the name of the Flower. Well, let us know by leaving a comment with the name of this flower on our Facebook page. #Aerogarden






grilled haloumiYou’ll want to eat the cheese as soon as possible after it comes out of the pan-it’s most magical when hot.

YIELD: Serves 4-6


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1 serrano chile, seeds removed if desired, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces strawberries, hulled, sliced
  • 1 8-9-ounce package halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


To make the dressing, whisk together 3 tablespoons oil, lime juice, agave nectar, chile, and pepper to taste. Toss with strawberries and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add halloumi. Cook cheese for 2-3 minutes per side without disturbing, until a deep brown crust forms.

Remove cheese from skillet and spoon straw- berry mixture over slices of cheese. Top with mint and cilantro and serve immediately, while cheese is still warm.

Courtesy of Epicurious.com



pork tenderloin

This cut of pork can be very lean, so take care not to overcook it or it will be dry. Ideally, it should still be a little pink in the center.

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 4 ounces), cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for serving


Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 6–8 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and cook pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 140°F, 10–15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing; set aside pan drippings.

Toss dates, orange juice, reserved pan drippings, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon relish over pork and top with cilantro leaves.

DO AHEAD: Relish (without pan drippings) can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Add pan drippings just before serving.

Courtesy of Epicurious

Thai Green Papaya Salad

THAI_GREEN_PAPAYA_SALAD_07.13.2015For a light lunch, top the salad with grilled shrimp or tofu.

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) palm sugar or golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Chinese long beans, halved crosswise or 15 green beans
  • 1 1 1/2- to 13/4-pound green papaya, peeled, halved, seeded
  • 10 large cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red Thai chile with seeds, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted peanuts
  • Special equipment: Julienne peeler or box grater


Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Set dressing aside.

Cook beans in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Using julienne peeler, peel enough papaya to measure 6 cups. Place in large bowl. Add tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, chile, and green beans. Pour dressing over; toss. Sprinkle peanuts over and serve.

Ingredient tips:
Palm sugar, fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam), dried shrimp, Chinese long beans, green papaya, and Thai chiles can all be found at Asian markets.

Courtesy of Epicurious


ricotta pear

The sweetness of the pears and honey in this recipe are a nice foil for the savory ricotta.

YIELD: Makes 6 dessert servings


TOTAL TIME: 20 min


  • 1 (15-oz) container whole-milk ricotta
  • 5 tablespoons mild honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 3 firm-ripe Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled if desired
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs


Stir together ricotta, 2 tablespoons honey, thyme, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon mint, and a pinch of salt.

Halve pears lengthwise and scoop out core with a melon-ball cutter or spoon. Leaving stem end intact, cut each pear half lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and gently press against a work surface to create a fan shape.

Divide cheese mixture among plates and top with a pear half. Drizzle remaining 3 tablespoons honey over pears and sprinkle evenly with pine nuts and remaining tablespoon each of basil and mint.

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

3 firm-ripe Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled if desired

1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

Courtesy of Epicurious



YIELD: Makes 8 servings


TOTAL TIME: 3 1/2 hr


For crème caramel

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons dried nontoxic and organic lavender flowers
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks

For pastry crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons ice water
  • Special equipment: a 10-inch glass pie plate (1 to 1 1/2 inches deep), 9 1/2-inch plate or cardboard round, and 10- to 14-inch flat serving plate with a slight lip
  • Garnish: fresh nontoxic and organic violets


Make crème caramel:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook 1 cup sugar in a dry large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, swirling and shaking pan (to help sugar melt evenly), until sugar is melted and caramel is deep golden. Immediately pour caramel into pie plate, tilting to coat bottom and sides evenly.

Bring cream, milk, lavender, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar to a simmer and remove from heat. Let stand 15 minutes, then reheat. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding lavender. Whisk whole eggs and yolks together in a bowl and slowly whisk in hot cream mixture. Pour custard over caramel.

Bake custard in a water bath in middle of oven until set but still trembling slightly (custard will continue to set as it cools), 40 to 45 minutes. Remove pie plate from water and cool cr
me caramel on a rack. Chill, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at least 2 hours.

Make pastry crust:
Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons ice water over mixture and toss with a fork until incorporated. Test mixture by gently squeezing a small handful: When it has proper texture, it should hold together without crumbling apart. If necessary, add remaining ‚ tablespoon water.

(If you overwork mixture or add too much water, pastry will be tough.) Turn mixture out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. Smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and form it into a disk.

Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 10 1/2-inch round and slide onto a baking sheet. Trim dough to a 9‚-inch round (use 9 1/2-inch plate turned upside down as a guide). Prick round all over with a fork and chill 30 minutes. Bake round in middle of oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, and cool completely on baking sheet on a rack.

Assemble tart just before serving:
Run a thin knife around edge of crème caramel and rotate pie plate back and forth to make sure crème caramel is loosened. Slide crust on top of crème caramel, centering it carefully, and invert serving plate on top of crust. Invert tart onto serving plate (caramel will run to edge of plate).

cooks’ notes:• If you substitute fresh lavender for the dried, use the same amount (fresh lavender is actually stronger than dried).

• You can make crème caramel and crust 1 day ahead, but don’t assemble until just before serving. Chill crème caramel and keep crust, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.


Courtesy of Epicurious


hot dogs

This Mexican favorite may seem over the top, but the ingredients combine to make a surprisingly addictive dog. The bacon adds smoky flavor, the mayo and pinto beans bring richness, and the salsa and pickled jalapeños provide a tangy, refreshing bite.

YIELD: 4 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes


For the pico de gallo:

  • 1 medium tomato, seeded, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the hot dogs:

  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 large hot dog buns or torpedo rolls (preferably not split)
  • 1/4 cup canned pinto beans
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices
  • Mayonnaise (for serving)
  • 1/2 cup potato chips, loosely crushed
  • Sprigs of cilantro (for serving)


Make the pico de gallo:
Combine tomato, red onion, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cook and assemble the hot dogs:
Prepare grill for high heat. Wrap each hot dog in 1 bacon slice and grill, turning often, until bacon is cooked through and crisp on all sides, 12–14 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice open buns, leaving ends intact. Gently toast in a 350°F oven or on grill until buns are warmed through and lightly crispy.

Nestle hot dogs into buns. Spoon 1 Tbsp. beans on one side of each dog, then arrange avocado slices and 1 Tbsp. jalapeños on the other side. Drizzle mayonnaise over hot dogs and top evenly with chips and cilantro.

Courtesy of Epicurious.com