One of the perks of living on a farm are all of the yummy veggies that are just laying around. Where most people open the fridge and say, "Hmm. What do we have to eat?" I walk out to the field, look around and say the same thing. It's like a giant, living pantry filled with all kinds of scrumptious ingredients. However, the sad truth of farming is that the farmers are usually too busy or too tired after a long day of farming to actually prepare any of the food they've grown. We are just like every other family in America that orders pizza when we can't get up the energy to cook. So yes, although I have endless options of ingredients to mix together the reality is that not only do I have to make the food, I have to go out and pick it, too. On the (somewhat) rare occasion that I get it together enough to make something I prefer it to be simple. This is especially important if it involves making something for a potluck or other obligatory get-together. One of my favs is the Lazy Tomato Salad. This fits the bill in that it looks really impressive, involves minimal ingredients, and takes almost no time at all.
Lazy Tomato Salad...in five steps:
Step 1: Go out to the field and pick a bunch of tomatoes. Oh, you don't have a tomato field? That's ok. Hit up the farmers market or, if you must, go to the grocery store. The trick is to select tomatoes in a variety of colors and sizes. My favorite combo is San Marzano (red, elongated), Green Zebra (green striped, round), Indigo Rose (purple, round), and Sungold (orange, cherry).
Step 2: Cut up the tomatoes. Get a knife (preferably serrated) and start hacking. Slice the round ones end to end like you see on a sandwich. Cut the cherries in half.
Step 3: Arrange on a plate. I am almost hopeless when it comes to "plating" food but fortunately this one is easy. I do the maters one layer at a time. Start with flat ones, not cherries, so it makes a flatter base. Then keep adding layers of the different tomatoes.
Step 4: Drizzle some olive oil around on top. There's no right or wrong amount. Just start pouring and move the jug around as you go. This makes it all shiny!
Step 5: Sprinkle with herbs. I usually spread a little salt and pepper on top and then some basil. If you have it fresh, tear it up and toss it around. If not, dried is perfectly fine. For some reason food looks fancier if there's little green flecks all over it. This is why I'm constantly running out of parsley.
Step 6: There isn't one. You're done. Go set the platter out and impress someone with your kitchen prowess.