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Cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden, perfect salad option.

Cherry tomatoes sweet, tasty alternative to traditional

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Cherry tomatoes are a wonderful little bite in themselves this time of the year as the backyard garden variety are more abundant than normal, urged on by the watering and the ample sunshine that has been a big boon to growth the last couple of weeks.

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When it comes to recipes, we sometimes have a tendency to forget this sweet, little delicacy which can turn into a wonderfully refreshing salad side dish, either served alone with any variety or type of favorite dressing or coupled with other fresh garden fare, i.e. cucumbers, lettuce, onion, peppers, the options are endless, and oh so delicious.

My favorite sister-in-law shared another delicious recipe with me over the weekend that I went home and instantly tried, with the dish disappearing almost as quickly as I placed it on the table. The recipe called for whole tomatoes, but I substituted the cherry ones cut in half and it was outstanding paired with the sour cream dressing.

If you are looking for an exceptionally quick side dish that is always an outstanding accompaniment paired with any meat entrée, simply take several cherry tomatoes and a couple of cucumbers, sliced thin, and drench them in either store-bought ranch or cucumber ranch dressing. It doesn't get any easier or any better.

Another excellent recipe, featuring a vinaigrette sauce, is one I've used several times taken from a Taste of Home issue. It's great served with steak, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. This recipe can be prepared ahead of time - the longer it is refrigerated, the more the flavors blend.

Until next week, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!!!

Cucumber Tomato Salad

1 onion sliced thin, with rings pulled apart

About two dozen cherry tomatoes, either left whole or cut in half (more or less if you like)

2 cucumbers, sliced thin

1 tsp. salt

Water

Soak the cucumbers in salt water for about a half hour and squeeze out excess water

Mix:

1 cup sour cream

2 tsp. white vinegar

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

Put all vegetables together in dish, and mix in sour cream mixture. Let sit in fridge for one hour before serving

Herbed Cherry Tomatoes

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

¼ cup vegetable oil

3 tbsp. white vinegar

¼ cup minced fresh parsley

1 ½ tsp. fresh basil, or ½ tsp. dried basil

1 ½ tsp. fresh oregano, or ½ tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. sugar

Place tomatoes in medium sized bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl or jar, combine oil and vinegar. Add parsley, basil, oregano, salt and sugar, and mix well. Pour over the tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours. Drain, and serve on huge lettuce leaf on platter. Looks pretty, tastes great.

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