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Eating Well: Ripe, juicy tomatoes adaptable for snacking, mealtime needs

I have garden tomatoes I need to use, so I perused my recipe files for a few favorites that will work nicely to dwindle my not-so-large supply.

Homemade salsa is one of the best ways,coupling the savory sauce with those salty scoop chips.

The "Fresh Salsa" is also a recipe I've made countless times. It takes a few minutes to make and such a short time to devour, I usually make a double batch because if there is any left it keeps nicely in the fridge/ If you aren't a fan of cilantro, you can substitute parsley instead.

Cherry tomatoes are always ample and excellent whole in salads or stuffed for delicious, light appetizers. If you like salmon, the recipe below will be to your liking. You can also use other seafood, i.e. flaked tuna or even chicken as a substitute if you prefer. They do take a little time to prep but they are worth it.

Any type of tomato is perfect for the "Tomato Phyllo Pizza." With its delicate crust and lots and lots of tomatoes, this dish is a special one to serve to guests. Add a pasta salad and light dessert and that's all you'll need to round out the menu. It also freezes well unbaked, so you can keep one in the freezer to pop in the oven for a quick dinner.

The "BLT Brunch Pie," with its tempting filling and melt-in-your mouth crust, is also a real winner and one that can actually be served for any meal, accented by fresh fruit. The nice thing about the crust is its ease in preparation, you just pat the dough into the pan. And a special bit of advice, do not substitute low-fat mayo or sour cream in the recipe, use the real thing.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking and baking.

Fresh Salsa

4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 medium-sized bermuda onion, finely chopped

1 to 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed, finely chopped (use peppers depending on how hot you like it)

2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 tsp. salt

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Combine all the ingredients in bowl, mix well. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve.

Tomato Phyllo Pizza

5 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

7 sheets phyllo dough (18 inches by 14 inches)

7 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup thinly sliced onion

7 to 9 plum tomatoes (sliced)

1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Brush a 15"x10"x1" baking pan with some melted butter. Lay a sheet of phyllo in pan, folding edges to fit (keep rest of dough covered with wax paper to prevent drying out). Brush dough with butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Repeat layer five times, folding edges for each layer.

Top with remaining dough, folding edges to fit pan; brush with remaining butter. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese; arrange onion and tomatoes over cheese. Sprinkle with oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and remaining Parmesan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Makes 28 slices.

Smoked Salmon Cherry Tomatoes

30 cherry tomatoes

3 ounces smoked salmon

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/3 cup finely chopped green peppers

Salt and pepper to taste

1 3-oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 tsp. milk

Fresh dill sprigs

Cut a thin slice off each tomato top; scoop out and discard pulp. Invert tomatoes on paper towels to drain. In a bowl, combine the salmon, onion, green pepper, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spoon into tomatoes.

In a small mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Insert a star tip into a pastry or ziploc bag and squeeze small amount of cream cheese mixture into tomatoes. (If you don't have a star tip, just cut a small slit in corner of bag and squeeze mixture out into tomatoes.) Garnish with dill if you like.

BLT Brunch Pie

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup sour cream


3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 cup (4 ozs.) shredded Cheddar cheese

1 can (4 1/2 oz.) mushroom stems and pieces, drained

8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1 tbsp. chopped green pepper

1 tbsp. chopped onion

3 medium tomatoes, peeled and sliced

Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Stir in sour cream. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Press pastry into 9'' pie plate; flute edges. Bake at 375 degrees for ten minutes. Cool completely.

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Cheddar cheese, mushrooms, bacon, green pepper and onion. Layer half of the tomatoes in crust; top with half the mayonnaise mixture. Repeat layers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 6 to 8.