New Jersey gets a bad rap for a lot of things. Sure we have extraordinarily tanned beefcakes that wear sunglasses 24/7 lurking on our boardwalks and in our nightclubs. We have Housewives and a stretch of hideously ugly highway called the NJ Turnpike. We may drive impatiently and wave our hands in the air when we talk. And speaking of "tawking", we do indeed pronounce quite a few words with the "aw" sound.
Cup of cawfee, anyone?
But behind those warts and blemishes you see on the surface, we have miles and miles of pretty beaches that are beefcake free. We have quaint Victorian seaside hamlets on one side of the state and pretty farmland on the other. We have mountains in addition to our beaches and we are within a short drive to either NYC or Philadelphia. And let's not forget that we churned out both The Boss and Bon Jovi.
At the end of the day those things are neither here nor there because you know what we have going for us besides iconic singer/songwriters and quite a few celebrity natives?
We have the best bagels outside of Manhattan, an amazing little meat called pork roll, the most delicious sweet corn that is simply known as Jersey Corn, and tomatoes that are so outstanding we wait longingly for them to come into season in early July and then savor every single one we consume.
I remember every summer as a child watching my mother place a small salad plate of tomato slices in front of my father at dinner. He would sprinkle a little salt, a little pepper and give each slice a little swipe of mayo. He would then proceed to eat an entire plateful as the side dish to whatever Mom had cooked that night. My father also grew up eating tomato sandwiches all summer long. Two thick slices of a soft white bread gently swiped with a little mayonnaise, piled with thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes and seasoned generously with salt and pepper.
I definitely inherited Dad's love of tomatoes and while they are my husband's least favorite vegetable, he cannot help himself but enjoy quite a few of my tomato sandwiches each summer. I am not a fan of mayo, but a fresh slice of tomato has enough juice to moisten the bread for my taste. This morning it dawned on me that I had some tomatoes on hand as well as some thick sourdough bread. So we both brown bagged it to work today and compared notes this evening on how delicious our first tomato sandwiches of the summer were.
Truly a simple pleasure.
P.S. Whatever you do, do NOT refrigerate your tomatoes - they will never, ever taste the same as fresh ones at room temperature!
P.P.S. That pretty milk glass plate is one of a set of eight that just went into the shop! You can find the link in the sidebar and head on over there.