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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

From the Deep Freeze: You Say Tomato

Within the past year or so, one of my favorite publications, Southern Living, began a new feature in its hallowed foods section.  I believe it’s called “Mama’s Way/Your Way,” and the general idea is to take an iconic Southern dish and share the old-school recipe and then offer an updated version.  Usually, the modern adaptation offers considerable savings in either prep time or in artery-clogging ingredients.

Here’s my version of “Mama’s Way/Your Way” featuring the beloved tomato sandwich.
The traditional tomato sandwich is both simple and perfect, relying on key ingredients that must not be changed.IMG_2131A locally grown vine-ripened tomato is, of course, the most important ingredient.  Please, no substitutions.  If the tomato grew in your garden, so much the better; if not, the farmer’s market or a roadside stand tomato will work fine.  A grocery store tomato will not suffice.  Next up, Duke’s mayonnaise.  This brand is not available everywhere, so you may have to make do on this one.  Hellman’s will work.  I like Jane’s Krazy Mixed-up Salt, but regular salt and pepper will be just as good.  Now for the bread, personally, I use whole wheat bread these days, but, remember this is “Mama’s Way,” so white bread is the authentic choice.IMG_2132So slice the tomato, and let the slices drain for a minute or two on paper towels.  Then, salt and pepper them well.  Slather the bread with mayonnaise, add the tomato slices, and give the whole thing a gentle press.  If possible, eat this on a back porch while drinking sweet tea.  For dessert, have a fresh peach.

I say tomahto . . .
The updated tomato sandwich offers a lot of great  flavor, too.  And the ingredients are no less important, although there is more room for creativity.IMG_2128
A vine-ripened tomato is key.  Again, no grocery store ‘maters will do.  Fresh basil is a must; as is fresh mozzarella.  I like ciabatta bread as the base for this sandwich, but any hearty country bread will do.  If you like, drizzle the bread with a flavorful olive oil, and then add the tomatoes, basil and cheese.  Top with Jane’s Krazy Salt or another favorite seasoning.  These are great sandwiches to take to an outdoor concert or to enjoy for a light supper with a glass of wine.  Again, a fresh peach makes the perfect dessert.

Coming soon, a recipe for the best tomato pie ever!  Do you have a favorite tomato recipe?


  1. Sounds and looks sooo good. I so agree about the importance being all about the almight tomatoe. It MUST be vine ripe, off the vine, never having seen the light of a refrigerator (yuck) Fresh basil..yum and fresh mozzarella, even better! I love the combo and make this when tomatoes are in season, nothing like one still warm and perfectly ripe, with a little sea salt..yummy!

  2. so yummy! My parents are currently growing tomatoes so I may have to steal them!

  3. OMG - we are totally out of that mixed up stuff. NEED SOME STAT!

  4. Okay, I'm starving now and this has my mouth watering! Thanks for sharing - will have to try this one night. :)

  5. YUM, from the heat in Miami Beach, this sounds perfect. I have basil growing for pesto, but this is another option now ;)

    Stop by to enter my very first giveaway :)

    xo xo from Miami Beach

  6. Tomato recipe is my one of the favorite, I like to prefer the best combination of manchego cheese and heirloom tomatoes. I like fresh tomatoes recipe and this looks like the perfect way to show case them.

  7. Oh my...this looks so good! I have not heard of Duke's Mayonnaise, but I am going to look for it! Looking forward to your recipe for the best tomato pie ever!


  8. Mouth watering! My mother LOVES a tomato sandwich too!

    Looking forward to the tomato pie recipe. My friend gave me some fresh tomatoes from her garden.

  9. Delicious!! The perfect suggestion for a summer lunch - too bad I don't have any in my garden - just about to sit down and have a bite!!

  10. Last week I was visiting mama while she was hospitalized. I found some great tomatoes on her kitchen counter and took 'em home with me! Delish! Your photos are making me so hungry. LOVE the Duke's...a must!

  11. I've always resented how good tomatoes look, for they taste horribly inedible to me. I even grew up with a garden full of fresh tomatoes. Still hate the durn things. More for you all, I suppose! - j


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