recipes from an italian summer

via anthropologie

I used to hate tomatoes. Like cringe at the sight of them. Something about the texture just made my skin crawl.

Then I lived in Italy for 3 months and you cannot hate tomatoes in Italy. (esp. when you already don't drink coffee. I couldn't have 2 strikes against me. 3 if you include the fact my name doesn't end with an "a" sound so it's really hard from Italians to pronounce. Many times I contemplated temporarily changing my name to Isabella or something...)

So in an attempt to "immerse myself in culture" and allow myself to change*, I sucked it up and ate a tomato. Oh my God, it was heavenly. It was sweet, and juicy, and plump, and perfect. I started eating them ALL THE TIME. with salt. with basil. with balsamic vinegar. on sandwiches. in pasta. just about however I could. How did I ever neglect such an amazing fruit?! And how come I never believed my dad about how great they were as he popped fresh slices into his mouth all summer long?!

Needless to say, I apologized for being so naive and have since embraced the power of the tomato. So when I saw this, I just knew it needed to be in my cookbook collection. Christmas gift anyone?

*learning how amazing tomatoes were was just one of the many ways a summer in Italy changed my life for the better.