I once had a rather heated discussion with a journalist/gardener from upstate New York about tomatoes. I swore the Piedmont region of North Carolina, particularly the family farm I grew up on, produced the juiciest, honest-to-goodness old-fashioned summer tomatoes in the world. He was convinced the humidity had not only slowed my speech, but also affected my senses. Surely, he argued, the best tomatoes were from his very own garden in the cooler climes of his county.
We never settled the argument; we had to agree to disagree. But all tomato lovers can agree there is nothing better than a vine-ripened tomato, warmed by the hot sun and plumped with the perfect amount of rainfall.
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When they are perfect, there's nothing else needed but a fine homemade dressing to top them off. I first sampled this heirloom tomato salad in one of Wolfgang Puck's California restaurants and quickly worked its beauty and simplicity into my repertoire. This year, I've lightened the salad dressing by using fat-free Greek yogurt; I think it pairs beautifully with tangy buttermilk and coarse ground black pepper. This delicious dressing keeps for up to 10 days when covered and refrigerated. It is also delicious as a dip for sliced fresh veggies or as a dressing for cabbage slaw.
• Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners!" cookbook series. Contact her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or firstname.lastname@example.org. More at the Kitchen Scoop website, kitchenscoop.com.