Stuffed Baby Heirloom Tomatoes

On a lovely Arizona evening in the gorgeous Catalina Foothills of Tucson, Sam’s Aunt Marilyn graciously hosted us on her back patio for a sunset happy hour. The wine was amazing (as always), the cheese plate perfection, and as we munched on fresh heirloom tomatoes she recalled this recipe to me. I had to try it the very next day.

baby heirloom tomatoes with horseradish and fresh basil


  • Baby Heirloom tomatoes –  I find them at Fry’s (Kroger) and Trader Joes.
  • Mayonnaise (vegetarian) or Vegenaise (vegan)
  • Horseradish
  • Fresh Basil


  1. Wash desired amount of baby heirloom tomatoes.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice off the very bottom of each tomato so it sits flat on the plate. Then cut a wedge-shaped hole into the top of the tomato.
  3. Eat everything you just cut off. Yummm.
  4. For the filling, mix equal parts mayonnaise and horseradish. Fill each tomato to taste – Sam preferred less filling, I preferred more (similar to what is pictured). It’s fantastic to have a nice horseradish vessel since my days of eating prime rib are behind me!
  5. Chop some fresh basil and sprinkle over the top.

This is a refreshing and very colorful appetizer – simple, easy to make, and perfect for a summer day or sunset happy hour. Or if you’re Sam, perfect for eating at your desk 🙂

Recipe Credit: Aunt Marilyn, and thanks for the wonderful happy hour!


Two-Bean and Kale Soup

There is something magical about this soup. Maybe it’s that it is so savory – the rosemary and vinegar combination reminds Sam of pork roast. Maybe it’s that it is so creamy – the blended white beans and veggie broth fool you into thinking this could be dairy-based. Maybe it’s that it is one of those mysterious recipes that hands-down tastes even better when it is leftover. Maybe it’s that I’m eating it right now (seriously), on a 111° summer day in Phoenix, and it is still hitting the spot. Whatever it is, all I know for sure is that this is a favorite meal for everyone in my family, and is wildly liked by anyone I make it for. This includes a pair of very skeptical grandparents who still live on their farm in Nebraska!

Two-Bean and Kale Soup


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped (approx 7 cups)
  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed – cannellini or northern.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp crushed rosemary


  1. Heat oil in large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add onion, carrot, and celery, sauté until tender (about 6 min). Stir in 1/4 t salt and garlic, cook 1 min more.
  2. Stir in 4 c veggie broth and all kale. Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat, simmer for 3 min or until kale is crisp-tender. (Note that the liquid will not cover the kale at this point – not to worry!)
  3. Place half of white beans in blender with 1 cup veggie broth and blend until smooth.
  4. Add puree, remaining beans, and pepper to soup. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 min.
  5. Stir in remaining salt, vinegar, and rosemary.

Serves 4. Definitely double if you are serving any more than four. Enjoy hot, and don’t be afraid to make it a day early and let it sit overnight, or to make extra for leftovers. It really does make a difference in the flavor!

Recipe Credit: My mom’s good friend, Gail.