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The holidays are a popular time to stop and thank teachers and all of the wonderful staff at school for all they do.
This year is no exception. In spite of the most careful attention I've ever given to consistent watering and keeping mulch beneath them, my plants are getting downright ugly. The leaves along the bottom of the plants have died back and are a crispy and brown. The tops of the plants have grown so much taller than the cattle panels we use to support them that I had nothing left to tie them to. As a result, the tops of several of my plants have fallen over.
Yet they still produce! On top of what we've eaten daily since mid-July, I've stashed away 50 quart jars of tomatoes in my pantry.
I'm not finished yet.
And neither are my plants.
If you research how to grow tomatoes, you may read they won't produce flowers when temperatures reach over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. With the exception of a day here and there, the temperature where I live has been consistently over 90 degrees for the last 6 weeks, many of those days in excess of 100 degrees. My tomato plants are still blooming.
So don't give up on those plants just because they're not picture perfect. Keep on watering and weeding and you can have tomatoes into the fall months. And if you do, you'll have enough to make one of my favorite side dishes!
Corn and Black Bean Salsa
2 cups of whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large green or orange bell pepper chopped
1 cup diced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup Italian Salad Dressing*
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn and jalapeno, cooking and stirring frequently until the corn begins to brown on the edges. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.
While the corn is cooling, prepare the dressing by combining the Italian dressing, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and hot sauce.
When the corn is cooled, add the black beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, and onion. Pour the dressing over the corn mixture. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.
*I like Ken's Steak House Lite Northern Italian with Basil & Romano dressing.