The day before yesterday I was in heaven...food heaven, that is. One of my favorite tastes of summer is my first ripe tomato from the garden. Finding those vine-ripened beauties is almost like discovering gold at the end of the rainbow. My tradition for the last 20-plus years has been to take my treasure into the kitchen, slice it and savor the smell, spread a thin layer of butter on bread (this is not for you no-carb eaters!) pile on the tomato, generously pepper it and sprinkle with just a dash of salt. That first bite takes me to a place I'll return to again and again over the next few weeks. Fresh tomatoes in salads, in salsa, on hamburgers, with some bacon and lettuce on toast, plain as a side dish for dinner. Life just doesn't get much better than this...unless it's that fresh cucumber that is not quite ripe enough to pick yet! Once winter comes and the fresh tomatoes are gone, I'll go back into fresh tomato withdrawls until my vine-ripened beauties magically appear again when the summer is almost done, and fall is just around the corner.