By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Summer in full bloom: Recipes from the garden
Some Kinda Good
summer tomatoes some kinda good
Rebekah's backyard garden yields fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes and jalapeno peppers, perfect for easy summertime cooking, which often requires only assembly. - photo by Photo by REBEKAH FAULK LINGENFELSER/special

I planted my backyard garden in mid-March and harvested the first cherry tomato on May 18. Two months of growth and we’re already reaping the benefits of homegrown goodness. The first official day of summertime is June 21, but with graduation season behind us and school out, I’m already in celebration mode.

We spent the Memorial Day holiday in beautiful Sarasota, Florida, soaking up the sun and dining on the waterfront. We’re blessed to have some good friends who’ve shown us around the city and helped us discover this little piece of paradise. If you’ve never been, it’s a fun road trip from Southeast Georgia, a little more than hours from Savannah. 

En route, we always stop at a roadside stand to pick up local honey, blackberry jam and watermelon. The water there is a breathtaking crystal blue, and the dolphins are everywhere. I loved watching them swim in the mornings and evenings, their fins popping up in surprise and gliding under the water. There’s something so majestic about seeing a creature so comfortable in their own environment — a reminder that they’ve been there all along, a peaceful nod from nature to slow down and appreciate the moments that solidify position, purpose and place. 

When we arrived home from the trip, my garden was standing tall, and ready to yield its first good pick. I harvested enough cherry tomatoes to make a delicious Caprese salad and about seven good size jalapenos. One of my tomato plants has 13 green tomatoes ripening on it as we speak — it’s tempting to not swipe a few for some fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and red pepper jelly. With my fresh basil and parsley, I’ve already made a big batch of Georgia pecan pesto, tossed with pasta and grilled chicken. The garden is the gift that keeps on giving.

When it’s hot outside, I want cooking to be easy. It’s a matter of whipping something up quickly, as opposed to those slow cooking, lingering soups and stews of fall and winter. Summertime cooking is all about assembly, and that’s what most of my garden recipes are all about. In my first book, “Some Kinda Good,” I share a favorite recipe for Farmers Market Bruschetta. It’s made with just a few local ingredients and tastes so good with summer tomatoes. You can find this recipe and more in my book, available wherever books are sold, or on the blog.  

Here’s hoping you find some time to rock on the front porch swing, eat an ice cream cone and revel in the rain on a tin roof. Bite into a peach, let your feet dangle off the dock and feel the sunshine on your back. Summer graces us for approximately 94 days. Let’s make them count.

Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

  • 6 - 7 cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 4 slices of fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 4 - 5 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

On a plate, assemble tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Savor the taste of summertime. 

Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a private chef and the author of the best-selling memoir “Some Kinda Good.” Featured in Forbes, on Food Network and ABC, she writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in season. Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter