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Baked Summer Tomatoes

Erin Wolczik is a glass-half-full kind of gal with an addictively sunny disposition. Her blog, fresh365, is dedicated to helping others find their inspiration -- as she says, "to taste new foods...share simple recipes and laughter with family and friends and make the most out of every day." That is one tall order, but Erin succeeds in producing a site that might just fulfill her wishes. Is there a simpler, or more pure, way to enjoy life than with good food and company? With to-the-point entries about her cooking and food expeditions and pretty, up-close photographs of her recipes -- a glistening summer corn and brown-butter pasta and cherry-cheddar drop biscuits, to name a couple -- it is difficult to resist her excitement about fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables.


Wolczik is a Boston-area graphic designer who has spent most of her life eating healthily. Her mother made sure that she ate well-rounded meals growing up, and she has carried this practice into adulthood as a vegetarian and enthusiast of anything plucked from a tree or pulled from the dirt. She writes frequently about her CSA, a major source of her cooking inspiration, and describes a chance to pick unlimited amounts of basil as a "glimpse at heaven." Basil in hand, she creates the simplest and most appealing recipe to showcase her find: a baked and layered dish of tomatoes, basil, arugula, toasted bread and feta cheese (above). As she says, it is "summer in a dish." Her happiness is catching, and her recipes are thoughtful and unfussy. She is a breath of fresh air.

It's a joy to cook along with someone who clearly takes such pleasure in eating and discovering new ways to work with familiar ingredients.