I am always on the lookout for new side dishes! It seems that my go to side dishes are usually a potato of some kind, or rice and then either green beans, peas, carrots or corn. I think I have taken every type of vegetable you can imagine and either boiled it, scalloped it, blanched it or sautéed it to try and create something new and different. One of my favorite things to do is visit my local Farmer’s Market to see what seasonal produce is available, what new vegetable blends there might be and also to talk and get to know the local community and what they like when it comes to recipes and food talk.

From talking to local people around here, I have found that I am not alone in my quest for new and different side dishes! It seems everyone is looking for something out of the ordinary when it comes to what to prepare along with the main course.

Years ago, I reviewed a cookbook for my website that was literally nothing but side dishes. I cannot remember the name or the author of the cookbook, but the contents really stuck with me over the years. There were different chapters for each vegetable, everything you could do with each and even different spins off of the original recipes. Now that I think about it, I need to jump online and see if I can find that cookbook and order it.

Truth be told, I probably have it in my collection somewhere but at this point, it may just be easier for me to order a new one! Ha! The recipe I am sharing today, fresh tomato salad, was literally created in my kitchen in less than five minutes. I wanted something fresh, not too heavy, a little sweet and a little savory. This recipe checked everything I was looking for and is now a new favorite around here.

Fresh Tomato Salad

This is best made ahead and chilled in the refrigerator to maximize all the flavor potentials.

2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

2 green onions, trimmed and diced thin

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium size bowl combine the prepared cherry tomatoes and prepared green onions with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, light brown sugar, salt and black pepper.

Cover tightly and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 12 hours.

The longer this salad sits, chilling, the more flavor comes through in the final dish.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting questions about my favorite non-salt-based seasoning blend. I really enjoy anything by Mrs. Dash. Just be sure to look at the list of ingredients in your non-salt-based seasonings and make sure they do not contain any strange or odd chemicals.

Blaise Doubman, of Kennard, is an Indiana University graduate. He invites readers to visit his website at: TRAIL BLAISE (http://trailblaise.com). He loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted via the contact page found directly on his website.