Fire and Ice Tomatoes

by Lana Stuart on September 2, 2010 · 20 comments

Fire and Ice Tomatoes

Summer is winding down here in north Georgia. The past few mornings have been noticeably cooler and much less humid but the afternoons still offer us temperatures into the low 90’s. It’s the typical prelude to Fall weather here.

Even though we know Fall is just around the corner, there’s still time for some good summer cooking. If your garden is still going strong you probably have more tomatoes than you know what to do with about now. They’re still widely available in the farmers’ markets, too. So today I have a great quick and easy way for you to use some of that delicious fresh tomato bounty.

This recipe comes from my mother, India, better known to her granchildren as NeeNa. In the South we have a long tradition of giving grandparents more affectionate nicknames than simply grandmother and grandfather.  I’ve known of grandmothers whose grandchildren call them “Sweet,” “MamaDeah” (Mama Dear), “Munnie,” and “Ma Mag.” I call my grandmother “Polly” and we’re known to our own two precious grandchildren as Nana and BeeBop. My father’s name was LaVon and all the grandchildren called him Bon-Bon or Daddy Bon. All these names, of course, have a story to go with them.  NeeNa came about when my daughter was beginning to talk and trying to say “India.” It just came out as “NeeNa” and she’s been NeeNa ever since.

These Fire and Ice Tomatoes are a great salad or side dish for almost any summer meal. They’re wonderful with fried chicken or pork chops and also go well with ribs or even a steak. They’re also a fabulous take-along for a picnic. The sweet-tart dressing that is poured over them has almost the same flavor as the brine used for bread and butter pickles. You can make these a day or two ahead and keep them in the refrigerator, too.

1-2 large Vidalia onions, sliced and separated into rings
4-6 tomatoes, quartered
1 large green pepper, cut into strips
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
2 tblsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Fire and Ice Tomatoes - veggies

Be sure to use Vidalia onions for this dish. Their sweet, mild flavor just can’t be beat! I’m not going to even try to get into the Vidalia vs. Walla Walla debate here. I’m just going to say flat out that Vidalias are the best :-)

Fire & Ice Tomatoes - veggies prepped

Place the onions, tomatoes and pepper in a shallow dish. Don’t you love the colors in there? Yellow or orange peppers would also be pretty.

Marinade for Fire and Ice Tomatoes

Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil and cook for one minute.

Fire and Ice Tomatoes

While hot, pour over vegetables. Cover dish and refrigerate for several hours. Keeps in refrigerator for several days.


Fire and Ice Tomatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A sweet-tart salad with fresh summer tomatoes, bell peppers and sweet Vidalia onions .
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1-2 large Vidalia onions, sliced and separated into rings
  • 4-6 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into strips
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • 1½ tsp. celery seed
  • 1½ tsp. mustard seed
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tblsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  1. Place onions, tomatoes and pepper in a shallow dish. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil and cook for one minute. While hot, pour over vegetables. Cover dish and refrigerate for several hours. Keeps in refrigerator for several days.
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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pam September 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I had never heard of this recipe before until seeing it recently on a few websites and it really intrigues me. I love everything in it, and the name alone makes me happy. This is something I need to try.

Here in New York we have only just begun to get our fair share of tomatoes since our season starts later than you lucky folks down south. So this is going to be a must try for us. My plants are hanging with ripe tomatoes and a ton of green ones getting ready to go red. Can’t wait to try this.

PS: I love your mom’s name. So pretty.


2 Lana September 2, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Pam, I just know you’d like this recipe. It has just the right balance of sweet and tart. Our tomato season is just about done. Actually, for most varieties of tomatoes it was over at least a month ago.

And, thanks, I love my mom’s name, too. Starting with my grandmother we have four generations of Indias in our family :-)


3 Drick September 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm

now this brings back a recipe from my hometown – I make a similar version now and yes, Vidalia onions for me too…. except when not available… :-(


4 Lana September 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

This is such an easy thing to put together and so good with all of our summer cooking. Thanks for stopping by, Drick!


5 Dana September 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

What a colorful and bright side dish! Looks fantastic!


6 Teri September 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Another one with my name on it Lana. You know I like em easy and delicious.
It’s funny but I was brought up using Grandma & Grandpa & so were my kids. Interesting how you personalized it. I like that.


7 Lana September 2, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Well, you know we’re all kinds of quirky in the South :-)


8 Cookin' Canuck September 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I love the sweet story about the origin of grandparents’ names in the south. These tomatoes look so fresh and sweet – the perfect end to summer.


9 Lana September 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I do love sharing little glimpses of Southern culture with people who come here to visit. And, yes, those tomatoes were fresh and delicious!


10 Jason's BBQ Adventures September 3, 2010 at 9:58 am

Great mixture of vegetables. Looks amazingly good.


11 Amanda September 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm

This looks so fabulous!! Beautiful photo!


12 Betsy September 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Looks great! That’s fancier than my family’s version (no spices in ours), and I’m going to try this this weekend. By the way, my mom is Honey to my boys. Gotta love Georgia. :)


13 Lana September 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I like “Honey!” That’s a good one!


14 Sues September 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm

So good! I wish I had more tomatoes than I knew what to do with… I think I need to call my parents and have them deliver some to me this weekend!


15 Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } September 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm

This looks so refreshing! Glad to hear that it is cooling down and becoming comfortable. I am in California and we have had a unseasonably cool summer – miss the warm nights we typically have. Enjoy your holiday weekend!


16 ADRIENNE September 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm



17 Barbara @moderncomfortfood September 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I love everything in this salad, including the intriguing additions of celery and mustard seeds. Considering what a bread and butter pickle fanatic I am — I eat them literally every day with lunch — I will definitely work this into my dinnertime salad rotation. I’m currently tapped out on garden tomatoes but am planting my fall vines this week!


18 Koek! September 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Lovely recipe! Yum


19 megan September 8, 2010 at 8:50 am

Looks like a delicious dish, plus I like the name. :)


20 Alta September 17, 2010 at 11:20 am

Looks so pretty!


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