I love when my garden dictates what I am going to cook. This past week, both the red cherry and yellow pear tomato plants were loaded with fruit, and when that happens simultaneously, we just can’t eat them fast enough. To extend their shelf life, I slow roasted them with a little garlic and some fresh herbs from the garden. At the same time, the basil plant was lush and green, with enough fragrant leaves to make a batch of pesto sauce. Continue reading
Tag Archives: basil
Gazpacho is a cold soup from Andalucía, in southern Spain. Many food historians believe that it is derived from a Roman dish made with bread and water flavored with olive oil and salt. The name gazpacho may come from the Latin word, caspa, meaning “fragments” or “little pieces”, which refers to the bread crumbs, an essential ingredient in the Andalusian version. The bread not only thickens the soup, but also makes it more filling. Tomatoes, considered today as classic ingredient in gazpacho, was not added to the soup until the discovery of the New World.
One of the things my husband, Chris, and I like to cook together at home is pizza (recipe here and here). It’s quick and easy to make and allows us to customize and be creative with the toppings. When we have time, we like to make our own pizza dough, but when we’re on-the-go, like this weekend, pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods does the trick just fine. Just roll the dough and add toppings and it’s ready to go in the oven.
raw: italian yellowtail crudo with basil-orange vinaigrette
Over the last couple of posts, I’ve taken you to Hawaii for salmon poke and to Tahiti for poisson cru. Today, I’m taking you halfway around the world to Italy for pesce crudo, which literally translates to “raw fish.” It is similar to the Japanese sashimi, but instead of wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger, Italians traditionally dress the fish with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, and sea salt. As with the other raw fish dishes I’ve shared with you, the key to crudo is to use the freshest quality ingredients and let their flavors shine.
eggs in clouds, italian-style
I love serving Sunday brunch at home; it is so relaxing, especially with an easy-to-make dish like this. Since I already had parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta in my refrigerator and a basil plant growing in my kitchen, it was an easy decision to make this an Italian-style breakfast. Continue reading
pesto pizza with chicken, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes
Making gourmet pizza at home is easier than you think . . . and a lot of fun, too! The beauty of making it yourself is that there’s more flexibility so you can add all your favorite toppings and it’s usually less expensive than at the pizzeria. After a few tries . . . you’ll probably be hooked and won’t want to wait for your pizza to be delivered!
market fresh summer salad
Take advantage of the season’s best produce and prepare a simple, one-dish meal on a hot day – perhaps without even turning on the stove. There really aren’t any rules — just toss your favorite fruits or vegetables in the salad dressing of your choice and you’re done!
This salad is full of summer’s best produce – fresh corn, tomatoes, avocado, and string beans. To read the rest of the article and get the recipe, click the link to follow me over to A Lucky Life blog.
I hope you’re enjoying your summer!
burrata with roasted vine-ripened tomatoes and pesto
Tomato, basil, and mozzarella is a classic combination that’s perfect for summer, when tomatoes and basil are at their peak. This quick and easy appetizer is extra special when you use fresh burrata*, a fresh Italian cheese made by stuffing mozzarella with a mixture of more mozzarella and cream. On the outside, the burrata looks like mozzarella, but on the inside it is oozing with soft creamy goodness. It has a clean, milky taste that goes well with sweet roasted vine-ripened tomatoes and the slight saltiness of the basil pesto. Continue reading
parmesan basil biscuits
I just love baking (and eating) biscuits, and this recipe elevates them with the addition of parmesan cheese and basil. The cheese gives the biscuits its savoriness and slightly crumbly texture, while the purple and sweet basil, which came from my garden, adds a subtle peppery, yet sweet flavor. These rich biscuits make a wonderful accompaniment to pastas, soups, and salads. They’re also great for making Italian breakfast sandwiches filled with slices of prosciutto and eggs. Above all, they are absolutely delicious to eat plain, with only a generous dab of butter. Continue reading
heirloom and cherry tomatoes with peach-basil vinaigrette
We suffer from bland, watery, and mushy tomatoes most of the year, but each summer, we get a reprieve when these deeply-colored, and tasty fruits make their appearance at farmers market and grocery stores. There are so many varieties, ranging in size, color, and shape. Depending on the type, tomatoes vary in taste, from highly acidic to very sweet. Continue reading
raspberry-basil italian cream soda
Italian soda is a refreshing drink, especially perfect on a warm, sunny day. Despite it’s name, this drink was actually invented in San Francisco’s North Beach, not in Italy. It gets its name from the flavored syrups that originated in Italy that are used to make it. The drink is simply flavored syrup mixed with carbonated water served in a tall glass with ice. Add a splash of cream and it becomes an Italian cream soda or cremosa. Either way, an Italian soda is a nice alternative to store-bought soft drinks. Continue reading
polenta tart with goat cheese and slow roasted tomatoes
One of the things I really like about blogging is interacting with people who share my interest in and passion for food. I follow many food blogs to gain inspiration and to learn from other cooks and bakers. For example, the idea of combining polenta and tomatoes came from a fellow blogger, Lizzy, who shared with me her recipe for soft polenta and tomatoes. I would have never thought of that pairing on my own. Polenta, which is made from ground corn, is a very versatile ingredient. It can be served soft, like a porridge, or firm, usually cut into slices. Polenta can be served plain or with added ingredients like herbs and cheeses. I recently discovered that it could also be used to make crusts for tarts. I ran across this recipe for polenta tart with goat cheese and tomatoes from the Whole Foods Market website and I knew that this would be perfect with slow roasted tomatoes. Continue reading
Thin Crust Pizzas
It has now been several Sundays in a row that Chris and I have stayed home and cooked all day. Yesterday was no exception. After our visits to Sprouts, Smart and Final and Ralphs for all the necessary ingredients, we were delighted to spend the rest of the day in the kitchen. Between the two of us, we made ice cream, simmered pork for ramen, and pickled some eggs à la Joe Jost. We also made marinara sauce and pizza dough for two pizzas – one with pesto sauce and the other with the marinara. While waiting for the pizza dough to rise, Chris managed to make a piña colada for me and a margarita for himself.
a classic combination: tomatoes and basil
Perhaps there is no better combination of flavors and textures than the classic pairing of tomatoes and basil, whether in a Caprese Salad or in a simple pasta dish. This is specially true in the summertime when the tomatoes are at its sweetest and at its peak of flavor and the fragrant basil grows quite fast. The small basil plant I bought at Trader Joe’s is very happy by my sunny kitchen window and has produced all the basil I need, and much more. It was a much better investment than buying a bunch at the grocery store for the same price.
i say kumato, you say tomato
I discovered these brown tomatoes at Trader Joe’s the other day. They are called Kumato tomatoes and they have an unusual brownish-reddish appearance. They are firm, juicy tomatoes that are sweeter than traditional tomatoes. The label says that they are distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe’s. I was originally drawn to its unusual color and I thought it would make for a unique presentation in a Caprese salad or a bruschetta.
Chris and I have been cooking from scratch lately and we came up with a decidedly un-Fourth of July dinner, using the newly discovered Kumatos – roas￼ted tomato and basil pasta and rosemary-olive bread. Chris made the fresh angel hair pasta and we collaborated on the sauce. I roasted the Kumatos in the oven in olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar and garlic for about 15 minutes. I transferred it to a sauce pan with more olive oil and garlic and added red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, basil, and salt and pepper.
As Chris was draining the pasta, he saved some of the pasta water so I could add it to the simmering sauce. The starchy water and the olive oil simmered together, forming the base for the sauce. When the sauce was almost done, I added the pasta and mixed it to coat the pasta evenly with the slightly thickened tomato sauce. I seasoned generously with salt and pepper and garnished with more cheese and basil.
For the bread, I made french baguettes again, but this time added rosemary and diced Kalamata olives. From start to finish, it took a few hours to make dinner, but result was a simple and deliciously satisfying meal we enjoyed making together. It was a lovely way to end the holiday weekend.
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