If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll notice that I like to cook dishes that are simple, easy to prepare, and readily adaptable to someone else’s tastes or needs. Well, this recipe is all of that, and best of all, it’s absolutely delicious! These baked sausage and spinach shells were exactly the type of food I wanted to serve my family and friends on Christmas Eve – finger foods that were filling and hearty. I was right because they were a big hit at my buffet table! The shells held the filling together so my guests were able to pick them up with their fingers and eat them without making a mess. I received compliments all night long. Continue reading
Tag Archives: tomatoes
football food: cowboy caviar
Chips and dip make great football food. They are easy to prepare and serve, easy to eat with one hand (so you don’t have to put your beer down), and best of all, they are very tasty. I had never heard of Cowboy Caviar until my sister-in-law, Liz, shared this recipe with me. According to Saveur Magazine, legendary Texas cook Helen Corbitt invented this black-eyed pea salad in the 1940s. Cowboy Caviar is tasty alternative to the standard salsa or guacamole with its blend of black-eyed peas, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. It is best made a day ahead to let all the flavors of the dressing and salad meld together. I think all your guests will love this vegan and gluten-free dip. 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
tri-tip with romesco sauce
I was watching the Cooking Channel last weekend and saw Mark Bittman prepare this recipe on his cooking show, The Minimalist. His enthusiasm for this recipe and the simplicity of his version of the sauce made me want to try it. I had never heard of the romesco sauce and I found the combination of almonds and tomatoes intriguing. Since I had a surplus of tomatoes and jalapeños and I have the pimentón, Spanish smoked paprika, in the pantry I decided to give it a try.
Yesterday’s beautiful harvest from my new vegetable garden:
4 radishes (3 oz.)
1 small bell pepper (3 oz.)
1 zucchini (8 oz.)
tomatoes (4.5 oz.)
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Over the last week, I harvested over a pound of beautiful tomatoes, and I want to preserve some of them for use later in the week. Ignoring the stifling summer heat, I turned on my oven and roasted my tomatoes for close to 2 hours. I was rewarded for my long, hot and sweaty wait with the sweetest, and arguably, the most intense tomato flavor I have ever tasted. The slow roasting method really brought out the sweetness of the tomatoes, giving them a slightly caramelized, candy-like flavor. Imagine how good it would be to squeeze the roasted garlic on a piece of crusty bread with a spoonful of roasted tomatoes garnished with sprigs of thyme. Yummy!
A couple of days ago, I visited the New York Times’ column The Minimalist by Mark Bittman to find some new recipes to try. If you don’t know him, Mark Bittman is a food journalist, former editor of the Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and an author of several cookbooks, most notably How to Cook Everything. He also collaborated with one of my favorite chefs, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, on two cookbooks, Simple to Spectacular and Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef. He has been an advocate of the minimalist approach to cooking, preparing dishes that are simple, straightforward, and unfussy. He’s definitely my kind of cook. Anyway, I was looking for recipes with tomatoes since I had a good supply of them. I ran across this article and accompanying recipe and was immediately intrigued. The recipe was pretty straightforward and I had all of the ingredients in the pantry already. Plus, the photo that accompanied the recipe was stunning – the deep red color of the homemade tomato jam made it irresistible.
The Fruits of My Labor
For the past three months, part of my morning routine has included spending time in my garden. I go out there around 5:30 every morning, coffee in hand, to inspect my tomatoes and wait in anticipation for the fruit to ripen. It’s fast becoming my favorite part of the day, a peaceful and relaxing time before the hustle and bustle of my hour-long commute and work. Since the middle of July, I have been able to pick about 3-4 tomatoes a day from each of my two plants. I love the convenience of having some organic, vine-ripened tomatoes for salads a couple times a week. Luckily both varieties of tomatoes, the Sweet 100s and the Yellow Pears, are very sweet and delicious. This week, I have been rewarded for all of my efforts and I’m happy to show off my harvest. With the help of the warm Southern California weather, regular watering, and my tender loving care, I picked about 1-1/2 pounds of tomatoes over the last four days. Stay tuned to see what becomes of my bountiful harvest!
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.
the tomatoes are coming!
Today, I picked the first two tomatoes (the two reddest ones on the left) on my Sweet 100 tomato plant. A few more are going to be ready in a couple of days. There are lots of flowers and small fruits growing on this plant and in a week or so, I’ll be harvesting many more. My other tomato plant, a Yellow Pear, is loaded with about 75 fruit, but it is taking its time in ripening. It probably won’t be ready for harvesting until early August. I can’t wait to eat homegrown tomatoes that are sweet, juicy, and flavorful.
In addition to the tomatoes, I also harvested another 7 jalapeños for Chris to pickle in vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, coriander seeds, sugar, salt and pepper. This brings our total harvest count to: 14 jalapeños and 2 cherry tomatoes.
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