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Archive for the ‘Tomato’ Category

Here is a dish that I made up on my own. Whenever I make chicken soup, depending on how generous a bunch of dill I buy, there is usually a decent quantity that does not make it into pot. Hating to waste a fresh herb, I have made up some dishes to use the dill in.IMG_0327 cropped

In looking at the ingredients in the list below, you will notice that the measurements are imprecise. How much you use depends on how many people you are serving and how much spaghetti you consider to be a normal portion size. This dish as described will serve two to three people. Personally, I use 1/3 pound of raw shrimp per person and 2.5 ounces of dry spaghetti per person. If I am serving more than 3 people, I up the other quantities as well but you should avoid that until you are comfortable making this dish.

The cooking time for this dish is fairly quick so I like to prep all the ingredients in advance. Some of the prep can be done while the water for the spaghetti is being heated. Part of the timing of this dish is dependent on how long the spaghetti takes to cook and how tender you like your pasta.

Shrimp with Feta and Dill over Spaghetti – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 5 – 7.5 ounces dry spaghetti, thin spaghetti, or linguine (do not use whole wheat pasta)
  • 2/3 – 1 pound raw shrimp (whatever size you are comfortable with but not too large)
  • 2 -3 tablespoons Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • Juice from 1.5 – 2 lemons (depends on how juicy they are)IMG_0281
  • 3 or more cloves garlic minced (not pressed)
  • ½ cup or more chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup or more crumbled feta

Cook:

  • Peel and devein shrimp; remove tails.
  • Remove dill from stems, chop up and set aside.
  • Begin to heat the pot of water for the spaghetti.
  • Mince garlic, set aside.
  • Strain the can of tomatoes and set aside to drain.
  • Juice the lemons.
  • If your pasta takes 8 minutes to cook, as the spaghetti water nears a boil, preheat olive oil in a 10 – 12 inch pan, preferably non-stick, using medium high heat. If the pasta takes 11 minutes to cook, wait until the spaghetti is in pot before preheating the skillet. You also must know your pan and your stove. If your pan heats up quickly, allow less time for this step. You do not want to burn the oil.
  • When the water boils, add the pasta and set your timer .
  • Place the shrimp evenly in the pan. Cook on one side for about 1.5 – 2 minutes depending on size. Turn and cook for another minute.
  • Add lemon juice, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir.
  • Check the pasta timer. Depending on the amount of time left, adjust heat on the shrimp pan. You want the contents of the pan to come to a simmer by the time there is one minute left on the timer. I recommend leaving the heat as is and then once you see the sauce beginning to simmer, then you can lower the heat.
  • When the timer gets below on minute left stir in the dill.
  • Drain the spaghetti when it is ready. Distribute to plates or place in a large pasta bowl if serving family style.
  • Add feta to pan. Stir. Turn off heat and spoon shrimp and sauce over the pasta.

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My friend Sara recently brought over a great dinner idea – a white pizza with Mediterranean inspired toppings.  I made a slight modification to get to this recipe, and it turned out wonderfully.  This is one of those meals that are easy to make on the fly on a weeknight.  You can even add to if you are so inspired.

I put a smaller amount of cheese on the pizza; however you like a really cheesy pizza you can certainly add to it.  I also sized this for a personal pizza, but you can expand everything for a larger pizza.  Just be sure to follow the baking directions on the crust you use.

 

White Pizza with Dried Tomatoes, Artichokes and Olives – 1 Knife

 Ingredients:

  • 8 inch pizza dough (I used Boboli’s but you can use any or make it yourself)
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3 sun dried tomatoes (or use the recipe posted on this site for dried tomatoes)
  • 6 artichoke heart quarters
  • half 4.25 oz can of sliced or chopped black olives
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional if you want some heat)

Prep:

  1. Preheat the oven according to the directions with the pizza dough.
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half or in slices depending on how large they are.
  3. If the artichoke hearts are whole or halves, cut them down into quarters to yield six (or more if you really like artichokes).

Cook:

  1. Place the dough on a baking sheet.
  2. Spread ¾ of the cheese onto the dough evenly.
  3. Arrange on the dough the artichokes, tomatoes and olives.
  4. Sprinkle the oregano and red pepper flakes evenly across the pizza.
  5. Top with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake according to the dough’s directions.
  7. When finished allow to cool for a few minutes, serve and enjoy!

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The farmers market is in full swing right now.  It’s like sensory overload.  Right now one of my favorites is the heirloom tomatoes.  I decided to take some advice from Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine and try drying them myself.  I recommend Roma tomatoes or bigger, though you can also dry cherry tomatoes.

The big variable with drying tomatoes is how long they will take.  So if you are going to try this have a lot of time blocked off.  My tomatoes were plum sized, I cut them in half, and they took a solid 3 hours.  But tomatoes can take as little time as 1½ – 6 hours.  It’s a low and slow process.  So it’s important to be patient and also keep an eye on them regularly.

 

Oven Dried Tomatoes – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes (as many as you want)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt

Cook:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250° Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half or into slices at least ¼ inch thick.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with either tin foil or parchment paper.  If tomatoes are halved place cut-side up.
  4. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt to create a thin layer.
  5. Next sprinkle the tomatoes with sugar to coat with an even thin layer.  You do not have to use all of the sugar, or use more if you are drying more tomatoes.
  6. Place the tomatoes in the oven and cook until dried out, checking on the tomatoes every 30 minutes or so.  You’ll know they are dried out when the edges shrivel and the juices stop running. 
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack, serve and enjoy!

 

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One of my summer favorites at the farmer’s market is the green tomatoes.  Last summer was the first time I started working with them, and I love their crisp, tart flavor.   Now one of my favorite movies is “Fried Green Tomatoes” (girl power!) so naturally frying the suckers up wasn’t even a question.

Since my first intrepid batch my fried green tomato skills have improved.  I’ve found for instance that if you don’t mind wasting little oil, having some depth – say ¼ inch of oil – can go a long way to an even browning.  I’ve also found that you should wait a minute to let them cool before shoving them in your face.  The alternative is a bad burn in your mouth.  Trust me on that one.

 

Fried Green Tomatoes  – 1 Knife

 Ingredients:

  • 1-2 green tomatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • ½ cup cornmeal (add more if you need more)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • cooking oil like vegetable or canola

Prep:

  1. Add to a small bowl, but that is big enough to dredge (this means coat on both sides) tomato slices in, the egg and tobacco sauce. Stir well with a fork until the egg and tobacco are well mixed.
  2. Add to a second small bowl, that again an fit tomato, the cornmeal, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  3. Add to a third bowl the flour.
  4. Slice the tomato(es) across the entire tomato to create cross-sectional slices of the tomato, about ¼ inch thick.   Each slice should show off the entirety of the tomato.  I do not recommend using the end pieces.
  5. Set up an area to drain the tomatoes when they come out of the oil using a folded paper bag (like from the grocery store) and paper towel.  You can also use a plate and paper towel.

Cook:

  1. Dredge a slice of tomato in the flour and coat both sides.  I like to use a fork to move flour around to make sure it covers everything.
  2. Next dredge the slice of tomato in the egg mixture, making sure it completely coats.
  3. Finally, dredge the slice of tomato in the cornmeal mixture, turning to make sure both sides are evenly coated.
  4. Repeat this step with all of the tomato slices, and set them aside on a plate.
  5. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add oil until about ¼ inch high (or less if you are more conservative, or more if you wish). Allow the oil to heat up, you will know it’s hot if a drop of water (do this carefully please, oil burns hurt) causes the oil to bubble.
  6. Add tomatoes to the pan, being careful not to crowd them.
  7. After 3-5 minutes once the tomatoes are brown but not burnt on the on side, carefully flip them with a spatula to cook the other side for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  8. Once cooked through remove from the pan and place on the drain bag/plate and blot with paper towel if you want to remove more oil.
  9. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve and enjoy!  I recommend serving with a fresh fruit chutney or relish.  Makes them delish!  

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This week’s edition of potluck was pushed back to Monday in honor of the 3-day weekend.  Another change this week, my friend Jason is “guest chef” for the evening.  The theme this week is French food, with Chicken Galantine as the entree.   In honor of the great tradition of Americans attempting to cook French food I turned to my trusty copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, et al.  Nothing easier or more French then a good quiche, and I was drawn to the inclusion of olives.

I will confess I am a little leery of anchovies; however I think they will add a nice flavor without being too fishy.  I know they can make people squeamish, but I will say that if you like Caesar salads you should like anchovies’ flavor, since they are a critical component in Caesar salad dressing.  So don’t be afraid to try them (at least once).

I also want to take a moment to discuss pie shells.  One day on this blog we will do pie crust together, but today is not that day.  So I recommend in the mean time hitting up the freezer aisle and buying a deep-dish pie shell.  I do it all the time, and frankly no one cares that you took a “shortcut.”  Also because most pre-made pie shells are 9 inches, and this recipe calls for an 8 inch shell, I have modified the egg quantities.

Tomato, Olive and Anchovies Quiche – 2 Knives (Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup minced onions (about ¼ of a medium onion)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon basil (you can also use oregano or thyme if you like)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 anchovies
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (1 small bunch)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pitted black olives (1 small can)
  • 1 deep dish pie shell
  • ¼ grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese

Prep:

  1. Wash the tomatoes and cut open and remove all of the seeds and juice.  Dice the tomatoes.  I posted a while back a good video on this that I think is worth re-posting.
  2. Peel the skin from an onion and chop about ¼ of the onion to get ¼ cup of minced pieces.
  3. Remove parsley leaves from the stems and chop until they are fine little pieces.
  4. Chop the anchovies into very tiny pieces.  The smaller you cut them the more they will incorporate and the less you’ll notice their existence beyond delicious flavor enhancement.
  5. Mince the garlic clove into small pieces or crush with a garlic press.
  6. In a small bowl grate either the parmesan or the Swiss cheese to yield ¼ of a cup and set aside.

Cook:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º Fahrenheit.
  2. In a pan over medium heat, warm up 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Once warm add the onions to the pan.
  3. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes until tender.
  4. Add the tomatoes to, garlic, basil, salt and pepper to the pan and stir to mix well.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. After 5 minutes remove the cover, raise the heat back up to medium and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the juices are just about evaporated, stir occasionally.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  8. In a large mixing bowl beat together the egg, anchovies, 3 tablespoons olive oil, tomato paste, parsley, paprika and cayenne pepper.  Mix until well blended.
  9. Gradually add the cooked tomatoes to the egg mixture and stir.
  10. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet to make for easier transferring in and out of the oven.
  11. Spread the tomato-egg mixture into the pie shell.
  12. Place olives around the top in a decorative design.  The original recipe called for only 12 olives, but since I really like olives I went for broke and used a lot more.  They’re just so tasty!
  13. Spread the cheese over the top of the mixture and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top.
  14. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the quiche has puffed up and is brown on the top.
  15. Cool and serve and enjoy!

Ed. Note: I did receive a question regarding the pie shell and if it should be pre-baked.  I often times don’t pre-bake the shell, but that goes against common practice when making quiches.  If you want to pre-bake your shell I recommend putting it in the oven for about 10 minutes, allowing it to cool, and then filling with your quiche prior to baking.

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