Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Salad

I've been terribly slack in posting recipes recently, so sorry about that!  While I love everything summer, I have found myself so busy with cooking, canning and trying to find ways to use all the amazing food I've had recently.  But this tomato salad adapted from 101Cookbooks was wonderful and I wanted to be sure to post it while tomatoes are still in season. 

One of these days I'll get back to posting health facts!  But for today, all I have to say is that tomatoes are full of lycopene and are very good for you so eat a lot!  And actually, cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than raw ones, so you're getting your fill with this recipe!
  • 2 pounds (a mix of small heirlooms & cherry tomatoes), halved
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  •  tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
  • couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup toasted almond slices
  • 2 tablespoons capers, fried in a bit of oil
  • 6 oz good mozzarella, torn into chunks
  • a handful of torn lettuce leaves
  • generous drizzle of lemon olive oil or chive oil (I used regular olive oil and it was just fine)
Nothing is better than homegrown heirloom tomatoes.  Yum!
Tossed in oil, maple syrup and salt and ready for baking.
1.  To start, you're going to roast about 1/2 of the tomatoes, preferably a mix of cherry and heirlooms. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven. Toss the tomatoes you will be roasting gently (but well) in a bowl along with the grapeseed oil, sugar, and salt. 

Roasted tomatoes
2.  Arrange them in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, without stirring, until the tomatoes shrink a bit and start to caramelize around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3.  When ready to serve, gently toss the roasted and raw tomatoes with a bit of chive or lemon oil, most of the almonds, the capers, the mozzarella, and the lettuce. Taste and season with a bit more salt if needed. Serve topped with the remaining almonds, and any herb flowers you might have.

*To make chive oil, use a food processor to puree 1/4 cup chopped chives with 1/2 cup good olive oil. Stir in another 1/4 cup finely chopped chives by hand. Season with sea salt to taste.  I omitted this step and it was still super tasty!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lemon Cucumber Tofu Salad

One thing I really love about having a garden is that I can grow all sorts of cool heirloom plants that I can't find at the grocery store or many farmers markets.  One of my favorite veggies in my garden is lemon cucumbers.  They are these precious little cucumbers that have the coloring of a lemon and are shaped kind of like a small apple.  They taste a bit different than regular cucumbers, but aren't lemony at all as you would imagine. 

Look how cute they are!
I didn't have to look much further than one of my favorite cooking blogs, 101 Cookbooks, to find a great recipe for my lemon cucumbers.  This recipe caught my eye, and has been a hit in my house all summer (I have had a ton of lemon cucumbers!).  You could easily substitute regular cucumbers if you would like.  Definitely give a lemon cucumber a taste if you can find them!

  • 2 (or more) lemon cucumbers, quartered then sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 handful of fresh dill (about 2/3 cup loosely packed)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 big pinches of salt
  • 8 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 of a large, ripe avocado

1.  Toss the cucumbers, dill, olive oil, lemon juice and salt together in a medium bowl. Let sit for at least 20 minutes tossing gently once or twice along the way.

2.  In the meantime, cook the tofu. Cook the tofu and a pinch of salt in well-seasoned skillet until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy. Set aside.

3.  Just before serving cut the avocado into cubes.

4.  Spoon the cucumbers out of the lemon-olive oil mixture into a large salad bowl. Add half of the remaining dressing, the tofu, and half of the nuts. Gently toss. Taste. Add more dressing or salt if you like. Sprinkle the avocado across the top of the salad and gently toss once or twice to distribute it throughout the salad. Serve topped with the remaining pine nuts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vegetable Tian

I'm sure some of you have seen this recipe on Pinterest.  I do a lot of pinning, but I don't usually get around to making/doing anything I pin.  But for once, I actually did make something so I was really excited when it turned out so well!  It looked like it might be somewhat complicated because of how pretty it looked, but it was actually relatively simple to make and put together.

The original recipe called for parmesean cheese, but my husband was the one that went to the grocery store and he came home with mozzarella and pecorino romano because he says he likes that better.  Of course, you can substitute the type of cheese, but the pecorino romano gave it a very interesting taste.  The original recipe also calls for dried thyme, but I love the way the fresh rosemary and thyme tasted in this dish.  I think I may give basil a try when I make it next time (husband really enjoyed it, will be making it again for sure!).
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil (divided)
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes (or one regular tomato creatively sliced)
  • Salt, freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh thyme & rosemary, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella & pecorino romano cheese

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Heat 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 60 seconds. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

3.  Slice the potatoes, zucchini, squash and tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions and garlic, fitting them tightly into a spiral, making only one layer. Season with sea salt, black pepper, thyme and rosemary. Drizzle the last tablespoon of oil over the top.
4. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover and sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until browned. Enjoy. 

It looked so pretty!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

Here's a healthier take on eggplant parmesan.....well I should say eggplant mozzarella because that's all I had in the fridge.  I'm sure almost any cheese would be good with this dish though.  A combination of mozzarella and parmesan would be worth a try for sure! 

The measurements below are really just suggestions....I used as much eggplant, tomato and basil as I could until I filled the baking dish up.  I actually made it even easier than the original recipe, so there are plenty of things you can do to make this recipe good!
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 small eggplants, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese

Ready to be baked!
1.  Combine oil and garlic; brush over both sides of eggplant slices. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes; turn. Bake 5 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Fresh eggplants, tomato and basil...yum

2. Place half of the eggplant in a greased 1-qt. baking dish. Arrange tomato slices over top.  Sprinkle with half of the basil and half of the cheese.  Continue layering eggplant, tomato and basil and then top with cheese.

3. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. 

Ready to go in the oven
The finished product

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tomato, Basil and Sweet Corn Soup

This soup tastes like summer and made me really happy because I love summer and all the fruits and vegetables that come along with it!  Plain and simple....summer is the best time of the year.  It makes me sad that soon tomatoes and corn will be out of season because I think I could make this soup every week.  It was that good.  

At first I was skeptical at how it would turn out, because I decided not to use vegetable consomme like the original recipe calls for.  Sticking with my not eating food from a package rule, I just added plenty of salt and pepper to my broth and it was fine.  This is a super easy and healthy soup that is sure to please just about anyone!
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 gloves garlic, diced
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 ears corn, husked and shucked
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil (or more)
  • 3 cups water
  • plenty of salt and pepper to taste
1  Heat oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add onions and cook 6-8 minutes or until translucent.
2.  Meanwhile, bring a second pot full of water to boil. Drop tomatoes in and cook for 90 seconds or until the skins begin to peel off the tomatoes. Immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water. The skins should peel right off. Discard skins. Chop tomatoes.
3. Add garlic to onions and stir for 1 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, corn, and basil. Add water and bring to a boil.  Add plenty of salt and pepper, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes.

4.  Using an immersion blender, puree soup leaving small bits of corn whole for texture.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shaved Fennel Salad

Another solid salad from 101cookbooks!  I've been wanting to make this recipe for a while, but due to my fear of the mandolin slicer, I have been putting it off.  Because even the sight of the mandolin makes me cringe, my sweet husband sliced the fennel and zucchini for me.  I was also on a cooking rampage the night I made this, therefore I forgot to take a lot of pictures (sorry!).  I also have to confess that I made this a while back...but June was a crazy month and I got behind on blogging.  The fennel in my garden are ready to be harvested, so I figured now was a good time to post this recipe since I have fennel and a ton of dill that I've been using for pickles.

  • 2 medium-large zucchini, sliced into paper thin coins
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and shaved paper-thin
  • 2/3 cup loosely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • sea salt
  • 4 or 5 generous handfuls arugula
  • Honey, if needed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1.  Combine the zucchini, fennel and dill in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.

2.  When you are ready to serve the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl. Scoop all of the zucchini and fennel onto the arugula, and pour most of the lemon juice dressing on top of that. Toss gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust with more of the dressing, olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if needed. If the lemons were particularly tart, you may need to counter the pucker-factor by adding a tiny drizzle of honey into the salad at this point. Let your taste buds guide you. Serve topped with almonds and feta.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Charred Corn Salad with Basil & Tomatoes

I just want to start by saying how much I love summer and the wonderful veggies that are available during this time of the year.  I wish it could be summer all of the time!  I've spent the better part of the past week canning/freezing so that I have some of this wonderful produce to enjoy in the winter months when I'm longing for summer.  I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine and thought it looked super tasty and incorporated lots of veggies that are in their prime season.  Boy was it tasty! 

The first onions that I have ever harvested from my garden! 
The thing I loved the most about making this dish is that everything in it came from less than five miles from my home (except I realized later that the lime wasn't local, boo).  The corn and basil from the CSA, and the onion, tomato and thyme came from my garden.  Something about being local makes it taste even better to me (and not to mention feel good about what I'm eating!).

I halved this recipe and it still made quite a lot.  This is the original recipe, but any variation of this would still be fine. 

  • 12 ears of corn, husked
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, large leaves torn
  • 1/3 cup (or more) fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Corn from the CSA on the grill

1.  Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Rub corn with 1 Tbsp. oil. Grill, turning frequently, until corn is charred and heated through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from grill; when cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a large bowl. 


All of the ingredients except for the corn

2.  Place onion in a strainer and rinse with cold water to mellow its flavor. Drain well. 


3.  Mix onion, remaining 5 Tbsp. oil, tomatoes, basil, 1/3 cup lime juice, and thyme into corn. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.