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Posts Tagged ‘tomato’


We survived the hurricane without any damage beyond getting a little stir-crazy, so I have to feel pretty grateful. We didn’t lose power or have any terrible flooding, but all we could do for days was watch the damage on TV. Of course, one of my first plans of action was to get to work on hurricane food.

Naturally, my first inclination was for mac & cheese, which was so delicious that it was gone before I could take pictures. For those curious, my mac & cheese is basically my tuna noodle casserole without the tuna. Next up, tomato soup and grilled cheese. I had some cherry tomatoes that were ready to be roasted, and combined them with some canned tomatoes to round out the soup. Perfect cold, rainy weather food. And it’s always a good time for a grilled cheese.

Roasted Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

1 pint cherry tomatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

12 sprigs thyme

1/2 can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed or pureed

1 cup red wine

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 slices whole grain bread

3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

thin slices apple, a tablespoon apricot or fig jam, etc (optional)

Roast the cherry tomatoes with half the olive oil and half the thyme at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in the remaining olive oil for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the tomato paste and allow to rust for another minute or two. Add the roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes, sugar, and wine. Allow to cook together for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the grilled cheese. You may choose to puree the soup with a stick blender, but we wanted it chunky this time.

Toast the bread in a pan with olive oil or in a toaster until light brown. Add the cheese and any toppings you may like. Cook in a saute pan with a little olive oil or butter until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted. Make sure to flip halfway through and a lid can sometimes help the cheese to melt. Use medium heat so that the bread does not burn before the cheese has finish melting. Allow to cool a few minutes before cutting, so that the cheese does not run out.

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Pizza is always a great go-to when you have people over because you can let them choose their own toppings. Make a big batch of dough, preheat the pizza stone and put out your topping options. I like to roll the dough out on an upside down cookie sheet so that you can just ease it off in one direction. Make sure you put enough flour or semolina on the bottom so it doesn’t stick.

Pizza Dough

1/4 cup white wine

3/4 cup water

1 envelope yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 1/2 cups flour

Combine wine, water, and yeast in a large bowl and allow the yeast to dissolve. Add the honey, salt, and half the olive oil. Slowly add the flour until it comes together in a ball. Knead for several minutes until it firms up. Place in a bowl oiled with the remaining olive oil and rest with a damp towel over it for 45 minutes.

Squash Blossom Pesto Pizza (makes 2 individual pizzas)

3 tablespoons pesto

6 squash blossoms

1/2 a mozzarella ball

6 tablespoons grated parmesan

1 cup roasted tomatoes

1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat the pizza stone in a 450 degree oven for at least a half an hour. Roll out pieces of dough to the size you want, making sure to flour it well. Spread the garlic over the top and drizzle the pesto over. Place pieces of mozzarella and tomatoes around. Sprinkle with the parmesan and layer a couple squash blossoms over the top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges start to brown and the bottom becomes crisp.

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We have been having a long heat wave here in NY, and I can’t quite bring myself to heat up the kitchen again until it breaks. I’m thinking about some no-cook or quick-cooking meals, and of course, the first thing I think of is salad. I love a beautiful caprese salad with fresh tomatoes and basil. Mozzarella gives it a little substance, so you’re not left hungry.

Of course, gazpacho is a staple of no-cook menus, and I loved this one with watermelon. The shrimp skewers are optional, but if you would like to get outside and grill, go ahead. This would also make an excellent summer lunch with the caprese.

I’ve made this capellini with tomatoes and basil several times since I posted it. It’s light and refreshing, and best of all, it’s done basically in the time it takes to boil water.

If I really start wanting some protein, I might make this ginger glazed salmon. It takes a little longer to cook, but I can do the glaze in a wider pan cut the cooking time down to 15 minutes. Having people over? This looks elegant but it’s so quick.

I still have a little of this blueberry frozen yogurt left in the freezer, and I think I’m going to have to finish it up this weekend. Nothing is better to cool down than some frozen treats.

Unless it’s white wine sangria. This is staple at my apartment all summer. Actually, all year round but in the summer it’s extra perfect.

And if I make it outside to grill this weekend? I think it’s going to be lamb burgers as a change from regular burgers. The cool yogurt and mint sauce helps in the heat too.

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In the summer, we all switch over to cold soups, which I don’t really enjoy all that much. I’m not a big fan of raw onion or raw garlic, so gazpacho has never been a favorite…until now. A little bit of heat with the juicy tomatoes and the refreshing watermelon makes a delicious summer soup that I like with a skewer of marinated shrimp. All it needs is a squeeze of lime, and it’s perfect for these hot days.

Watermelon Gazpacho

2 cups cubed watermelon

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 scallions

Juice of 1-2 limes

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (to taste)

salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it reaches a think consistency but still has some texture. Chill until ready to serve.

Marinated Grilled Shrimp

1/2 pound large shrimp cleaned with shells removed (I like to remove tails so they can just be eaten)

1 teaspoon aleppo pepper

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper

Juice of 1 lime

3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl to marinate for 30-45 minutes. Much longer, and the lime will start to cook the shrimp. Skewer them onto soaked skewers and grill for 2-3 minutes on the first side, until they start to turn pink. Flip and continue to cook for 1 minute more on the other side. Remove and serve with a lime wedge.

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This dish is named for a small town in Italy called Amatrice. It’s base is a pork product called guanciale, which is pig jowl, and it tastes like a porkier version of bacon or pancetta. The traditional noodle for this is bucatini, which is a thick spaghetti with a hole like a straw. It’s a messy one to eat, so don’t wear white! It’s a treat to find some guanciale, and I always have to make this when I see it at the store. You can certainly substitute pancetta or bacon, but if you can find guanciale you should try it. This dish is delicious and so easy.

Bucatini al’Amatriciana

1/2 pound bucatini

1/2 onion, chopped

1 can San Marzano tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (I prefer)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8- 1/4 pound guanciale, diced

Cook the bucatini in well-salted water a minute less than the package instructions. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, render the guanciale in a frying pan for a few minutes. I like to leave it a little soft, so I don’t wait until it gets crispy. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the red pepper flakes and stir to infuse the guanciale fat. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute. Add the bucatini and some of the reserved pasta water and cook for the final minute together. Grate some parmesan or pecorino over the top and enjoy!

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Capellini (angel hair) is not used very often because it quickly becomes a gluey mess. The trick is to pull it directly out of the pot into this olive oil sauce and toss. I only use it in situations like this with a fresh, uncooked sauce because you don’t want to be messing around with it too much. It goes straight from the water to the sauce to the plate.

Capellini complements the fresh, simple flavors in this dish because it’s light and soaks up the sauce quickly. Of course, it relies on the best, most flavorful tomatoes and basil, so make sure to not refrigerate your tomatoes. I don’t particularly like raw garlic, so I always quickly saute it but feel free to use it raw if you like it. Use the good extra virgin olive oil in this one too, because it doesn’t get cooked at all.

Capellini with Tomato and Basil

1/2 box capellini

1-2 tomatoes, diced (preferably on-the-vine or other very fresh tomato)

2 garlic cloves, minced (optional: saute in a tablespoon of olive oil for one minute)

1/2 cup basil, julienned

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino

Cook the capellini in salted, boiling water according to package instructions. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl. Add the cooked capellini with a little of the cooking water and stir to combine. Add the basil and cheese and toss. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a little more cheese on top.

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I found it surprisingly hard to take pictures of BBQ chicken. For some reason, chicken just doesn’t seem that photogenic. Plus, it took a lot of willpower to keep myself from eating it immediately. If you’ve never made your own BBQ sauce, you should try it next weekend. It’s so much better than bottled, and pretty satisfying to know you made it yourself. I did make a large batch, and I’m hoping between the sugar and vinegar, it will keep in the fridge for a bit.

BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 plum tomatoes, seeded

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon aleppo pepper powder

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1  tablespoon paprika

Saute the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil until softened. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes longer. Let cool a bit and then puree in a food processor.

BBQ Chicken

1 chicken, cut into parts or use your favorite cuts

1 cup BBQ sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Make sure your chicken is dry when you start. You don’t need to wash chicken, it just spreads any potential bacteria around your sink. Dry off your chicken with a paper towel and rub all sides with olive oil or vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and place onto a hot grill or grill pan. (I now use a cast iron grill pan and it’s fantastic.) Let it develop nice color before you flip.

Brush with some BBQ sauce on both sides after you have grill marks. Continue brushing with sauce until the chicken is cooked through. Be careful not to overcook, use a meat thermometer if you’re not sure. Serve with some extra sauce on the side (not from the same container you were basting your chicken with…you don’t want to contaminate it.)

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