Tag Archives: tomatoes

“Grate” Tomato Sauce

forkful of pasta 2Last week, it occurred to me that my husband has become much more sociable, while I am have become considerably less so. It seems like every few months he comes home regaling me with a tale about a recently acquired friend. Our kids joke about dad’s new BFFs.

I don’t think I have made a new friend in over 25 years, unless you count Kelly Rippa. My daughter tells me that Kelly is only my friend in my mind. I believe that Kelly would really like me if only she knew me. We have so much in common. Both of us fly into a rage when our husbands chew fruit in close proximity to our ears. It’s a documented disorder, check it out.

I was reading an interesting article about how smartphones have destroyed a generation and it got me thinking about what constitutes a real friend. Do you have to have face to face contact to be real friends? Over the past few years, I have gotten to know a fellow blogger, Wendy (The Monday Box) through reading and commenting on each others blogs. I consider her to be a new friend.

Last weekend, one of my husband’s new friends came to visit us at the cottage. He and his wife arrived bearing a huge basket of vegetables from their garden. It was such a thoughtful gift. I have been cooking with it all week. There were 4 huge heirloom tomatoes in the basket and a few bulbs of garlic. I was inspired to make a batch of quick tomato sauce. When mother nature gives you gorgeous produce, don’t mess with it too much.

I have only made my own tomato sauce once, and that was many years ago with my friend Marla. We bought a few bushels of plum tomatoes from the market and spent all day peeling and seeding them and then proceeded to cook them down for hours. The kitchen looked like a crime scene. There was red pulp and juice everywhere. It cured me of canning forever.

When I saw in Bon Appetit magazine, how Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen makes her tomato sauce, I was encouraged to try making it again. No peeling or seeding. She just grates the tomatoes on a box grater and cooks them very briefly. No fuss or muss.grating tomatoes A generous amount of garlic and olive oil meet in the pan for a few minutes. A few sprigs of rosemary are added and then in goes the grated pulp from 4 large tomatoes. Make sure to salt with abandon. Tomatoes and salt are best friends and depend on each other to shine. sauteeing garlic and rosemarycooking tomatoesI added a small squeeze of Mike’s Hot Honey. I seem to be possessed with a desire to add it to everything I can. Chef Ashley finishes her sauce with 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter. I whisked in just 2 teaspoons and felt it was delicious with just that small amount. Enriching tomato sauce with butter is Marcella Hazan‘s trick and it’s glorious. spagettiI kept it simple and added just a few tiny fresh tomatoes, basil and Parmesan cheese.tomatoesbasil

3 bowls of pasta 2

spagetti and sauce in bowl 2Click here to print recipe for _Grate_ Tomato Sauce.

stick a fork in it

 

Chilled Fresh Tomato Soup

3 black bowlsI know what you’re thinking. “Really?? Who needs another gazpacho soup recipe?” But before you abandon this post and surf on over to see what’s new for fall at Joe Fresh, just hear me out. This is a little different than your typical cold tomato soup. Half the tomatoes get roasted, for a smoky depth of flavour, and the other half are left fresh, to enhance their tangy bright nature. Combining fresh and roasted tomatoes was the brainchild of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. They featured this soup in their July 2012 issue. I tarted it up a bit with some summer toppings.

Squeeze in a dollop of tomato paste to ramp up the umami factor. Sprinkle in a dusting of smoked paprika and cayenne and this soup is humming. Throw in some roasted garlic and shallots for fun.Ingredients Yes, I’m going to ask you to turn on your oven in August, but it will be worth it. Once everything is roasted, puree the whole lot, along with some fresh tomatoes and strain it for a velvety smooth texture. straining 1straining 2Finish it off with corn, avocado and basil and you have summertime in a bowl. Have I got your attention yet?white bowl 2

Click here to print recipe for Chilled Fresh Tomato Soup.

black bowl

Smoky Roasted Gazpacho Soup

2 green bowls FIt probably wouldn’t shock you to learn that I am a very organized person. Each spring, I dump out the stale spices in my alphabetized drawer and buy fresh ones. The only one I never have to toss is the smoked paprika. I go through that stuff on a stunningly regular basis. It make everything taste better. It typically sneaks it’s way onto roasted vegetables, like cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squash and carrots. I recently made a smoked paprika and garlic vinaigrette  that took roasted broccoli to another dimension.

Smoked paprika has that transcendent ability to take a dish to a very delicious new height.3 bowls on yellow platesThis soup was adapted from a roasted vegetable gazpacho that I stumbled upon while browsing through Donna Hay’s Modern Classics: Book 1. I have most of her books and regularly use them for styling and photography inspiration. Her collaboration with photographer Con Poulos has created multitudes of awe inspiring images.

Donna’s soup was heavy on the roasted red peppers and light on the roasted tomatoes. I flipped this because I love tomatoes way more than peppers. When I saw the addition of smoked paprika, I knew I had to try it.tomatoes and peppersquartering tomatoesroasted pepperspeeling peppersblendingAfter blending I took a taste and decided that the heat and smoky flavour needed to be boosted. A teaspoon of my favourite chipotle tabasco made all the difference! Additional smokiness without painful heat.one white bowlI diced up some red peppers and cucumbers to garnish the soup and served it with some grilled    sourdough for dipping. After chilling in the fridge overnight the soup was even richer and deeper in flavour the next day. one green bowl

Click here to print recipe for Smoky Roasted Gazpacho Soup.

one yellow bowl F

 

Pomegranate Tomato Salad

Diced salad 1 625 sqI believe I may have broken the unwritten food bloggers commandment that states, “Thou shalt not post about anything remotely fresh or healthy during the month of December.”  However, in my defence, I believe I am eligible for an exemption from this rule. I have just come off a major bake-a thon, crafting over 30 pounds of Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark, 32 dozen Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, 24 dozen Salted Skor Bar Shortbread Cookies, 12 pounds of Almond Pecan Caramel Corn, 24 dozen Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Shortbread, 12 dozen Caramel Chocolate Dipped Pretzels,  8 dozen giant gingerbread snowflake cookies and 23 dozen Lemon Coconut Cookies.

So forgive me if I need something fresh and good-for-you to eat in December. And, I bet you do too! This salad checks all the boxes. Healthy, delicious, beautiful and very satisfying to eat. It makes a great lunch (ask my mom, I fed it to her today!) and would also not be out of place on the holiday table as one of your side dishes. Crunchy, sweet, salty, sour and just a tiny bit bitter, this salad is a feast for the taste buds as well as for the senses.

This salad is an adaptation of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Tomato and Pomegranate salad in his splendid new book, Plenty More. “The sharp almost bitter sweetness of the pomegranate and the savoury, sunny sweetness of the tomato complement each other so gloriously.”Pomegranates 2tomatoes 2Removing seeds from a pomegranate can be a messy affair. My preferred method is to place a deep bowl into the sink,  quarter the pomegranate and gently nudge the seeds out into the bowl. There are many other methods that folks swear by. Spanking (my mom’s personal favourite) and The Underwater Method are two of the most popular. deseeding pomegranateI love the sweet sharp addition of pickled shallots. So simple to prepare. Mix together equal parts red wine vinegar and water and add kosher salt and sugar. This magic blend tames the sharpness of onions and shallots in about 30 minutes!pickled shallotsYou can slice the tomatoes for a gorgeous composed salad.slicing tomaotesplated sliced 1Or just dice everything up and mix and serve. Thinly sliced basil and mint leaves add a lively freshness.Diced salad 2I love the addition of some grated ricotta salata for a salty, tangy addition, but feel free to leave the cheese off.grating ricotta salata

Click here to print recipe for Pomegranate and Tomato Salad.

 

 

 

Tomato, Corn and Two Cheese Tart

tarts 625 sqWhen the farmers market stands begin to overflow with corn and tomatoes, I add them to everything I make. Lightly dressed arugula gets topped with sautéed corn and tomatoes and garnished with some buttery diced avocado. Peaches and Cream Corn and Blondkopfchen mini tomatoes weave their way into fritattas and onto tortilla chips gussied up as a salsa. Tiny tomatoes bursting with sweet acidity mingle with basil and plump sweet corn kernels. Tossed with some hot penne pasta and chunks of creamy buffalo mozzarella, it makes for a very happy summertime dinner.

I know that for many folks, biting into a freshly boiled, buttered and salted ear is a summer ritual eagerly anticipated all winter long. When all those sweet little kernels explode in your mouth, it’s bliss for them. But I am among the, mostly silent, minority who do not like to eat corn straight off the cob. It gets stuck in my teeth and I just want to run for the floss. Yes, very un-Canadian/American of me, I know. But I am ok with that. I am perfectly comfortable being mocked when I cut my corn off the cob.market freshWith my abundance of corn, tomatoes and scallions, I decided to make a tart.  Chef Christine Cushing’s buttermilk pastry, studded with fresh thyme makes a perfect base.pastry mise en placeRolling out the dough between 2 large sheets of parchment paper is a foolproof way of handling pastry.rolling between parchment paperLine the pastry with some parchment paper and fill with pie weights to blind bake the tarts. I buy dried chick peas that I reuse for this purpose only. This will give your pastry a head start so that your finished tarts do not have soggy bottoms.pie weights 2Delicious hot or at room temperature (they were even great reheated the next day) these little tarts are a very special way to celebrate the bounty of summer. Once everyone has a bite of these, you will be forgiven for cutting the corn off the cob.

Click here to print recipe for Tomato, Corn and Two Cheese Tart.

close up tart