Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Roast them up!!

It's tomato season folks ye!! I am a huge tomato fan. There is two things that money can't buy and they are; love and home grown tomatoes (in my case they come from my local and favorite CSA farm). If you are like me and have a whole lot of tomatoes, I enthusiastically say; Roast them up people!! Tomatoes are all water so they will diminish quite a lot when you are done roasting them.

There is many reasons why you should roast your tomatoes;
  • First, it's a great way to preserve them
  • They are simply out of this world delicious and sweet with a nice piece of country bread and some goat cheese
  • They make the best pasta dish you ever had in your life
  • They make an extravagant breakfast if served with poached or fried eggs on a bed of spinach or other greens (see recipe below)

...and the list goes on and on... on salads, for quick anti-pastis platter, on a bruschetta with a piece of sopresseta, on a pizzas sprinkled with grated manchego and fresh basil..etc.

Here is how you do it:

Pre-heat your oven to 300F. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise in quarters and put them on a baking sheet in one layer. If you have a lot of tomatoes then use two baking sheets. Sprinkle your tomatoes with olive oil (about 2-3 tbl sp) and minced garlic. Season with salt, pepper and some herbes de provence or other herbs of your choice like basil and oregano. Bake in the oven for 2 hours or until slightly shrivelled at the edge and a bit dry. After they have cool down, transfer them to a Mason glass jar with all their juices and keep in your refrigerator.

If the skin bothers you, here is how you peel tomatoes. Boil a big pot of salted water. Using a sharp knife make a cross shape incision in the bottom of tomatoes. When water is boiling, insert 3-4 tomatoes at the time and boil for 15-20 seconds (not longer, you don't want the tomatoes to start cooking or they will be mushy). Remove them with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them in an ice bath, just long enough so they cool down, but not too long so they absorb too much water. Now, all you have to do is peel them by pulling down the skin, starting where you did the incision.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fried egg with chipolte pepper, herbes de provence, baby bella mushroom, dandelion and cherry tomatoes

I have to get ready for my cooking class but I'll tell you about this recipe tomorrow. Although, you can probaby figure it out.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cous-Cous with kale, lemon basil, corn and toasted pine nuts

Serves 4


1 oz box of cous-cous, cooked according to directions

1 medium size garlic clove, chopped

1 scallion, sliced

1 packed cup kale, chopped

½ cup toasted pine nuts (or almonds)

1 cup corn kernels

½ cup lemon basil (or regular) chopped

Salt and pepper


Heat large skillet on medium heat. Add 2 tbl sp of extra virgin olive oil. Sautee garlic and scallion for 1 minute. Add kale and corn and cook for 2 minutes add pine nuts, cous-cous and lemon basil and season to taste.

Okras with cherry tomatoes and quenelle of ricotta and basil

Okra has been a revelation for me, really! I didn't think I liked okra but I was wrong, I just didn't know how to prepare them. Teaching for the CSA members forced me to research how to prepare okras in order to reduce it's main characteristic and reason why people don't care for them so much...and that is "the slime".

Of course deep frying them works quite well, but I rather not deep fry too often. Once in a while is fine, as a treat only...so for the rest of the time try this:

Wash and dry okras very well. When cutting them make sure your knife and chopping board are dry as well. Apparently, the contact with moisture will bring the slime out of the okras. When you cook them, place them in your skillet and let them be. Do not disturb them and most importantly do not over cook them. They only take 2-3 minutes that's all! One more thing, the smaller the better. They shouldn't be bigger then your little finger, for tenderness and sliminess..

They are excellent for your joints, espacially raw.

Serves 2

5-6 tblsp extra virgin olive oil, or enough to cover bottom of your skillet
10 medium size garlic cloves, chopped roughly
10 cherry tomatoes, crushed with your fingers
10 small okras, cut in 2 lengthwise
4 tblsp of fresh parsley, chopped
splash of lime juice
Salt and Pepper

Heat olive in a medium size skillet, when oil is hot but not smoking add garlic. Turn heat to low and roast garlic for 5 minutes so the oil gets infused with the garlic taste. Add the tomates and continue cooking on low for another 5 minutes. Add okras and cook for 3 minutes (okras are a bit like sponges and they will absorb the nice garlic infused olive oil and the tomato juices). Add fresh parsley, splash of lime, salt and pepper to taste.

For the quenelle
Mix 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, 2 tblsp chopped fresh basil, 1 minced medium size garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste. Using a table spoon form an egg shape ball and place on top of okra dish.
The ricotta quenelle is a really nice addition of flavor and texture to this dish.

Serve as a side dish, on pasta or just as is.