Tag Archives: summer recipes

20 Summer Tomato Recipes and Techniques (including rescuing and freezing!)

31 Jul

Here it is finally, a round-up of recipes for using summer tomatoes, including rescuing tomatoes past their prime and processing for freezing (without the trouble of canning!). Bookmark this one….

1. The Easiest of All: Chopped Tomato Sauce

Light and beautiful, any kind of tomatoes will do, as long as they are garden fresh!

Light and beautiful, any kind of tomatoes will do, as long as they are garden fresh!

2. Speedy Bruschetta (great for using up tomatoes past their prime salad days)

A lovely way to start a meal (or grate some cheese over and call it a movie snack)

A lovely way to start a meal (or grate some cheese over and call it a movie snack)

3. Pan-Roasted Cherry, Grape or Sungold Tomatoes (Oil-Free options and another way to use up those minis gone soft)

4. Grilled Cherry Tomato Salad or Burger Topper

This recipe has terrible photos so I am not using them here, but great flavor.

This recipe has terrible photos so I am not using them here, but great flavor. Try it!

5. Roasted Plum Tomatoes with Garlic and Basil

Bung these in the oven while roasting other veggies!

Bung these in the oven while roasting other veggies!

6. Spanish-style Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes!

Stuffed Tomatoes!

7. Provencal Vegetable Tian (baked layered summer veggies with olives)

Assembly is easy on this vegetable tian

Assembly is easy on this vegetable tian

By the time it came out of the oven, my natural light was gone...but you get the idea.

By the time it came out of the oven, my natural light was gone…but you get the idea.

 

8. Marinated Mini-Mozzarella Balls

Perfect for a summer BBQ or buffet (and big savings over the pre-marinated from the Italian deli

Perfect for a summer BBQ or buffet (and big savings over the pre-marinated from the Italian deli

 9. Classic Criollo Tomato and Avocado Salad

The go-to side for spicy, salty, strong-flavored creole cooking

The go-to side for spicy, salty, strong-flavored creole cooking

 10. Cannellini and Tomato Salad (no cook)

Add crusty bread and you've got yourself a no-cook hearty cool meal!

Add crusty bread and you’ve got yourself a no-cook hearty cool meal!

11. Pan-Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa (fat-free)

Pretty all the way from start to finish

Pretty all the way from start to finish

2012-08-26 04.56.47 tomato tomatillo

12. Oven Charred Tomatillo and Tomato Salsa

Oven Charred...Yum

Oven Charred…Yum

Next page: Bisque; Watermelon Feta and Tomato Salad, AND several ways to preserve tomatoes by freezing!

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Sugar Snap Peas: Five Italian and Spanish Style Recipes You’ll Love

30 Jun

It is the season for sugar snap peas (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon), and we have had a wonderful harvest of sugar snaps in our yard, and we expect more from Restoration Farm, our CSA.

Almost too ready for picking

Almost too ready for picking

So today I made a special sweet pea dish — Pasta with Chorizo and Peas – for my seven-year-old swee’pea who is in charge of peas at home, from planting to watering to harvesting (he gets assistance in stringing the poles as our peas need strings to climb on with their delicate tendrils. We buy sugar snap seeds from Botanical Interests).

Someone eats a lot of peas as he is harvesting. Someone's mother doesn't mind at all.

Someone eats a lot of peas as he is harvesting. Someone’s mother doesn’t mind at all.

He collected peas between World Cup matches today and then we spent a companionable half hour shelling the peas and eating many of them as we watched Costa Rica play Greece in the World Cup and I put the water to boil. At halftime I made dinner to eat during the second half.

Quite a haul! We can freeze what we don't use. But we'll use it all before that happens.

Quite a haul! We can freeze what we don’t use. But we’ll use it all before that happens.

So the following Pasta with Chorizo and Peas  is a new recipe and below that you’ll find links to some of our perennial favorites: Spanish tortillas and Italian pastas. This recipe uses only the peas, but the pods are edible. I sliced the pea pods into my salad, as he doesn’t like those and I find them wonderfully crunchy and sweet.

Rich flavor that doesn't overwhelm the peas.

Rich flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the peas.

Continue reading

Summer Tomato Recipe (or just chop fresh tomatoes over warm pasta and you’re done!)

16 Oct

We won’t be eating this light and fresh summer way much longer.

The little man and I pulled out the tomato plants today. They could have stayed in a bit longer and we might have had a few more vine-ripened tomatoes, but he took off all the little greenies (“39, Mom! I picked 39 tomatoes!”), holding up his shirt hem to make an impromptu bag for them, while I folded the netting (okay, attempted to fold the netting and then just balled it all up because it was making me crazy) and then he pulled out all the plants (about ten) I threw them in the leaf compost and we called it an afternoon. After a summer of garden disasters, the pounds and pounds of tomatoes we got from our ten plants was a true joy. And I have several quarts of sauce and puree in the freezer for later!

Light and beautiful, any kind of tomatoes will do, as long as they are garden fresh!

Light and beautiful, any kind of tomatoes will do, as long as they are garden fresh!

My dad (he of the crazy-ass mostly vegan diet) just had surgery for bladder cancer last week, so we’ve been very, very busy with other things, not least of which is preparing food for everyone so that we all continue to eat well and keep up our strength while we work on his recuperation and everything else (like work — fullltime and freelance — and school and soccer and violin — and on and on). So yes, the healing and kitchen are going great guns, but the writing is not.

So this is not even a recipe, but a solution. Boil pasta in generously salted water and drain, reserving 1/4 Cup of pasta water.. Chop up fresh tomatoes and toss them into the pasta with a splash of olive oil, a splash of pasta water, a couple of basil leaves if you’ve got and maybe some finely minced garlic. Serve with grated cheese/a sprinkle of salt, Or not. Eat. Move on to the next thing and try not to mourn the end of the summer tomatoes. Save your seeds and plant more next year!

From my garden. I love this moment of the harvest season, when you realize it's almost over and therefore appreciate these flavors that much more.

From my garden. I love this moment of the harvest season, when you realize it’s almost over and therefore appreciate these flavors that much more.

Provenςal Vegetable Tian (a magnificent summer vegetable send-off!)

12 Oct

It was a recipe I’d been saving for just such a moment. It was stuck to the fridge with a magnet, getting spotty with splashes and splatters from the sink, wrinkly from the vapors of steaming pots and sizzling pans.

The olives provide proper punctuation to the vegetables.

The olives provide proper punctuation to the vegetables.

It was one of those tear-out recipe cards from a Martha Stewart magazine, so of course the picture was luscious and perfect in that casual, unstudied, flooded with natural light, Hamptons kind of way that makes you want to chuck out all your furniture and start over with a fresh new color scheme that changes with every season so that your perfect children are filled with wonder and delight every time they come back from their posh boarding school for a long weekend with their equally perfect friends.

Ergo, when the moment came and I had my opportunity to emulate those graceful denizens of the airy heights of impeccable style in my own small way, well of course I had to seize it!

From my garden. I love this moment of the harvest season, when you realize it's almost over and therefore appreciate these flavors that much more.

From my garden. I love this moment of the harvest season, when you realize it’s almost over and therefore appreciate these flavors that much more.

Piles of late summer vegetables were languishing (I think this new world of mine needs to “languish” a lot, don’t you?) on the counter, in need of some using. And as it happens, they were just the vegetables I needed for that bloody vegetable tian Martha recipe that has been languishing on my fridge for two years like an accusation. And as it happens, the recipe was pretty easy, as long as you are somewhat competent with a knife. It didn’t require anything odd or fashionable. Continue reading

How to Blanch, Blend and Freeze Paste Tomatoes for Raw Sauce

14 Sep

Yay! Home-grown paste tomatoes!

Don't they look lovely? My paste tomatoes (from seeds saved from Restoration Farm)

Don’t they look lovely? My paste tomatoes (from seeds saved from Restoration Farm)

Boo! Not enough time or energy to make paste!

 

Pull them out of the water as soon as they split

Pull them out of the water as soon as they split

Yay! Shortcut!

We’ve finally got some joy out of our backyard garden. Three raised beds (the fourth strawberry one doesn’t count because it is not expected to produce in the first year) and all we got was garlic, decent peas, decent lettuce, some kale, ONE zucchini…and a lot of failed everything else.

Live action! Padushi uses hi immersion blender to finish the job

Live action! Padushi uses his immersion blender to finish the job

Therefore I am inordinately happy about the fact that I have harvested a couple of pounds of paste tomatoes, with more greenies getting pink on the vine.

So…here’s the easy way to deal with the ones we’ve picked on a Thursday night, near collapse from the workweek and doing a million other things at the same time. Didn’t bother cooking them down. The raw fresh taste will still be there in the winter!

FREEZE! or use immediately....

FREEZE! or use immediately….

Raw Pureed Paste Tomatoes for Freezing

1) Get a big pot of water on the boil.

2) Get a bowl of ice water ready.

3) rinse the tomatoes (if you must).

4) drop tomatoes in the boiling water.

5) as they split, pluck them out and plunge (I love the word plunge) them into the ice water,

6) when they cool, pull the peels off.

7) chop, dice, or run through a mill or processor.

8) use or store or freeze.

DONE!

Quick Cook Clams on the Half Shell – Lighter and Healthier Mediterranean Style

23 May

Summers on Long Island have traditionally been lined with clams. From the big surf clam shells you collect at the beach and take home as keepsakes, ashtrays, tealight holders and that are the most likely clams in your fried clam strips, to the cherrystones you burn your back and cut up your feet feeling around for somewhere in the marshy areas between Massapequa and Jones Beach, to the baked clams that are a feature of virtually every family restaurant on the South Shore, the steamers (which we call piss clams) that you eat by the bucket dipping the clams in brine and butter (after removing that weird skin – best not to discuss it), washed down with golden beers on the fishing docks of Freeport’s Nautical Mile...yeah, clams are a part of life here, especially in the summer.

This is what they look like after steaming and before broiling.

This is what they look like after steaming and before broiling.

So never mind that the clams we used in this recipe were actually from Maryland (once again, thanks Ashley!), it still felt like a proper kick-off to the outdoor eating season to us.

This was a super easy recipe (especially because my dad was actually the one who did most of the work, while I fussed about with other things, like chilling the wine and getting my own Mussels Vinaigrette plated) and the results were phenomenal. Pedro being Pedro, he didn’t use butter, which would be traditional. Instead he used garlic-infused olive oil and I think the dish was much, much better for it. Very fresh, briny, and bracing, the way I like my seafood! Continue reading

Basic Home-Made Tomato Puree (freezeable!)

13 Sep

I have just done a listening exercise with my ESL students on The Marshmallow Test … a 1960s experiment that offered four-year-olds one marshmallow off the bat, but an additional marshmallow if they could just wait alone in a room for 15 minutes with that first marshmallow and not eat it.

Plunged into ice water and ready for processing into tomato sauce

Astonishingly the findings over time showed that kids who could delay gratification for longer times at four, were likely to be more successful socially, educationally and professionally when they grew up than the kids who couldn’t wait and sucked that first marshmallow down as soon as they were alone with it.

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Grilled Potato Disks (Like fries, only better!)

12 Jul

French fries are such a temptation, especially on the way back from the beach in the summer, when your mouth is salty, and the kids are encrusted with sand, and the sun is hot and you are tasting those carefree high school memories and suddenly you are driving past All-American Burger with all those crowds of similarly sand and salt encrusted summer folks lined up for their Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Fries…well, how could you not?

Well Pedro (yes, he of the crazy-ass diet) has come up with a worthy alternative that you can do on the grill at home. These grilled potato disks are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and just seasoned enough to not need much else. They are my mom’s new favorite; sort of French fries with virtue. Because they are so simple, they go with virtually anything on the regular summer grill menu – burgers, steaks, fish, corn. Love it!

Grilled Potato Disks (Like fries, only better!)

1 Tbs olive oil

½ tsp Adobo powder

3 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold preferred), peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

While the grill is heating up, in a bowl, stir adobo and olive oil together. Brush the potatoes with the oil mixture and lay on grill, reserving  extra oil. Using tongs , take potatoes off grill when they begin to brown, about five minutes (as they will be spread over the whole grill, you will need to judge hotter and colder parts and shift potatoes accordingly). Dip them in the oil mixture, shake excess off gently and lay them back on the grill for another five minutes or so, until nicely browned. Serve sprinkled with salt, with ketchup or with mayo-chipo-ketchup.

Stuff It! Another end-of-season tomato option

19 Sep

Yes, we are still harvesting tomatoes from both our backyard Earth Box and Restoration Farm, but not really in the overwhelming quantities that forced me to start making sauce and freezing. There are just enough to make something out of, but what? You know I’m not letting them go to waste….

So I happened upon a recipe for stuffed tomatoes, Murcia-style, from The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden in an e-letter from La Tienda (purveyors of Spanish food products) and I said – hey, I can do that with the beef I already have seasoned in the fridge! (recipe below). So I did. Fast, easy and quite gorgeous. My dad did the same with green peppers (we are getting loads of them from the farm) and they also came out beautifully tasty and eye-catching.

If you are avoiding carbs these kind of stuffed vegetables can be very satisfying….I would also like you to know that the tomatoes in these photos came from our little garden, and that I sent Leandro out to pick them his very own four-year-old farmer self and he came back arms full and very pleased. Whee-hee! But no, he still won’t eat tomatoes, so we still have a ways to go….

Stuffed tomatoes!

Murcia-inspired Stuffed Tomatoes

4 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 2 pounds) or several smaller ones. They need to be big enough to stand up to stuffing

Sprinkling of salt and sugar (optional)

1 Cup  Basic Seasoned Ground Beef (recipe below) or your preferred seasoned ground beef or pork

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut a small slice off the stem end of each tomato to use as lids (leave the stems and leaves on for rustic good-looks). Take a thin slice off the bottom of each to give stability when you stand them up. Shave the inside of the lids to leave more room for the stuffing. Remove pulp and seeds with a pointed teaspoon and reserve. You may sprinkle the insides of the tomato with salt/sugar to season slightly, if desired.

Heat the beef in a skillet with the reserved tomato seeds and pulp until just warm. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Stuff the tomatoes with the beef, pressing it in firmly, and cover with the lids.

Arrange the tomatoes in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft; remove them before they start to fall apart.

BASIC SEASONED GROUND BEEF (this is half of what I usually do to freeze. To do 3 lbs. at a time, double everything)

2 Tbs extra virigin olive oil

1 baseball sized onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced (go for more if you like – I do!)

1.5 lbs. ground beef

(Optional1/4-1/2 C. chopped red pepper fresh or roasted from a jar)

1/2 tsp adobo powder* (if desired – I generally don’t use it, but some people love the extra salt and the umami)

1 heaping Tbs capers, drained

10 manzanilla olives (pitted and stuffed with pimientos)

(optional 1/2 cup tomatoes from a can – diced, chopped, whatever or a spoonful of tomato paste you need to use up)

Heat oil on high in a large saucepan until thin and fragrant. Add onion and cook, stirring, for two minutes until well coated and getting translucent. Lower heat to fairly low and cook for five minutes, add garlic and cook for another minute. Raise heat to high and crumble in ground beef, stirring and breaking up frequently until fully-browned. Spoon out fat or pour off (don’t make it too dry!) into sink (carefully!).

Return to heat, add red pepper, optional adobo, capers, olives and optional tomato. Mix completely. Lower heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes until fat begins to separate from sauce. Serve or freeze.

 *instead of adobo powder, mix 1/4 tsp salt and 1 Tbs mixed chopped fresh herbs (oregano, rosemary, parsley) or 1 tsp dried

Two-fer Tuesday: Chickpea and Tahini II and Balsamic Dressing for Tomatoes

30 Aug

 

Sometimes it just takes a little change to make a big difference in flavor. Here are two quickie recipes — one a salad and one a dressing for those crazy seasonal tomatoes that you no longer know what to do with  — that are variations on stuff I do regularly, but with a new ingredient that updates it, keeps it from getting stale.

In the chickpea and tahini salad, I add ginger and soy sauce to my basic tahini dressing for a slightly Asian flavor. For the dressing, I use balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar as well as a dash of agave nectar; a little sweetness harmonizes with sweet seasonal tomatoes, but also mellows out their acidity.

These can be done in a flash and will complement any summer meal or be a light dinner in themselves with some crusty bread.

Chickpea and Tahini Salad II

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs tahini

1 tsp soy sauce

1 28oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs red onion (a quarter of a medium red onion), sliced thin

1 Tbs cilantro

1 tsp grated ginger

Mix or whisk lemon juice, tahini and soy sauce together in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well.

Balsamic dressing for tomatoes

1-2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar (I prefer less)

8 Tbs olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

½ tsp agave nectar

Salt to taste (start with a pinch – 1/8 tsp and work from there)

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and pour over tomatoes in whatever quantity you like. Sliced red onion goes very well. You can serve with mozzarella and basil as a caprese salad, or over pasta for a summer buffet dish, hot or cold. Dip crusty bread into the liquid….

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