Tag Archives: sun-dried tomatoes

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Dip (Barefoot Contessa Lightened Up Just a Bit!)

24 Jan

Recently my editors at Edible Long Island asked what we contributors were doing to eat local in the middle of winter.

Hmmm. Embarrassingly, I am not doing enough. Except drinking Long Island wine and using up the home-grown tomatoes, and CSA peppers, garlic scapes, and berries I froze this past summer when the getting was good. I must do better next year!

This will make an impact at your next party

This will make an impact at your next party

But, I am reading about cooking local…my godson, Sean, who understands me better than most, got me Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook with a forward by Martha Stewart for Christmas. For those who don’t know, The Barefoot Contessa is a specialty food store in East Hampton, Long Island, owned by Ina Garten, a former White House nuclear policy analyst and now Emmy-winning Food Network host. She is very charming, very Hamptons, and that makes her very local to me! Bonus, Martha Stewart also has a home in East Hampton, which makes her local too, at least part of the year.

Anyhoo, I do like Ina Garten and her relaxed style. She’s forever cooking up special treats for her beloved husband, Jeffrey, who seems to enjoy it very much. And since Super Bowl is coming up and that means a lot of entertaining, I adapted one of her signature recipes from the book to what I had in my fridge to see what happened.

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Feta, Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato Snacks — Use ‘Em While Ya Got ‘Em!

30 Jan

I’m in a Use-It-Up frenzy at the moment; bought more fresh food than Leandro and I could consume during a week in which we were unexpectedly invited to dinner at other people’s houses and even if I could afford the waste, I have a really hard time throwing out food.

(For more on the food we throw away  visit Jonathan Bloom at Wasted Food; or the E.P.A. — where you’ll find out that Americans generate 34 million tons of food waste each year; or this NYTimes article from 2008 which says “As it turns out, Americans waste an astounding amount of food — an estimated 27 percent of the food available for consumption, according to a government study” ).

So, no real recipe today, but a serving suggestion of flavors and textures that worked well in a “scrappy” snack…horrid pun intended.

I took half an avocado left over from the previous day, some slices of feta that needed using up, and some sun-dried tomatoes in oil that have been lurking in my fridge. I just sliced fairly thin, laid them on woven wheat crackers and called it a light lunch.

It was delicious and satisfying and effectively utilized my natural resources! Pretty too, don’tcha think?

 

Roasted Eggplant, Feta and Sundried Tomato Sandwich

23 Feb

Roasted eggplant and friends on whole wheat English muffin. Don't worry about the verticality; it smushes down to a reasonable, biteable size.

Take Back the Lunch (a poem)

There are those who enjoy

spending money they don’t have,

to wait with time they don’t have,

for a food order that they don’t really love,

cooked by people who don’t love them,

to choke down

during what remains of their precious lunch hour.

I am not one of those.

Are you?

Yeah your takeaway order may be tasty and juicy, but do you really know what you’re eating?

Yeah, a $6.99 lunch special may seem like a good deal, but does it tell you how special and important you are, the way a home-cooked meal does? Of course not.

So at least once this week, try to make yourself a home-cooked lunch that gives you a nutritional hug (or make enough of it for dinner that you have leftovers the next day).

I make this pretty often in winter; it’s a cross between an antipasto and a sandwich and is pretty cheap! I am admittedly not great at crunching numbers, but if I get a pound of eggplant at $3; a 1/2 lb. of feta at $1.80 (Costco bulk); and 8 sundried tomatoes at Fairway for about $2 – I’ve paid about $7 total (plus a bit for side stuff) and then I make four meals for myself out of it…well you do the numbers and tell me it doesn’t beat the bejesus out of the steak and broccoli lunch special at Asian Kitchen…

So please, please, please…show yourself some love and try this really, really, really easy and delicious sandwich/wrap thing really soon. You can skip the bread if you are watching carbs!

Roasted Eggplant  with Feta and Sundried tomatoes

1 lb eggplant (or two if you want to make extra for the week), wiped clean and sliced into ¼ inch rounds*

2 Tbsp olive oil per pound eggplant

8 oz feta cheese, sliced fairly thin

8-10 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. Drain slightly and slice into thin strips

(optional – if your sundried tomatoes don’t come with seasonings, use a tsp or more of dried herbs – oregano, basil, thyme, or other Mediterranean flavors are best)

Wrap-style bread, pitas or hearty thick toasted bread slices

Preheat oven to 350°. Dip eggplant into (or brush with) olive oil until well-coated. Lay eggplant as flat as possible in oven dishes and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until eggplant is tender (I consider this a craft that is best learned by experience. Fortunately for me, I like my eggplant slightly browned, ‘cause I always seem to cook the hell out of it before it’s truly done. Don’t worry about a bit of overcooking.)

When the eggplant is done, place a layer of rounds on your chosen bread. Top with feta and sundried tomatoes (and herbs, if desired). Roll up, if using a wrap-style bread. Toast for a few minutes in a toaster oven or under the broiler and serve (reheats well with a blast in the office microwave).

*Notes: if you have time, sprinkle the slices with a pinch or two of salt, put in a colander and put a weighted bowl on top to squeeze out extra moisture – it becomes less absorbent that way – 15-30 minutes. This step is not really necessary with really tight-skinned, firm, fresh eggplant).

I do a lot of eggplant at a time and either eat it this way all week, or strip the rounds of peel and stir into hummous or just eat it out of the fridge when I need a snack. Can be chopped and added to red sauce for pasta! You can also substitute other roasted veg.

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