Posts tagged ‘basil’

Heirloom tomato salad

If you don’t like raw tomatoes, you might as well stop reading here. It’s a shame to miss out on a perfect summer dish, but I understand it’s a pretty common aversion. This month’s Cooking Light had a feature on heirloom tomatoes, and the greens, yellows, oranges and reds were just beautiful. I’d never actually bought any tomatoes that weren’t red before, so I was delighted that our CSA farmer had some yellow heirlooms (he told us the name, but I can’t remember), as well as some cherry tomatoes to go with the usual reds. So pretty! I balked at buying three types of fresh herbs and skipped the mint, but next time I think I’ll skip the parsley instead.

Heirloom Tomato Salad, Cooking Light

2 cups assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
2 pounds assorted beefsteak heirloom tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 (1/2-ounce) slices sourdough bread, toasted or grilled

1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle tomato mixture with salt and pepper; toss gently. Serve with bread.


July 30, 2008 at 5:45 pm 1 comment

Working with fresh tomatoes

We picked up some sausage last week from the farmer who runs our CSA, and I was actually stumped as to how to use it. Lately we’ve been eating a lot of vegetarian meals, picking things based on the vegetables we get for the week. So I hunted through the sausage recipes on and found a wonderful pasta dish. (I really should cut back on the pasta. Maybe next week.) It called for a 28 oz. can of pureed tomatoes, but I wanted to use fresh instead. Preparing them seemed like it would be a lot of work, but it really wasn’t so bad. Since it was a learning experience for me, I’m sharing a little primer here.

First, start a large pot of boiling water. Also, fill a bowl with cold water and throw in some ice cubes. Cut out the stem of four tomatoes (for the recipe below) and slice off the bottom. Then score each with a knife, top to bottom, and around the sides.

Then, drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and let them sit for about 60 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove them, and plunge them into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. You will see the skins have loosened.

Once cool, peel off the skin, slice each tomato into fourths and scoop out all the seeds. I just stuck my fingers into the crevices and pulled them out. I felt like I was back in biology class dissecting a pig.

Since I wanted them pureed, I stuck them in the food processor and ran it until no big chunks were left. And that was it. Once we get more tomatoes in, I hope to make a big batch of sauce this way. That’s one way to prolong the summer!

Now, where those tomatoes ended up:

Click below for the recipe


July 19, 2008 at 2:06 pm Leave a comment

Pasta with pesto, potatoes and green beans

I always knew I liked pesto, but don’t believe I’d ever actually made it myself (not sure why!). Now that I have, I think I’d be more accurate to say I love it. And I was also in love with this dish, since it combined my two favorite starches with crisp-tender green (actually yellow) beans. Since my beans were yellow, there wasn’t much color in the finished product, but its interest was definitely heightened by the cool spiral-shaped whole wheat radiatore I got at an international farmer’s market. You could use any short pasta, though, of course. The pesto in the dish was reserved from the batch I made the other night to use in the tomato tart. I’m all about making cooking prep easy. Since it didn’t have Parmesan cheese in it like most pestos do, I added some to the finished dish.

Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans, adapted from Great Food Fast

3 small potatoes, mix of yellow and red, peeled if not organic
Salt and pepper
8 oz. short pasta
8 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, if missing from pesto

Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes; place in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; return to a boil and cook until pasta is al dente, according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, steam green beans until crisp-tender, 8-10 minutes in steamer basket over simmering water.
Drain potatoes and pasta when done. Mix in beans. Toss with pesto and cheese; season with salt and pepper.

July 16, 2008 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Tomato tart

Tomato season is going strong here in Georgia, and we got just one short of a dozen in our CSA box this week. 

We were half gone on watermelon lemonade by the time we sat down to eat, but we thought this tomato tart was Amazing. It’s very similar to a caprese salad, but I served it hot instead of cold. I’m sure it would be delicious either way. You can’t really go wrong with a homemade pastry shell, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and ripe, red tomatoes. I love summer!

Click below for recipe


July 13, 2008 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

Recent Posts

Weekly menu

-Sesame chicken
-Black bean burgers with sweet potato fries
-Salad with hot bacon dressing and corn on the cob
-Tomato and bacon frittata