Posts tagged ‘tomato’

Summer vegetable orzo

Our freezer always has tons of little odds and ends that I couldn’t bear to throw out. Problem is, I often forget what’s in there or can’t figure out a use for it, like the five or so egg yolks that were leftover from some baking project. Finally, though, the three tablespoons of pesto (from a batch I made at the height of summer), got put to good use in this vegetable orzo. With red pepper, tomatoes, zucchini and fresh mozzarella, it captures the flavors of summer, just as we head into fall.

Summer Vegetable Orzo, adapted from epicurious

8 ounces orzo (about 1 1/3 cups)
5 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 9 ounces total), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 red or yellow bell pepper, quartered
3 tablespoons pesto
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 heirloom tomatoes (8 to 10 ounces total), cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.
Whisk 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar in small bowl. Brush zucchini and bell pepper with oil mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto, lime juice, 3 1/2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl for pesto vinaigrette.
Broil zucchini and bell pepper until crisptender, about 8 minutes per side (Alternatively, these can be grilled). Transfer to work surface and let cool. Chop zucchini and bell pepper; add to bowl with orzo. Add vinaigrette, tomatoes, sliced basil, and mozzarella; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve cold or at room temperature.


September 23, 2008 at 8:45 pm Leave a comment

Clean out the fridge pasta

Law school has started and every student group is having its initial meetings this week. To get us there, organizers promise free food, which means that over two days I’ve eaten pizza three times. Right now I feel like I’d be happy if I never had pizza from a cardboard box again. So tonight I was determined to come home and cook a real meal. We had all sorts of random stuff that I wanted to use up, so I found a pasta recipe that would cover the bacon, cheese and sour cream we had on hand. To that I added zucchini, tomato, a shallot and some spices. It was like an amped-up macaroni and cheese, and it was delicious! I’m already looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

6 slices bacon
1 shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, cubed in 1/2-inch pieces
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 box (14.5-16 oz.) elbow noodles

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
3/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook bacon in large skillet until crispy. Remove to plate lined with paper towels and drain. Remove some grease from skillet to leave about 1-2 tbl. Saute shallots and garlic briefly, then add zucchini. Saute about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes and remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.
To make sauce, combine sour cream, butter, wine or broth and spices and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in cheeses until smooth. Toss together pasta and vegetables, then toss with sauce.

September 11, 2008 at 10:23 pm Leave a comment

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

Southwestern chicken burritos

Last week, I bought something not on the list for lunch emergencies, an Amy’s burrito. Love those things. So when we had some leftover chicken at the end of the week, I realized we had everything on hand to create our own burritos cheaply and with mostly all organic ingredients. Now, when we’re out of leftovers, we can still have a healthy, easy meal to take to work.

Southwestern Chicken Burritos

3/4 cup brown rice, dry
1 large tomato or 2 medium
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp McCormick’s Spicy Seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 medium potatoes, peeled if not organic, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 ear corn, kernels cut off
1 can black beans or mixed blend, rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cup diced chicken
3/4 cup shredded cheese (we used Mexican blend)
8-9 flour tortillas, burrito size

Cook rice according to directions. Bring separate pot of water to boil. Score tomato and cut out stem and drop into boiling water for 60 seconds. Remove and run under cool water. Peel skin, squeeze tomato over garbage to expel most of the seeds. Finely chop and put in medium skillet. Add chicken broth and seasonings and cook until liquid has reduced slightly and thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, in remaining boiling water, cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.
Add corn to tomato sauce as it cooks. When potatoes and sauce are done, mix chicken, rice, potatoes, corn, beans and sauce in large bowl. Taste for seasoning. Let cool slightly.
Mound about 1 1/2 cups filling in each tortilla, then sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up and place in glass dish. Cook at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until tortillas brown slightly. Let cool and then roll up in foil.

July 27, 2008 at 1:20 pm 1 comment

Shrimp with tomatoes

We love shrimp but rarely buy it. First, it can be a little pricey. But more important, it’s almost always farm-raised in Asia, which makes me a little uncomfortable. With all the news of China’s food imports in the past few years, I’ve been hesitant to buy food from overseas, notwithstanding the fact that we’re trying to eat more local anyway. A recent article here in the local paper confirmed my fears. Basically there’s all sorts of nasty things that can be pumped into or absorbed by the shrimp raised far from government regulation. So I thought I might never eat shrimp again, until we made a recent visit to a huge international farmers market just east of Atlanta. Lo and behold, it had shrimp wild caught in the Atlantic, from Georgia, no less. And at less than $6 a pound, a worthy splurge.

I picked this recipe to also use some feta we had bought for another recipe, but my husband didn’t really like the tangy flavor on top of everything else. I was on the fence, but would be perfectly happy eating it sans cheese.

Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta, adapted from allrecipes

1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp pickled chopped jalepenos, or 1 to 2 fresh (assuming you can assure they’re salmonella free)
2-3 ripe tomatoes (depending on size), chopped
ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, or tsp dry
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
2 cups cooked yellow rice

In a large saute pan, toss the shrimp with the olive oil. Cook over medium heat until shrimp become pink. Season with salt and pepper and remove to a plate. In same pan, saute the chopped garlic in olive oil until golden. Add green onion and jalapeno peppers; saute about 3 minutes. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and stir in the parsley. Reduce heat. Add shrimp back to pan.
To serve, ladle shrimp and tomatoes over yellow rice. Crumble the feta cheese over the shrimp.

July 22, 2008 at 1:24 pm Leave a 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

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

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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