mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: tomatoes

‘stone soup’ for lunch! . . .

stone-soup

It’s gotten a little chilly out so instead of making a salad for lunch, I decided to put together a soup from whatever I happened to have on hand in the fridge and pantry. I call this “stone soup” like the folk tale about French soldiers who stirred up a big kettle of water and put some clean “magical” stones in it. Soon, curious villagers began to contribute to the “broth”: vegetables from the root cellar, grains from the barn, sides of beef until there was a hearty soup to be shared by everyone.

This soup is somewhat like that: I found a small piece of onion and zucchini in the vegetable bin which I chopped up along with half a carrot. There were a couple of still fresh broccoli florets in a pack that was ready to be thrown out. Into the pot they went along with a can of DelMonte diced tomatoes and a Knorr beef broth packet. Added water and it looked pretty thin. Poured in a handful of raditiore pasta, the crinkled, pretty pasta that quickly expanded as it cooked.

And what do you know? I soon had a soup that looked and tasted like a true minestrone soup for lunch! Nice to have a warm bowl on a chilly Fall day.

 

tomatoes! . . .

 

 

 

 

 

tomatoes-3G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!!!! (enough said!)

tomatoes-2

 

 

8-hour tomatoes . . .

3 hours so far in the oven . . . .

3 hours so far in the oven . . . .

Eight Hour Tomatoes . . .

Looking through one of the “Kinfolk” volumes, I came across a recipe for cooking tomatoes meant for “darn good sandwiches.” I have a few of the Kinfolk volumes and while some might view them as precious in the way that photographs are taken and articles written, it’s that very earnestness that wins me over. I love looking at them.

Anyhow, these sandwiches were composed (that’s the only word for it) of grilled/toasted hearty peasant bread brushed with olive oil and toasted on a heated grill pan until dark striations appeared on the toast. The inside ingredients included thick slices of cooked bacon and a fried egg, frisee lettuce coated in ranchy dressing and these 8-hour tomatoes.

My idea was to modify the sandwich recipe a bit, using Dietz and Watson thick-sliced turkey bacon which I already have for my breakfasts, no egg (too gooey) and lettuces instead of frisee. Have the creme fraiche vinaigrette that I used last night to dress the lettuce.

As the acid content from tomatoes can sometimes result in disagreeable reactions (mouth canker sores, for example) I thought that cooking them this way might reduce that troublesome aspect. Even if it doesn’t, with the August surfeit of luscious tomatoes approaching at local farm stands, this recipe’s an experiment worth trying. Leftover tomatoes are stored in a layer of olive oil and taken out when needed.

Preparation: use a fresh, ripe home grown or farm fresh tomato. Slice in half and then each half into 1/4 inch slices. Brush with olive oil. Cut up fresh garlic into bits and sprinkle on the tomatoes, along with sea salt and coarse pepper. Pick some fresh sprigs of thyme and strip the leaves, sprinkling them on the tomatoes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and roast the tomatoes for ten minutes. Turn the oven off and without opening the door, leave the tomatoes in the oven for eight hours. Refrain from peeking at them with the door open. Yep, that’s right. At first I thought I would make them overnight. But, on second thought, waited until the morning because when the eight hours are up, it’ll be time for supper.

Tonight’s supper will be filet of sole with meyer lemon, the rest of the patty pan squash that we had last night and these tomatoes. And for lunch sometime, how about spreading whole-milk ricotta on grilled bread with tomatoes, coarse pepper and fresh basil on top?

8 hour tomatoes 2

Postscript: We ate these tomatoes along with the sole and summer squash. They were flavorful from the garlic and the thyme, but the most memorable taste was a deep sweetness emanating from the tomato flesh itself. I think it’s from curing in the heated oven after it was turned off. Will definitely make again with bigger tomatoes – for that fresh ricotta on grilled bread sandwich on my wishlist!

pasta plus . . .

pasta plus closeupTonight, I prepared a new dish for supper which I thought would be easy to make. I had bought some summer yellow squash and some gorgeous tomatoes plus fresh egg pasta at Idylwylde Farm that I thought might be nice to make a meal together.

It took a lot longer than I had thought to prepare:

a. peel and cut the squash lengthwise, then diagonally in bite size pieces
b. rinse rectangular grill pan and heat on a rack about six inches from the broiler
c. mix with my hands the chopped squash with three cloves chopped garlic, grapeseed oil, a little Lawry’s garlic salt, sea salt and coarse pepper
d. spray heated grill pan with vegetable oil; spread squash out on the grill pan and broil until golden brown (about 15 minutes)
e. cut up a large fresh tomato in small wedges
f. after removing the squash, spray again and spread out the cut tomato pieces; sprinkle tomatoes lightly with a little sugar to caramelize and brown under the broiler (about 10 minutes.)
g. In a nice serving bowl, spoon the squash on the bottom and add the broiled tomatoes on top. Cut up some fresh basil leaves and scatter on top.

ALFREDO PASTA:
a. Boil salted water and add fresh pasta after pulling it apart before dropping it into the pot; cook for about 3-4 minutes tasting at intervals until it is soft enough and also slightly al dente
b. In a separate saucepan, melt three quarters of a stick of unsalted butter; saute 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic; when golden, add a small container of cream and heat gently. Add fresh or freeze-dried parsley
c. Vitamix a chunk of parmesan reggiano cheese; add a half cup of the grated cheese to the cream, stir gently to mix and take off the burner.
d. Drain cooked pasta well, do not rinse in cold water, just shake it a few times in a colander to extract the water. Run a knife through the cooked pasta to make the strands more manageable. In a clean large bowl, pour the parmesan cream mixture. Add the hot drained pasta and mix well with the parmesan alfredo cream.

On dinner plates, serve some of the alfredo pasta in a circle; add grilled vegetables on top, sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves on top.

The dish was surprisingly tender and full of flavor. It made a big difference to dry roast the vegetables rather than cooking them in a skillet.

I have to warn you that I got a little cranky with all the broiling (once for the squash, another for the tomato); making the alfredo sauce while testing the pasta for doneness. While I was cooking in the warm kitchen, it reminded me how much simpler my cooking has become (at least most of the time!)

But it was a nice change of pace and I have to tell you, it tasted really good! Yum!
pasta 3