Tag Archives: tomatoes

Everyday Life: Week 29

Here’s a little look at week twenty-nine in photographs:

Our first small handful of homegrown tomatoes!

We cut down our crab apple tree this week. Suddenly our backyard has a LOT of sunlight during the day.

Percy and the beanstalk.

We’ve had quite a bit of zucchini this summer and I’ve been experimenting with zucchini noodles!

This is the look of four in the morning from our bed.

‘Tis the season.

Also in our garden right now!

Frenemies.

Our refrigerator died on Tuesday. For three nights we ate some weird meals… This one was a hot dog bun topped with two Trader Joe’s meatless chicken sausages (split in half). Then topped with sauerkraut, cheddar cheese, dill relish, ketchup and mustard. Surprisingly tasty.

Salad!

Surprise rainbow while watering tomatoes.

Anaheim and jalapeno pepper mac and cheese.

Garden pretties.

Tomatoes cooking in a saffron infused olive oil…

To make this bonkers delicious tomato confit pasta!

We finally got our fridge working after four days. Lost most of the stuff in our freezer…except liquor, veggie burgers and vegetarian sausages. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

What do YOU wake up to in the morning? Bwahaha.

Meatless Monday: Raw Green Bean Salad with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Feta

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Even as a child (because I was  weird one!) green beans were one of my favorite vegetables! Granted, those green beans also often accompanied a frozen package of corn, peas, and oddly square-shaped carrots.

Last growing season I accidentally planted a couple bush bean plants instead of the pole beans I really wanted to grow. We didn’t have much of a harvest. This year, I planted some pole beans and anticipated a poor grow-season. However, we’ve been bombarded with a frequently consistent crop of green beans.

This salad is easy to throw together, flavorful and tastes great as a side dish or main dish.

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Raw Green Bean Salad with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Feta

Ingredients:

For the tomatoes:
1 pound Roma tomatoes, cut into rounds 1/4-inch thick
1/2 pound grape tomatoes, cut in half
good quality olive oil for drizzling, about 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the salad:
2 cups fresh green beans, cleaned* and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1/4 cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper, to taste

  • To clean the beans, simply wash them and snap off the ends, removing the tough string if one is present.

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Directions:

Prepare the tomatoes:  Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Arrange 2 oven racks to the middle and bottom positions of your oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheets. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 3 hours, until tomatoes are soft and shriveled. Rotate the sheets among the racks every 45 minutes or so, to cook the tomatoes evenly. Cool tomatoes until they’re comfortable to handle.

Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, vinegar and minced garlic until completely combined.

Prepare the salad: In a large bowl, combine the cut beans, roasted tomatoes (as many of them as you want; the rest can be stored in a small glass jar filled with olive oil) and feta. Pour the oil and vinegar mixture over the beans along with some salt and pepper, then gently toss until everything is well coated. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, up to a few hours, before serving.

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Tomato and Herb Pizza

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Sometimes it seems unfortunate to me, that during this time of year, when the produce is at its peak, plentiful in the garden or markets, and completely versatile as far as what’s available, there are many summer days where the last thing I want to do is cook anything. Or turn on any heat in the house. Or think about how cooking means a buttload of dishes that will stretch from one side of the kitchen to the other, begging to be washed afterwards.

But then there are other days where the vastness of what’s fresh and available to me is a complete inspiration. I planted fewer tomatoes this year than I have for the last couple years, but included various types I’ve never grown before. All that we’ve had ripen so far are golden grape tomatoes, which have been sweet, pretty to look at, and perfect for snacking on straight out of the garden. There are lots of cherry tomatoes available, too, just not out of my backyard. I love the bold colors of the different tomato strains and when I picked up a pint of miscellaneous cherry tomatoes, a pizza that featured their pop of color immediately seemed to grab my attention.

I decided to forego any other sauce, with the intention of relying on the cherry tomatoes bursting in the oven, creating a sort of sauce of their own. This pizza is very simplistic, but the focus is on the fresh ingredients. You could serve this as a dinner pizza, or even as an appetizer, or accompaniment to some pasta.

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Cherry Tomato and Herb Pizza

Makes one 13×18-inch pizza.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
olive oil for pan

For the pizza:
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs of your liking (I used basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and tarragon)
1 8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

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Directions:

Prepare the dough: Stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in bowl. Add the water, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together until blended into a ball of dough (this should take no more than a few minutes).

Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. It may be slightly less than doubled in size.

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Pizza time!: Preheat your oven to 500° F. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Generously oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet with a good quality olive oil. Gently place a ball of dough on the pan, stretching and pressing it out toward the edges. If it springs back wait five minutes and then continue. The dough is very thin. If it tears, simply pinch it back together.

Arrange the halved tomatoes evenly on the dough, cut side up or down doesn’t matter. Sprinkle on the chopped garlic and herbs. Break the mozzarella up into small chunks and place those evenly over the pizza, too. Sprinkle on the parmesan and a slightly generous amount of salt and pepper.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are slightly charred. Cut the pizza into squares and serve.

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Tomato Potato Tart

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Having a good, flaky pastry crust in your recipe repertoire is a must. This is advice comes from the same girl who has made her fair share of crusts that shrink down from the all sides of the pan they’re supposed to line, or pastry crusts so tough and gummy simultaneously even the dogs won’t eat it… Crusts that mush down into the bottom of the pan, soggy oily messes of butter and flour and heat. Yes, yes. Kitchen fails happen. Luckily I haven’t had a pastry crust fail with the following recipe. I’ve tweaked it many times to incorporate it into sweet desserts, or savory pies and tarts. Keeping your butter cold is essential, as it keeps the crust from breaking down too quickly once it moves into the oven.

This tart was a dinner experiment, created as a means of using up some tomatoes out of our garden. I contemplated doing the tart as a side dish, but when laziness hit and I decided I wanted less dishes and a more filling dinner-style tart, I threw potatoes into the equation. Perhaps potatoes and tomatoes sounds like a funny combination (or maybe it’s just fun to say potato-tomato over and over again). But the ‘taters in this tart add some bulk and create a more substantial savory meal.

The ingredients are simple and straightforward, the focus primarily on the fresh tomatoes that are so delicious this time of year. The freshness of the ingredients here makes this a refreshing dinner choice.

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Tomato Potato Tart

Yields two tarts: one 13 ¾” x 4 ½” x 1″ rectangular and one 9″ round tart.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
½ teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano
1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
1 stick cold, unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

For the tart filling:
3 to 4 ripe, heirloom tomatoes
2 large yukon gold potatoes
½ cup freshly chopped herbs (I used basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley like in the dough)
½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
1 cup havarti cheese, shredded
4 teaspoons stone ground mustard
salt and fresh ground black pepper

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Directions:

Prepare the dough:  combine the flour, sugar, salt, parsley, thyme, oregano and basil in a large bowl. Mix to thoroughly combine. Cut in the butter and shortening, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the ice water, adding six tablespoons at first, working the dough into a slightly moist ball. If you need more water to get the dough into a ball (versus a crumbly mess) add the additional water, one tablespoon at a time. Cover and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes.

Prepare the tart filling: Place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with generously salted water. Bring the potatoes to boiling and cook until fork-tender (12-15 minutes). Drain the water and cool the potatoes to room temperature. Once the potatoes have cooled, slice them into rounds about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.

Remove the stem and pit of each tomato. Slice the tomatoes into rounds that are about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels (or a dish cloth, coffee filters, etc.). Add another layer of paper towels or another dish cloth over the tomatoes and press gently, to remove some of the excess liquid.

Mix together the smoked mozzarella, fontina, and havarti cheeses. Set aside. Mix together the fresh herbs and red chili flakes. Set aside.

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Prepare your tarts: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil two tart pans. Lightly flour a flat surface to roll the dough. Split the dough into two equal portions. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick, large enough to fill the tart pan with a little overhang. Press the dough into your prepared pan, working it up the sides evenly as well. Pierce the dough with a fork 6-8 times. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Remove the tart crusts from the oven. Brush the bottom of each tart with two teaspoons of mustard. Sprinkle on a quarter of the shredded cheese evenly between the two crusts. Next, add a layer of potatoes to each tart, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle the potatoes with a quarter of the fresh herbs, some salt and pepper, then another quarter of the remaining cheese. Add a layer of tomatoes, overlapping slightly, followed by the more herbs and cheese, then a layer of potatoes, cheese, herbs, tomatoes, herbs. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the tomatoes are slightly crisp along the edges and very fragrant.

Allow the tart to cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Refrigerate leftovers (and heat in the toaster for best eating later!).

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Vegetarian Lentil Chili

‘Tis the season for the comfort of one pot meals. If I owned a crock pot, I imagine it would get a lot of use right about now. Honestly I don’t know where the transition was that happened between summer and full-blown fall time. The windshield glass of our car was frosted over the other morning. Today my husband turned the heat on in our house. Winter’s coming… truthfully, I don’t mind.

Stews, chilies, casseroles – it’s what I think of once the weather gets cooler. The beauty of a lentil-based chili is that it requires no previous soaking, unlike dried beans. You can throw it together with much less planning (which, sometimes, is entirely necessary). The following recipe is a very straightforward, easy, vegetarian chili. While the ingredient list may seem long, there’s nothing complicated about it.

 

Vegetarian Lentil Chili

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. oil
1 large white onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. red chili pepper flakes
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp. chili powder
2½ tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups red lentils
2- 14.5 oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid (or fresh if you prefer!)
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
½ tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1 bay leaf
5 cups broth
salt and pepper


Directions

In a large stock pot, sauté the diced onion, minced garlic, and chili pepper flakes in the oil, until the onion is translucent (5-7 minutes). Add the green bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and cocoa powder. Cook over medium-high heat until the bell pepper softens (5-6 minutes).

Add the lentils, tomatoes, fresh oregano, liquid smoke, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, bay leaf, and broth. Stir to combine everything well. Add salt and pepper to your liking (keeping in mind you can always add more once the chili has cooked for a while – the broth will add some saltiness and the flavors will come together more distinctly as the chili cooks). Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Check the broth level of the chili occasionally while it cooks, adding more broth as needed (or water). Uncover the pot and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper to your liking.

Serve hot with toppings such as sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, minced parsley or cilantro.