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Posts Tagged ‘Tomato’

th8BF3NOE5These tender little guys are just screaming for a spot on your dinner plate! Today I’ll show you TWO ways to prepare them.

#1.  BOILED OKRA

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Boiled baby okra with onion and fresh tomato!

WHAT YOU NEED:

fat to sauté onion (I used bacon)

onion

fresh tomato

okra

salt & pepper

Sauté  chopped onion in the bacon fat. I used about 2 tsp. of fat and half of a red onion.

When onion is translucent, add chopped tomatoes and stir. Season with salt and pepper.

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Add okra. My CSA portion was right at a pound. I did cut off some of the upper stem. Stir to coat okra with other ingredients and then add ½-1 cup of water. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer about 6 minutes. Check for tenderness. Mine were done in about 7 minutes.

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That’s it! Easy and delicious! This is how I prepare baby okra, but if I have larger pods that I slice, I use this recipe for Stewed Okra and Tomatoes. I use chicken broth in place of the chicken bouillon. I found the recipe to need more liquid, and the broth takes care of that.  

# 2.  FRIED OKRA

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Super crunchy fried okra “fingers!”

Hubby loves fried okra, but he doesn’t get it very often, for a couple of reasons: health (Hello!) and because I hate the smell of fried food in the house. I control these two reasons by limiting his intake of these deliciously crunchy wonders and by frying them outside on the patio.

I had two FRIED OKRA break-throughs last summer:  I found the absolute BEST recipe for fried okra – a Southern Living method that produces crunchy breading that stays ON the okra! The secret is cornstarch and a tiny bit of sugar. And, I read on a blog about okra “fingers.” I hate chasing little pieces of okra around a frying pan. This blogger sliced the pods length-ways and fried them up like that. Eureka! Okra fingers!

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Slice okra length-ways to create okra “fingers.”

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 lb. fresh okra

¾ cup buttermilk*

1 ½ cups self-rising white cornmeal mix *

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

Vegetable oil

*MAKE YOUR OWN self-rising cornmeal mix:

       1 ½ cups cornmeal

       2 Tbl. baking powder

       1 tsp. salt

       1/3 cup + 1 Tbl. cornstarch

*MAKE YOUR OWN BUTTERMILK: to one cup of warmed milk add ONE of the following, stir, and let stand 5-10 minutes:

1 Tbl. lemon juice

1 Tbl. vinegar

1 ¾ Tbl. cream of tartar

WHAT YOU DO:

Slice okra length-ways and add to buttermilk; I used a pie plate.

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okra soaking in buttermilk

Stir together cornmeal mix and next 3 ingredients in a separate pie plate.

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Remove okra from buttermilk, in batches, using a slotted spoon, and dredge in cornmeal mixture. Shake off excess, and put on plate until ready to fry.

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Dredge okra “fingers” in cornmeal mixture.

I use an electric skillet and vegetable oil heated to 375°. You could also use a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. I like to use the electric skillet so I can set up my frying station on the patio and keep the smell of fried food out of the house.

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Pretty view while frying okra!

Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden, turning once.  Just like shrimp, the okra will stop sizzling when the moisture has cooked out, signaling that it’s time to get out of the frying pan!

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Fry until golden brown!

Drain on paper towels. Salt lightly. Enjoy!

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My husband and I can always eat Mexican food! The past several years I’ve been creating new ways to get our Mexican fix without sacrificing our healthy way of eating. One thing I’ve been making a lot is slaw. We have been trying to incorporate as much raw food into our diet as possible, so a slaw packed with fresh raw veggies is a perfect meal. Who knew you could satisfy your Mexican craving while eating raw!

This is a great way to use all your different farm veggies. I diced up our farm tomatoes, mini peppers, purple onion, and cucumber for this slaw. I whisked avocado into my dressing instead of using mayonnaise to add a little creamy richness.

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing:

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1/3 C fresh lime juice

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 avocado

i use the following seasonings to taste:

salt&pepper

chipotle pepper

smokey paprika

cumin

Slaw:

1 bag purple cabbage shredded

1 bag broccoli slaw

1-2 diced tomatoes

Sliced peppers (I used all the small farm peppers)

1/2 purple onion diced

1 small cucumber diced

Fresh chopped cilantro

1 can black beans

I added a little corn relish from Trader Joes that I had on hand, but you can just use a little plain corn too.

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To make the dressing whisk all the ingredients together adding each seasoning a little at a time and tasting.

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Next chop your veggies and combine all the slaw ingredients together.

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Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss. You may not need to use all your dressing.

I served my slaw inside one of the pretty yellow farm peppers.

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The next day, for lunch. I had the slaw on top of greens. It was even yummier the next day!

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Tomatoes! It’s been a wonderful summer for deep red, juicy tomatoes! We’ve chopped them for salads, sliced them for sandwiches, simmered them for fresh sauce, canned them for salsa! And still there are tomatoes!

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It’s been a wonderful summer for tomatoes!

My daughter suggested I try this Ina Garten recipe, saying it has a deep, rich flavor and uses….tomatoes! So, I did. The recipe has 136 reviews, nearly all overwhelmingly positive. I did make a few changes to the recipe based on those reviews.

I was a bit confused as to what makes this recipe “scalloped.” I’m only familiar with scalloped potatoes. It seems I’m not the only one confused. I read several articles claiming “scalloped” means cooked in a cream sauce or food that is thinly sliced or a dish requiring a topping of bread crumbs.  However you define it, this recipe for scalloped tomatoes is a tasty way to use your garden surplus!

INA GARTEN’S SCALLOPED TOMATOES

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a French boule
  • 16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
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The recipe calls for a boule, but any heavy bread will work.

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare bread cubes: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.

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An electric knife makes quick work of cubing bread.

The original recipe calls for plum tomatoes which are firmer than the tomatoes I wanted to use, so I used a strainer to remove the excess liquid. Several reviewers complained that the baked dish was very soggy, so I wanted to avoid this problem.

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Use a strainer to remove excess liquid from tomatoes.

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

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Tomatoes and bread are combined and cooked briefly.

At the end of five minutes, turn off the heat and stir in the basil.

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Julienned basil is added to hot tomato mixture.

Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup)  baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

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Drizzle olive oil over cheese topped tomato mixture!

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.

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Scalloped tomatoes with cheese topping!

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Enjoy this dish hot or warm.

 

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One of my favorite ways to enjoy these farm tomatoes is to make red sauce. This is something that is nice to freeze and save for when tomatoes are out of season. This time I only made a small batch, because I only had four tomatoes left after eating the rest raw on a salad.  Making red sauce from scratch can feel like a bit of an undertaking, I understand. I made this method as simple as possible. There are always extra steps that people like to add to making a red sauce, but I honestly feel like that is unnecessary. I don’t seed my tomatoes or peel them before hand, so that saves a lot of hassle! I wait until they cook down a bit so the skin is easy to pinch off.

Ingredients:

4 tomatoes cut into fourths

3 cloves of garlic pressed

1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

1/4 C dry white wine

Fresh chopped basil to taste

Oregano to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

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First, add a little olive oil to a wok or pan over high heat. Add the tomatoes to the hot oil, cover, and let cook for about five minutes. After the five minutes, the skin should be easy to pinch off with a pair of tongs.

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After removing most of the skin (its ok if you don’t get all of it off), spoon out a little of the liquid but not all of it. Now add your seasonings, garlic, and some of your oil and wine. Allow to cook down over med heat for about 20-30 minutes. Add the remaining oil and wine and allow to cook for another 20 minutes over low heat at a simmer, tasting periodically.

If I want a smoother sauce, I will use an immersian hand blender to purée any of the bigger tomato chunks.

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This recipe will only make enough sauce for two. It is best to double or triple it, especially if you have lots of tomatoes. I served it on gluten free pasta with sautéed greens.

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Last weekend I attended a Ladies Retreat at a beautiful spot in the country. It was the perfect setting for a time of rest and fellowship and renewal. We were served delicious meals, and the hostess was kind enough to share the recipe for the balsamic peach marinade she used with fresh tomatoes. I had never eaten anything quite like it and knew I would be making it often with our abundance of garden tomatoes.

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WHAT YOU NEED:

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar

2 Tbl brown sugar

2 Tbl olive oil

2 Tbl chopped basil

Chopped peaches (I used one large)

Pinch of salt

Feta cheese

WHAT YOU DO:

Prepare peach by peeling and chopping. I always blanch for one minute and then drop into icy water. The peeling just slips right off!

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The peel of a blanched peach slips right off!

Chop the basil: stack basil leaves together, roll up, and then slice into ribbons. These can then be chopped into smaller pieces if desired.  Measure out 2 tablespoons.

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Stack basil leaves and roll before cutting to speed up the process. Chop if smaller pieces are desired.

Prepare marinade base: whisk together white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar and salt.

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Whisk briskly to emulsify the oil and vinegar.

Add the chopped basil and chopped fresh peach. Stir gently to blend.

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Chopped basil and peach in balsamic vinegar and oil.

Arrange thick slices of fresh tomatoes in a shallow serving dish and pour marinade over to coat. There is enough marinade for several large tomatoes. Top with Feta cheese. The original recipe also calls for pecans, but I chose not to use them. I assembled the dish and refrigerated for an hour or so before serving.

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Marinated tomatoes are a nice addition to a summer meal!

I believe your family and guests will be surprised by the flavors of this dish!

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I am having the best time with a new cookbook given to me by a friend. I have marked several recipes and have already tried quite a few.

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Lots of great recipes in this cookbook!

I was very happy to see this recipe for Summer Vegetable Casserole as it uses every vegetable I am currently getting in the CSA box!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Squash

Onions

Bell pepper

Tomatoes

uncooked rice

Slices of butter

Salt and pepper or seasoning blend of choice

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Fresh ingredients are plentiful in our CSA boxes!

WHAT YOU DO:

Wash and slice veggies; the tomatoes should be sliced fairly thickly.

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Thinly slice veggies, but slice tomatoes thicker.

In a greased casserole dish (or crock pot), layer vegetables with a layer of raw rice between each layer. The moisture in the veggies will cook the rice.

Season the veggie layers as you go. The recipe calls for just salt and pepper. I used an Italian spice blend. Start with squash, then 1/4 cup of raw rice, onion, 1/4 cup raw rice, bell pepper, 1/4 cup raw rice, and then tomatoes. Pats of butter go on top of the tomatoes.

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Layers of sliced vegetables and rice are topped with butter.

Repeat the layers if you have room. I was surprised at how much mine cooked down. I could have definitely put in more layers. Next time…..

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Veggies really cooked down, so pack ’em in there!

The recipe states to cook at 325 degrees for 1 ½ hours. I wanted to use a crock pot, so I could put it on Sunday morning and serve it for lunch after church. My research suggested 4-6 hours on HIGH. I put it on about 7 a.m. and we ate about 11:30. It was tender and yummy!

I will definitely be making this again!

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My daughter has been making “Zucchini Boats” for several years now; they are a perfect “pick up” food for little fingers. When I saw all the squash in my CSA box, I knew just what to do with them!

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Just the right size for stuffing!

I had her recipe as a foundation, and after an online search, I settled on this recipe, although I ended up tweaking it just a bit. I liked the parmesan/bread crumb topping, and since I also had gorgeous fresh tomatoes, I was eager to try the fresh tomato sauce to spoon over the top.

Once you understand the method, you can change the recipe easily: different spices, different cheeses, omit beef and add mushrooms and ricotta for a vegetarian version.

WHAT YOU NEED:

About 3 lbs. of squash (I used zucchini and patty pan)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (used the red onion in our box)
3 cloves garlic
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. plus 4 tbsp. bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp. chopped parsley

2 tbsp. fresh thyme
6 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

WHAT YOU DO:

Trim stem from zucchinis, split in half lengthwise, and scoop out center portions, leaving casing to be stuffed.

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Use a spoon to scoop out center flesh.

You should end up with about 2 cups pulp, more or less. I had much more than 2 cups, so I set aside the extra with plans to sauté it down with onion and garlic to use as filler in meatloaf or meatballs for spaghetti.

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Cut off stem so squash sits flat and remove center flesh. Patty pan squash makes a perfect “bowl.”

In large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil. When tender, add garlic and chopped squash pulp. Cook on low heat until all is tender and excess moisture has evaporated.

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Seasoned squash pulp adds flavor and vitamins!

Original recipe calls for raw beef to be added to this onion/squash mixture. I wanted that yummy caramelization on the beef, so I browned it in a separate skillet with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and then folded it into the mixture.

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Caramelization adds great flavor to beef!

Turn off heat and drain off all fat from beef before adding  1/2 cup bread crumbs, chopped parsley and thyme (or spices of choice).

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Elevating skillet on spoon rest allows fat to drain.

Add egg yolk, stirring until slightly thickened. The egg yolk acts as a binder. Since I had 2 egg yolks in the refrigerator from another recipe, I used them; I believe they could be omitted with no problem.

Sprinkle inside squash casings with salt and pepper and stuff with meat filling.

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Seasoned and ready to fill!

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Bread crumbs and parmesan add crunch and flavor!

Blend bread crumbs with cheese and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until squash are tender. After 30 minutes, the topping was getting very brown, but the squash still seemed rather firm, so I covered with foil and cooked 15 more minutes.

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Hot from the oven!

Spoon fresh tomato sauce over each squash and serve.

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Fresh tomato sauce ingredients

TOMATO SAUCE:

1 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
2 c. chopped fresh tomatoes (2 of the pictured tomatoes yielded 2 cups)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (used fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in saucepan and cook onion until translucent; add garlic and stir, then add remaining ingredients. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Makes about 2 cups. Serve over Stuffed Squash.

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Fresh tomato sauce brightens up this meal!

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