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Archive for the ‘tomatoes’ Category

I used some of the bountiful tomatoes yesterday to make a frittata for my knitting buddies who were here for lunch. I also was able to use a good handful of fresh herbs from my garden to add that extra “oomph” to the dish. Easy, easy, easy. 

 

I found the recipe in the August, 2008, Good Housekeeping and heartily recommend it for any meal, morning, noon, or night. I warmed up the leftovers today for lunch and it was nearly as good as it was yesterday. Give it a try for a meatless meal sometime.

 

CRUSTLESS TOMATO-RICOTTA PIE

Serves 6, maybe only 4 really hungry folks

1 container  (15 oz.) ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)

4 large eggs

1/4 c. grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

Salt and Pepper

1/4 c. milk

1 T. cornstarch

1/2 c. loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/2 c. loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 lb. ripe tomatoes (3 medium), thinly sliced*

1. Preheat oven to 375. In large bowl, whisk ricotta, eggs, Romano, 1/2 t. salt and 1.8 t. pepper until blended.

2. In a measuring cup, stir milk and cornstarch until smooth; whisk into cheese mixture. Stir in basil and mint.

3. Pour into a nonstick 10-inch skillet with oven-safe handle. Arrange tomatoes on top, overlapping slices if necessary. Bake pie 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned and set around edge and center is puffed. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


*I used 1 large tomato and it was plenty.

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photo credit: Taunton Press

I am going to a picnic this afternoon for the staff where I work. It is billed as the “first annual picnic”. I have worked there for 10 years and don’t remember a picnic before this one. I hope it continues. It’s always nice to be with one’s workmates in a more casual atmosphere. We work with the public and are always “on call” when someone needs assistance. This will be a chance to finish a conversation with a coworker without having to run off the help someone – not that we mind that. The public is our raison d’etre, so to speak.

We have been having extremely hot weather as has much of the country for the past few weeks. Yesterday and today are much more temperate, thank goodness, but I had to prepare food to share at the picnic that could withstand heat. I decided to fix bruschetta.

We have been blessed with generous neighbors and a bounteous farmers’ market, both of which have provided more than ample supply of tomatoes. My basil is still plentiful, and with garlic and olive oil on hand, all I needed from the store was a baguette.

I could have used my no-knead bread, but it tends to have those large holes in each slice and the tomato mixture would fall right through. The baguette’s texture is better for that reason, although the taste of grocery store baguettes leaves something to be desired. No matter; the heady garlic in the pomodoro sauce will give more than enough taste. I started by dropping a few cloves of garlic in the food processor to chop it up. Then I cored and quartered as many tomatoes as I thought I would need.  I used a variety of tomatoes, some large, some small (almost cherry tomato size) and some plum tomatoes. I probably used 10 to 12 altogether. I let the tomatoes drain for a while in a colander to remove some of the juice, but not all. Then I processed them in two batches by pulsing the machine a few times until they reached the consistency I wanted, still chunky but small enough to spoon out onto the slices of bread easily. I combined the two batches and added a few tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon and a half of kosher salt and several good grinds of black pepper. I tasted it and then added a little more salt and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. 

I sliced the bread about 3/4 inch thick and at a slight angle to give it a bit more surface area. I broiled the slices for a few minutes until they started to turn golden brown. I turned them and broiled the other side. Then I rubbed both sides with the cut side of a garlic clove and brushed one side with olive oil, lightly. I will place them on a platter in a circle with the bowl of tomatoes in the center. Delicioso! I hope everyone likes it. I didn’t use as much garlic as I would have for my family. (Our motto is “There is no such thing as too much garlic.”) I doubt if everyone at work feels the same.I hope you have the opportunity in the waning days of summer to attend more picnics with family and friends. Too soon we will be wishing for a little warmth on the chilly evenings of autumn.Until then, happy dining!

Morgana

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With the arrival of summer, the initial abundance of tomatoes inspires us to prepare BLT’s, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. We love to have them with corn on the cob but I’m afraid we have to wait a few more weeks before we can have corn. (Actually, if we don’t get some rain soon, we may not have much corn at all.)

We had our first BLT’s last night. In fact, what we had was BBOTS, a variation named by my daughter and her husband. A BBOT (pronouced bee-bott) consists of Bacon, of course, Basil, Onion (red onion, preferably), and Tomato. I was going to have a BBOAT, avocado slices added to a BBOT, but I had already eaten the avocado. I had two sandwiches, one was a BBORT; I added some romaine lettuce.

I used my no-knead bread which is good on sandwiches, but I prefer the ordinary Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich bread for some sandwiches, namely BLT’s and turkey sandwiches. I usually only buy it one or two times a year. I like its denseness and slight sweetness with turkey. Before I started baking bread, I used grocery store whole wheat bread, usually one of the Pepperidge Farm whole grain varieties. Occasionally, we would treat ourselves to bakery bread, ciabatta or sourdough, usually. For about 50 cents, I can make my own bread which is a fairly good imitation of bakery ciabatta. Of course, it heats up my kitchen and probably causes extra cooling expense in the summer but will feel mighty good this winter.

The bacon I used was thickly sliced from the butcher counter of the grocery. It was OK, but I think I will use thinner sliced bacon as I usually do. Thick bacon was hard to bite into and tended to make the sandwich fall apart. I like Bob Evans’ pepper flavored bacon and will use that next time.

If I could use any bacon in the world, I would use bacon from Oscar’s Adirondack Smoke House. Oscar’s is in Warrensburg, New York. We’ve stopped there on the way to my sister and brother-in-law’s farm in Keene Valley in the Adirondacks . That is great bacon and you can order it online or by phone and have it shipped to your house. We’ve done that and also brought some with us from New York.

But the essential part of BLT’s, BBOT’s or whatever variation is the tomato. The ones we had last night weren’t exactly local. We are in Ohio and the tomatoes were from Grainger County, Tennessee. One of my daughters lives in Tennessee and she often gets Grainger County tomatoes and has told us how good they are. This spring, one of the local farms near us has been selling tomatoes from Grainger County since their own tomatoes aren’t ready yet. We have been enjoying delicious “imported” tomatoes for the last month or so. There is something unusually good about Grainger County’s bounty. This mountain-grown fruit is famous for its thin-skinned juiciness with that old-fashioned tomato taste and surely beats any grocery store offering.

Globe of dripping seediness,
Succulence with acidity,
Makes the long cold tolerable;
Hurry to my table.

Completion with flour and yeast,
Beast and cheese and condiments,
Green leaf romaine for healthful style
Top the mighty edifice.

Till the frost destroys the gift
Winter’s chill and dark of day
Reduce us to a petty state
Waiting Nature’s crimson bounty.

Hope you can find some good tomatoes soon.

Morgana

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