Tag Archives: tomatoes

Summer Loving: Baked Tomatoes topped with Fresh Garden Herbs and Pecorino

How do I love summer, let me count the ways.

When I was a sophomore in college, my friend Jay  earnestly told me, “Saturdays are for playing. Sundays are for resting.” Now this might not sound like rocket science, but for someone as hard working and always on the go as Jay was, it was revolutionary. Over the past 10+ years (dear god) I’ve taken that sentiment to heart. As much as I’m able, (we are talking about me after all) I try and get my to-do list done during the week so that Saturdays can be all about friends, food, traveling, and parties, and Sundays can be all about resting, recovering from said parties, and recharging for the week ahead.

Sunday brunch is a critical part of the Sunday resting, so I’m always striving to think of recipes that will be utterly satisfying, while easy to make and clean-up from. Baked tomatoes fit that bill to a T. Easy to make, only one dish required, beautiful to serve, and the perfect complement to just about anything else you can think of, they are a standard in my kitchen. Make these on a Sunday when life has slowed down enough to let you take a deep breath and enjoy the idea of doing nothing but resting.

Baked Tomatoes topped with Fresh Garden Herbs and Pecorino
Serves 2

Beautiful baked tomatoes.

Two tomatoes (heirloom, hot house, roma, they all work), carefully cored, and cut in half
1/4 cup grated fresh pecorino or parmesan
Sprinkle of fresh garden herbs (whatever appeals, chives, thyme, sage, garlic)
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Put tomatoes cut side up in a small baking dish (for two serving a bread pan works well)

    Is there anything so great as perfect ingredients prepared simply?

  3. Top with cheese and then herbs

    These can easily be assembled ahead and then popped into the oven right before you want them.

  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Bake 15 – 20 minutes until juices are flowing, tomatoes are slightly wilting, and cheese is bubbling
  6. Perfect served with toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon
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5 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Entertaining, Health Conscious, Make ahead, Vegetarian

Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives, Garbanzo Beans, and Basil

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

A dear friend, and fellow blogger, recently described her great accomplishments of the past month as:

  • “I did not cry in the past four days even though sometimes I was really drunk.”
  • “I went to the beach everyday in August and did not get burned.”
  • “Yesterday, at the grocery store there were free samples of cake and I did not eat one.”

Because of how my life has been going, I’ve been measuring my triumphs in a similar scale. Take today for instance:

  • Upon waking, my hair only moderately resembled a rogue bonsai.
  • I did not once sign one of the 200 work emails I fast and furiously sent out with ‘xoxo’. (this is a deep seeded fear of mine, even though it has only happened once).
  • I successfully managed to wear one of those chunky chic necklaces that are so popular right now without anyone openly mistaking me for a kindergarten teacher.

Yes…today was a good day.

The real triumph of the day however, undoubtedly, and per usual, came in the kitchen.

My tomato plants, having been seriously stunted by our lame summer, finally kicked into gear and produced a whole slew of beautiful, tomatoes. Add to that a bit of stale bread in my freezer, and a shameless desire to recreate the oh-so-delicious panzanella salad I recently had at Rowhouse and we were in action.

This is very easy and quick to make, and is beautiful when presented. A perfect way to use the last of summer’s bounty.

Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives, Garbanzo Beans, and Basil

Serves 4-6

1/2 pound (about 5 cups)  stale bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes.  You want the bread to be substantial; think french bread or sour dough.

1 lb ripe tomatoes (about 3-4 cups), cut into 3/4 inch pieces

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 can garbanzo beans

1/4 cup kalamata olives

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella (optional)

1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced

1/2 cup olive oil, + 3-4 TB

3 TB Balsamic

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1. In a large bowl, toss the bread with 3 TB olive oil. Add the remaining 1 TB to a cast iron skillet, bring to medium heat, and brown the bread as if making croutons. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. In the same serving bowl, add the olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper and whisk to make a dressing.

3. Add to the bowl the tomatoes, the garbanzo, the red onions, the kalamata olives, the mozzarella (optional), the basil, and the bread.

   
   

4. Toss to thoroughly combine.

5. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes, or until the bread has absorbed the tomato juices without losing its texture.

Enjoy!

15 Comments

Filed under Lactose Free, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

New Beginnings: Quinoa with Feta, Tomatoes, and Basil, tossed with a lemon vinaigrette

Quinoa with Feta, Tomatoes, and Basil, tossed with a Lemon Vinaigrette

Quinoa with Feta, Tomatoes, and Basil, tossed with a Lemon Vinaigrette

Friends of ours, Liz and Daniel, recently had a baby. She is darling, and perfect, and oh-so-tiny. When you haven’t seen a newborn for a while you forget just how little they are. In typical Columbia City fashion the neighborhood has circled around them to provide support in the way of dog walking, plant watering, and, you guessed it, food delivery. 

Since I’ve got two of my own dogs to walk, and have been known to kill weeds, I signed up for option 3. 

Liz and Daniel are both vegetarians, so this dish required a bit more thought, as I am an unabashed meat-eater. I wanted to create something that would travel well, require zero effort on their part, and provide enough for a few meals. Quinoa is my current magical grain of choice, but with summer having finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest, I wanted to dress things up a bit. 

The result was a sort of Greek Inspired Caprese, tossed with quinoa. It was quite delicious (if I do say so myself), and even better the second day. This recipe can easily be halved or doubled, pending how many you’re cooking for and is a beautiful dish for a BBQ potluck. 

Quinoa with Feta, Tomatoes, and Basil, tossed with a lemon vinaigrette
Serves 8
 

2 cups quinoa – rinsed 

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock 

2 medium tomatoes 

1 cup basil, lightly packed, and sliced into ¼ inch strips 

1 1/2 cups feta 

4 TB Olive Oil 

3 TB Lemon Juice 

Salt/Pepper to taste (go easy on this, because feta can be quite salty!) 

  1. Add 1 TB olive oil to a heavy, lidded sauce pan and bring to medium heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly toasted. Add the stock and stir constantly, being careful not to get splattered. Bring the stock to a boil, stir once more, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and leave lid on for 5 more minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork to allow to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl add the remaining 3 TB olive oil and 3 TB lemon juice and whisk to make the dressing.
    Feta, tomatoes, basil   

  3. Dice the tomatoes and add to the mixing bowl. Allowing them to mingle with the dressing for a few minutes. Dice the feta and add to the tomato/dressing mixture. Tossing until evenly coated.
  4. Once the quinoa is slightly cooled, add to the serving bowl and toss with the feta, tomatoes, and dressing.
  5. Add the sliced basil just before serving and toss.

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Filed under Health Conscious, Salads, Seasonal Cooking, Vegetarian