Tag Archives: Tomatoes

“Jersey” Panzanella Salad

30 Sep

Why Jersey Panzanella? Because Jersey tomatoes are the best! We had such a great season this summer. I planted one red and one yellow heirloom pant; we are still getting tomatoes and tomorrow is October 1st! We were getting so many and in my search to make something new I came across an Insta post from my friend and fellow blogger Stacey Snacks (no, she is not the pita chip lady) of a beautiful panzanella salad. Perfect for a light dinner on a hot, summer night.

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And just to let you in on a little something, I don’t like tomatoes. I like tomato soup, ketchup and pasta sauce but not tomatoes. I only eat tomatoes, raw, in the summer that are grown here in New Jersey. And I happen to know that the chef at our favorite restaurant is the same way.

Now I know that you are supposed to use stale bread, but I wasn’t anticipating making this so I didn’t happen to have a stale loaf of bread around. I bought a nice loaf of rustic Italian bread from a local Italian bakery, cubed it and toasted it in the oven…it was perfect! As with many of my recipes, I searched several and then use what I like from two or three to get the recipe that I will like and here it is, simple and delicious!

Ingredients

1 Small loaf of Italian bread, cubed

1 Small red onion, thinly sliced

3 Medium tomatoes, diced

1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 Clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbs Red wine vinegar

1/3 Cup Olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Sea salt

1/2 tsp Freshly ground pepper

Several leaves of fresh basil, torn into pieces and a few left whole for garnish.

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place cubes of bread on a baking sheet, bake for about 5 minutes and then toss and bake for another 5 minutes or so to make sure they are evenly toasted. I like them very crispy so they don’t get too soggy.

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For the onions, slice thinly and soak the slices in water with a teaspoon of vinegar for at least 30 minutes, this will ensure they are not too strong.

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In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, toasted bread cubes and basil.

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Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mined garlic, dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground pepper to make the dressing.

Pour the olive oil dressing over the vegetables and bread, stir to combine and coat well. You may want to adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil leaves.

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Peace and good eats!

Part I: Tomato Fresh and Dietary Changes

25 Oct

Recently my husband and I have become vegetarians. We are animal lovers and even though we knew the meat industry is cruel and unforgiving, it only just became clear how bad it really is, so we are no longer eating meat. This being said my recipes going forward will be meatless (we do still eat seafood though.)

This summer we had our first garden and it was amazing! So much fun to see the plants grow and produce and then you get to eat it! I am a huge lover of Italian food, so to be able to make sauce with tomatoes and herbs from my own garden was incredibly rewarding. This post will be in 2 parts, this post is the recipe for the homemade sauce and the following post will be for the eggplant rollatini that I made with the sauce.

Now this is truly my recipe so the measurements are not exact, use your best judgement when adding the spices and herbs and adjust to your taste.

Prepping the Tomatoes

Start with about 2 to 3 lbs fresh tomatoes

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Bring to a boil a large pot of water. Cut out the core of the tomatoes, and mark an “X” on the bottom. Have a large bowl of ice water ready to put the tomatoes in after they go into the boiling water. Once the water is boiling place the tomatoes into the boiling water for no more than 60 seconds, then using a slotted spoon put them into the ice water. The skin will come off no problem, just don’t let them sit in the ice water too long or they get soggy.

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Once they are all peeled, cut into quarters and set aside in a bowl. Dice half of a large onion and saute in 2 Tbls of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until soft. Add 3 cloves minced, fresh garlic and cook till fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook over medium heat using a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes into smaller pieces as they cook. Once they really start to cook down add salt and pepper, fresh thyme, oregano, basil and parsley. I used them straight from our garden, just rinsed and chopped; started with a little bit of each and added more as the sauce cooked until I liked the flavor. Simmer on low for about another hour and half.

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I cooked my sauce for about 2 hours total. It was absolutely delicious. I ended up making it about 3 times this summer, we had lots of tomatoes. We grew heirloom and beefsteak but it looked like we ended with some plum too, I used all 3 in the sauce. If you prefer a thicker richer sauce you can add tomato paste and if you like a little kick you can add some red pepper flakes…no rules in the kitchen, just make sure it tastes good!

Roasted Tomatoes-Italian Style

3 Mar

Last night we had friends for dinner and I always have a theme, so last night it was “A Night in Italy”.  I just think it’s more interesting and fun with a theme and you can get really creative with the decor, the menu and your outfit! The menu was simple starting with an antipasto, then we sat for an arugula salad and shrimp marinara with crusty italian bread followed by italian pastries and a dessert cocktail of prosecco with raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries. All this while listening to Italian music and drinking Italian wines.  The one hors d’ oeuvre  I made last night, that I have made before that is always a big hit is a Roasted Caprese Salad. They fit nicely not just because they are Italian but they are the colors of the Italian flag! I got the recipe from my BFF Karen, who is also my sister-in-law (she was my friend first)  and she got the recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. I do not even like tomatoes but I love these and so easy to make. I highly suggest you try them!

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

12 Plum Tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed (I like to use the Campari tomatoes)

1/4 Cup Good Olive Oil, plus more drizzling

1 1/2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Teaspoons Sugar (I do not use the Sugar)

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

16 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh Basil

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees (I do 250 in my oven, because they were cooking too quickly and burning).

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan with the cut sides up in a single layer.  Mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar with the garlic and drizzle over the tomatoes then sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar if desired.  Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into 1/2″ slices, if too big then cut in half and a arrange on a platter. Put a small basil leaf on each piece of cheese then layer with a tomato and drizzle with more olive oil if desired and serve with baguette slices. 

A great addition to any party…happy eating!

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