Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Don't you just love tiny tomatoes?

I spent yet another day inspired by my finds at my favorite farm stand. My tomatoes are growing, and I have a few turning red, but none ready to eat. I bought a box of yummy grape tomatoes for $1.50 and decided to use them as a side dish for dinner. I also had some Feta to use up, so I searched for a recipe that would use both! I settled on the recipe for Roasted Roma Tomatoes (If you haven't figured it out already, you can click on the recipe name to view the recipe). Obviously I adapted this recipe for Grape Tomatoes :)

The recipe calls for tomatoes, feta, olive oil, salt and pepper, with fresh oregano, parsley and basil with fresh garlic. I'm growing all these herbs, so I was excited to try it!
I used a baby spoon to remove the "guts" of my halved tomatoes.
I then chopped my fresh herbs with the garlic and used the salt here to help break down the garlic.
I then added the herb/garlic mixture to a bowl with the olive oil and black pepper. Add all the tomatoes and toss to coat.
Place tomatoes on a lined baking sheet.
Stuff each tomato with a cube of feta and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.
The end result- super sweet tomatoes with wonderful herb flavor...and the feta was crispy around the edges. Absolutely delicious! Can't wait until my larger tomatoes are ready to I can make this on a large scale. The little stuffed Grape Tomatoes would be so cute for an appetizer!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yum- I love a fun summer beverage!

I purchased another large flat of strawberries the other day. We've eaten A LOT of strawberries in the past few weeks, and I have 16 jars of jam in the freezer, so it was time to try something new! I looked through my cupboards, fridge and freezer and came across a can of lemonade. Easy enough!

I washed 15-20 medium sized strawberries and cut the tops off. I tossed them into my blender!


 I added the entire can of lemonade concentrate (would be even better with fresh lemonade) and 1 can of water to help it move.


 I blended until smooth...


 and then strained out the seeds.


I used a rubber spatula to help push the liquid through my strainer.


I added the remaining 3 1/3 cans of water and placed in the refrigerator to chill.


Serve over ice with fresh lemon slices. It tastes a lot like a Strawberry Daiquiri...but even more refreshing!


Friday, July 23, 2010

I love anything with melted cheese!

 With extra French Bread laying around the house this week, I decided I needed to make Paninis for lunch one day! I love basil on my sandwiches, so I immediately knew I wanted to make Panzanella Paninis
For this recipe you need:
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil

Begin by lightly drizzling the inside of each piece of bread with a little Balsamic Vinegar.

I put very thin slices of mozzarella on both halves and sandwich a couple slices of tomato and a few leaves of basil on each sandwich.


Brush the outside of the bread with a little olive oil. I like to  make mine on my grill pan- then I get the same marks as a panini press. I put a piece of foil on top of the sandwiches and set my stock pot on top for weight. I use the foil so the bottom of my stock pot doesn't get dirty :)


 Flip- repeat-and Eat!


 Robyn won't touch a PB & J but she ate two small paninis. Guess she has sophisticated taste :)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Giving more love to my homegrown herbs!

I love Pasta, but it isn't very diet least not when you want to eat it every day! Many times, beans make a great substitute! Once again, I decided to utilize all the fresh herbs growing in my yard and make a tasty side dish for dinner! On the menu...Pan "Fried" Tilapia, Roasted Broccoli and Herb-a-licious Tomato White Beans. For the beans you need :

1 TBS Olive Oil
1 clove of Garlic (grated or finely minced)
1 tsp fresh Oregano
1 tsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp fresh Rosemary
1 – 15 oz can of Great Northern White Beans
1 TBS Tomato Paste
1/3 cup Chicken Broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Grate one clove of garlic into the oil.

Chop the Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano. Add to the oil and cook for 2 minutes to infuse the oil.

 Drain and rinse the beans and add to the hot oil,garlic and herbs.


Stir in 1 heaping Tablespoon of Tomato Paste.

After the tomato paste is fully incorporated, add 1/3 cup of chicken broth. Turn heat to Medium-Low and simmer for 5 minutes.

I think this pairs beautifully with chicken, fish and beef! Rich and won't miss the pasta :)

Yum- I just love Bruschetta!

I've been craving Bruschetta lately...with my basil in full bloom and fresh tomatoes finally available! I decided to go all out and make my own bread too!

I made French Bread...which only contains Yeast, All Purpose Flour, Salt and Water.

You begin by mixing 5 tsp of yeast with 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of warm water. Mix until smooth.

Continue adding flour until you can no longer mix it in. Dump onto a clean surface and continue kneading until you have added as much flour as necessary. Mine took 5 cups.

Once your dough forms a smooth and elastic ball, place in an oiled bowl, and allow to double in size. This took about 40 minutes.

Robyn was helping- she had flour everywhere! She is trying to brush it off her cheeks :)

After 40 minutes- dump the dough onto a floured surface and degas.

Divide into 2 portions and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

With a rolling pin (a wine bottle would work in a pinch!), roll the dough into a semi-rectangle.

On the long edge, begin folding over the dough rolling into a log. Seal the bottom seam with water and tuck the ends under.

Brush with an egg white beaten with a little water. I covered mine with plastic wrap that I sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to double in size- approx 30-40 minutes.

Cut slices in the top of your bread before baking. Place in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, brush again with the egg white mixture. I put the loaves back in the oven and threw 5 ice cubes in the bottom to create some steam!

After baking for another 15-20 minutes, the loaves were done!

Chewy inside with a beautiful, golden crust!

Usually, when I make Bruschetta I just start throwing in what I like. This time, I used a recipe that intrigued me (Bruschetta I). It called for fresh basil, chives and parsley...all of which are growing in my garden.

I chopped about 20 grape tomatoes and used my micro plane to grate one gigantic clove of garlic.

The micro plane makes the garlic super you don't bite into chunks of raw garlic.

Bundle all your herbs into a tight pile. This makes them much easier to chop.

Chop until fine and no large leaves remain. Add to tomato and garlic.

Dress with olive oil, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Slice bread into thin pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray or olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes...until crisp.

Top with Bruschetta and enjoy! I love this for lunch or dinner in the summer :)