Tag Archives: tomatoes

Gazpacho with Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts

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I have to admit that I have never been drawn to Gazpacho. The idea of cold tomato soup just isn’t very appealing to me. But, since this is Cook the Book Fridays, I willingly made this week’s recipe, Gazpacho with Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts.

One thing that did appeal to me about making this recipe was that I was able to use home grown tomatoes. It seems like a recipe featuring tomato is the perfect match for garden tomatoes.

I made a change to the technique: rather that boiling the tomatoes briefly to peel them, and then pushing the tomato pulp through a strainer, I just ran them through my food mill. I’m not sure it saved me any time, but for some reason I find the boil-and-peel method to be tedious, and I also got to use one of my kitchen toys!

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The herbed goat cheese toasts were an interesting contrast to the goat cheese we made a few weeks ago. This was the “quick and easy” version, while the other recipe required at least 24 hours. Both versions were good, and both have their place.

I was pleasantly surprised by the gazpacho! It was very flavorful, and the olive oil and my San Marzano tomatoes added a richness I didn’t expect. My husband loved this soup, and has requested it a couple times since I made it last weekend (alas, we don’t have enough garden tomatoes for it right now). I gave a small bowl to my daughter and she liked it too. I still don’t think I will ever crave gazpacho, but I now see it as a nice way to enjoy tomatoes from the garden.

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Cook the Book Fridays – August Recipes

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Happy Cook the Book Friday Tuesday! My daughter is back to school, so I hope to be back to more regular blogging, at least for now. The next few months will be pretty hectic for my family, so my blogging may be sporadic for the rest of the year. I’m OK with that, but I hope to keep up with my Cook the Book Fridays cooking. We do have to eat after all!

The last couple of weeks I have struggled to get it together enough to make consistently decent meals. I blame the change in our after school schedule. Last week was particularly bad. I have always been a meal planner (I usually plan a week at a time), but last week I just didn’t plan well. I failed to fully appreciate just how little time I would have to cook on Wednesdays now, so I resorted to a box of tomato soup. Also, two of my planned meals relied on cherry tomatoes from the garden, but the tomatoes did not cooperate, so I had to wait until I had enough. Hence this late post for the the Cherry Tomato Crostini.

Before we talk about the crostini, let’s discuss the first CtBF recipe for August:

Apricot Crumble Tart

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Apricot Crumble Tart is a wonderful recipe! I loved the technique for making the pastry dough; it was more like making a cookie dough than pastry. And the crumble topping is fantastic! I have a fondness for crumble toppings, and this one may be the best I have ever had.

Rather than making a giant tart, I used my 6″ springform pan. I used half the pastry dough and froze the rest. I cut the filling and crumble topping parts of the recipe in half. It worked out perfectly!

That photo up there of my apricot tart looks delicious, doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t. My apricots were not very good, and they were super tart, ruining the rest of the dessert. My Mom had good luck making the tart with peaches, so I took the extra pastry dough out of the freezer and remade the tart with peaches. Much better!

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I may just make this with peaches from now on.

Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese

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Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese it a great way to celebrate the best of summer tomatoes.

The cherry tomatoes were roasted simply with olive oil, garlic, herbs (I used rosemary and thyme), salt, and pepper. I allowed them to sit for most of the day to concentrate the flavors.

The homemade herbed goat cheese was fun to make! I found a wonderful, semi-locally made, whole goat yogurt that was thick and creamy. After draining it for 24 hours to thicken it even further, I mixed in herbs (chives, thyme, and basil), minced shallot, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt. The result was delicious!

The combination of flavors here is fantastic. The sweet, rich tomatoes, against the piquant goat cheese was delicious. I was very impressed by the homemade goat cheese. It was good on it’s own, and I even scrambled a couple of tablespoons with eggs to make a tasty breakfast.

All in all, August was a delicious month! September looks like it will be pretty good too. If you would like to join in the fun, check out the September recipes: September Schedule.

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Roasted Peppers + Tomatoes Provençal

Happy Friday!  The first week of school has come to a successful close.  I enjoyed having some time to myself and got a few things done that I just didn’t have time for over the summer.

Now that I have a little more time, I am going to try to hit two French Fridays with Dorie recipes each week for a while.  I missed a few over the summer, and I really don’t have many of the older recipes to catch up on, so I want to start cranking them out!

This week I made two easy and delicious summery side dishes: Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes Provençal.

Roasted Peppers

Roasted Peppers

We love roasted peppers.  My husband buys jars of them all time time for snacking on.  I don’t know why I don’t make them more often, because homemade tastes so much better and they really aren’t a lot of work.

Dorie’s version is pretty classic.  Roasted peppers drizzled with olive oil and scattered with garlic and fresh herbs.  The big difference is the cooking method.  I have always charred my bell peppers under the broiler, but Dorie has us roast them in a 425°F oven.

Roasted Peppers and Chicken

These peppers were tasty!  I used basil from the garden, but you can also use parsley, rosemary, and/or thyme.   I served mine as a side dish to Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken (except I had to roast the chicken due to an unexpected thunder storm).  A delicious dinner!

Tomatoes Provençal

Tomatoes Provençal

The FFWD group made Tomatoes Provençal last month.  I chose to wait so I could use garden tomatoes.  It was worth the wait!

This is a very simple, but impressive, side dish.  Tomatoes are halved and placed in a baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper, top with diced garlic and herbs (again, I used basil from the garden), then drizzle with olive oil.  Roast in the oven until tender and delicious!

If you look at the picture above, you can see that I served these tomatoes with leftover Roasted Peppers, as well as a chicken salad made from the leftover chicken.  Another winner of a dinner!

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Fall Harvest Feast

A few weeks ago I made a wonderful meal with the last of our garden veggies. I love cooking with vegetables I grew and harvested myself. There is something very satisfying about enjoying the fruits of your labor. Plus, home-grown vegetables taste so much better!

I had a couple pounds of San Marzano tomatoes, several summer squash, and a bunch of potatoes. We had enjoyed most of the tomatoes in various pasta sauces and I wanted something different. I found a delicious-sounding tomato soup recipe on Epicurious. My Mom had given me a potato-zucchini casserole recipe that I wanted to try, so I decided to pair the two.

Roasted Tomato Soup with homemade croutons.

What a wonderful dinner! The soup was so flavorful and delicious. The casserole was fairly rich, so it went nicely with the lighter soup. It’s kind of like scalloped potatoes with a zucchini gratin on top. What a great way to enjoy the final harvest!

Cheesy Potatoes and Zucchini

The recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic can be found on Epicurious, so I will not share it here.  FYI: I followed the suggestion of many of the reviewers and only used half the amount of chicken broth called for in the recipe.

I hope all of my U.S. readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Potato-Zucchini Bake

Print Recipe

  • 3 medium potatoes (I used red), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 medium zucchini, or other summer squash, sliced
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 10×6-inch baking dish.  Layer the potato slices with 1 cup of the cheese in the baking dish.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan.  Remove from the heat, then blend in the flour, salt, and pepper.  Stir in the milk.  Return the saucepan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly and begins to boil.

Pour the sauce over the potato slices.  Cover and bake for 45 – 50 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and uncover.  Layer the zucchini slices and the remaining cheese over the potatoes.  Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and combine it with the bread crumbs.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the zucchini and bake, uncovered, for an additional 40 minutes.

Serves 6

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Eggplant “Tartine” + Tomato-Cheese Tartlets

I’m taking a break from my Peach Party today for French Fridays with Dorie.  I am doing things a little out of order today…

Instead of sharing this week’s recipe (which I haven’t made yet because of all those peaches), I am writing about last week’s recipe and one from August that I am finally catching up on.

First, let’s talk about Eggplant “Tartine” with Tomatoes, Olives, and Cucumbers.  The word tartine is in quotes because eggplant is standing in for the traditional bread of an open-faced sandwich.  To serve, roasted slices of eggplant are topped with a variety of veggies that have been tossed with a simple vinaigrette.  Dorie recommends garnishing with very thin slices of cucumber, but I embraced the cucumber (because I had some fresh from the garden) and served nice, thick slices.

Overall, we liked this.  I enjoyed the blending of flavors and textures very much.  My husband liked certain bites better than others.  For example, he didn’t think the olives went well with the diced celery and onion, but he did like the olives with the tomato and eggplant.

This is meant to be served as a starter, but I served larger portions to turn it into our main dish.  While I enjoyed the “tartine”, I do think it would be better served in smaller portions as a starter.  I kind of got tired of the flavors before I was finished.

Next, let’s talk about the Tomato-Cheese Tartlets.  I waited to make these until our garden tomatoes were ripe.  It was Worth. The. Wait.  These little tarts were fabulous!

These are very easy to make.  Puff pastry dough is cut into rounds and baked under a baking sheet to keep them flat.  Spread with either olive tapenade or pesto, then top with slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella.  I chose to warm mine in the oven for a few minutes, and then they were seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil and Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze.  Finally, they were garnished with shredded basil.

I made half of these with olive tapenade and half with pesto.  Both were delicious, but we gave a slight edge to the pesto ones. You can’t go wrong either way!

These tartlets are a real winner and I will be making these every tomato season!

If you are interested in trying these recipes, you can find them in Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful book Around My French Table.

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Dinner Last Night

Remember last fall when I made and froze tomato sauce using garden tomatoes?  Well, I used it last night to make Baked Conchiglione.  It was so good!  Do yourself a favor:  next summer go to the farmer’s market and buy a bunch of tomatoes (or grow your own!) and make this sauce!

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Summer Tomato Sauce

I have been patiently hoarding my San Marzano tomatoes until I harvested enough to make this homemade tomato sauce.  It’s a very tasty sauce that is perfect for tossing with pasta or making Baked Conchiglione with Spinach-Ricotta Filling.

Start with perfectly-ripe plum tomatoes and cook them down until they are thick and saucy.  I got to use my food mill to purée the tomatoes and remove the seeds and skins.  If you don’t have a food mill you can press the tomatoes through a sieve to accomplish the same thing.

Next, aromatic vegetables are sautéed slowly in olive oil until sweet and tender.  Add the tomato purée and seasoning and simmer for a few more minutes to blend the flavors.

Toss with a pound of cooked pasta and a half cup grated Parmesan cheese.

I froze my sauce to make the stuffed pasta shells in a couple of months when the garden tomatoes are long gone.  Of course I had a little taste before putting it in the freezer, and the sauce was wonderfully sweet and tomato-y!

This recipe comes from Pasta Harvest by Janet Fletcher.

Summer Tomato Sauce

(click here to print)

  • 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced carrot
  • 1/3 cup minced celery
  • 1/3 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • Salt
  • Pinch hot red pepper flakes, optional
  • Pinch sugar, optional

Quarter the tomatoes and place them in a medium-sized heavy saucepan.  Cover and simmer over moderate heat until the tomatoes have collapsed and rendered their juices, about 15 minutes.  Stir once or twice to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan.  Uncover and cook over a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have been reduced to a thick, sauce-like consistency, about 45 minutes.  Pass the tomatoes through a food mill or sieve placed over a bowl to remove the skins and seeds.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, oregano, and parsley.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and sweet.  This will take about 30 minutes.  Add the tomato purée and stir to blend.  Season with salt.  Add the red pepper flakes, if desired.  Taste for sweetness and add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes seem too tart.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 10  minutes to blend the flavors.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Makes about 2 cups sauce.

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Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is a delicious, versatile treat called Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. I made a double-batch because I wanted to try them a couple of different ways.

Cherry or grape tomatoes are cut in half and arranged on a baking sheet with optional garlic and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a little olive oil. The tomatoes bake at a low heat for three hours. They come out a little shriveled and dry on the outside, but juicy and flavorful on the inside. The tomato flavor is intensified.

Ready for the Oven

The night I made these I served them as a garnish alongside grilled chicken and sautéed corn. The whole family enjoyed them this way!

Served with Grilled Chicken and Corn

The rest of the tomatoes were packed in a jar and covered in olive oil. These will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

This looks just like a jar of tomatoes I almost bought at Dean and Deluca in St. Helena, CA but I didn’t because they were so expensive. Now I can make them myself!

In the jar and covered with olive oil

The next night I tossed the remaining tomatoes with hot pasta and fresh basil (I drained off and saved most of the olive oil). Each serving was topped with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. This was delicious! It would be a good way to enjoy a fresh-tasting tomato pasta dish in the middle of winter, and it was so easy to make.

Tossed with Pasta and Basil

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes were a big hit with my family and I can see myself making these often!

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Garden Journal: Tomato Varieties Galore!

When I was out in the garden the other day I was struck not only by how pretty the tomatoes are, but also by the differences in how each variety is formed.  I thought it would be fun to share them all with you!

This Big Beef is almost ready to harvest!

Champion VFNT:

Yellow Pear tomatoes.  I love the way these ones look.

Japanese Black Trifele.  These heirloom tomatoes will be deep blackish purple when they are ripe.

Basket Pac.  These look like they will be cherry tomatoes.

Brandywine, another heirloom variety:

Cherokee Purple (also an heirloom variety).  The description says “dusty pink outside, purple-green inside”.  But the picture  of the outside looks pretty purple to me.

Early Girl Hybrid:

Supersweet 100.  This plant is covered in very prolific branches of cherry-sized tomatoes!

Mr. Stripey.  Another heirloom, this one will be red and yellow striped when ripe.

Some sort of larger cherry-type tomato:

San Marzano.  This is my first time growing these and I am excited to try them!

Sun Gold Hybrid.  I grew these orange cherry tomatoes last year and they are so good!  The one furthest to the right was harvested and eaten minutes after this photo was taken.

A tasty treat!

A few young sun golds just starting to grow:

This post is part of Garden Tuesday hosted by Sidewalk Shoes.

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Tag, I’m It!

There’s been a game of tag going on around the blogosphere and last week Elaine, from California Living, tagged me.  It started out as an Easter game:  if you got tagged, you were to put together a virtual Easter menu based on dishes you have previously posted on your blog.  Since Elaine got tagged so close to Easter, she changed the rules so that you can create a meal for any upcoming celebration of your choosing.  After browsing my previous posts and recipes, I decided to create a Father’s Day dinner (I know Father’s Day is a ways off, but really it will be here before we know it!).

To start things off on this virtual meal, here is a lovely Caprese Salad:

Caprese Salad

For the main course, let’s have BBQ Meatballs.  Instead of the potatoes shown below, I would do mashed potatoes, either Yukon Golds or sweet potatoes.

BBQ Meatballs

Finally, to finish off the meal, how about Macaroon Cake:

Macaroon Cake

Since most of the people I would tag in this virtual game have already been tagged, I will not pass this one on.  I hope you enjoyed catching up on some of my older recipes!

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