Tag Archives: tomato

Low and Slow in the Kitchen

With the sweltering heat that DC’s been melting under, there isn’t much incentive to turning on the oven, but I promise, this recipe will make it worth it!  And you can cook a whole large fillet at a time and have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.  Add a farro, wheat berry or similar salad as a side, top with tzatziki sauce got a light and protein-filled dinner without too much effort!

Slow Roasted Salmon with Tomatoes and Herbs

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 bunch dill fronds
  • 1/2 bunch thyme sprigs
  • 1 3-pound piece center-cut skin-on salmon or steelhead trout fillet, pin bones removed
  • Sea salt
  • 8 ounces small cherry tomatoes on the vine

Preheat oven to 325°. Pour 4 Tbsp. oil in a roasting pan just large enough to fit the salmon. Make a bed of herbs in bottom of pan; top with salmon, skin side down. Drizzle salmon with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and season with salt. Top with tomatoes, if using. Bake until salmon is just cooked through in the center (a small knife will slide easily through flesh), 25–30 minutes.  Use a large spoon or fork to serve salmon, leaving skin in pan. Serve with yogurt sauce and couscous.

The original recipe, with sauce and salad can be found on Bon Appetit here.


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Roast Tomato & Goat Cheese Toast

This is one of my favorite summer recipes. It’s delicious and looks fussier than it is!

Here’s how to make these delightful little bites…

1. Take a log of goat cheese out of the fridge and let it warm on the counter while you’re cooking away.

2. Roast the tomatoes… If you’ve never roasted tomatoes, it’s easy. Read this.

3. While the tomatoes are roasting, slice a baguette as thinly as possible. Place on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place cookie sheet in the oven with the tomatoes and toast until lightly golden, about 10-15 minutes. Then remove from the oven and place on a platter for serving.

4. Spread the room temperature goat cheese on the toasts.

5. When the tomatoes are done, remove from oven and place one or two on top of each piece of toast. Press gently so the juicy insides squeeze out onto the cheese.

6. Drizzle plate with olive oil, garnish with micro-basil or thinly sliced basil.

7. Enjoy!!!

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Planting Tomatoes

As one of the most ubiquitous and best-loved vegetables, it’s hard to beat the taste and scent of sun-ripened tomatoes (the ones in the grocery store are usually artificially ripened) and the best way to satisfy the craving is to plant them at home! Since it’s just about that time of the year, here are a couple of tips and tricks for terrific tomatoes!

  • Start with healthy plants – If growing from seed or purchasing plants from your local garden center, you want to transplant the short and stocky plants. The greater the girth of the main stem, the better! This means they’ve established a better root system and will grow much stronger after being transplanted outside.
  • Sun, sun and more sun – Plant your tomatoes in the area of your garden that gets the most sun! They like about 8-10 hours a day of full sun.
  • The soil – It should be well-draining and rich in organic matter. Before planting add a little compost to the soil and remember to feed the plants with a tomato fertilizer a couple of times through out the growing season.
  • Wait until the perfect time to plant – Don’t get overzealous and try and stick them in the ground too early! Wait not only until after the danger of frost has passed, but until the soil temperature is 60 degrees.
  • Spacing – Tomatoes like about 1.5 – 3 feet between them to ensure good air flow (prevents disease) and ample space for roots to stretch out.
  • Planting the seedlings – A little trick from my dad – Bury the plant up to its lowest set of leaves when transplanting. Roots will grow along the stem and result in a stronger root system, which equals more tomatoes for you!
  • Support plants – I like to use the tall cages. This helps keep the plant from sagging and the fruit from lying on the ground, which can lead to rotting. It also makes it easier to care for the plant.
  • Pruning – If plants are staked, regularly pinch off the small suckers that sprout between the leafy branches and main stems. This will prevent your plant from getting too leggy and will keep the plants energy focused on producing more fruit.

Happy Gardening!

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Creamy Tomato Soup

tomatosoupThis creamy tomato soup is perfect with a grilled cheddar sandwich on a cool Fall day. You can make it with more or less half and half and it’s just as good.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 26 1/2-ounce boxes vacuum-packed crushed tomatoes, or 10 cups canned crushed tomatoes
5 1/4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
3 sprigs fresh oregano, plus more for garnish
1/2 cups half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add tomatoes, stock, and oregano, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently until thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove oregano sprigs.
Slowly add half-and-half, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with oregano, if desired. Serve hot.


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The last bit of summer…

I used the last of the tomatoes from our garden this weekend to make these delicious BLT Napoleons for lunch.  Tastes just as great as a well done BLT sandwich, but much more impressive when served!

BLT Napoleon
makes 4 napoleons

8 slices of brioche, toasted and lightly buttered
3-4 medium-sized tomatoes, half sliced, half diced
8 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup mayonaise (homemade is best, but Hellman’s will do)
a handfull of basil leaves
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup arugula

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Fried Green Tomatoes

(can you hear my Southern drawl?)

The warm evenings of summer are coming to an end as the leaves are quickly falling from the trees into our gardens.  With that, it’s time to prepare the soil for winter and remove the plants of summer including those overgrown tomato plants.  This is my favorite, as it means it’s again time for frying up those green tomatoes and freezing them for enjoyment throughout the winter.

I love all things Fried Green Tomatoes… the food, the movie, the food… Did I mention I LOVE fried green tomatoes?  Well, here’s my recipe.  Serve with homemade aioli or just plain mayonaisse.  My favorite fixer-up is mayo with basil and lemon.

Fried Green Tomatoes
A bunch of green tomatoes
Equal parts cornmeal and flour (start with 1 cup of each)
Equal parts milk and eggs (start with 3 eggs and 1/4 cup milk)
Flour for dredging
Oil for frying
Mayo/Aioli for dipping

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A Good Use for those End-of-Summer Tomatoes

Ramona over at The Houndstooth Gourmet is having a little “You say tomato, I say tomahto” contest to celebrate the abundance of tomatoes in all of our gardens right now. This is one of my absolute favorite recipes…  EVER.  If you’ve never had Tomato Bread Salad, you must must must try this… You’ll be hooked… But be warned, it’s only incredible when you use the ripest, freshest tomatoes right out of the garden (or farmer’s market)

And the other secret to a great Tomato Bread Salad is you can’t be shy with the olive oil – and use a good olive oil as the simplicity of the ingredients really warrants the best in each of the ingredients.

Tomato Bread Salad (aka Panzanella)

2 cloves garlic, minced
2lbs ripe tomatoes, hacked into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
6 basil leaves, shredded
1 loaf day old French bread (baguette works well too!)
sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut bread into about 1 inch cubes.  Toss with olive oil and garlic.  Place on a baking sheet and cook until gold brown and slightly crunchy on the outside.  Remove from oven and immediately toss in a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Another key is to get as much of the tomato water into the bowl with the bread, as it’s so delicious when the olive oil soaked bread absorbs the juice from the tomato. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.



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Easy Tomato Salad

Out of avoidance of the grocery store during “rush hour” (you know what I am talking about – the swamped aisles when everyone’s just left work and is buying everything just because their hungry after a long day), I whipped together this healthy tomato salad for dinner last night.

The recipe is simple… Tomatoes from the garden, a drizzle of olive oil, thinly sliced red onion, a crumbling of feta and some fresh basil.


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Tip of the Day: Roasting Tomatoes

When your countertop is overflowing with tomatoes, it’s time to start finding ways to preserve them for the cold winter months when the only tomatoes in the grocery stores are the mealy, flavorless ones.

Roasting is one of my favorite ways to preserve the flavors of August. It requires little effort and adds so much to simple winter meals.

Begin by preheating the oven to 300 degrees and preparing a parchment-lined baking sheet. Slice tomatoes in half and toss in a large bowl with sea salt and a good drizzle of olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and place in oven for 4 hours or until they’ve shrunken up a bit in size and look as though they’ve begun to caramelize.

Remove from oven and enjoy immediately in pasta or along with a salad. Or to save for winter, place the entire baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are frozen through. Then remove from baking sheet and place in storage bags. Date and return to freezer until ready to use.



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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

5. – The Boston Globe Any way you Slice it, NY Bagel Business is Going Strong “Various phases of the no-carb, low-carb diet have disrupted the bagel business here, but bagel makers bounce back and so do bagel buyers. There’s that moment, dashing to work, when a bagel will offer just the right amount of nourishment before a morning meeting. And then there are Sundays, when delicatessens offering bagels are filled with customers. Today’s bagel eater has more choices than ever. There are low-carb bagels, whole wheat bagels, and the relatively recent “scooped” bagel, in which the insides are tossed out so only the crusty exterior remains.”

4. – The Chicago Tribune How to Know when a Watermelon is Ripe “The hard rind of a watermelon can be up to an inch thick and doesn’t soften as it ripens. It’s green when ripe, green when unripe. So, how to select a watermelon wisely? And how to use it wisely?”

3. – The NY Times Los Angeles Stages a Fast Food Intervention “A new weapon in the battle against obesity was rolled out last month when the Los Angeles City Council decided to stop new fast food restaurants from opening in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods… The Sisyphean struggle against poor diets has included booting soda from schools, banning trans fat and, more recently, sending New Yorkers into dietary sticker shock with a law that requires calorie counts be posted on menus, right next to the prices.”

2. – The Philadelphia Inquirer Preppy Pops: They’re liquor on a stick “These are pops with – pop. They’re peppy frozen cocktails on a stick, kicky and not for kids.”

1. – The Washington Post Unveiling the Top Tomatoes “In fact, the readers who submitted the first-, second- and third-place entries in the Food section’s second annual Top Tomato recipe contest have something in common: They made the most of what was available.”

Photo from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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