Tag Archive for 'tomatoes'

Roasted Tomato Bucatini

I have a way of getting swept up in summer. I suppose it is something I never fully realized or appreciated until now. The long summer days that feel like you can squeeze three, possibly even four, chapters into your day are definitely worth smiling about. Relaxed lazy dinners followed by trips to the ice cream store or a dunk in the pool give me that feeling I had as a child growing up in the summer. The feeling that I have time: a release from the regimented deadlines and time frames that can seem all consuming and important. Weekends without sports schedules and endless commitments can be amended to include a slightly fluid plan to BBQ and indulge in a few cocktails.

Continue reading ‘Roasted Tomato Bucatini’

Campfire Prawns & Corn Wheels

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The secret to enjoying the last of those long summer nights is a no-fuss do ahead meal with the added bonus of not having to wash any pots and pans. This is a great week night meal or fun dinner to do when entertaining. In keeping with my theme of the past few weeks, here is another easy summer meal to tuck into your “favorites” foodie file.

As I look towards Labor Day long holiday weekend, I want to keep the food aspect of entertaining my guests simple Continue reading ‘Campfire Prawns & Corn Wheels’

Bruschetta in a Jar – Canning Goes Tomato

Canning tomatoes for the winter. As we are nearing the end of our summer tomato season there is no better time than NOW to package up all that fresh yummy flavor to savor for the winter. You don’t have to be a canning guru to have fun and spend minimal time doing this. Kids love to help with canning too and there is no denying how great a pantry filled with home made concoctions looks to passers-by.

A few safety cautions before we begin…

-Always use jars and lids approved for home canning use.

-If the jar doesn’t seal properly, refrigerate immediately and eat within a month.

Bruschetta in a Jar


2 TBS dried basil

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 TBS dried oregano

2 TBS sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup white wine vinegar

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

9 cups plum tomatoes chopped (1 inch), cored


Prepare canner, jars and lids. (If you’ve never canned, then let me give you a few more details: Prep the jars and lids for canning following the procedures for boiling water canning. Place lids in a small saucepan half full of water and place on low heat. Put the metal rack in the bottom of the stock pot or boiling water canner. If using screw bands, place them top up in the bottom. The purpose of the rack is to keep the jars from direct contact with the heated metal at the bottom of the pot, which could cause them to scorch or break. Place your clean jars into the canner and fill the container (and jars) half full of water. Turn on the stove to medium heat. Remove a jar from the boiling water canner, by this point the water in the canner should be pretty hot so use the jar lifter. DON’T put the jar directly on the counter as the change in temperature between the oven and the counter will cause the jars to break. It is best to place the jars either on a folded kitchen towel or a wooden surface.)

In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine basil, garlic, oregano, sugar, vinegars, water and wine. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 5 minutes, until garlic is heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Slice tomatoes and drain in a colander for 30 minutes to remove excess liquid. Save this juice as it goes beautifully into an oil and vinegar-based salad dressing.

Pack tomatoes into hot jars to within a 1/2 inch of top of jar. Ladle hot vinegar mixture into jar to cover tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Creating proper headspace in each jar is essential to achieving a proper seal and being able to safely store your jam. This is where the clear plastic ruler comes in handy. Remove any air bubbles by poking down into the mixture with chopstick or skewer. Clean the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel to make sure there’s no stray juice to interfere with the seal. Center lid on jar. Cap the jar with your lid and tighten the screw band until it is fingertip tight.

Place the jar back into the boiling water canner using your jar lifter. Once all your jars are filled, make sure they are completely covered with water (you may have to add a bit of additional water to the canner). Bring the water to a boil and then set your timer for 20 minutes. (Add 1 minute onto this time for each 1,000 ft above sea level.) When the timer goes off, remove the canner lid and wait 5 minutes. Why 5 minutes? If you don’t wait a few minutes the jostling of removing them from the canner could keep the jars from sealing. Another important tip is to remember to keep your jars upright as you remove them, titling to the side can also interfere with the seal. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing “POP!” from across the room and knowing your jars are sealing, but you can’t sit around for a whole day for that sound.

In 24 hours go back and check all your jars. If you push down on the top and the lid gives, you didn’t get a solid seal. Immediately refrigerate or reprocess that jar. I usually take it one step further by taking off the screw band and holding the jar up by just its lid (with the other hand ready to catch, of course). If the lid doesn’t spring up and I can hold it up by just the edges of the metal lid, it’s got a nice seal.

Note: For this recipe, plum tomatoes work better than glove tomatoes, as their flesh is firmer and retains its shape during processing which is ideal for bruschetta. Plum tomatoes do not need to be drained because they yield little liquid. However, if unable to find plum tomatoes, glove tomatoes can be used.

Special thanks to Madge, my go-to canning gal, for organizing and hosting such a power house canning day. Jessica and I made a great team as we prepared over 30 lbs of tomatoes for an assortment of recipes. Stay tuned for more canned tomato deliciousness to be posted soon.

Upside Down Gruyère Tartes Tomate

I have struggled as to what to name this newest creation, beyond the obvious, “yummy cheese crust with seasoned tomatoes’, but that just didn’t sound flashy enough. I hope the above name will inspire you to take a chance on this French-esque vegetarian recipe. I’ll confess, there was a fleeting moment when I thought I should brand this creation in honor of the World Series Champions- The San Francisco Giants -but I am certain that they feel my support despite my lack of a dedicated recipe.

While the recipe reads rather long, it is because some of the ingredients are for the crust and the other ingredients are for the filling. I recommend you read over the full recipe once so that you know what to anticipate on each of the steps, none of which are very complicated (shhh, your guests will never know!). The perfect accompaniment to this dish is a salad with a light balsamic vinaigrette and a glass of crisp white wine.

Now for a brief PSA about Gruyère cheese: For those whom have not had the opportunity to work with Gruyère cheese, it is like Emmenthaler Swiss cheese, only slightly milder. So if you like Swiss cheese, you should like it. Depending on the age of the cheese, the flavor is sweet but slightly salty. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy, and complex.

Upside Down Gruyère Tartes Tomate


2 3/4 cups and 2 TBS flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups Gruyère cheese, grated
1 cup (or two cubes) plus 1 TBS unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp ice cold water (no cubes)
1 1/2 large yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1 egg
dash of pepper


Shred Gruyère cheese and set aside.

In a food processor,combine and mix the following ingredients until crumbly and resembles a coarse meal:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup butter

With machine running, pour 1/4 cup water through the ingredient tube. Use the pulse setting until dough holds together without becoming too wet or sticky. Best not to process in the machine more than 30 seconds as butter will begin to melt and change consistency. An easy way to test for the correct consistency is to squeeze a small amount together: if it does not stick but crumbles, add more water at TBS at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each into the shape of a disc and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, add:
1 TBS butter

Stir occasionally, until onion is translucent in color, approximately 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, add tomatoes and toss with:
1/4 cup PLUS 2 TBS flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar

When onion mixture is cool, add to the above bowl of tomatoes. Using six individual 3-inch ceramic lipped round dishes, evenly divide tomatoes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll until 1/8 inch thickness. I like to roll the dough out in the plastic wrap as it helps the dough keep its form a bit easier and is also less of a mess to clean up. When it is nearly the size I want it, I replace the top layer of plastic wrap with parchment paper to keep it from sticking without having to supplement with additional flour which would make the dough too heavy.

Using a knife, or a pasta cutter, cut out square pieces of dough that are about the size of each dish when placed upside down on the dough. Each crust should be tucked in around the tomatoes to make a sealed pocket.

In a small bowl, mix egg with 1 tsp water. Bush egg glaze over the crust and then sprinkle crust with remaining shredded Gruyère cheese.

Bake approximately 35 minutes, until crust is golden brown and insides are bubbling. Resist temptation to eat this immediately and allow it to cool for 10 minutes so that the juices can properly set up – AND to ensure that no tongues are burnt when taking that first bite!

1) Any remaining dough can be frozen up to one month.
2) This dough also makes good crackers if you want to roll them out into cute shapes and serve with a nice cheese spread.
3) I like to make the crust a day before, to cut down on actual time in the kitchen, if you do this then you will want to bring the discs of dough to room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling out.
4) If you are pressed for time, you can make one large 9 1/2-10 inch pie but you will need to reduce the tomatoes down to 2 lbs total and increase the cooking time to 50-55 minutes.

Scratching That Summer Itch

With summer in full swing, tomatoes on the vine and cup cakes on the brain – I was craving a funky combo that I sampled last summer. It was not a culinary feat, but sometimes comfort food is the best way to scratch that itch, and today was THAT day. This simple, yet tasty recipe, Tomato Bisque Spiced Cup Cakes, may sound bizarre but this seemingly healthful recipe will impress your constituents and critics. (Just in case you don’t want to confess that your serving cup cakes with tomato in them, I’ve switched up the name to give it an Italian flair.)

Torte Piccolo Con Pomodoro

Cupcake Ingredients

1 box (18 oz) spice cake mix
1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbell’s® Condensed Tomato Bisque Soup
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
18 (2 1/2-inch) cupcake liners

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

1 cube butter, softened (not melted)
1 cup cream cheese (room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 TBS vanilla
pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Cupcake Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place liners into 18 muffin-pan cups.

Combine the cake mix, soup, water and eggs in a large bowl and mix according to the package directions.

Spoon the batter into the muffin-pan cups, up to the rim of the liner.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely.

Frosting Directions

In a medium-size bowl, mix butter, cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar on high for 2 minutes.

After frosting, you can sprinkle the cupcakes with toasted chopped pecans or walnuts.

Yields: 18 cupcakes

How To Make Valentine’s Day Last A Little Longer

My Valentine’s Day gift to you- an impressive and simple meal to show the one(s) you love that Valentine’s Day is not just a night out at some cozy restaurant where you snagged a reservation, or some over-priced flowers, it is more than just ONE day a year and goes well beyond the Hallmark card or cute text you sent. Serve this dish with some nice crusty bread and pass it off to your special guests as if you have worked in the kitchen like a true Olympian. If you are out to impress, hit the print button and take this list to the Super Marche (as they say in France).

Hearty Steak & Portobello Mushroom Stew


1 pound sirloin steak, fat trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup flour
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil (using one 1 TBS at a time)
1 medium-size Yukon Gold potato, skin removed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
6 cups portobello mushroom caps, (approx 6 medium), gills removed (optional)
2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed
2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
2 tsps chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper


Place steak in a medium bowl mix with flour stir to coat. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the steak (reserving excess flour) and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on the outside but slightly pink on the inside (approximately 3 minutes). Transfer to a plate and and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the potato and cook until lightly browned. Then add mushrooms, onions and tomatoes to the same pot and cook, until the vegetables have released their juices, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle the reserved flour over the green beans; stir to coat. Add green beans and stir. Then add broth, wine, thyme, salt and pepper; increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring often.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the broth has thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the steak and any accumulated juices and cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 2 minutes.