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Posts tagged ‘tomato’

Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

Roasted Eggplant And Tomato Parmigiana

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This is not a traditional eggplant parmigiana, I used what I had a ton of tomatoes and one large eggplant. I usually bread the eggplant and fry it but not this time, it’s a little different. Yesterday I oven roasted 3 baking sheets of tomatoes that I got at the farmers market. I bought an eggplant that I thought I would try to spiralize, it was too big and spongy and the spiralizer didn’t work on it. Cleaning out my freezer I found a small bag of bread crumbs (about 1 cup) that I had made from homemade bread that didn’t get eaten. So if you can see where I’m going I used what I had in the refrigerator and freezer and created a delicious casserole. The eggplant was cut into about 1/4 inch thick slices and roasted in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.  Layer the tomatoes and eggplant with some ricotta and fresh mozzarella and there you have it. This is not really a recipe, I guestimated the amounts, with this type of dish you make it according to taste, it is open to interpretation, if you are watching your fat grams use less cheese or low fat/part skim cheese for example. I made two of them a little individual size for me and a larger one to take to my friends.  You don’t have to make everything at once, the tomatoes were roasted the day before and you can even make the whole thing and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Roasted Eggplant and tomato parmigiana

Made 2 casseroles one larger than the other

Roasted tomatoes (I guess I used about 2 cups of roasted tomatoes approximately)

eggplant (I used one very large eggplant)

1/2 shallot (1 lobe) chopped

1 large clove garlic minced

1 cup breadcrumbs

approximately 1/4 cup grated cheese plus more for the ricotta and casserole

ricotta (about 8 oz)

mozzarella cut into thin slices (I used most of an 8 oz fresh mozzarella)

4-5 basil leaves torn

Heat oven to 375, cut the tomatoes into rounds and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes just until they start to caramelize but are not dried out. Set aside. I made the tomatoes the day before.

Slice eggplant into rounds or quarters about 1/4 inch thick. Place on parchment (brush some oil on parchment sheet) lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 40-45 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil and a little pat of butter in a skillet, mince some garlic and chop 1/2 shallot, cook on medium high heat until softened. Add the bread crumbs and pan toast until golden brown. Spoon into a bowl and cool. Add some (if I had to guess about 2 tbs) grated cheese of your choice, parmigiana, romano, asiago or all of the above and some chopped parsley.

Beat an egg in a mixing bowl, add a little grated cheese and season with salt and pepper, add the ricotta and stir to combine.

Putting it together

I used a small rectangular pyrex and small oval baking dish. Layer some of the roasted tomatoes on the bottom of the pan. Place some of the eggplant on top, sprinkle with a little of the breadcrumbs, spread some of the ricotta on top and then continue to layer adding a few of the torn basil leaves in between each layer. You can make this however you like, my top layer was tomatoes which I sprinkled with a little more bread crumbs, some grated cheese and some mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 40-45 mintues or until bubbly and the cheese on top is lightly browned. Let sit for about 30 minutes to set before serving.

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Italian Tapas For Fiesta Friday #32

Caponata

Caponata

Italian tapas, well it’s not really tapas in the truest sense of the word but it certainly can be eaten on small plates and it’s more of a prelude to the actual meal, I thought caponata, some good cheese and bread would be a nice addition to the party this week. Caponata is a Sicilian dish which is used as a side dish or condiment. I can remember my Mother serving on toasted Italian bread as a starter or appetizer. This is my version of my Mothers recipe, its less sweet and the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape.

Angie@The Novice Gardener is hosting this weeks event, she is always there for us and our co host is Hilda@along the grapevine. I hope everyone enjoys a little bit of Italy or Sicily. Buon Appetito!

Caponata

4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on. (Or use 1 large eggplant)

1 Medium size onion chopped

2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 Red bell pepper de seeded and chopped

4 Fresh tomato’s chopped (I used 1 very large heirloom tomato and 1 smaller heirloom)

1/4 cup capers rinsed, rough chop

1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives

2 tsp – 1 tbs organic brown Sugar (add 2 tsp taste and add more if needed)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with parchment brush a little olive oil on each half, both sides, place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don’t let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

Caponata, bread and cheese

Caponata, bread and cheese

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

Pasta With Half The Carbs

Half the carbs pasta

Half the carbs pasta

Part of my resolution this year is to lose some weight and  try to eat more healthful foods. I respond really well to low carb diets and do lose weight pretty quickly but I am a carb addict, I love bread and pasta and rice. Once I get used to eliminating or lowering my carb intake it becomes easy but the first week or so is a bit difficult. I created this dish to ease myself into a reduced carb lifestyle. It’s fresh and very simple to prepare. I use less than half the amount of pasta that I normally would and replaced it with julienned zucchini. The hot pasta is tossed with the zucchini (raw), oven roasted (caramelized) cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic and a nice handful of chopped flat leaf parsley. Finish with the grated or shaved cheese of your choice, I used peccorino romano.

Serves 2-3

10 cherry tomatoes halved

2 cloves garlic

1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 medium zucchini julienned

1/4 lb pasta (dry or fresh)

2 tbs olive oil plus more to drizzle on tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

grated cheese of your choice

Heat oven to 350 degree’s place cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves on parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes, garlic will be soft and tomatoes soft and caramelized, remove from oven and place in serving bowl mashing the garlic, be sure to include the juice from the tomatoes and any caramelized bits of tomato.

Put a large pot of water to boil, julienne the zucchini and add to the tomato and garlic, add the chopped parsley, olive oil and season. When water has come to a full boil add enough salt so that water tastes salty (about 1 – 2 tbs) depending on how much water you have in the pot, add the pasta and cook until done (al dente), remove from pot and add directly to the zucchini and tomatoes, toss to combine, sprinkle with cheese and serve. If it seems too dry add a little pasta water and/or olive oil to moisten.

Baked Egg Casserole

I usually make this on the stovetop but adapted it to bake in the oven primarily because I entered this recipe in a Whole Foods Baked Breakfast contest. I actually like it better baked in the oven so from now on that’s exactly how I am going to make this. I must confess I try to have a healthy smoothie or shake for breakfast every morning but every now and then and I want something filling and warm and well, with runny eggs, cheese and bread.  This certainly satisfies me in every way and its quick and easy to make to boot. It consists of a baguette cut into cubes, cherry tomatoes roasted in the oven, eggs and a quick and easy no fuss cheese sauce.

  • 1 small baguette cut into cubes
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large eggs (preferably organic and pastured)

Preheat oven to 450 Tear off 2 sheets of foil and lay on baking sheet, on one sheet place bread cubes and drizzle with olive oil, on the other sheet place tomatoes drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes until bread is lightly browned and tomatoes are soft. Remove from oven. Mix the grated cheese and heavy cream together. Keep oven at 450 degrees. Butter a gratin pan and scatter the bread cubes in the pan so that they cover the bottom. Add the tomatoes next and distribute evenly with the bread, now carefully break the eggs on top nestling them into the bread and tomato, season the eggs with a little salt and pepper, now spoon the cheese and cream on top of the eggs making sure its evenly distributed. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minute until the egg whites are somewhat set, now turn on broiler and broil for 1- 2 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned, Note: Watch carefully oven temps vary and it make take a little less or more time depending on your oven and the size of the baking pan, I used individual gratin pans and it took 8 minutes to bake and a bit over 1 minute under the broiler.

Caponata and Tomato Balsamic Jam

Caponata is a Sicilian dish which is used as a side dish or condiment. I can remember my Mother serving on toasted Italian bread as a starter or appetizer. This is my version of my Mothers recipe, its less sweet and the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape. It makes a wonderful sandwich with a sharp cheese, like aged provolone. I used peppadew peppers but you can use a red bell pepper instead, my Mother also sauteed the eggplant but I like to brush with olive oil and roast in the oven. I suggest having this on a thick slice of rustic Italian bread from the Solitary Cook. Tomato balsamic Jam is so simple to make and absolutely delicious. All you need are good tomatoes, olive oil, shallot or onion and balsamic vinegar, and you will have a tomato condiment that can be used in so many dishes. I spread on bread and top with a poached egg, or make a quick pizza, there are so many uses. Keep in a jar in the fridge it will last for at least a week or more refrigerated.

4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on.

1 Medium size onion chopped

2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

4 Peppadew peppers chopped (If you do not have these use red bell pepper)

1/2 Red bell pepper chopped (if using instead of peppadew increase to 1 cup)

4  Fresh tomato’s peeled and seeds removed, or 1cup canned tomatoes diced or 1 cup tomato balsamic jam

3 tablespoons capers rinsed, rough chop

1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives

2 teaspoons Sugar (add 1 tsp taste and add another if needed)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with aluminum foil brush a little olive oil  on each half, both sides, place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
  2. In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don’t let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,peppers, capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

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2 cups fresh tomatoes cut into pieces

1 shallot minced

1 tps sugar

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to coat pan

Coat your fry pan with olive oil, heat should be med/high. Add shallots and saute until translucent, add tomato, sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cook until tomato starts to caramelize but there should still be some of the juices from the tomato you don’t want it too dry. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook stirring frequently for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat,let cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

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Pasta Fagioli

This week I am going to feature Italian recipes.  My first entry is my Mothers Pasta Fagioli or as my family said “pasta fazool”.  This recipe took my Mom a while to perfect, there were many attempts before she got it exactly how she wanted it,  the broth is thin and contains beans that are cooked with salt pork and garlic, (I did not have nor could I find salt pork locally so I used what I had, which was a very fatty lightly smoked ham steak that I got from my CSA) you then make a very thin tomato based sauce, put the beans and sauce together and at the end add home made pasta. Grate some Parmigiano or Romano cheese on top and you have a hearty delicious soup. I like to make the soup the day before serving, refrigerate over night and add the pasta the next day before serving. This dish was pretty much my Mom’s signature dish and was requested often by family and friends. It’s very easy to make, I hope you will give it a try. The salt pork can be optional for a vegetarian soup and if you omit the pork add an additional clove of garlic and some onion to the beans. The home made pasta is also optional feel free to use commercially prepared pasta, be sure to cook it first before adding to the soup.

Ingredients and Directions:

1 1/4  cup great northern beans
1 clove garlic smashed
salt pork (about the size of a deck of cards)
8 cups water
Bring beans, garlic. pork and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for approximately 2 hours until beans are tender. I did not soak the beans overnight but if you do reduce cooking time by at least half.
1 28 oz can whole italian plum tomatoes (Blended until smooth)
1 can (28 oz) water – just fill the tomato can with water
1 clove garlic minced
1 shallot minced
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 fresh basil leaves
In dutch oven or large saucepan heat some olive oil, add garlic and shallot cook until they are soft and cooked through, add tomatoes, 3 basil leaves and water and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.
When beans are done add to the tomato sauce (add beans and water they cooked in). Simmer on low for 20 minutes, the sauce will be thin, that is the way its supposed to be,adjust seasoning. Remove salt pork and add the cooked pasta, add 2 or 3 torn basil leaves and simmer for about 5 minutes and serve with grated parmigiano or romano cheese. NOTE: You can judge how much pasta to add I like about 2-3 cups of cooked pasta, it expands in the soup and you want to retain most of the broth.
Pasta:
2 1/2 cups AP flour
4 large eggs
1 tbs water
2 tsp olive oil
On work surface dump flour and make a well in the middle, add the eggs, water and olive oil and beat with a fork, working in a circle incorporate the flour until you have a cohesive dough, add more flour if your dough is too sticky. Knead until dough is smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Or by food processor (which I did)  place flour in bowl then add the eggs, oil and water and pulse until it comes together into a ball. Turn onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
If rolling by hand roll dough with rolling pin as thin as you can, the dough should be almost translucent. Fold and cut into thin strips like linguine. If using a pasta machine follow manufacturers directions. NOTE: You will only need half of the pasta for this, wrap the other half of the dough well and freeze for later use).
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, when water is boiling add salt (the water should be salty like sea water) Add the pasta stirring to make sure each piece is separated and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and add to the bean and tomato sauce.

Dough Resting

Rolling paper thin ready to become linguine

Featured Recipe – Mediterranean Poppers

Photo by Lapadia

I wanted to feature another delicious, quick and easy salad for the featured recipe this week. This has Mediterranean flavors and comes in its own little edible cup. Crisp cucumber, olives, tomatoes, feta and herbs dressed simply with olive oil and placed in crisped wonton wrappers is the perfect little salad bite. This recipe comes from Linda of Lapadia’s Kitchen. She is a fantastic multi talented cook. Visit her website and you will find recipes for bread (her pita is to die for), sweets (her pie crust is amazing) and some Italian favorites like Bracciole you can also find her recipes on Food52.  Linda’s recipe for Himalayan Blackberry Pie will be featured in the second food 52 cookbook coming out October 2012. Give these poppers a try, perfect party fare, I can guarantee you won’t be able to eat just one! I like mine with a little fresh lemon squeezed on top!

FILLING: ingredients make 12 to 15 poppers

  • 2 Persian cucumbers or pickling size, sliced – 1 cup (give or take)
  • 12 Cherry tomatoes
  • 12 Kalamata olives
  • 12 Feta cheese cubes – a little smaller than the olive
  • Olive oil – a good extra virgin
  • Herbes De Provence (I prefer it to oregano)
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Mini tart pan
  • 15 Wonton Wrappers
  1. Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence and fresh ground pepper. Let the ingredients sit and infuse, give it a stir now and then.
  2. Spray the wonton wrappers with a buttery spray (such as Pam) on both sides; line the mini tart pan with them pressing lightly into the middle to form a cup.
  3. Bake at 350° until the edges are crispy and brown, about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Let cool – for a make ahead see the note below.
  5. Cut the filling ingredients into at least – thirds; toss with drizzles of the olive oil mixture and let sit in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  6. About an hour before serving add filling to each wonton cup.
  7. Serve.

NOTE: make it ahead

  • Prepare to the end of step 4 (up to 2 days ahead), store in an airtight container.
  • Next day, continue with step 5 up to three hours ahead.