Marinated Garden Tomatoes

One of my favorite things about summertime is all the fresh produce.  Having your own garden is great, but even if you don’t, you can always find garden fresh produce at local farmers markets.  If you’re lucky, you might even have a friend or two looking for someone who might enjoy their garden bounty (thank you Stephanie and Pat!). Tomatoes are definitely one of my favorite things about summer.  They are fantastic on their own with a bit of sea salt, but they’re also delicious marinated in vinegar and herbs. I’ve made this recipe with large tomatoes that I sliced, and I’ve also done it with smaller ones including really small cherry tomatoes. It really doesn’t matter what size you use, they will all be delicious.  I love serving them over an avocado for a light lunch or a side dish for dinner!  Thank you, Corrie, for this great recipe!  🙂

Marinated Garden Tomatoes

Thickly Sliced Marinated Garden Tomatoes

Can also be made with many different sizes

 

Marinated Garden Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup sliced green onion (green and white parts)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • ¼ cup snipped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 fresh tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar

Preparation:

Combine first 6 ingredients and sprinkle over tomatoes. Mix oil and vinegar and pour over tomatoes.  Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Spoon dressing over tomatoes several times while chilling, and drain before serving.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Summer Savory Pie

Nothing speaks to a cook like a bounty from the garden, so suffice it to say that I was more than excited when my friend, Annette, asked if I’d like to “pick the garden” during a recent visit to her and her husband’s beautiful hill country home.  I came home with some of the prettiest tomatoes I’ve seen since visiting Italy.  Not only were they picture perfect, but the flavor was outstanding.  Nothing like the cardboard texture and flavor we tend to get with so many of the grocery store tomatoes these days!

We enjoyed some delicious meals all week long centered around our homegrown tomatoes, and as I got down to the last of the bounty, I decided to make this dish.  The recipe is from my friend, Kathy Wilson, and she calls it her Summer Savory Pie.  I remember her making it for a shower we did together years ago for our girls, and it was a hit!  You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner…or all three!

Summer Savory Pie

Summer Savory Pie

Summer Savory Pie

Courtesy of Kathy Wilson

Ingredients:

1/2 15 oz package of refrigerated pie crusts
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 purple onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces ) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Fit piecrust into a 9 inch deep-dish pie pan pricking bottom and sides with a fork.  Bake 10 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté bell pepper, onion and garlic 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in basil and set aside.

Whisk together eggs, half & half, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Stir in sautéed vegetables and cheese, then pour into cooled crust.  Top with thinly sliced tomato, and bake at 375° for 45 to 50 min or until set, shielding edges with strips of aluminum foil after 30 min to prevent excessive browning.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

Watermelon Tomato Salad

I love watermelon and I love tomatoes, but, frankly, the thought of them together was not so appealing to me.  With so many restaurants putting it on their menus lately, I thought I’d give it a whirl in my kitchen and see what all the fuss is about.   I was pleasantly surprised at how the flavors compliment each other in this salad.  It’s light, full of flavor and with temperatures soaring up close to 100° these days, let me tell you….it’s just what the doctor ordered to cool us off a little!

Many recipes call for just mint or just basil, but I took the liberty and added several herbs I had in my garden (mint, basil & parsley). I loved the combination of all three.  I kept it simple and just drizzled it with a lemon/olive oil vinaigrette, and I thought it was perfect.  Very refreshing and full of flavor!

Keep in mind that your salad will only be as good as your ingredients, so make sure you get your hands on a very sweet watermelon and some of those great flavorful summertime tomatoes!

Watermelon Tomato Salad

Watermelon Tomato Salad

Yield: 8 -10 servings

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups 1-inch chunks seedless watermelon, chilled
  • 4 cups 1-inch chunks ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2  cup chopped fresh herbs (I used equal parts mint, parsley & basil
  • feta cheese

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation:

Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing and set aside.  Combine chilled melon and tomato in large bowl.  Toss in herbs and drizzle with dressing.  Pour onto decorative platter or bowl and sprinkle with feta cheese. (**See Liz’s Notes)

**Liz’s Notes:

  1. Experiment with different flavors…if you like goat cheese, use it instead of feta.  Or if you really like basil, try it with just basil instead of a combination of different herbs.  I really don’t think you can mess this salad up.
  2. Prep the watermelon ahead of time, cover the bowl and keep it in the refrigerator. Just before serving, toss everything together and drizzle with the dressing.  It’s best when there’s a chill on the melon.

Black Bean Salad…Caribbean Style!

We recently returned from a fabulous trip to Stocking Island, a hidden jewel located in the Bahamas.  We stayed at the St. Francis Resort, a wonderful, quaint little place with only EIGHT rooms. How we managed to snag one of those rooms, I’ll never know.  I think we just got lucky!

George and Jill are the proprietors of this little slice of heaven, and they are the perfect hosts.  You truly feel welcome and part of the “local family” as soon as you arrive.

The beaches are private and pristine, and the water is gin clear!  There is world class bone fishing and snorkeling along the beautiful reefs and two blue holes that are very close by.  We kayaked, sailed, hiked and many times just relaxed with a book on the beach.  Thanks Jill and George…We can’t wait to return!

 

 

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I love the local food in the Caribbean and this salad takes me back to “island time”.   It’s quick, easy and full of flavor!

Black Bean Salad

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 cup scallion (both green and white parts), thinly sliced
  • 1-2 fresh serrano peppers, diced **(see notes)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt to taste

Preparation:

In large bowl, combine beans, corn, tomato, scallion, serrano and cilantro.  In separate small bowl, whisk olive oil and lemon juice together and add to remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine, and salt to taste.

**Liz’s Notes:

  1. Jalapeno peppers can be substituted for serranos if milder heat is preferred.  Peppers can be omitted altogether for no heat.
  2. Do not substitute jarred or pickled peppers for fresh.

Escolar Topped with Tomato-Mint-Basil Salsa

On a recent trip to my new favorite spot, “Groomer Seafood“, I purchased some Escolar, sometimes known as “Butter Fish”.  While I’d heard of Escolar before, I’d never tasted it and decided to give it a try.  I’d heard it was very similar to Chilean Sea Bass both in texture and taste but with a much more appealing price tag!  Once home, I decided to pan roast it… (brush with olive oil, season & sear in non-stick, oven-proof skillet on medium-high heat 3-4 minutes until nice crust is formed.  Carefully flip the fish & pop the skillet into a preheated 450° oven for another 6-7 minutes).  The fish was succulent, rich & buttery and utterly delicious.  I topped it with a Tomato-Mint-Basil Salsa that was the perfect accompaniment!
Do be warned, however, that because of its high oil content, Escolar has a reputation for causing, let’s say, intestinal distress if eaten in larger portions than about 6 ounces. Enjoy in moderation!

Escolar topped with Tomato-Mint-Basil Salsa

Tomato-Mint-Basil Salsa

adapted from The Cook’s Bible-The Best of American Home Cooking

Makes about 3 cups
  • 2 cups diced fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour (preferably 2) before serving.

Note: This salsa is only as good as the tomato that is used…best with those ripe summer heirlooms!  Letting the salsa sit at room temperature to develop flavor is a MUST!  I left mine alone for about 2 hours.  This is great on top of ANY fish!

Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Tomato-Basil Sauce

My friend, Susan, sent me this recipe that she found in TexasMonthly Magazine.  She thought I’d really like it, and SHE WAS RIGHT!  I fixed it tonight, and my guys RAVED about it!  It’s just the kind of recipe I look for to use my garden tomatoes and beautiful basil.  It’s pretty quick to put together, too!  You do have to marinate the chicken for about an hour in the fridge, so get that going before moving on to the tomatoes.  By the time you have the tomatoes finished, your chicken will be ready to grill.

Teenage son was salivating over the Tomato-Basil Sauce!  It really was that good, and would be great, as well, over pasta!  Give it a try…I’ll bet you’ll like it!

Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Tomato-Basil Sauce

Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Tomato-Basil Sauce

slightly adapted from TexasMonthly Magazine

printable recipe

4 whole chicken breasts
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Marinate chicken in remaining ingredients for one hour in refrigerator. Remove chicken and discard marinade.  Grill 5-8 minutes per side depending on thickness.

Tomato-Basil Sauce

1 pound whole Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil

Grill Roma tomatoes until skins blister. Cool. Combine with other ingredients in blender, except stir in basil by hand. Serve with chicken.

**Note:  I have a stove top grill pan that I used to grill the tomatoes.  If you don’t have one of these, cut the tomatoes in half, toss with olive oil and a little salt and roast in the oven at 425° for about 20-25 minutes.  Cool and then blend with remaining ingredients in blender, stirring in the basil by hand.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes…a little slice of heaven!

Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

“To really figure out if a tomato is a fruit or vegetable, you need to know what makes a fruit a fruit, and a vegetable a vegetable. The big question to ask is, DOES IT HAVE SEEDS? If the answer is yes, then technically, (botanically) you have a FRUIT. This, of course, makes your tomato a fruit. It also makes cucumbers, squash, green beans and walnuts all fruits as well. Along with the fruit from a plant or tree, we can often eat the leaves(lettuce,) stems(celery,) roots (carrots,) and flowers (broccoli.) Many of these other parts of the plant are typically referred to as VEGETABLES. Now don’t go looking for tomatoes next to the oranges in your grocery stores; fruits like tomatoes and green beans are usually (alas, incorrectly) referred to as “vegetables” in most grocery stores and cookbooks.”

One of my favorite things about summer is the bounty of fresh tomatoes coming from our garden.  There’s nothing better than a “still warm from the sun” sliced tomato sprinkled with a little sea salt.  I could eat them all day!  A few years ago, I tried a recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine for Slow-Roasted Tomatoes.  When I have more than I can eat coming from the garden, I’ll pop them into the oven for about 3 hours and let them do their magic.  The results are so delicious, as the slow-roasting concentrates and caramelizes the flavor.  The aroma throughout the house is incredible, as well!  I’ve been known to buy the box of beefsteak tomatoes from Costco during the winter months, just for slow roasting! For an easy hors d’oeuvre, top some warm goat cheese with some of the chopped tomatoes, a few pine nuts and a drizzle of pesto and serve with crackers.  For an antipasto, put the tomatoes on a platter with some olives, prosciutto, a hunk of really good Parmigiano-Reggiano and some crusty bread. They can also be tossed with pasta or just served as a side dish.  The possibilities are really endless!  A bonus is the wonderful, tomato-infused oil left over after roasting.  You can drizzle it over grilled veggies, crusty bread, or use it in a vinaigrette. If you love tomatoes, you’re gonna love this dish!

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Fine Cooking Magazine

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. plus 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4-1/2 to 5 lb. medium-large ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 12), stemmed but not cored
Kosher salt
Granulated sugar
Scant 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 to 4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
Tip: Don’t use unrimmed baking sheets or the oil and juices will spill out; instead, use several shallow gratin dishes if you don’t have rimmed baking sheets.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12×17-inch rimmed baking sheet or two 9×12-inch rimmed baking sheets with foil. If you have parchment, put a sheet on top of the foil. Coat the pan or pans with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil.
Cut the tomatoes in half through the equator (not through the stem). Arrange the halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet, turning to coat their bottoms with some of the oil. Sprinkle a pinch each of salt and sugar over each half, and drizzle each with a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Arrange the garlic over the halves and top with a generous sprinkling of thyme. Pour the remaining 1 cup olive oil over and around the tomato halves.

Roast in the center of the oven until the tomatoes are concentrated, dark reddish brown (with deep browning around the edges and in places on the pan) and quite collapsed (at least half their original height; they will collapse more as they cool), about 3 hours for very ripe, fleshy tomatoes, about 4 hours for tomatoes that are less ripe or that have a high water content. (Check on the tomatoes frequently after the first 1 1/2 hours.  If they are browning too quickly, reduce the oven temperature.) Let cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes and then serve warm or at room temperature. Be sure to reserve the tomato oil (keep refrigerated for up to a week) to use on its own or in a vinaigrette.

Plum tomato variation: Substitute plum tomatoes, cut in half through the stem end and seeded. The roasting time will be about 2 hours. Roasted plum tomato halves hold together particularly well; layer them in a terrine or roll them up, stuffed with goat cheese and basil, as an appetizer.

To store the tomatoes, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to a couple of months. They’ll continue to release juice during storage.

Liz’s Note: I’m not near as precise as the recipe calls for.  First of all, mine aren’t always beefsteak tomatoes.  Any tomato will do, and if I don’t have enough to fill the pan, then I just roast what I have.  I also use more garlic and more thyme than called for (probably double, just cause I like both).  Depending on the meatiness of the tomatoes and how ripe they are will determine how long to roast them.  Keep a close eye on them after a couple of hours and reduce the heat if they start getting too brown.  They should literally collapse within themselves.  Mine will just about always take a good 3 hours roasted on the middle rack.



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