Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Bloody Mary Scones + ANNOUNCEMENT!

I bid farewell to The Texan New Yorker today, and we couldn’t be going out with a better recipe. I have truly loved my time and space here, and I have loved all of you, regular readers and passers-by. It’s been a wonderful bike with training wheels, a place where I’ve made countless mistakes, tried things on and taken them back off only to try something else on to see what works best. I’m so appreciative of your patience and involvement. I’m proud of the work here, and I’m fine that it’s run its course. I’m ready to try something new, and this site has been invaluable in helping me clarify what I really want out of this thing we call blogging.

I feel like I went into Texan New Yorker trying to play by the rules, trying to decipher the oh-so-fickle SEO gods, the ever-changing Pinterest algorithms, and letting my inner First Born People Pleaser run the show, always trying to guess what would get the most hits, the most shares, the most everything. I don’t say this to complain, but it can get exhausting, doing things that way.

I’ve felt like I haven’t really shown my real self in some ways, I’ve felt rather buttoned-up, the fear of offending people or losing subscribers taking center stage at times. Much of the new blog is about letting myself off that leash, finally – both with the cooking and the writing. These days, it’s not a given that a food blog, even a good food blog, will earn you big bucks, so you might as well have as much fun with it as possible.

The new site will simply be things I like to cook, to eat, and to talk about. My hope is that you will like them too.

Without further ado, please follow me over to:

JALAPENOS AND ANCHOVIES

I hope you will love it as much as I already do. (And please bear with me as we’re still working out a few last-minute bugs :/)

These scones are amazing, SO much better than actual Bloody Mary’s. Sorry, I’ve tried, I just don’t like the drink… Enjoy!

Source: slightly tweaked from Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs granulated sugar
1 ½ tbs baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sweet paprika
¾ tsp ground fennel
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp garlic powder
8 tbs unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
2 small plum tomatoes, chopped into small pieces, liquid and seeds removed
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, pureed (you should have about ¼ cup puree)
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 ½ tbs prepared horseradish, divided
2 tbs Tabasco
1 ¼ cups plus 2 tbs chilled heavy cream, plus more for brushing, divided
Crushed red pepper flakes and celery salt, for garnish
Other typical (or atypical!) Bloody Mary garnishes of your choice: cornichons, olives, pearled onions, beef jerky pieces, celery pieces, caperberries… whatever your imagination desires!

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, paprika, fennel, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal and you can see some chunks of butter about the size of peas. Using a spoon or your hands, mix the chopped plum tomatoes into the flour-butter mixture.
In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the sun-dried tomato puree, Worcestershire, 2 tbs horseradish, and Tabasco into 1 ¼ cup of the chilled heavy cream. Stir the cream mixture into the flour mixture until it begins to come together. Once it is mostly together and you only have a few straggly crumbs and bits of flour, quickly knead the dough with your hands until it just comes together, no more than a minute.
Lightly flour a cutting board and transfer the dough. Pat the dough into a circle or rectangle about 1-2 inches high. Cut into 8 equal pieces (they can be squares or triangles).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and transfer the scones, keeping them pretty close together.
Mix the remaining cup of heavy cream with the remaining 2 tbs horseradish. Use a pastry brush to brush each scone with the cream, then top each with a few red pepper flakes and a generous sprinkling of celery salt.
Bake 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
While they are baking go crazy with the garnishes of your choice. Simply “skewer” them on toothpicks. Once the scones are cooled completely, stick the toothpick garnishes in each one and serve.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Walnuts and Blue Cheese

One of my favorite things about summer is, without a doubt, heirloom tomatoes. I await their annual arrival with impatience and once they are finally here I buy them every chance I can. Truth be told, I’m mostly boring with them. Slice them, a sprinkle of salt, and given their size I find that’s a lovely and surprisingly filling side dish to a lean protein.

heirloom tomato salad with pickled walnuts and blue cheese

Obviously I can’t blog that. So I blog my other favorite thing to do with them: salads!! Every summer I hunt down a unique and creative way to showcase these beauties via salads, and when I find one I like, I keep making it every other day until Matt serves the cease and desist request. (He’s not nearly as big a fan of tomatoes as I am).

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Walnuts and Blue Cheese

But, he did like this one a lot, which means it’s *extremely* tasty. I couldn’t get enough, every time I made it. The first time found us pressed for time, so I skipped the candied walnuts and just pickled regular ones. No. Hunt down or DIY them up candied, it’s so worth it. I also skipped the celery, on account of having forgotten to buy it (d’oh!), and please don’t do that either. It lends not so much flavor but a wonderful crunch that complements the soft texture of the heirlooms.

heirloom tomato salad with pickled walnuts and blue cheese

I really can’t say enough good things about this beautiful salad. If you love, or even like, heirlooms, then this needs to be in your summer repertoire while we can still get ahold of those babies. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Source: Food & Wine, June 2011 (recipe submitted by Richard Blais)

Ingredients:
½ cup candied walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 tsp sherry vinegar, divided
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 lbs. assorted heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced or cut into large wedges
2 small celery ribs with leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions:
In a small bowl, toss the walnuts with 2 tsp of the vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk the mustard with the remaining 2 tsp vinegar and the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange the tomatoes on a platter. Season with salt. Add the celery and its leaves, nuts and cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Like many other Gen X Americans, my first experience of squid was in the form of fried calamari with the cocktail dipping sauce. I’d heard of this restaurant appetizer in my teens, but unsurprisingly, I was incredibly reluctant to try it, given the squeamish picky eating and all. Also unsurprisingly, it was my then-boyfriend and now-husband who convinced me to give it a taste.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

And so I fell down the rabbit hole. Needless to say, I loved fried calamari and started ordering it whenever I got the chance. It wasn’t until some years later that I thought that maybe I should try squid in non-breaded, non-fried states as well.

We’ve grilled it many times, which is harder than it looks to get the perfect texture, and possibly why I’ve yet to blog grilled squid. I’ve also got in mind a stuffed squid dish I want to try, and rest assured squid is delicious in paella or over pasta.

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

But (pseudo) stir-frying the squid, I’m very happy to report, is probably one of the easiest methods of cooking this type of seafood out there. It takes almost no time to cook, and a primarily Asian cooking method yielded this beautiful Italian-style quick and healthy dinner. The tomatoes are bright and acidic, yet slightly sweet, and their soft texture plays well against the firmer squid pieces. However… don’t forget the bread. You’ll want it and sorely miss it if you forget to pick any up from the store. Don’t ask me how I know this. Enjoy!

Squid with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Source: Food & Wine, August 2013

Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 ½ lbs. mixed cherry tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ lbs. small squid, cleaned, bodies cut into 1/3-inch rings and tentacles halved
1 ½ tbs white wine vinegar
1 cup lightly packed basil leaves

Directions:
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes just start to blister, 4 minutes. Stir in the squid and cook over medium low heat, stirring, until the squid turns opaque, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Nacho Dogs

Nacho Dogs

Happy Tuesday. Moving sucks.

Enough about me – we should instead talk about combining two comfort/junk food classics into one incredibly tasty meal. This is for sure something to be saved for splurge day. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Which brings me to what I have discovered through my journey of shedding some pounds, and is actually a pretty important point. My new philosophy (one of them anyways) is to spend my calories the way I spend my money. No one would purposely go out and spend their hard-earned money on say, clothes that they found ugly, or that didn’t fit right; or a book you have no desire to read, or a genre of music you know you don’t enjoy. We spend money wisely, on things we know we’ll use and enjoy.

Nacho Dogs

It’s really the same with food. If I’m spending more calories than usual on a meal or snack because I’m allowing a small or occasionally a large splurge, then I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’ll really enjoy it. Good ingredients, things I know I like, and savoring every bite.

Nacho Dogs

These nacho dogs were worth it. They’re kind of like the Kardashians – a bit over the top, and a bit trashy, but making no apologies. (Speaking of which, please, oh please watch this video if you haven’t seen it. My sides were hurting from the laughter). Unlike the Kardashian’s show though, these hot dogs were extremely enjoyable and good. Like I said, worth every extra calorie. Enjoy!

Nacho Dogs

Source: Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
4 plum tomatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 large chipotle in adobo, minced
3 tbs finely diced red onion
Small handful of cilantro leaves, minced
8 good-quality beef or turkey hot dogs
8 good-quality hot dog buns, split (I used brioche – so delicious)
1 ½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup sliced pickled jalapenos
Guacamole (homemade or good quality store-bought)
Tortilla chips, coarsely crumbled

Directions:
First make the salsa: preheat your indoor or outdoor grill to high for direct grilling. Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill until charred on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Remove the tomatoes from the grill, and let cool enough so you can handle them. Slice in half, scrape out the seeds, and coarsely chop.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbs olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced chipotle, red onion and cilantro. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Now cook the hot dogs. Grill the hot dogs until golden brown and lightly charred (if you like) on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Remove to a plate, then grill the buns, cut side down, until lightly golden brown and toasted, about 20 seconds.
To assemble this wonderful hot mess: place a hot dog in the bun, then top with cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, salsa, and crumbled tortilla chips. Serve immediately.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

Breaded Tomato Casserole

As y’all know, Matt and I met, over twelve years ago, on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, so every two to three years, we take a little weekend weekend getaway to New Orleans, sometime in February or March, and two weeks ago, that weekend rolled around for us again.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

I have a favorite kitchen supply store that I must frequent every time we’re there, right on Royal Street, and it never fails that I always pick up a cookbook or two when I’m there (despite the fact that I always say I won’t this trip). One of my finds this time around was Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree.

breaded tomato casserole

I’m quite an admirer of Dupree’s, so please know my tail is a bit between my legs when I tell you that I had no idea such a book of hers even existed. But, better late than never, I always say. It excited me to no end to find a book entirely dedicated to biscuits, one of my great loves in life.

breaded tomato casserole

I immediately baked up a batch upon returning home, and of course they were wonderful; but I think the section of the book that might intrigue me most of all is the chapter on using up your leftover, day-old biscuits. I knew I wanted to dive into this chapter most of all, so I made us this odd-sounding yet compelling dish, which really couldn’t be simpler. It’s just stale biscuits crumbled up and mixed with a touch of sugar, canned tomatoes, and I threw in some dried oregano. I added some grated parmesan to the top, for a bit of crust, and I must say that we just loved it.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

Tasting both distinctly Italian and US Southern, it’s reminiscent of bread pudding, but denser, and the tomato flavor is incredibly prominent. And of course, for that reason, make sure you use very high quality canned tomatoes – they’re not hiding behind anything here! While this dish is hearty, Matt and I both firmly agreed it’s a side dish, and would have a little trouble passing off as a main dish – it’s just not quite filling enough.

Breaded Tomato Casserole

As an aside, or a post-script, I used canned tomatoes here because 1) the original recipe is written that way and it sounded good to me, and 2) fresh tomatoes are decidedly not the least bit in season in the northeastern US. But, I’m thinking this could be incredible revisited in the summer using fresh juicy tomatoes in their peak season. Hmm… Enjoy!

Breaded Tomato Casserole

{One Year Ago: White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with NOLA Bourbon Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Red Beans and Rice; Irish Soda Bread}

Source: slightly adapted from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients:
3 cups torn or chopped biscuits in ½-inch pieces
1 tsp granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
A generous ½ tsp dried oregano
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
Grated parmesan cheese, for the top of the casserole (a couple generous handfuls)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 2 ½ quart baking dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together the biscuit pieces, sugar, salt, and oregano. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine thoroughly and coat all the biscuit pieces with the juices. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and pour the melted butter evenly over the top. Bake 25-30 minutes, then evenly sprinkle the top with parmesan. Put it back in the oven for 5 minutes, then remove and serve warm.

Smoky Scrambled Duck Eggs with Tomatoes on Toast Points

Smoky Scrambled Duck Eggs with Tomatoes on Toast Points 5346

I am so predictable. Really, I am. Every time I get a new cookbook, I make a beeline for any recipe that can even remotely resemble a Tex-Mex dish, and that usually ends up what I make first. And I kid you not, this is every time. And I usually don’t even realize I’m doing it until the meal is on the table.

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I mean, seriously, take it from me to buy Plenty, a book by an Israeli-born Londoner, and find one of the *few* Tex-Mex-ish recipes in there to make first. You really wouldn’t even expect such a thing from Ottolenghi, but the man’s genius seems to know no bounds, and yes, he has a sort-of version of migas.

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Only he uses duck eggs. (Which you can find at Whole Foods, and no, they are not cheap). I’d never experimented with duck eggs before, and I must say, they are a bit different from chicken eggs. I get why people go gaga over them. They are larger, so you don’t need as many, and they are richer and more luxurious.

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This dish is great as is of course, but I firmly believe you could use chicken eggs with spectacular results. If you’re looking to get all fancy and impress someone, definitely splurge for the duck eggs, but it’s not wholly necessary. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Apple-Pork Ragout over Pappardelle}

Source: adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Ingredients:
2 dried chipotle chiles, stems removed and seeds shaken out
2 thick slices sourdough bread, regular or whole wheat
Softened butter, for spreading
1 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 scallions, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
3 duck eggs, or 4 large chicken eggs
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
Sour cream, for serving

Directions:
Place the dried chipotles in a small stockpot over medium-high heat. Toast for about a minute, flipping once, until you can just smell them. Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, shut off the heat and cover the pot. Let it sit for 20 minutes. When the chiles have rehydrated and are soft and pliable, transfer them to a cutting board and dice.
Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Dry toast the sourdough slices on both sides until golden brown and crisped. Remove them to a plate and immediately smear the butter onto one side. Set aside, tenting with foil to keep warm.
Wipe the bread crummies out of the skillet, then place it back on medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pan, then the garlic and scallions. When they begin to turn golden, increase the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes and chipotle. Cook, stirring frequently, another 2 to 3 minutes.
Break the eggs into a bowl and beat gently with salt and black pepper to taste. Pour the eggs into the skillet and cook, stirring moderately, until they have reached your desired scrambled egg consistency. Runny eggs will only take 30 to 60 seconds, longer if you want them firmer.
As soon as the eggs are done, shut off the heat. Place the toasts on serving plates, spoon the eggs on top and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately with the sour cream on the side or on top, if desired.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Anchovy Marinara

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Spaghetti squash doesn’t have a terribly long season here in New York, and for many years I’ve only made it once per season (this fabulous dish, every time). And then I woke up and realized, that is rather dumb of me. This year we will have it at least twice! And not the same way twice.

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Spaghetti squash is named so because after you roast it, you scrape out the insides with a fork, and it comes out in strands, like spaghetti. And it happens to pair well with thick, hearty pasta-type sauces. But that is not because it tastes like pasta (it doesn’t), it’s because its inherent flavor is very mild, enabling it to take on bold, saucy flavors without masking or marring anything about the squash itself, and because it is easy to toss with sauces, due to the strands and all.

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I adored this dish. And best of all, it’s very customizable to you and your family’s palates. Want it less spicy? Cut back or eliminate the crushed chile flakes. You can also leave out the anchovies, but unless you’re wanting this to be vegetarian, please don’t. They are so delicious and not at all fishy tasting. And they melt into the sauce – no chunks to be worried about when you serve dinner. Enjoy this one, y’all!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Spicy anchovy marinara 5129

{One Year Ago: Apple Butter Doughnuts}

Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
2 medium spaghetti squash
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 flat anchovy fillets
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 generous tsp crushed red chile flakes
Leaves from 2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
½ cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 parmesan cheese rind
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, with their juices
A few fresh basil leaves, torn
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle lightly with oil, or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
Using a *very* sharp and large knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Using a regular cereal spoon, scoop out the seeds. Season the cut sides of each squash with salt and pepper. Place them, cut side down, on the baking sheet and roast for 45-60 minutes. Mine were very good to go after only 45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a paring knife into the skin side of the largest squash half. It should go in with no resistance.
Turn the squash halves over, and use pot holders or oven mitts to hold them while you scrape the flesh out into a bowl with a fork. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the “spaghetti” and taste for seasoning. Stir the “spaghetti” to evenly coat it with the oil. Do not discard the squash shells.
While the squash is roasting, make the marinara. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the anchovies and shake the pan a bit to get them heated and moving around a little. Stand back because they spit daggers, and when they start to melt, lower the heat and mash them with a stirring spoon. Add the onion and saute at medium heat until softened. Add the garlic, chile flakes, and oregano, and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and stir 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, then add the stock, tomatoes, and parmesan rind. Use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes. Keep at a gentle simmer and let the flavors meld for about 10-15 minutes.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Remember the anchovies are very salty, so you may not need anything.
To assemble, spoon the “spaghetti” evenly back into the squash shells and top with marinara. Toss some torn basil over each and garnish with parmesan cheese to your heart’s desire. Serve immediately.
Leftovers will work if you transfer the “spaghetti” out of the shell and into a food storage container.

Seared Tuna Salad with Nectarines and Cherry Tomatoes

Seared Tuna Salad with Nectarines and Cherry Tomatoes 001

Happy Friday!!! So, I love discovering new food blogs. There are so many food blogs out there that I don’t think any one individual has any hope of reading, or even knowing about, all of them. And sometimes that fact makes it easy to get in your own patterns and even forget there are tons of great food blogs out there of which you’re completely unaware!

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Thanks to joining a few food blogging related Facebook groups, I met Melissa at The Front Porch Gourmet, a great southern lady featuring delicious recipes and mouth-watering photos. When she posted this seared tuna salad with summer plums, I immediately started drooling and knew exactly what I was making for dinner.

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I ran out to the grocery store and started shopping. Tuna, check. Greens, check. Then I got to the plums, and at that particular store on that particular day they were looking rather Meh-not-so-much-thanks-but-no-thanks. Fortunately they were sitting next to some beautiful nectarines, so problem solved!

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This salad completely lives up to its billing. It’s light, healthy, summery, and perfectly balanced. The nectarines worked very nicely, but really I’m sure any stone fruit would do here. And if you don’t groove on tuna, I’m thinking salmon would be nice as a stand-in. Enjoy this one, while we can still get the last bit of seasonal stone fruit! Before it’s all eggplant and tomatoes (not that I’m complaining). And be sure to check out Front Porch Gourmet!

Seared Tuna Salad with Nectarines and cherry tomatoes 030

{One Year Ago: Peach and Cherry Frittata}
{Two Years Ago: Squid Ink Fettuccine with Shrimp and Chorizo, Peach Cobbler, Fettuccine Alfredo}

Source: adapted from Front Porch Gourmet

Ingredients:
2 small to medium sushi-grade tuna steaks
1 sprig rosemary, minced
About 3 tbs olive oil, plus extra for dressing the greens
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 bag of mixed salad greens, whatever your preference
2 nectarines, pitted and sliced into wedges
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Pat the tuna steaks very dry with paper towels. Preheat a skillet, preferably non-stick, over high heat. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Brush this over both sides of the tuna steaks. Carefully add the tuna steaks to the hot pan. Leave them to cook undisturbed for about 1 minute. Flip them (it works best with a thin spatula) and cook on the other side for about 30-45 seconds for rare.
Remove the tuna steaks to a plate and let them rest about 5 minutes. Then, with a very sharp knife, slice them thinly against the grain.
Pile the greens into a large salad bowl. Add the nectarines and cherry tomatoes, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, just enough to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Transfer the salad to 2 large salad plates and top each with slices of tuna. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.

Tortellini Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes, and Eggplant

Tortellini Salad with Roasted Peppers, tomatoes and eggplant 098

Happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day!!! Always a fun day for me. This month I was assigned…. Feast on the Cheap!

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Feast on the Cheap is a wonderful food blog actually run by two people: “a mother-daughter duo starring a professional caterer and a fledgling foodie.” Mary Anne is the mom and her daughter is Mariel. Both have impressive and distinguished careers, Mary Anne as a nurse and a professional caterer, and Mariel as a professional writer for a number of well-known publications. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through their blog this month!

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I have been jonesing for eggplant lately, so I went through their recipe index specifically hoping to find something eggplant, and I scored big with this pasta salad. Mary Anne created this recipe, and made the brilliant decision to use tortellini for the pasta, which is just beyond delicious. The eggplant is sweated and roasted, so there is no trace of bitterness – just flavor. This salad comes together and just sings. So much flavor, and such terrific textures from the roasted veggies and the chewy, cheesy tortellini.

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As I write this, I’m growing impatient for tomorrow at noon to roll around, simply so I can eat the leftovers for lunch! And I *just* ate dinner, y’all – not even hungry. That’s how good this is.

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I highly urge you to try it very soon, while eggplant and fresh tomatoes are looking lovely for their season. I also highly urge you to check out Feast on the Cheap! It’s definitely going in my reader. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Strawberry Mascarpone Sherbet, Blueberry Crumble, Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting}
{Two Years Ago: Classic Barbecue Chicken}

Source: slightly adapted from Feast on the Cheap

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant (about ½ lb.) cut into ½ inch dice, peeled if desired
Kosher salt, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
3 medium tomatoes, (about ¾ lb.) cored, seeded, and cut into ½ inch dice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
½ cup fresh basil, roughly torn
1 lb. cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Directions:
“Sweat” the diced eggplant: spread the eggplant on a cookie rack lined with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and allow to stand for 20 minutes. Blot dry with fresh paper towels. Transfer to a cookie sheet and toss with about 2 tsp of olive oil. Spread evenly into a single layer and sprinkle lightly with the dried oregano, as much or as little as you prefer. Cover with aluminum foil.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place the foil covered eggplant in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside, after you remove the aluminum foil.
While the eggplant is roasting, preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then saute the shallot until soft. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the brown sugar, crushed pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Saute another 5-10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and have rendered their juices. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Add the cooked tortellini to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Now add all the veggies to the pasta: the eggplant, the tomato mixture, and the roasted peppers. Add the basil and the cheese and toss thoroughly and gently to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Peach Salsa #SundaySupper

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Welcome to Sunday Supper, where this week we are Preserving Summer Produce! This theme is very good for me, because …… I’m really ready for fall. Okay, there I said it – it’s my shameful secret. This happens to me every year about this time. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I start becoming a tad ungrateful for all the beautiful summer bounty and I just want to make chili and watch a football game. And then bake something with apples…

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So thanks to my Sunday Supper gang for encouraging me to use up that summer produce while I still have access to it, and put off thinking about fall cooking and baking for a few more weeks, as I very well should.

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My grocery store is selling lovely, local Jersey peaches, so this week I snapped some up and made you this homemade, from-scratch peach salsa. I don’t know about you, but I have *always* been sorely disappointed by store-bought fruit salsas. I have a couple of brands I trust when it comes to store-bought regular tomato-based salsas, but it seems that the minute you add the word “mango” or “peach” to the label, well, brace yourself, cuz it ain’t gonna be pretty.

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There is no disappointment with this homemade peach salsa. Oh my, it is divine. It’s the perfect balance of sweetness to salty, with the peaches being front and center without overpowering the whole thing. So perfect.

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Oh, and this is so easy to make, too! The stovetop and food processer do most of the work for you. And I really can’t stress how delicious it is. That said, it’s not terribly spicy at all – probably very kid friendly. Leave the ribs and seeds in the jalapeno, or just add a second jalapeno if you prefer it hotter. So please try this one while you can still get fresh, in-season peaches. The salsa will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least a week.

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Oh and be sure you give some love to my wonderful Sunday Supper peeps!

{One Year Ago: Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta Alfredo}
{Two Years Ago: Mussels in Red Chile Broth, Pickled Doughnut Peaches, Mexican Lamb Barbacoa}

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
1 lb. peaches (about 3 medium-to-large)
1 lb. plum tomatoes, halved
1-2 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded if desired, and halved
½ a red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into thick slices
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
¼ red onion, peeled and root tip discarded
1 cup water
2 tsp fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt

Directions:
First you will need to peel the peaches. To do this, bring a medium to large stockpot of water to a boil – you need just enough water to cover the peaches. Using a small paring knife, make an “X” on the bottom of each peach, a shallow cut that just cuts the skin. Submerge the peaches in the boiling water for 1 minute. Lift them out with a slotted spoon to a plate or cutting board. Let them cool a few minutes, just until you can comfortably handle them. Starting at the bottom where you made the “X”, peel off the skins. They should come off easily; if a few little stubborn bits are insisting upon hanging on for dear life at the top, don’t fuss over it. Life’s too short. Now pit the peaches and cut them into quarters.
Add the peaches, tomatoes, jalapeno(s), bell pepper, onion, and water to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, about 10 minutes (I did a combination of covered and uncovered). Remove from the heat and allow to cool, about 10 minutes.
Using tongs, carefully transfer all the solid pieces to your food processor. Add the lime juice and pulse on and off until combined but still somewhat chunky. If it’s too thick, add some of the water left in the stockpot.
Stir in the chopped cilantro and salt to taste. Let it cool the rest of the way to room temperature, then either serve or store in the refrigerator.
This is fantastic as just a dip for chips, but it’s also wonderful on chicken or fish – as tacos or by themselves. Oh and it makes a ton – about 2 cups!

Learn how to …

Sip sunny cocktails and smoothies

Scoop up special salsas and sauces

Jump into jellies, jams and preserves

Pucker up for pickles

Slurp and spoon soup and a side dish

Dive into divine desserts

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