Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Grilled Cherry Tomato, Garlic and Goat Cheese Toasts

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So, picky eater that I was growing up, I actually rarely objected to tomatoes – in fact, I would even go so far as to say that I liked them as a child. When I was in grad school, in my early twenties, I did a summer abroad program in Austria, and every afternoon I would venture out to the closest farmer’s market and buy a large, gorgeous, in-season, juicy red tomato. I’d stand out in what Europeans think is a hot sun and eat the whole thing like it was an apple, juices running down my hands and dripping off my elbow to the ground. It was my afternoon snack; it was a daily moment of pure happiness, the kind that the freshest and most beautiful food can bring.

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So imagine this – I married a certified tomato hater. Apparently, Matt had zero tolerance for them growing up, even to the point he would pick them out of his sandwiches or fast food burgers. (Actually, when I think about it, that habit of his lasted well beyond childhood…)

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Determined spitfire that I am though, I saw this as a challenge rather than an incompatibility, and I wasn’t content to file it in the agree-to-disagree cabinet, despite the fact that no marriage doesn’t have such a filing cabinet, ours included. I pestered asked inquisitive questions about his dislike of tomatoes until he finally told me in detail why he hated them so much; turns out he had eaten one too many out of season tomatoes and then decided that all tomatoes were tasteless and mealy.

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This is pretty easy to correct, right? I simply make sure we only eat raw tomatoes, in any form, when they are perfectly in season, and I’m fortunate that I can get local tomatoes from either Jersey or Long Island, so they don’t suffer in transit to our local grocery store or farmer’s market. And now, Matt loves in-season, good-quality tomatoes (especially heirlooms). Yea!!

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And thus, I can make lovely appetizers like this one, and Matt will happily eat it and love it. You should too before summer tomatoes disappear for another year.

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{One Year Ago: Summer Corn and Roasted Pepper Pie}
{Two Years Ago: Creamy Smoked Trout on Pumpernickel Toasts, Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramel-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brittle}

Source: adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

About 1 lb. cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
8 oz. goat cheese, softened
1 tbs minced herbs, such as parsley, thyme, basil, or a combination
1 tsp minced garlic
1 loaf of round country bread, sliced somewhat thickly, then each individual slice cut in half crosswise
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
A few sprigs or leaves of herbs, for garnish

Soak some wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Thread the cherry tomatoes onto the skewers, then set them on a plate. Brush them well with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill them a few minutes on each side, turning as you go, until they are charred and the skins are starting to bust. Don’t take them too far – you don’t want them cooked completely through. They should still have some bite to them; we’re not making tomato sauce here.
When done, remove the skewers to a plate and let them cool slightly. Then use a fork to carefully remove the tomatoes from the skewers.
Meanwhile, preheat a small skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Add a nice film of olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the garlic slices and cook them slowly, until they are golden and softened, about 5 minutes (but watch closely as you do not want to burn the garlic!). Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
Also meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, minced herbs, minced garlic, salt and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
Once the tomatoes have come off the grill, place the bread slices on the grill, just to toast and get some marks. This will take about a minute per side. When the bread comes off the grill, immediately rub at least one side (or both sides if you prefer) with the cut garlic.
To assemble, use a butter knife to spread some of the goat cheese onto one side of the bread. Sprinkle a few of the sliced, cooked garlic on top, then top it with 3-4 cherry tomatoes, pressing slightly to nestle them into the cheese. Place the assembled breads onto a platter and garnish with herbs. Serve immediately.

Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs + A Cookbook Giveaway!!!

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Thanks to a snafu with my local post office and a generous Amazon customer service agent, I wound up with two copies of The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman. So I’m giving away my extra copy to one of my lucky readers! The giveaway will run all week, until Friday, July 18, 2014 at 5 pm Eastern, and each day that I blog until Friday, I’ll be featuring a recipe from this wonderful book!

First up we have these amazing vegan meatballs. When I say these were amazing, I’m not joking. At all. For full disclosure, I’ll freely admit I was a little wary of these. I’d never before had meatballs that didn’t contain meat or at least poultry or fish. So there was a touch of trepidation at how they would taste, whether I’d screwed them up, etc, etc.

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I needn’t have worried one bit. They were so insane. Matt ate seconds the night I served them, and we argued over who was to get the last container of leftovers. They are that good.

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Whether you are vegan or not, or occasionally vegan, or whatever: try these meatballs – I guarantee you’ll make them again and again. And like any kind of meatballs, they are flexible. I served them simply, just in a bowl with some marinara (someone might have been too lazy to make pasta that night), but they would be so delicious over pasta or in a meatball sub.

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And stay tuned for three more VB6 Cookbook recipes! You can enter to win a copy of this lovely book in the rafflecopter below.

Source: The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

3 tbs olive oil
1 lb. eggplant, unpeeled, cut into cubes no larger than 1 inch
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
1 cup cooked or canned white beans
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup breadcrumbs
Pinch of crushed red chile flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Use 1 tbs olive oil to grease a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
Add 1 tbs olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces shrivel a bit and are tender and beginning to color, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl of a food processor.
Add the remaining 1 tbs olive oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Return to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the beans (also rinse them if using canned). Add the beans and parsley to the food processor bowl with the eggplant and pulse until well combined and chopped, but not completely pureed.
Transfer the eggplant mixture to a large bowl and add the onion and garlic mixture, along with the bread crumbs, chile flakes, and oregano. Mix to combine well.
Make sure your hands are clean and get them wet. Roll the mixture into meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter. You’ll wind up with between 12 and 16 meatballs. You will likely need to rewet your hands between each meatball or every other meatball.
As you form them, place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Bake undisturbed until they are firm and well browned, 20 to 30 minutes (start checking after 20 minutes, though you may need longer).
Meanwhile, warm the marinara sauce; and this is when you would cook pasta or toast hoagie rolls if desired.
Serve the meatballs with the marinara in a bowl, or in whatever other fashion you desire.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watermelon Gazpacho with Crab Salad

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It’s only been in the last decade of my life that I’ve even heard of gazpacho, let alone tasted it. I’ll admit, it sounded a little odd, but I learned of it in my New, Adventurous Eating Phase of Life, so I dove right in to trying it. And…. I didn’t like it. So I tried again. And once again, I didn’t like it.

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After another try or two, I simply gave up. I figured, no one likes everything out there, right? Until I put two and two together and realized it – I don’t like onions in my gazpacho. I’m just not a big raw onion person. They have their place, sure; don’t worry, I don’t pick them out of pico de gallo or anything. But when I tried gazpacho without any onions, I finally understood its appeal, and now I happily join its legions of fans!

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I picked up Donald Link’s new book a few months ago and was very excited to see a gazpacho recipe in there. Now that watermelons are in season (yea!!!), I thought it time to give his recipe a go. And as you’d expect, it’s insanely delicious. It’s so light and healthy, and extremely flavorful with perfect juicy watermelons.

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A few recipe notes: as written, this makes a lot! Feel free to cut the recipe in half. If you make the whole thing, my recommendation would be to chop everything and mix it up in a large mixing bowl, then blend it in batches. Also, a note about the crab salad. Chef Link instructs to place a spoonful of salad on top of the bowls of soup. Initially, I couldn’t do the math on that. I mean, the crab salad has mayonnaise, which I just couldn’t picture blending well with gazpacho. So I put the salad on toasts and we ate them alongside. Well, I was wrong and Chef Link was right, which I know is really not surprising. Skip the toasts, guys. I’m serious, it’s so delicious the way he intended it.

And lastly, I scaled down the amount of crab salad, because the day I went shopping, crabmeat was horrifically expensive. So I chose to cut the recipe down to save my wallet. You can certainly scale up to as much as 1 ½ lbs.  of crabmeat. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Jerk Chicken “Tostadas” with Cabbage-Jicama Slaw}

Source: slightly adapted from Down South by Donald Link


4 cups chopped ripe tomato
4 cups chopped seedless watermelon
1 small fennel bulb, cored and chopped
3 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and chopped
¼ cup loosely packed mint leaves
¼ cup loosely packed torn basil leaves
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste if needed
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste if needed
2 tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling

6 tbs mayonnaise
½ tsp lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1 small serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
4 large basil leaves, chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of sugar
8 oz. jumbo lump crabmeat

Make the crab salad first. Spread the crab on a plate and pick it free of shells and cartilage. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, lime zest, lime juice, serrano, basil, pepper flakes, salt, and sugar. Add in the crabmeat and gently stir to combine. Let it sit in the refrigerator while you make the soup.
To make the gazpacho, combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until pretty smooth. A little chunky is good. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice and salt, if needed.
To serve, divide the gazpacho in wide bowls. Top each with a dollop of crab salad and finish with a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Heirloom Tomato Sandwiches

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There isn’t much that can be said for this stunningly beautiful sandwich. Heirloom tomatoes speak for themselves. They are hitting their stride in my grocery store right now, and I can’t get enough. I’m thinking I’ll likely make this salad again soon.

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This sandwich is very few ingredients and couldn’t be simpler. I found it easier to eat open faced (personally couldn’t get my mouth around the whole thing!), so that’s how I’m writing it. Yet despite its simplicity, it just sings.

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Heirloom tomatoes have the most luscious texture. They are less acidic and sweeter than regular tomatoes, and when you bite into this sandwich, its juiciness rivals the most ridiculous cheeseburger out there. Just amazing. Enjoy this one guys!

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{One Year Ago: Rhubarb Scones, Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche}

Source: slightly adapted from Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches by Emeril Lagasse

5 generous tbs mayonnaise
3 tbs chopped fresh basil or parsley
8 slices white sandwich bread
4-5 large heirloom tomatoes, stemmed and sliced into ½-inch thick rounds (make sure you get all different colors!)
Kosher salt and black pepper

Combine the mayonnaise and basil or parsley in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until combined and smooth. Set aside.
Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Preheat your broiler to HIGH and position a rack as close to it as you can get without touching it. Slide the baking sheet in the oven and broil the bread just a few minutes until it is lightly toasted and slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool a few minutes.
Spread the mayonnaise liberally on the toasted sides of each slice of bread. Layer 2 tomato slices on each slice of bread. Season each tomato slice with salt and black pepper as you lay it on the bread. Serve immediately, 2 open-faced sandwiches per person.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Today’s post is quite exciting for me, because it is my first month as a new member of the Secret Recipe Club!! SRC is where a fun group of food bloggers gather and each month we are assigned a blog, and someone is assigned ours, and we make a recipe from each other’s blog, but keep it quiet until reveal day! Which is today, in case that wasn’t obvious. 😉

making pizza sauce

So anyways, I was assigned A Couple in the Kitchen, a terrific blog I highly recommend you check out. It’s written by the adorable couple Chris and Amy (read their story here).

I had a hard time deciding what I should make from this scrumptious blog, but when I ran across a recipe for homemade pizza sauce, I immediately clicked on it. And then I found out that they learned this recipe while taking a pizza making class from an Italian chef! I knew I had found my secret recipe.

making homemade pizza sauce

A little background: y’all know I avoid processed foods (for the most part). But I kind of love a certain brand of canned pizza sauce. I’ve tried to make it myself before, and it just never passed muster. But, every time I buy the stuff, I do chide myself a bit for buying something canned. So I cannot tell you how happy I am to find this recipe!! Because this pizza sauce is LEGIT. It’s every bit as awesome-tasting as my canned kind, but so much better because it’s from scratch. Also, it’s easy to make, quick to make, and just tastes amazing. This is going in my arsenal of tricks, and will get busted out time and time again. Thank you, thank you, thank you Chris and Amy!!

Homemade pizza sauce

{One year ago: Penne alla Puttanesca}

Source: adapted from A Couple in the Kitchen

1 (15 oz.) can San Marzano whole, peeled tomatoes
1 tbs garlic powder
1/2 tbs dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tbs red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste

Place the tomatoes, with their juices, in the blender or food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Pour into a small bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine thoroughly.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and line with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Pour the sauce over the cloth and let stand for at least 30 minutes, and up to 1 1/2 hours. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. This makes enough sauce for 1 pizza.

Julie’s Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

spaghetti with meat sauce

Well, it’s official: we’ve had our first snow of the season. I can’t say that was terribly thrilling for me, but it was an inevitability, so I suppose I’ll just get over it. At least it was just big fat flurries that didn’t stick. And one of our cats very much enjoyed being in the windowsill and “chasing” the snowflakes. It was cute.

spaghetti with meat sauce

Since it’s so cold and gray today, I thought I would share some bona fide comfort food, with a generous side helping of nostalgia. This is the very first dish I ever learned to make. My mom taught me step by step, and I just tried to memorize it as I had no cooking intuition whatsoever at the time.

With some practice, and a few batches that flopped, I did master it. Eventually. It was the first dish I ever cooked for Matt while we were dating; fortunately he loved it and did not go running scared. Actually, this dish, which he has dubbed “Spaghetti, Julie Style” is one of his favorites too. I try to make it once every few months.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I grew up eating this dish often – it was one of the few things my mom knew she could make and serve for a whine-free dinner. I’ve updated her recipe little by little over the years, but it’s not terribly different from my childhood fave. I knew I had to immortalize it on the blog, and I’m surprised it’s taken me this long. Ah, well – it’s here now, and that’s what counts!

Julie's Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

{One year ago: Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Capers}

1 lb. dried spaghetti
Olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
¾ cup dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
1 (28 oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes, with their juices
2 tbs tomato paste
1 generous cup pitted kalamata olives, halved or sliced
Fresh basil or parsley, torn or chopped, for garnish
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil. Salt it generously, then add the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, according to package directions.
Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in some olive oil, then add the beef. Cook, breaking it up with a potato masher or large spoon, until it is browned and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1 more minute.
Now add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Now add the tomatoes. Use a potato masher to crush them. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate completely. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it reaches your desired consistency. Stir occasionally, and you may need to adjust the heat level a bit. Make sure it doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Add the olives and taste for seasoning.
Drain the spaghetti and add it directly to the beef mixture. Lower the heat to low and toss the pasta to coat it with sauce. Transfer the entire skillet to a serving bowl. Garnish with parsley or basil. Serve immediately with the cheese.

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

fried green tomato and pimento cheese tart

I have no words for how much fun this dinner was. And I wanted to share it before green tomatoes are no more for the season. I can always find some somewhere up here in early fall.

assembling tart

So let’s dissect this tart. First of all, there’s impossibly flaky pie crust, blind baked and cooled. Then we have a layer of thick pimento cheese, creamy, sharp and slightly spicy. And top of that, we have perfect, double dipped, fried green tomatoes. You cut a bite with your fork and you get all three layers together in one bite. It’s so awesome. It’s basically taking two favorite classics from the Deep South and combining them into a savory pie. How could it not be delicious?!

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

The only downside is that leftovers do not work. The tomatoes will go soggy on you. So you’ll just have to eat the whole thing! Ohhh darn! Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

fried green tomato and pimento cheese tart

Not too much in the way of recipe notes, just make sure your crust is completely cooled, or obviously, you’ll melt the cheese, which is not the point of pimento cheese. I prefer pimento cheese by roasting my own red bell pepper, but a 4 oz. jar of chopped pimentos will do just fine.

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

{One year ago: Chipotle Collard Greens}

Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

½ recipe of this pie dough, chilled

2 large eggs
2 tbs whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
2 medium green tomatoes, cut into 4 slices each
¼ cup canola oil

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1 roasted red pepper, diced
3 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp sweet paprika

2 to 3 large basil leaves, thinly sliced, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into the pan. Trim the overhang to 1 inch, if necessary, and then fold it inside the tart pan, pressing it against the fluted sides, to reinforce the sides of the tart. Prick the bottom of the crust 6 or 7 times with the tines of a fork. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, lift the parchment off and inspect the color of your pie shell. If you’d like it cooked a little more or just browned, stick it back in the oven uncovered for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
Prepare the tomatoes. Beat the eggs with the milk in a pie plate or other shallow bowl. On a large plate, mix together the flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, paprika and salt. Dip each tomato slice into the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, then the egg mixture again, and then the flour mixture again. Place the dredged tomato slices on a platter as they are completed.
Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomato slices and fry for about 5 minutes per side until lightly browned.
Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the tomato slices with a spider or tongs to a paper towel lined plate. I found the spider to work much better than the tongs. If you don’t have a spider, I would use a slotted flat spatula.
Make the pimento cheese. Coarsely grate the cheese, then place it in the food processor along with the mayo and paprika. Process until smooth. Add the diced red pepper and pulse a few more times to combine.
Assemble the tart. Spoon the pimento cheese into the cooled tart shell, smoothing it level with a spatula.
Pick out the largest fried green tomato slice and set it aside. With a very sharp knife, cut the other tomato slices in half. Place the halved tomato slices all along the edges of the tart, then place the whole tomato slice in the center, as pictured. Sprinkle with the basil for garnish. Serve immediately.

Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish

Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish

I think most of us would agree that sounding the death knell of summer needn’t necessarily mean the end of grilling for the season. It seems like most people will grill as long as the weather will allow. And if that’s year round for you, then I hate you! I kid. 🙂

cherry tomato skewers

grilling sausages and tomato skewers

NYC weather has definitely cooled down, but it’s going to be fine grilling temps for a couple more months (minus the rainy days, of course). So today I thought I would share this recipe with you, as it’s a terrific late summer/early fall dish, perfect for tailgating, or for one last day at the beach. I thought it was awesome! Kind of like a more upscale grilled hot dog, but just as easy to pull together. Enjoy the weekend! May you have great weather and delicious grilled grub!

caprese relish

grilled sausages and caprese relish

A few recipe notes: I enjoyed using a mix of sweet and hot Italian sausages, but of course use all of either if you prefer. Bocconcini are little bite-size balls of fresh mozzarella and most grocery stores have them these days. Look in the cheese section or near the deli. Make sure you get salted, plain and not marinated, as often they are sold marinated in various seasonings. If your store doesn’t have them, or they are jacked up in price, get a 1 lb. ball of fresh mozzarella and simply chop it into small bite-size chunks.

Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish

Italian Sausage Hoagies with Caprese Relish

{One year ago: Blueberry Pancakes}

Source: slightly adapted from Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay

¾ lb. sweet Italian sausage links
¾ lb. hot Italian sausage links
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Canola oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 pint bocconcini, each ball quartered
1 small red onion, diced
1 tbs brined capers, drained
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
6 soft hoagie rolls
2 garlic cloves, halved

Heat your grill to high for direct grilling. Soak a few wooden skewers in water for half an hour.
Thread the tomatoes onto skewers. Prick the sausages all over with the tines of a fork. Brush the tomatoes with canola oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the sausages until cooked through and lightly charred on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Grill the tomato skewers until slightly charred and softened, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the sausages to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the skewers, cut in half, and put in a bowl.
To the bowl of tomatoes, add the mozzarella, onion, capers, basil, parsley, vinegar, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper toss to combine.
Slice open the rolls and put on the grill, cut side down. Grill until lightly golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove the rolls and rub the cut surfaces with the garlic cloves.
To assemble, place a sausage link in a roll and top with caprese relish. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

I’m not sure I’ve completely figured out heirloom tomato season around here yet. It seems to be the beginning and end of summer that I see them, but then I’ll see a random case here and there during other times of the year, though it’s extremely short-lived. But they seem to be most plentiful, most beautiful, and most robust in early and late summer. Case in point, for the past week or so, Whole Foods has a beautiful array, and I couldn’t resist taking home a few.

beautiful heirloom tomatoes

heirloom tomatoes

I made this amazing salad with them. I adore anchovies, and they work especially well in sauces and dressings. This vinaigrette would work wonderfully on salad greens of any kind, too. Especially on some kind of bitter lettuce, maybe… The wheels are definitely turning!

heirloom tomatoes

Anywho, I wanted to share this salad while stores are still carrying the beauties, so you can run out and make it yourself. So delicious!

heirloom tomato salad with anchovy vinaigrette

A couple of recipe notes: if you think you dislike anchovies, you’re wrong. They do not tasty fishy in this dressing, it’s more salty and nutty – really good! Also, don’t be like me and forget to scatter the fresh herbs on the composed salad at the last minute. I know it looks heavenly and you cannot wait to dive in, but delay gratification just long enough to adorn it with parsley and marjoram, because I’m sure it tastes terrific and looks lovely that way. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know from personal experience… :/

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

{One year ago: Dr Pepper Can Chicken}

Source: adapted from Food & Wine

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 anchovies, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes—large ones sliced, small ones halved
Fleur de sel, or other coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley, for serving
Marjoram leaves, for serving

In a small skillet, combine the olive oil, anchovies, garlic and lemon zest.
In a small bowl, toss the shallot with the vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes.
Arrange the tomatoes on a platter in whatever fashion pleases you and season with fleur de sel and pepper. Scatter the shallot and vinegar over the tomatoes.
Warm the anchovy dressing over moderate heat to a gentle simmer and mash up the anchovies with a wooden spoon. This will help them “melt” into the oil. Pour the anchovy oil over the tomatoes. Scatter the parsley and marjoram over the salad and serve at once.

No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

Yesterday I featured a recipe using blueberries (candy from the produce aisle, right?) so today let’s talk about cherry tomatoes. I love cherry tomatoes in the summertime; I tend to stay away from them in the wintertime. But during summer, when they’re bursting with sweetness, and so plump and juicy, I adore them!

summer cherry tomatoes and basil

Oh, and let’s also briefly discuss heat and humidity. The formidable duo has been New York’s theme song lately; that humidity is a killer! You can’t stand outside for more than about two minutes before perspiring, and ten minutes of walking transforms you into a sweaty, exhausted bowl of hot mess. So a no-cook pasta sauce is most definitely in order.

No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

This one does take a little planning, as the sauce has to meld together for about four hours. But it’s all hands off time, and it’s worth it. This dish is so fresh, light, filling, and juicy; and if you’ll allow me one horrid cliché, it really is summer in a bowl.

No-Cook Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce

You can use any long cut pasta here that you want; I used angel hair for two reasons. 1) because I love it; and 2) because it cooks fast, and I didn’t want to have heat on any longer than necessary. Enjoy!

Source: Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (get whatever looks best that day)
Extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
1/2 tsp crushed chile flakes
Kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 lb. dried angel hair pasta, or other long-cut pasta of your choosing
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Combine the cherry tomatoes, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, basil, chile flakes, 1 tsp salt, and the black pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 4 hours.
Just before you’re ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is ready, drain well and add it to the bowl of tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Serve with extra cheese.