Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tomato gratin

Great tomatoes in the markets…time to do something different.  So I thought about a tomato gratin.

4 good-sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped roughly  Tomato techniques
1 clove garlic, crushed
10 basil leaves, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil.

Mix the tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt & pepper with the olive oil.  Spread it in a shallow baking dish.

2 cups coarse toasted bread crumbs  Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmigiano
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Mix the crumbs, cheese, parsley, thyme and garlic with the oil, until the crumbs have been dampened with the oil. 

Spread the crumbs on top of the tomatoes.  Bake in a 375°F oven for about 25-30 minutes, until the tomatoes are bubbly and the crumb topping is brown and crisp.

Let cool a bit, then serve. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fresh tomato sauce

Beautiful tomatoes are in the markets.  Time to make fresh tomato sauce.

Look at a few prior posts regarding peeling and seeding fresh tomatoes. Peeling & seeding tomatoes  Then look at my post for marinara sauce.  Marinara sauce

Once I chop the peeled and seeded tomatoes, I salt them and let them drain a bit to get rid of some of the water.

One difference between making a sauce from fresh tomatoes rather than canned is that you may want to cook the fresh-tomato sauce a bit longer.  Then again, no reason to do that -- it's great crudo.  Do as you see fit.  

Sauce just starting to simmer

Plenty of basil in the markets, too (as well as in my garden), so don't skimp.  Chop up a big handful and dump it into the sauce at the very end.

 A big handful of basil thrown in at the end.

Finished sauce

Cook some pasta al dente, pour the sauce over, and serve.  Pass grated cheese at the table.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bloob muffins

Muffins have never been a particular favorite of mine, but as I get older, I find I like them more and more.  This recipe was my grandmother's, and is probably one of the best around.  Mom makes it all the time.  My mother always said that her father's favorite dessert was a simple muffin with sliced, sugared peaches on top.  I'd have to agree. 

You are unlikely to find a better muffin than this.  The secret?  Solid shortening cut into the dry ingredients, which many recipes do not have (they call for liquid shortening).

1 3/4 c    flour
1/2 c    sugar
2 tsp    baking powder
1/2 tsp    salt
1 stick    butter, cut into dry ingredients
1/2 c    milk
1 egg, beaten into milk

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut butter into dry mixture.  Add 1 cup blueberries (or other fruit, or raisins) at this point.  Beat egg into milk and pour over dry mixture.  Mix gently until combined.  Do not overmix.  Spoon into greased muffin tins, or paper baking cups.  Bake at 400°F about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve as soon as you can handle them, hot from the oven.  They freeze pretty well, too.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Apricot-blueberry crisp

This will be dessert for my Forfajuly BBQ later today.  

4 lb apricots, pitted and quartered
1 pt blueberries
1 c sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbp Minute® tapioca

Combine quartered apricots with blueberries, mix in sugar and spices, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over all, and then sprinkle on the Minute tapioca.  Mix well.   Pour into a large baking dish.

Crisp topping:
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1 1/2 c coarse toasted bread crumbs (I make these myself)
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick (1/4 b) butter, melted
A good pinch of salt

Mix dry ingredients.  Pour melted butter over all, and mix well. 

Cover the fruit with the crisp mixture.  Place the baking dish on a foil lined baking sheet (if it bubbles over, you will be very happy you did this). 

Bake at 350°F for 45-60 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling up around the edges and the topping is browned and crisp. 

Cool to room temperature.  Serve with ice cream or a big dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Sriracha sauce

One of my blog readers asked me about the Sriracha sauce I included in the Tom-Tom Salsa recipe.

It's great stuff -- a bit like ketchup, if you will, but where the main ingredient is ripe, red chili peppers rather than tomatoes.  Add in vinegar and sugar and you have Sriracha.  It's similar to Tabasco, but considerably sweeter, and more viscous.  Again, like ketchup. 

It's made in the US, in California, despite the appearance from the bottle that it comes from somewhere overseas.
Have a look at the company's website.

You can find Sriracha these days pretty much anywhere.  Every supermarket seems to have it, and you can certainly find it in any Asian grocery. 

I like to use Sriracha in the same way one would use Tabasco sauce -- in BBQ sauces, guacamole, salsas of every kind, as well in creamy foods, like mac 'n' cheese, clam chowder, and deviled eggs.  It's awesome on chicken cutlets, and scrambled eggs.  Squirt a bit on your burger along with your ketchup.  Wow. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tom-Tom Salsa™

No, this has nothing to do with my GPS, but you can't lose your way if you follow this recipe.  Awesome on carnitas tacos.  Peggy seems to like this salsa more than life itself.

Tom-tom salsa

8 tomatillos, husked and split in half
2 tomatoes, quartered or sliced

Place the cut-up fruit on a foil-lined and release-sprayed baking sheet.  Bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes, until roasted, and softened.  Cool completely.

Tomatillos and tomatoes,
ready for roasting in a hot oven

Sauté one medium onion and 3 garlic cloves in a bit of olive oil until softened.  Salt and pepper as necessary.   Cool.

Combine the roasted toms with the onion and garlic and puree.  I used an immersion blender, but a food processor or conventional blender would be fine.  I added a bit of water (about 1/2 cup) as I was blending to thin it out a bit.

Salt and pepper to taste.  Add 2 tsp ground cumin and a nice squirt of Sriracha sauce for extra flavor.  Drizzle in some olive oil, too.