Category: Tomatoes

Best Summer Sides from More Time at the Table

Best Summer Sides from More Time at the Table

Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad

This week marks the beginning of weekend picnics, warm holiday get togethers, nights in the backyard, weeks at the beach, days at the cabin, and all kinds of thrilling grilling on your balcony or patio!  For fun, I ran through my TOP FAVORITE original summer sides on More Time at Table and brought them all together in one place just before Memorial Day.  I’ll keep perusing my files and as I find other luscious things I think you’d like, I’ll stick them in.  Be cool!

Continue reading “Best Summer Sides from More Time at the Table”

Quick and Lusty Tomato Soup

Quick and Lusty Tomato Soup

 

Done in under a half hour, this lusty (I almost said perky, but perky it isn’t) soup just about jumped out of the pot, put its arms around me, and begged me to eat it.  Wonderful for the I-ate-too-many-chocolates post-holiday cooking time,  you can skip the fresh basil, if you still haven’t gotten to the store, and add Herbes de Provence or a combination of dried oregano and basil.  Easily vegan and gluten-free (with a few changes or lack of a garnish), this meal will heat everyone up despite the weather.  It’s sunny, but snowy … Continue reading “Quick and Lusty Tomato Soup”

The One Minute and Thirty Second Eggs with Tomatoes Breakfast or How I Eat without a Kitchen

The One Minute and Thirty Second Eggs with Tomatoes Breakfast or How I Eat without a Kitchen

Food-Eggs, Microwaved with tomatoes

I’m a girl who likes her breakfast hot.  Except when I don’t.  And then I want Greek yogurt and fresh fruit with my homemade granola.

Continue reading “The One Minute and Thirty Second Eggs with Tomatoes Breakfast or How I Eat without a Kitchen”

Cook the Book — Last Week — Tomato-Carrot Soup with Feta

Cook the Book — Last Week — Tomato-Carrot Soup with Feta

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(Above:  Soup is easily vegan without the feta garnish.)

This is the last week I’ll  feature a recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order).   Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me:  soupsandsides@gmail.com.   If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book!  Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe.  Now get “cooking!”  I can’t wait to hear from you.

My first for-real book signing is Saturday, July 19 (11am – 1 pm) at Aspen Kitchens and Design Studio here in Colorado Springs:  5134 North Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, 80918 –University Village Complex. I’ll have a few books with me, but you still have time to buy one and bring it!  There may even be some soup or something else to taste.  Come see!  Next up is Shouse Appliances at Academy and Austin Bluffs; date tba.  There’ll be some cooking going on at Shouse, of course.

Soup Book-Cover final

Continue reading “Cook the Book — Last Week — Tomato-Carrot Soup with Feta”

BLT Caprese with Chicken or She Returns from the Cruise and Finds She Must Cook and Clean Up for Herself

BLT Caprese with Chicken or She Returns from the Cruise and Finds She Must Cook and Clean Up for Herself

After being on  a Canadian cruise (Boston- Quebec City- Boston on Holland America) for two weeks…. (in no special order)

                                                          

To say we ate a lot of mussels would be an understatement. Served here with lovely Prince Edward Island beer, of course.

 

Public (Victorian) Garden; Halifax, NS, Canada

Confederation Bridge:  8 miles long.  Links Prince Edward Island with New Brunswick mainland.  We went under it twice.

We clean up well.

Quebec City

We had brunch here at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.  Oh, do go!

Above photo:  courtesy Chateau Frontenac.  All others:  copyright 2013, Alyce Morgan.
Please request permission before using.  Thank you. 

Breathalize yourself for $2 bucks in the Quebec bars.

A spruce swag indicates spruce beer is available on Cape Breton.
Here’s why I cruise.  Taken off our balcony–above and below.

Margaret shows us how to tell the diff between male and female lobsters at Peggy’s Cove, not far from Halifax, Nova Scotia (left) and Dave ocean kayaking in Bar Harbor, Maine

Anne of Green Gables House — Prince Edward Island

 

Tavern at Louisbourg Fortress, Cape Breton Island, Canada–Drinkng real chocolate!

 Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove above.  The warning on it below:

…it appears I must shop, cook, clean up, and even garden for myself.  Upon returning home, Dave and I immediately were both ill for a couple of days (??) and that was topped off by several days of horrific storms in the Twin Cities, after which we were without power for two days.  Nearly every neighborhood had many trees down in the streets and on buildings–not hit by lightning necessarily, but just toppled by heavy winds after their root systems were weakened by too much rain.  Here’s what our neighborhood looks like when I walk; you’ll get the idea about how many trees we have:

Lots of cleanup all over; 410k people were without power.  Some still don’t have power from last Friday’s storm.  Today, the rain is predicted again; we don’t want it.  Rain:  go to Colorado.

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Did you want the plan for the BLT Caprese with Chicken?  I’ve blogged several similar things but perhaps never this exact salad.  This is a cool meal that’s pretty much grill, slice, layer, and eat. (Or make a couple of extra chicken breasts the night before, though I do think it’s best fresh.)  It solves the problem of meals for hot days, of which there are more than I’d like.  That puts it nicely.  Enjoy!

blt caprese with chicken
 serves 2

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Kosher salt; fresh ground pepper
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts grilled or sautéed, sliced thinly
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 4 ounce (approximate) log fresh mozzerella, sliced thinly
  •  16 fresh basil leaves (approximate)
  • 8 slices cooked, crispy bacon cut in half
  •  Juice of half a lemon
  • 12 kalamata olives, pitted, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below) 

 On a medium-sized platter, scatter spinach around the edges and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Layer chicken, tomatoes, mozzerella, basil leaves, and bacon either in two lines in the middle or in a circle inside the ring of spinach.  There needn’t be every ingredient in each layer; some layers might be  two pieces of chicken with basil between, etc.  Strive to make the layers as even as possible without being too precise.  Drizzle evenly with lemon juice and sprinkle layered salad with salt and pepper.  Garnish with olives.   Drizzle with about two tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Serve with bread and olive oil.

Cook’s Notes:  If you need to make this ahead, try to do it no more than an hour or two beforehand, cover and refrigerate. Do not add lemon juice or vinaigrette until it’s time to serve the salad.  You could also make this salad with grilled or store-bought, cooked shrimp.

Wine:  I like a very, very cold rosé with this–nearly any would do (I’m partial to French ones and they’re inexpensive as wine goes.), but a chilled nicely-rounded white like Viognier or even a lighter, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc– like one from New Zealand–would suit this dish with its herbal notes. Some folks might like a big-bellied California Chardonnay with this, but if you do go that route, don’t chill it to death.   2 hours or even room temperature works.

 Dessert:  Pineapple sherbet or fresh strawberries in melted chocolate ice cream.

…  …  …

Alyce’s (and soon to be yours) Balsamic Vinaigrette  makes 1 cup dressing

1/3 cup fine quality balsamic vinegar (I like Masserie di Sant’eramo)
2 heaping tablespoons dijon-style mustard (Grey Poupon is fine)
1 tablespoon honey
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste–this is a cup of dressing)
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
several drops tabasco

In the food processor, pulse until thoroughly pureed and very-well mixed. (Or whisk by hand in a medium bowl)

2/3 c best quality  you can afford extra-virgin olive oil (I like Olio Santo (California) or Ravida (Italy)

With machine running, slowly pour the 2/3 c olive oil into the tube on top of the processor and leave running until thoroughly emulsified. (Or whisk in by hand one – two tablespoons at a time until thoroughly combined.)  Taste and adjust seasonings.

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book news

Alyce’s Salmon Chowder

  I have a title!!!!  Soups & Sides for Every Season. We looked at lots of titles, but many are taken already. Fooey. Who knew? Well, as a longtime librarian, I did–or I guessed.   Anyway:  the designer’s designing and the artist is creating the cover art; the editor’s editing and the sommelier is “somming”–it’s nearly done.  I look for a 1 September date available through amazon.com.  Will let you know FIRST.  Meantime, this is my great,loving, and hard-working team, along with a great list of testers across the country (can’t name them all here–they’ll be listed in the book):

Patty Miller, Editor
Amanda Weber, Designer
Daniel Craig, Artist
Drew Robinson, Sommelier

THANKS!  YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!  I love working alone on a book, but this one became lots of fun once others were involved.  There is beauty in numbers and multiple brains and talents.  Blessings.

 So what’s the book like?  The short book is divided into seven quick and easy to use chapters.  There is a chapter for every season with 6-8 wine-paired soups in each.  Each soup recipe has a little story or blurb and also has recommendations for accompaniments; many are right in the book. The other three chapters are:  Breads and Spreads, Salads and Vegetables, and Desserts.  You can put  meals together as I’ve indicated or mix and match as you like OR JUST MAKE SOUP!  I can’t wait to share it with you.

Sing a new song; think soup!
Alyce

Prosciutto Caprese with Toasty Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Chips

Prosciutto Caprese with Toasty Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan Chips

I have a terrible time leaving caprese alone.  I just keep messing with it.  Adding this and that.  Changing it up. Or Down.  In part, I’ve just been overrun with tomatoes, so why not eat them fresh while they’re heavy, fragrant, juicy, and ripe?  Make hay while the sun shines.

Here’s the Linguine Caprese from last week:

Sauté minced garlic and shallots in olive oil; cook up some fresh pasta.  Add fresh tomatoes, chopped mozzarella, parsley and basil to the hot pasta and cover a couple of minutes.   That’s it. Black pepper, of course.

Or you might remember Bacon Caprese?  With Green Bean and mustard vinaigrette?  I also have just a wee passion for composed salads (or other dishes) on huge round platters I’ve snagged on the cheap at ARC or, in one case, simply on the huge markdown at one of Williams-Sonoma’s end of season sales.

There’s an easy recipe for making your own cheese here, though it’s not truly mozzarella.

But I digress…the Proscuitto Caprese has a little different spin and takes some extra time.  It’s worth it.  And I love the juxtaposition of the warm Brussels sprouts with the room temp caprese; I don’t like cold tomatoes.  I want them to taste of the sun.  With salt, of course.  Could you switch out the proscuitto for bacon, capacola, Serrano ham, Virginia ham, or thinly-sliced grilled chicken?  Sure! I’ll write you a note.   This is more of a method than a recipe, but I’ve written it out just in case.  Amounts are approximate.  (I also posted it on Food52.) Here’s how:

prosciutto caprese with toasty brussels sprouts and parmesan
   chips

4 servings

First cook the Brussels Sprouts.  While they’re cooking (20-30 minutes depending on size), you can prepare the caprese.

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed (if large, cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup large shaved slices Parmesan cheese (use potato peeler)

Heat to medium low a large, heavy saute pan or deep skillet with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a generous pinch each the salt and peppers.  Add the sprouts and let cook, stirring, about ten minutes until they’ve started browning and softening. Add the Parmesan pieces to bottom of the pan.  Cook without stirring until sprouts are very tender, quite brown, and the Parmesan slices have turned into chips.

In the meantime,  prepare the caprese:

  • 2 large, heavy and ripe tomatoes, sliced and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 8 ounces Proscuitto  (you can definitely use less if you’d like)
  • 3 cups salad greens (your choice)
  • juice of one lemon

Layer, in a circle (overlapping) on a large round platter (or in lines on a rectangular one) the tomatoes, cheese, basil, and proscuitto.  Surround the caprese with salad greens.

Then put it all together and dress the salad.

When the sprouts are done, and while they’re warm, place them at the center of the salad.  Squeeze lemon juice over everything and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle  all with just a bit more salt and pepper, making sure you season the salad greens.

Cook’s Notes: You can substitute the more traditional balsamic vinegar and oil if you’d like.  If you’re using Italian proscuitto, be very careful with the salt you add.  Our domestic (American) proscuitto, which is less expensive and perfectly usable–if different–is less salty.

{Printable Recipe}

Layers and layers of textures and flavors.

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If you liked this, you might also like this week’s Dinner Place Blog (Cooking for One):

farro salad with canned wild Alaskan salmon, tomatoes, basil, and spinach

or  our dinner the night after we had the proscuitto caprese….  Here are gorgeous fresh figs, fig jam, a little baguette, manchego thinly sliced and the rest of the proscuitto.   Who needs to cook?

two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood

As the weather turns from hot as ___ to immediately rainy and chilly (??), it’s time to harvest basil and make pesto for the freezer.  I’m also making a treat for the choir for tomorrow night’s rehearsal.  Probably apple crostatas, but maybe pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins.  I’ve got some large carafes and will make coffee and tea before I leave home, toting it to church so I don’t have to go so early to make hot drinks.  This will be our third rehearsal of the year, but we’ve been missing traveling folks until now so I waited to bring a welcoming, start of the year something special for breaktime.

Prospect Park United Methodist–Here’s where I work and worship.
Our Tuck lapping up the remaining sun.

Sing a new song; make a new caprese,
Alyce

38 Power Foods, Week 14 — Tomatoes — Photos from my Tomato Gallery

38 Power Foods, Week 14 — Tomatoes — Photos from my Tomato Gallery

Julia’s 100th Birthday post:  Salmon Fillet en Papillote with Spinach and Tomatoes
Just for fun this time, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tomatoes and tomato dishes  from both of my blogs …  Enjoy my crop!

Farro Salad with Canned Salmon (not on the blogs yet)

Egg and Egg White Omelet with Cottage Cheese on Toast

Basil-Tomato Egg White-Egg Omelet (not on blog)
My Little Shop of Horrors 2 Cherry Tomato plants

BLT Risotto

Shrimp-Quinoa Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

Guacamole Soup from my upcoming book, 30 Soups in 30 Minutes

  

Grilled Chicken Salad with Boccacini and Asparagus
Grilled Fish with Asparagus on Greens
Just making sure you’re looking.  No tomatoes, but a favorite picture!

Bacon Caprese with a Green Bean and Mustard Vinaigrette at Center
Linguine Caprese (from last Monday)
Grilled Eggplant and Sausage Pasta–made totally on the grill

Lunch Counter Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomato

 

Garlic Bread Grilled Tomato under Grill Press

Proscuitto Caprese with Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Parmesan Chips (not on blog yet)

Closeup of above

My ribs.  My sauce.  Dave grills!

Rice and Bean Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Egg White – Spinach Omelet with Salsa and Fresh Tomatoes

Garlic Bread Grilled Tomato Sandwich

 

Chicken-Guacamole Salad with Fresh Lime Vinaigrette

Plain old tuna salad for Dave’s lunch
Diana Kennedy’s salsa

 

Sauteing cherry tomatoes for salad–I use the oil for the dressing
Eggs, tortillas and fresh salsa for breakfast
Fried Egg and Potato Salad

Not blogged, but Dave baked these breadsticks (made from my pizza dough) on the grill!
This is just any old salad, though it tastes just the opposite with Minnesota tomatoes.

Meatball Subs
Walleye Salad

Poached Egg Chef’s Salad

Egg Salad
Fish baked in tomatoes

These (above and below) are part of the BLT risotto preparation.

Tapenade Salad (w/ lemon vinaigrette)–a summer favorite of mine

Sole on Leeks with Salad  (also on Food52)
Ratatouille

Alyce’s Homemade Tomato Soup with Fried Cheese
Tomatoed Cod with Spinach
Ratatouille-Steamed Salmon with Jasmine Rice and Spinach

For information on the wonderful things tomatoes do for your body (besides make it happy,) visit LiveStrong.   Thank for reading the blog today!
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I blog with a great group of food writers on Fridays as we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients: 

  Read more about beautiful tomatoes this week at these sites:

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Jill – SaucyCooks 

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Anabanana – adobodownunder.blogspot.com
Alanna –  http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/
.
Join us:

If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:  Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
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These are my own recipes (with noted exceptions) and can be found on this blog or on my blog Dinner Place, Cooking for One. unless otherwise noted.
Photos/all copyright Alyce Morgan, 2012

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two dog kitchen and around the ‘hood

Today’s activity:  brush, trim, bath, shake, dry on back porch, brush.   Repeat.  Don’t like it much.

Sing a new song,
Alyce

Linguine Caprese or How I Got My Tomatoes On

Linguine Caprese or How I Got My Tomatoes On

Saute a little garlic and shallots; cook up some pasta.  Add fresh tomatoes, chopped mozzerella, parsley and basil. That’s it.

I seem to be spending every waking hour figuring out how to use up the cherry tomatoes and basil that just keep coming.  (Was there a little voice whispering, “Fresh pasta?”)

Continue reading “Linguine Caprese or How I Got My Tomatoes On”

38 Power Foods, Week 11 — Spinach — B"L"T Risotto

38 Power Foods, Week 11 — Spinach — B"L"T Risotto

Bacon, Spinach (the “L”), and Cherry Tomato Risotto
As a kid, spinach was not my thing.  It was that slimy stuff Popeye ate.  I didn’t care if he was strong.  If I had to eat spinach, I didn’t want to be strong.  I wanted nothing that slid whole cloth out of any can.
My own first child adored spinach.  By then, we’d reached the American culinary stage of  gorgeous gooey-cheesy baked spinach casseroles with crispy crumbled crackers on top.  Enabled by grocery store freezers filled with vegetables year-round, we chopped, mixed, added soup or cheese, and threw stuff into ovens to our heart’s content.  We were eating vegetables, weren’t we?  And we liked anything with cheese or sour cream or dried onion soup mix.

Fast forward to our awakening to spinach as a cold-weather vegetable.  To Fed-Ex produce departments continually full of the dirty stuff.  (Spinach was filthy then and still is if you grow it yourself or buy it at the farmer’s market.)  Press again and see the last few years of  clean “baby” spinach in plastic boxes we don’t know what to do with.  (Whole Foods recycles them, by the way; our own recyclers don’t.) 
However we’ve had spinach, it’s been pretty good for and to us.  Full of iron, vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene and vitamin K, this dark leafy, inexpensive and accessible green is beautiful!
Here spinach is mixed with baby kale for a powerful side.
I eat spinach nearly daily:
Herb-Spinach Egg White Omelet

If I don’t make an egg white omelet, I make salad or have spinach instead of lettuce on a sandwich or..

Alyce’s Tomatoed Cod on Fennel with Sauteed Spinach

 I might pair it with fennel as a side for my fish.

Yesterday, my tomatoes (volunteers left on their own for the summer) were picked by a neighbor and deposited on my back step.  She knew I’d been away; she’s a gardener.

These were volunteers from the yard and driveway.  I left them to see what’d happen over the summer. They took over the side bed.

Hybrids ready to eat; they were pretty tasty!

 Hot on the back porch, the tomato scent wafted dizzily through me when I reached down and picked up the container.  What to do with them besides pop one (ok, three) in my mouth as is?

My larder isn’t full yet; we’ve only been home from Colorado for a couple of days.  I did, however, have bacon in small packages in the freezer (one of my mainstays), rice in the pantry, and spinach (which serves as the L in BLT) in the frig.  Way back in the corner was an old chunk of Parmesan our house sitter hadn’t eaten.  B”L”T Risotto was born.  Need I tell you this was the risotto from heaven? (Neighbor got a bowl, too.) Try it today:

b “l” t risotto

2-3 pieces bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces
1T butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup white wine
4-5 cups chicken stock, low sodium
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves

Set table before you begin.

  1. In a heavy 4 qt saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until nearly crisp and remove to a paper-towel lined plate leaving bacon fat in pot.  Set aside.   Add butter and onion to the saucepan.  Cook 4-5 minutes until onion is softened; add garlic and rice.  Stir in crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.  Stir well to coat rice.  Cook 1 minute or so. 
  2. Add white wine; raise heat a bit.  Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until wine is absorbed. 
  3.  Add 2 cups warm chicken stock and cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed.   Repeat.  Add last cup of broth (if rice is still too hard to eat–you want it between al dente and fall-apart tender.) Please relax about constantly stirring the risotto.  Pour a glass of wine, turn on the music, and stir only as necessary.
  4.  Stir in tomatoes, Parmesan, spinach, and reserved bacon. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  
  5. Serve hot with steamed green beans or asparagus. (See below.)   Pass black pepper at table. 

I liked a crisp grassy Sancerre with this, but I like a crisp grassy Sancerre with almost anything.  Chardonnay, which is lovely with creamy dishes, would also drink.

    Note re seasonings:  The heat of the crushed red pepper is one that will build in your mouth as you eat the risotto; be careful not to add too much black pepper at the end.

    Cook’s Note:  For ease of preparation, here’s how I do the asparagus or beans in the microwave while the last cup of broth is cooking away in the risotto pan:

    Just 2 minutes for rinsed (no more water) asparagus on high:

    Beans will take a couple of extra minutes unless they’re haricots verts.  Add a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of pepper.

    Sing a new song; eat risotto, too,
    Alyce

    38 Power Foods — Green Peppers — Alyce’s Ratatouille

    38 Power Foods — Green Peppers — Alyce’s Ratatouille

    IMG_0692

    Ah, summer.  Here’s my favorite use for green peppers.   Right after my mom’s stuffed green peppers, that is.

    I loved the movie (Ratatouille).
    Also “The Big Night”
    And “Babette’s Feast”
    Try them.   Food movies.  Ah.

    I love the real deal better.   If you become a devoted cook, your world will revolve around the seasons.  Stews in winter.  Apple pie in the fall.  Berries in the spring.  And…
    High summer: Tons of vegetables at their peak.

    Continue reading “38 Power Foods — Green Peppers — Alyce’s Ratatouille”