HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Tomatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tomatoes. Show all posts

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Smoked Prime Rib on the Grill, Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto and Tortini of Zucchini





       
The lovely and extremely
talented Elizabeth Karmel
T
he 4th of July is upon us and there's never a better time to fire up the grill and celebrate the joy of being an American.  And there's almost nothing more American than beef.  And today I am talking serious beef, not your hamburgers and sliders but a big beautiful rib roast.  And what could be more 4th of July than cooking this King of all Roasts on the grill. So today I repeat a post from our first year: It's a menu that celebrates the holiday with the beef served with some incredibly flavorful tomatoes and a zucchini recipe that turns every plate into a piece of art. What's exciting to me is that since I first wrote this post, I came to know the author of the Prime Rib recipe, Hill Country Barbecue's Executive Chef, Elizabeth Karmel.  Elizabeth may well be familiar to those of you who watch Chopped Chef where she's been regularly pressed into service as a judge.  It turns out that Elizabeth grew up with a great friend of ours. David has had the good sense to invite Elizabeth to the Hamptons for the weekend and with her arrival, his dinner parties have topped our list of most-appreciated invitations.  Her pimento cheese, her 7 layer salads and her artichoke and spinach dip are all ambrosial.  But even before I met Elizabeth, I fell in love with her grilled Prime Rib.
       Regular readers of Chewing the Fat have heard that I do not run outdoors on the first decent day and fire up the grill.  I have the grill pans to prove it.  As a matter of fact, it sometimes takes me a little while to bring the grill up to the deck from its winter storage place in the garage.  This is fundamentally because I do not feel in complete control of the Weber.  And to me, gas is out of the question because if you’re going to use a grill, surely half of the desired result is some smoky flavor to announce where whatever you’ve cooked has come from. But not too long ago, we were having quite a big group for dinner and I wanted to serve Prime Rib. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Canning your own Crushed Tomato Sauce

        
Every fall something primal comes over me and I feel the need to can or ‘put up’ produce for the coming winter.  This likely goes back to visions of my paternal grandmother, a country girl from Ontario, who despite having strayed a long way from the country, nevertheless took it upon herself to can up a storm every September.   She made all kinds of pickles, but the one fresh vegetable that remains in my memory were her pints of Tomato Sauce.  To be honest, I never quite figured out how she used the Tomato Sauce.  We were as Anglo as you could get: even Spaghetti sauce was a novelty in our household and in hers, un-heard-of.  Perhaps Nana made tomato soup.  But she certainly never attempted a gumbo or anything remotely foreign.  Fast forward to my kitchen last weekend.  I was back in Nana country for a few hours and in my head danced visions of winter curries and pasta sauces and cioppinos.  And all it took was a little time and some glorious tomatoes from the farm stand down the road.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Heirloom Tomatoes with Creamy Corn Buttermilk Basil Dressing


         My friend Edward told me he’d recently had dinner in Manhattan and was served an unforgettable heirloom tomato salad.  Atop a stack of perfectly ripe tomatoes, a corn and cream dressing made the tomatoes even more irresistible.  Since both corn and tomatoes are still flooding farm stands and farmer’s markets, I wanted to share my version of this terrific salad.  But hurry. In no time, the tomatoes will disappear and with them, the sweet corn of summer.  So make this this weekend and I can almost guarantee, you’ll dream about it this winter.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Savory Roasted Tomato Tarte Tatin


         I recently came across a very detailed recipe for a tomato Tarte Tatin in August’s Bon Appetit.  Now I used to make Tarte Tatins at every opportunity.  They were hard to beat: You put butter and sugar into a cast iron pan and it magically turned into caramel.  You added pears or apples skin side down, covered the thing with pastry and into the oven it went.  Once done, you cautiously fiipped the tart over and voila!  Your pretty pears or apples glistened on a bed of pastry.  Add a scoop of ice cream and you had a dessert that even I could make.  This was of course before Andrew took up baking. Now, if I made dessert, people would be convinced that I’d lost my mind.  But I couldn’t get the Tomato Tarte Tatin out of my mind. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Adobo Chicken with Bacon and Bay Leaves from Chef Paul Qui. And an Asian-inflected Tomato and Burrata Salad




        
I’ve been wanting to make this classic Filipino chicken dish forever.  Especially after I went to Kalystyans (www.kalustyans.com123 Lexington Avenue NY NY 10016 Tel 212-685 3451) and spent an unspeakable amount of money for a jar of Adobo seasoning.  Once I got home, I realized that Goya makes a superb version for about ¼ the price I paid for at Kalustyan’s .  Ah well.  That only made me more anxious to use my hyper-priced version. Fortunately, Food and Wine magazine arrived and in it was my longed-for recipe. Better yet, it was from Chef Paul Qui, winner of Top Chef Season 9.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Baked Penne with Sausage, Mozzarella and Tomatoes from the Galley of Gillian Duffy



         There are certain recipes I obsess over.  I have folder marked “Re-Visit” and in it there must be at least five recipes for baked pasta dishes.  They all are fundamentally the same.  The pasta is cooked and then a sauce is mixed into it, cheese is added to it and tops it and the whole thing goes into a hot oven for 15 or 10 minutes. In my imagination, it emerges with cheese bubbling up from under a crisp brown Parmesan crust.  The incredibly rich cream sauce coats the pasta which is laden with the flavor of sausage or meatballs, pork or beef.  That’s how I imagine it until reality takes over: Dried pasta sticks up out of a bare covering of cheese. Inside the sauce is non-existent and were it not for the meat, it would hardly be worth eating. This has been going on for years. 
         Then finally, in the most unimaginable place I found Baked Pasta Nirvana.  In this recipe, luscious ripe tomatoes in big chunks are mixed with slices of sweet Italian sausage.  The pasta, tomatoes and sausage come together in a creamy béchamel sauce.  And an entire layer of Mozzarella, hidden bang in the middle of the dish, pulls on your fork like mozzarella in a pizza commercial.  I did use the very last of the fresh tomatoes when I made this dish.  But I discovered that canned plum tomatoes, drained of their liquid and cut into large chunks are an admirable replacement and put this dish within reach year ‘round.  And where did this amazing dish come from?  Why, Departures magazine!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The surprising story of Fried Green Tomatoes and Martha Stewart's recipe for Not Fried Green Tomatoes



            I love a little side of history when I am serving up a dish with roots as deep as Fried Green Tomatoes.  With the exception of grits and hominy, what's more southern than this all-over crunchy firm tomato that’s been battered into a deep-fried delicacy?  Even though deep-frying makes almost everything taste better, this dish stands out.  The tartness of the tomato and the sweet cornmeal of the crust are a perfect combination--especially for tomato lovers like me. 
         Of course, they’re southern to the core, aren't they?  There was that whole movie “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café”.  Set in Alabama, this feel good film from 1991 was among the first ‘chick flicks’ and a huge hit.  I wanted to read up on the origin of the dish itself.   There on the website of the Smithsonian Institution, of all places, a woman named Lisa Bramen described her first encounters with Fried Green Tomatoes.  She too remembered the movie. In the late 1990s, she tasted her first Fried Green Tomato in New Orleans. So impressed was she that, on a southern road trip, she asked for them everywhere she went. Strangely, only once, in Memphis TN, did she encounter a pale imitation of what she had tasted in New Orleans.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Daniel Boulud's Corn and Heirloom Tomato Tart



The Decor of Maison Boulud gets high marks too!

       Daniel Boulud is no stranger to these pages.  His recipes are as reliable as his restaurants, the latest of which just opened in Montreal’s newly renovated Ritz Carlton Hotel ( 1228 Sherbrooke St. Ouest, Montreal QC H3g 1H6 Tel: 514-842-4212 ) The place only opened at the end of May and there are currently 166 reviews of it on Open Table alone!  Almost all of them assign “Maison Boulud” 5 stars.  Since my parents spent years and years going to that same Ritz at every opportunity, I have great affection for the hotel.  It came as no real surprise that Chef Boulud has made magic there.  I just wish I could whip up and sample what is taking the town by storm.  However, I will have to content myself with his recipe made with food from closer to home.  In fact, the two mainstays of this dish came straight from the farm that’s right over the hill from our house.  And what a dish it is!  The burst of tomato flavor, the sweetness of the corn and the fluffiest of pastry crusts are a wonderful salute to the end of summer.  We’d give this one 5 stars and name the recipe one of our best finds this summer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf with Spicy Tomato Jam



         Ground turkey is not my favorite protein, not by a long shot. But I know many people adore the stuff. For its low fat, high protein content, it’s hard to beat.  The difference between it and ground beef is startling.  A mix of dark and white ground turkey saves 154 calories and 20 grams of fat over an identical sized serving of beef.  My problem is that most of the time I don’t think ground turkey holds a candle to the flavor of its alternative.  The exception that proves the rule is this incredible meatloaf.  It’s full of flavor in the loaf itself with its layer of shitake mushrooms and roasted red peppers.  And then there’s the incredible Spicy Tomato Jam that tops it. So good! And it looks as good as it tastes.  Altogether this is well worth cooking. I’d even go so far as to say I might serve it to guests.  Although I’d really rather have extra leftover because I love a great meatloaf sandwich and this meatloaf makes a great one.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet Corn Gelato and a simply delicious way to serve it.



Fields of Corn at the end of Brick Kiln Road
Country Garden Farm Stand, Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton NY

         The two most anticipated vegetables of the summer on the East End have arrived:  Our sweet corn and the ripest, reddest tomatoes of the year!  It’s hard to know which is the most welcome but I found a very different way to enjoy them both in a wonderful appetizer.  I realize I am asking you to think outside the box but once you’ve tasted this incredibly delicious combination, it will not seem all that strange to you.  I pared a rich, creamy and supremely corn-tasting gelato with the peak of the summer’s tomatoes and the result doubles the pleasure of these two seasonal favorites.
Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria, 1 Fifth Ave. NYC
         I first read the recipe for Sweet Corn Gelato in a recent Bon Appetit.  It was one of those ‘request’ recipes where someone falls in love with a restaurant offering and BA manages to coax the recipe out of the chef.  In this case, the gelato had been a dessert course at Otto (1 Fifth Avenue, entrance on 8th St. New York NY Tel: 212-995-9559), Mario Batali’s  downtown Pizza emporium.  This Greenwich Village location has long been a favorite of mine.  I go back—way back—to when it was One Fifth Avenue, a restaurant that had a decidedly Deco feel to it—down to the chairs which the owners had purchased, from the former Cunard liner “Caronia”.  I felt right at home in them as I too had bought them right off the ship when it was laid up in Chelsea.  It was the only ship in history to get a New York City parking ticket for non-payment of its port fees.  But I digress.
Otto is supposedly modeled after an Italian railroad station.  I don’t get the connection at all but it hardly matters because it’s a great place for a pizza, a glass or two of wine, a really nice cheese platter and some extraordinary gelato flavors, like Sweet Corn.
        Of course it was served as a dessert course.  And initially I thought that would be how I would use it.  But when it came time and I tasted this delicious ice cream, I realized it was a great starter.  It tastes like the essence of corn and the wonderful sweetness is a perfect counterpoint to the acidity of a great ripe tomato.
       Before getting to the recipe, I wanted to share a piece of information about corn that came as quite a surprise to me.  I knew that the best corn was fresh-picked and cooked on the same day.  What I didn't know was that you should keep corn, unhusked, in the coldest part of your refrigerator and then husk it just before you cook it.  Corn starts turning sugar into starch the moment it is picked.  The sweetest corn is corn that has the least starch. We are incredibly fortunate in that Country Garden, the farm stand we shop at most often, harvests their corn every morning and, if there's any unsold at the end of the day, it goes into the feed bin.  It is never sold on its second day.  How's that for fresh? Now back to our gelato.
         Making Ice Cream is really quite simple. And if you have children in the house, it’s a great activity to share with them.  It does require a great deal of patience on their part as there are a number of hours of cooling and freezing.  But the results thrill them and guarantee a memory no store-bought ice cream can buy. The flavors you can achieve are astonishing.  A great book on the subject is David Lebovitz’  “The Perfect Scoop” (10 Speed Press, 2007).  But you hardly need to buy it to make Sweet Corn Gelato
However, you do need to have an ice cream maker. If you don’t have one, please get yourself a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker.  They are an integral part of our summer.  There’s a ‘bowl’ which you keep in the freezer and haul out at the last minute. Turn the machine on and then in a final act of patience, you have to put the finished stuff in the freezer for an hour until it hardens up a bit. Here’s the recipe:





Recipe for Sweet Corn Gelato adapted from Mario Batali’s Otto Restaurant in NYC

4 ears of sweet corn, preferably white, husked

3 1/2 cups (or more) whole milk

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1 cup heavy cream

8 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the appetizer:

1 medium ripe tomato per person

Finishing Salt. (I use black Hawaiian “Kilauea” Sea Salt from Williams-Sonoma

1.   Cut kernels from corn cobs. This is easily accomplished by putting the ear of corn flat on a cutting board and cutting the corn off in one straight line.  The cut side then become the “bottom” as you remove the rest of the kernels.   Reserve the cobs and break each one into 2-3 pieces.



2.   Bring milk to a simmer in a large saucepan. Add corn kernels and cobs. Remove mixture from heat, cover, and let steep for 45 minutes.







3.   Remove cobs from milk; discard. Purée mixture in batches in a blender. Set a coarse strainer over a large bowl. Strain mixture, pressing on solids; discard solids. Add more milk if needed to measure 3 1/2 cups.

4.   Bring corn mixture, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and cream to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

5.   Set a strainer over a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, and salt in a medium heat proof bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; return to saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until custard registers 175° on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

6.   Immediately pour custard through strainer. Place bowl with custard over a large bowl of ice water. Let stand until cold, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate custard for at least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.

7.   Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a container; freeze for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. 







8.   Make the Appetizer.  Slice the tomatoes and fan the piece out on the plate.  Take one medium scoop of Sweet Corn Gelato and center it on the sliced tomatoes.  Sprinkle sea salt over both tomatoes and gelato.  I use white sea salt on the gelato and black salt on the tomatoes.  Garnish with a sprig of basil and serve at once.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Swordfish over Linguine with Wine, Tomatoes, Chile and Capers



        Before making this dish, I checked on the status of one of my most favorite of all seafoods, Swordfish. By 1999,  the North Atlantic swordfish was on its way to oblivion.  Years of overfishing had led to dire predictions.  Undaunted by high mercury levels, the popularity of the fish was rapidly bringing about its demise.   Fortunately, the Natural Resources Defense Council and SeaWeb, an international non-profit dedicated to ocean issues launched a highly successful campaign to save the Swordfish. 
Swordfish
(Xiphias gladius; from Greek ξίφος: sword, and Latin gladius: sword)
With a campaign called “Give Swordfish a Break”, the NRDC and SeaWeb got new fishing restrictions in place, and after just a few years under the new regime, North Atlantic swordfish populations recovered to near-healthy levels.  International quota restrictions were put in place and Swordfish nusery areas in US waters were closed to fishing.  In a truly remarkable feat, the campaign mobilized the food community. Endorsed by  27 prominent chefs, they quickly enlisted the support of an additional 700 chefs at restaurants around the country. They all agreed to support the "Give Swordfish a Break Pledge," by not to serving the fish in their restaurants. Two years later, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas determined that swordfish had reached 94 percent of full recovery.  This is great news to those of us who love the fish but there still is that lingering mercury issue.   Swordfish is notoriously high in mercury content and it’s to be avoided by pregnant women and young children altogether.  Even men are cautioned to keep their intake to once a week.  That being said, my indulgence is less than that.  And this dish is certainly worth enjoying. 
Its author is a woman named Aglaia Kremezi.  I found the recipe in “Best of the Best Cookbooks” from Food and Wine.  It owes its place there to a cookbook Ms. Kremezi created called “Mediterranean Hot and Spicy” (Broadway Books 2009).  Ms. Kremezi is Greek and a resident of the island of Kea in the Cyclades.  She knows her way around the Mediterranean and gives credit for her Swordfish recipe to Calabria, which is the ‘toe’ on the boot of Italy.
This recipe is very easy to make and packs a wonderfully fresh taste. The sauce has a definite kick to it but don’t be put off by the “Hot and Spicy” label.  It is a sweet-tangy tomato-chile sauce that gives the swordfish a lift.  In fact, it’s one of those dishes which you will want to serve with some crusty bread – a baguette, peasant loaf or ciabbata—to sop up the juices.  I also loved putting the fish and sauce atop a bed of linguine.  It was a magical combination.   Here is the recipe:
Recipe for Swordfish with Wine, Tomatoes, Chile and Capers
Olive Oil
2 Cups of Red and Yellow Onions, sliced
Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar, or more to taste
1 - 3 peperoncini thinly sliced.
2 Cup Fresh Tomatoes, chopped or 14 oz of good quality canned Plum tomatoes w/juice
1/4 Cup Capers, salt-packed, rinsed well & drained
1/2 - 1 tsp Honey or Sugar, to taste
6 - 7 ounce Swordfish Steaks, 1 per person. (Sauce Recipe is for 4)
1/2 teas Freshly Ground Black Pepper mixed with
1 tsp Ground Coriander Seeds
2 Tbsp. Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped for garnish

Heat 3 - 4 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and saute, stirring often until soft and light golden, about 10 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, and peperoncini and toss for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the capers and 1/2 tsp. honey and cook for another 8 - 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust the flavor with more chile, vinegar, or honey. It should be quite intense.

Transfer to a bowl and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the fish steaks with salt and rub with the pepper-coriander mixture. Add to the hot skillet and saute for 2 - 3 minutes per side, until firm but still almost raw in the center.






Add the sauce, bring to a boil, and cook for about 5 minutes until just cooked through. Let the fish and sauce cool while you make the linguine according to package instructions. Drain and then combine pasta and some of the sauce.  Place swordfish and remaining sauce on top of the pasta.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Burrata and Tomatoes...two ways


     
  It’s been a really rough winter here so far and there are still 50 days to go.  But I found a couple of ways to conjure happier and warmer days.  This is thanks to the introduction of some delicious, ripe tomatoes that are widely available no matter what the weather is outside.  There are several varieties of Grape tomatoes to choose from. There are also small heirloom tomatoes that are equally good at putting summer on a plate in the dead of winter.  And to further the illusion, there’s beautiful, ripe Burrata cheese. And for Burrata fans fortunate enough to live near one, Trader Joe’s sells 8 onces of the cheese for $4.99 – enough for at least four salads or our second recipe for a Tomato and onion tart.
            For the past two summers, we’ve been using Burrata as a stand in for fresh mozzarella.  We love opening up the mozzarella-like exterior to reveal the luscious creamy center of the cheese.   In fact, it is cream because Burrata itself is made from both mozzarella and fresh cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside is a mixture of both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusually soft  and creamy texture.  The name “Burrata” actually means ‘buttered’ in Italian and one taste tells you why.   Served fresh, at room temperature, it is a perfect  partner to ripe baby tomatoes,  an excellent stand-in for the big boys of summer in the iconic Tomato and Mozzarella Salad.  That dish is an exceedingly  simple thing to put together as you will see here.  The second way to enjoy these wonderful flavors together requires a little more time.  It relies on roasting the tiny tomatoes and some onions then using store-bought Puff Pastry to make a tomato and onion tart that you then heap with fresh burrata.  The tart not only staves off the cold, it makes a perfect appetizer or a delightful side dish.
          Burrata, like all mozzarella, owes its existence to an Asian native, the water buffalo, first brought to Italy in the 15th century. Water buffalo milk is richer and higher in protein than that of cows, yielding 1.6 times more cheese. It doesn’t have the yellowish  pigment found in cow’s milk, so buffalo mozzarella is pure white. True Mozzarella is made with the milk of water buffaloes; in Italy this is a legal requirement, and a similar cheese made with cow's milk is called fior di latte or fiordilatte, and not Mozzarella at all.  In the US however, this cheese is often made with cow's milk and sold under the names of mozzarella and burrata.  This is precisely what the Trader Joe variety is made from.   I am not sure how they make it as white as it is.       
        Regardless of contents or national origin, these two recipes are so easy and so delicious, they really do put color and summer on your table in no time.  Here are the recipes:
Recipe for Baby Tomato and Burrata Salad
1 lb container of Grape Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes or Heirloom Baby Tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil  
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Fresh thyme leaves (Optional)
8 ounces fresh Burrata Cheese
1.   In a bowl, gently toss tomatoes, olive oil and, if using, thyme leaves together. 
2.   Divide among 4 plates. 
3.   Break open the ‘boules’ of Burrata and divide them evenly among the plates.  Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve at once.
Recipe for Tomato and Onion Tart topped with Burrata
1 large Spanish or Vidalia onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb Grape, Heirloom or Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed

8 ounces of Burrata

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 
1. Heat the oven to 400°F.


2. Place the onion into a medium bowl.  Add 1 tbsp. oil and toss to coat.  Place the onion onto a baking sheet.  Place the tomatoes, cut-side up, onto another baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining oil.


3. Roast the tomato and onion for 25 minutes or until the onion is well browned.  Remove the onion from the oven.  Roast the tomatoes for 10 minutes more.  Let the onion and tomatoes cool on the baking sheets on wire racks.


4. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 12-inch square.  Place the pastry sheet onto a baking sheet.  Prick the pastry thoroughly with a fork.  Arrange the onions on top of the puff pastry and then arrange the tomato pieces over them.  Sprinkle with the thyme leaves.


5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Remove the pastry from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
6.  Divide the Burrata into four even pieces and top the tart with them.  Serve at once. 



Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tomato Bread Pudding



It's the height of tomato season on Long Island and this year's crop is incredibly good.  The heat and the sun have given us not only red beauties but all kinds of heirloom varieties and lots of choices in cherry tomatoes--from yellow to red to purple.  I really wait all year to make dishes that are meant for fresh tomatoes.  Sorry, not even those "tomatoes on the vine" can compete with the flavor and goodness of a summer tomato...although I have to admit, grape tomatoes really can hit the spot.  But of all the tomato dishes we've been gorging ourselves on, this recipe for a Tomato Bread Pudding is right at the top of our list.