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Snails in salsa arribata

Back when spring was easing into summer, I really didn’t fully appreciate just how much we had planned in the first few weeks of the season, and here we are in the middle of July. One thing I resolved on doing this summer was to spend some time revisiting my favorite Catalunyan dishes since we wouldn’t be making our biennial trip over to Europe this year, what with us buying a house and me buying a new car, but with everything we’ve been up to it’s been awhile since we could devote a couple of days to anything more fun than a typical weeknight meal.

With a weekend looming on the horizon with no plans but our own, I decided to give us a chance to relax and give ourselves a mini Caldes d’Estrac vacation, at least with food if not in beach time. Rosado would be poured, caftans donned, and my hope was each dish would bring us back to those warm days we would spend along the Mediterranean coast. Read More

Tomato Salad with Chili, Black Pepper, and Cardamom

Recently The Kitchen Witch posted about how she likes to seduce late spring/early summer tomatoes by making punchy vinaigrettes, and her Kalamata olive one would be pretty fabulous if I liked olives more. But it reminded me of a recipe I had earmarked in the most recent issue of Cherry Bombe magazine in which you make a spicy oil to drizzle over tomatoes along with some lemon juice, cilantro, and sesame seeds and so a couple of weekends ago I decided I had to make it in the name of trying something that was new to me. Read More

Pizza with Roasted Tomato-Garlic-Herb Passata

Do you remember how I mentioned making the warm tomato vinaigrette during my most recent sabor de soledad but then I never posted any pictures of it? Well, I’m making up for it now with this passata. It was the first Sunday of Daylight Savings Time, and we had decided to make pizza (but not in enough time to make the pizza dough in time so frozen dough was required) and I grabbed some tomatoes and herbs to make more of the passata that is the core of the recipe and turn it into a fresh tomato sauce to go one one of the pies. The base for the sauce–long-roasted tomatoes blended with fresh basil–is solid, and so I felt it was only natural to add some roasted garlic and some tarragon to punch it up a little. Read More

Cacio e pepe

Michael was in the UK for most of this past week, and so for the first time in a while I had a few days to myself to make whatever I wanted. Obviously, the first thing I did was buy a boatload of cheeses.

The next thing I did after running some errands on Sunday was to sequester myself in the kitchen to do all kinds of things: make a nice fancy brunch was first on the list and then I did some much-needed meal prep for the week. My friend D at The Kitchen Witch recently posted an intriguing recipe for a warm tomato vinaigrette, and I had bookmarked it thinking it would go really well with chicken thighs. I slow-roasted the tomatoes and whipped up a batch fairly easily, tripling the recipe she provided to use up all of the tomato passata that you make, and boy howdy is it tasty. I even made enough for Michael to have some for lunch when he got home from the airport because I’m nice like that. Read More

Busiate with pesto trapanese

Fall is here, and already I’m unimpressed because I feel like it’s been nothing but grey and cloudy days since the Equinox. And now we’re expected to get buckets of rain for the next four days or so! How are we supposed to enjoy all of those fall things that are so amazing people start yearning for them at the beginning of summer if we all have to be cloistered up inside?

It’s nonsense, is what it is. Read More

Gambas Flambées with Pastis

If the galettes were a foray into the unknown, the following week was a retreat into the familiar and easy. Initially my plan was to have dinner planned for three nights, but Michael’s schedule changed and I ended up only needing plans for two, so one of my favorite meals alone–ricotta dumplings with arugula–had to wait until lunchtime on Friday. Oh well.

Still, I ate very well: Tuesday I made Rachel Khoo’s delicious fig and liver salad. I wrote about this salad last year when I first read about it and felt compelled to make it, but Fairway didn’t have any fresh figs at the times so I subbed in some Italian plums instead. Thanks to Whole Foods I was able to make it as written, and I even splurged and bought some organic chicken livers. I’m not one to get up on soap boxes to sing the praises of organic foods, but I’ll make an exception for chicken livers. Since they are organs that filter things, the fact that they come from chickens fed an all-vegetarian diet means that they definitely taste way better than the super-cheap ones I’d find at the grocery store. They still don’t break the bank (a pound of them cost me $4) but the difference is extremely notable. Read More

Dark Plum Sparklers

Labor Day weekend is almost here, and while some may be celebrating because their kids are back in school, I’m celebrating because it’s definitely the best time of year for produce. Tomatoes are hitting their peak, stone fruits are flourishing, and some of those early autumn treats are starting to trickle into stores and farmers markets. One of the things I really miss about living in New York was going down the Union Square Greenmarket during this time of year, because leaving the subway station around 15th street by the NQR line meant that you would be inundated by the heady scent of the best produce the market had to offer as you walked up the stairs, and inevitably you would then be smack in the middle of so many possibilities. It seriously ranks up there on my list of favorite smells along with the Mediterranean Sea.

In honor of the holiday weekend and the bounty of deliciousness at your disposal right now, I’m going to share some of my favorite ways to enjoy the best the season has to offer. Read More

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