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If you can use a knife, you can make Tomato Salad w/Crisped Capers

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

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I don’t think I have seen the movie “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”, but I have felt under siege by the army of cherry tomatoes that have filled the garden.  Trying to avoid 80 million mosquito bites while picking tomatoes from the garden, I geared up yesterday with jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and gloves.  I still ended up with 4 bites on my face (the only area of my body exposed to those blood sucking pests) but it was worth it when I brought by harvest indoors.

cherry tomato plant

Nature's Stoplight

Here is a recipe from Tal Ronnen that I have only made once, but it will be a repeat recipe every summer, as it’s easy, fast and the word “fresh” doesn’t even capture the amazing taste of this recipe.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Crisped Capers

Makes 6 servings

  • ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained3 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges ( I use cherry tomatoes and sun gold instead)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the capers and cook until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to paper towel.

Place the tomatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup oil, add the basil, season with salt and pepper to taste and gently toss to coast. Sprinkle the capers on the salads after they’re plated so they stay crisp.

How do you use your cherry tomatoes?

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Grilled Veggie Flatbread

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

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Here in Chicago, the air conditioning has been on for a while…and will continue to be on as it will be in the 90s all week. I don’t know about you, but turning the oven on in this kind of heat is more unbearable than Jim Gaffigan not being in the cast of My Boys anymore.  This will be a short and savory post,  so your computer doesn’t output any more unnecessary heat.

If I were to make a list (don’t tempt me) of my favorite recipes, this recipe for Grilled Veggie Flatbread would definitely make the cut.  I like it because, like a pizza, you can throw anything on it and it tastes awesome.  It’s perfect for this time of year when the garden and farmers markets are overflowing with superb produce like eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and anything else you can find.

You can follow the recipe and just use tomatoes, but when I made this the other day, before I grilled the flatbread I sliced and grilled some:
Red Onion
Japanese eggplant (the long and skinny kind)grilled veggie flatbread
Zucchini
Mushrooms
Summer squash
Cherry Tomatoes
Garlic

After the bread came off the grill, I topped it with some olive oil, shredded parmesan cheese and then added the toppings.

Another idea: If you can get your hands on a mushroom mix,  saute those bad boys up with some garlic and when the bread comes off the grill, top it with shredded parmesan cheese and then the mushrooms…SO good!  This makes a nice light dinner and also a killer appetizer.  Stay cool my friends!

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Did you hear the one about the Linguine, the Shrimp and the Zucchini?

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

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Q: Why do people in small, peaceful towns still lock their car doors?

A: So nobody sneaks a zucchini into their car.

Yep, it’s zucchini season and the buggers are taking over neighborhoods.  People distraught with overflowing produce, are finding ways to use the squash like no other.  They are putting them in breads, muffins, stir-frys, appetizers, stuffing them, grilling them..it’s just culinary chaos.

Here is a quick, easy recipe that I have been cooking for quite a while that makes use of these fast growing green beauties.  It’s a variation on a recipe by Jeff Smith aka “The Frug”.

linguine with sauteed zucchini

Linguine with Shrimp and Sauteed Zucchini
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound fresh medium shrimp, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 pound or more green zucchini, julienned (2 inches by 1/4 inch)
  • 1 cup fresh tomato sauce
  • 3/4 pound dried linguine
  • Freshly grated Parmesan to taste
  1. Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Place the peeled shrimp in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste and 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  3. Grill the shrimp over high heat about 1 minute per side, until opaque and lightly charred. (Do not overcook or they will be rubbery)
  4. Heat a medium-size frying pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the garlic, and the zucchini.  Saute until the zucchini is tender.
  5. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Cook the pasta al dente, drain, and return to pot.
  8. Add the grilled shrimp to the simmering sauce and cook for 1 minute.
  9. Toss sauce with the drained pasta and serve with Parmesan cheese.

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