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Spicy Tomato Jam to Share with New Friends

December 4, 2009


Once upon a time, I happened upon a blog.  I used to read the food section of the Seattle Times regularly each week and one day they featured a woman who went by the name of Gluten Free Girl.  I clicked on the link to her site and was captivated by her writing and her story.  This was long ago, long before food blogs were as common and ubiquitous as pennies.  And long before I truly understood what it meant to eat gluten free.  I didn’t know how to bookmark, didn’t exist and so once I clicked away, I lost her.

Later, once food blogging became more common and I started reading more and more amazing sites, I rediscovered Shauna’s blog.  And I went all the way back to the beginning and read every single one of her posts.  I loved her conversational style and the way she wrote so tantalizingly about food.  She has that rare ability to make people want to jump out of their chairs and get in the kitchen.  I also loved how she approached her inability to eat gluten as a challenge and a celebration.  Rather than bemoan all the things she couldn’t eat, she celebrated the things she could.  I saw some similarities in how I approach vegetarianism (although I get it that my diet is a choice and hers is not.)

Fast forward and insert some conversations on Twitter, and I got an invitation to visit her, her wonderful husband Danny and adorable daughter on the idyllic island they call home.  Whenever I go to meet a new friend, I always bring something from my kitchen.  Because I love to bake, and because I often have treats lying around, it is usually something sweet.  But almost everything I bake has gluten in it.  I thought about  making some coconut macaroons but I imagined she has had her fill of those.  Instead I brought my fool-proof toffee and a recipe that was new to me.  Spicy Tomato Jam.

I decided to make it because it comes from a trusted cookbook and is something I have thought of making on many different occasions.  I imagine it would be good with goat cheese on top of crostini.  I’m sure it would make a good omelet filling.  But I also think it would be really good with meat – pork most likely – and I know that Shauna and Danny love pork.  So I filled my kitchen with the intoxicating smell of cherry tomatoes cooking down with sugar and spices and then spooned it up into a jar for them to enjoy.

My boys and I shared a wonderful morning with that sweet family.  It was a gorgeous day and that island is more beautiful than I could have imagined.  Danny made us a lunch I have been dreaming about every since – black quinoa with incredibly flavorful lentils, celery root, and cashews all topped with red cabbage.  It was a perfectly balanced meal both in terms of flavor and health.  I could eat that every day.

The amazing day was capped off by a Santa Claus siting on the ferry.  No joke.  We were sitting and looking out the window when we heard bells and up the stairs he came.  The boys’ eyes got as big as saucers and then they had a lengthy discussion with him about Bob the Builder hats and cement mixers.  We imagined that his sleigh was somewhere on the ferry and the boys talked about nothing else the whole ride home.


One Year Ago:  Seitan Bourguignonne

Spicy Tomato Jam
Adapted from Everyday Greens
Makes about 2 cups

There is quite a bit more sugar in the original recipe but I think the amount listed below is plenty sweet.  You could probably even scale back more.

1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes, about 3 cups
4 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 lemon, sliced into thin half moons
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. unfiltered cider vinegar
Salt and cayenne pepper

Combine the tomatoes, sugars, ginger, lemon, spices, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the vinegar ina medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the tomatoes cook down to a jam and the sugars are bubbly and caramelized, 15-20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon vinegar to taste.

So Good, I Made It Twice

December 13, 2012

Common sense would say that the second time you make something, it is better than the first.  Right?  The second time you know your way around the recipe, or the ingredients if you are creating it yourself, and the tinkering makes it better.  You are committed to that dish, having enjoyed it enough once to make it again, and it tastes even better.

Not always so.  At least in my kitchen.  I rarely make things twice because I have a deep need for variety in my diet.  Occasionally I make something I really like and find myself craving it soon after the leftovers are gone.  So I make it again and 89% of the time (scientific figure) I like it better the first time.  Is it because I tinker too much?  The old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” idea?  Who knows.  When that happens, I either don’t write about the dish, or I do with the first run haunting me as I type.

Recently I had one of those weeks where I didn’t want to cook from recipes.  I wanted to just have fresh or freshly cooked ingredients at my disposal and figure it out as I went along.  I am not really that kind of cook.  I am a recipe cook but the years of cooking experience and finding treasures at farmers’ markets have mellowed me, and cut my reliance on hard and fast recipes.  So I spent an afternoon stocking my refrigerator with things I like and decided to just figure it all out as the week progressed.  Dinner one night was bowls filled with sautéed kale, quinoa, topped with bits of roasted squash and a fried egg.  There were more bowls filled with rice noodles, baked tofu, and bok choy.  There was a Niçoise salad or two.  At the end of the week, I made a soup whose base was a bunch of leeks I had not used and a lonely potato that was sitting on my counter.  I added what I had leftover and like most soups that are born from ingredients that you like, it was terrific.  I even ate the leftovers for lunch a couple of days later.  Me.  The leftover hater.  The next week, I still had some quinoa, so I roasted more squash, sautéed more kale, and made the soup again, assuming that it wouldn’t be as good the second time.  But it was.  So I had to post about it.

Now, I’m not going to suppose that you have cooked quinoa, roasted squash, and already sautéed kale in your refrigerator.  I would imagine that you could probably make this soup without doing any up front work.  You could add the squash along with the leeks and potatoes, allowing it to get nice and soft.  You could pour in the quinoa after the broth is boiling and I assume it would cook all right.  You could add the kale near the end, cooking it enough that it gets tender but still stays nice and green.  You could do all that and it would be good soup.  But I don’t think it would be that good.

Here is why.  Quinoa cooked properly, not in too much liquid, retains a nice texture and crunch.  Roasted squash gets nice and caramelized making it much sweeter than just cooking it in liquid.  And kale.  Well.  I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this before here but I’m not a huge fan of kale.  I cook it and I eat it because sometimes there is a need for big dark leafy greens and I like it better than chard.  But you will not find a love letter to kale here.  And yes, I have made kale chips and no, not a single member of my family thought they were anywhere near as good as potato chips, and I may have actually just dumped them in the compost bin.  Ahem.  What I have learned about kale is that I need a bit of garlic cooked along with it and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes.  It needs to be cut in small pieces and it needs to cook long and slow until it is really tender.  It also needs to be Tuscan or lacinato kale, which is much more tender than its cousins.  So precooked kale, made just the way I like it, worked really well for me in this soup.

Can I call this a chowder?  Does chowder mean that there is cream involved?  Chowder means chunky to me so I’m going to call it that.  And as for the extra squash and kale that will be left after the soup is gone?  Use them in risotto, pasta, on top of pizza, stuffed in a sweet potato, or shoved into an omelet.

One Year Ago:  Posole Verde, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two years Ago:  Brown Rice Bowl with Marinated Tofu, Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, Healthier Mac and Cheese
Three Years Ago:  Holly B’s Stollen, Spicy Tomato Jam, Sweet and Salty Cake (I’m making this next weekend)
Four Years Ago:  Breton Apple Pie, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Lemon Rice Rolls with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Potato and Quinoa Chowder with Winter Squash and Kale
Dana Treat Original
Serves 4

I used red quinoa here because I had some I like the color better than the regular stuff.  The regular stuff will work just fine here, your soup will just be a bit more monochromatic.  Delicata squash is my squash of choice because you don’t have to peel it and they tend to be smaller than butternuts.

Olive oil
3 leeks, white and pale green part only, cut in half, washed, then thinly sliced
1 large baking (russet) potato, cut into ¾-inch cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
Leaves from 4 lemon thyme branches (or regular thyme)
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup cooked quinoa (recipe follows)
½ delicata squash, cut into 1-inch pieces (recipes follows)
½ bunch sautéed kale (recipe follows)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place a large-ish soup pot over medium-low heat.  Drizzle in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot, then add the leeks along with a large pinch of salt.  Stir frequently until they start to soften, about 4 minutes.  Be careful with them as they can burn easily.  Add the potato and carrots and allow to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the lemon thyme, cook for another minute, then pour in the broth.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a lively simmer and cook until the potato and carrot are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the quinoa, squash, and kale to the soup pot and bring the heat up so the soup really simmers.  Allow to cook for 10 minutes so that the added ingredients warm up and the flavors of the soup really meld together.  (Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead.  It will thicken considerably, so add broth or water to it as you reheat it.)

To make quinoa:
Bring 1½ cups water to a boil.  Add quinoa, then lower heat to simmer and cover the pot.  Cook for 15 minutes, then remove lid.  (This will make a bit more than you need for the soup.  You might even want to increase the amount so you have some extra hanging around.  Just use 1½ the amount of water to the amount of quinoa.)

To make roasted squash:
Preheat oven to 425ºF.  Split squash down the middle and scrape out the seeds.  Slice each half into half moons about ½-inch thick and lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove and turn all the slices over.  Roast for another 7 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To make the sautéed kale:
Wash a large bunch of kale.  Strip the leaves off the stem, you can do this just using your hands or you can slice them off with a knife.  Chop the leaves into 2-inch pieces.  Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add two minced garlic cloves.  Immediately add a large pinch of red pepper flakes.  Just as the garlic is starting to turn light brown, add all the kale leaves.  It will look like a lot but, like all greens, it will cook down.  Stir frequently and add a bit of water if the kale is sticking.  Taste to make sure the kale is really soft, it can take up to half an hour for me to get it where I want it, then remove from the heat.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

A Different Chocolate Chip Cookie

December 5, 2011

Some food bloggers have props.  And by props I don’t mean theatre props, like plastic guns and fake mustaches.  I mean table linens and fabric napkins and special forks and pretty plates.  They use these props in photographs that look like mini works of art.  I admire those people who have props and envy those of them who have prop cupboards.  I don’t have props.  I have a few plates that I bought when I first started this blog (the white ones), I have random things I’ve picked up over the years, and I have my everyday plates.  Occasionally, I use my grandmother’s china, like in this post.  You’ve seen all my plates and such ad nauseum.  I do love tableware and in my next life, I will have a collection of lots of different patterns and my photos will be a lot more interesting.

In this state of prop envy, you can probably imagine my delight when my mom brought over this little treat of a platter on Thanksgiving.  It was sitting in her armoire (where there are probably countless other treasures) and it is Limoges.  Old Limoges, mostly likely from my grandmother.  Why it was just sitting in there and why I have never seen it are questions I can’t answer.  No matter.  It’s mine now and I love it.  I find cookies a little hard to photograph – it’s kind of Here they are!  Three or four to a plate!  Round!  Bumpy!  Very similar looking to the ones I made last week!  But I think this little plate might help make them look more appetizing.

So, I have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I link to it all the time.  This is not that recipe.  This is the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Kim Boyce’s book Good to the Grain.  It is a well-loved recipe.  Some people, who I respect immensely, have sung this cookie’s praises.  It was only a matter of time until I made it.  And I am here to tell you that I like this cookie very much.  The dough behaves well and you can use it right after mixing it – no 24-72 hour waiting period like the one you will see with the New York Times recipe.  There is a nice nuttiness that the whole wheat flour brings to this cookie but without those pesky nuts.  Plus, with 100% whole wheat flour and heart healthy bittersweet chocolate, why, this cookie is practically health food.

I would tell you about this cookie anyway – it’s a nice one.  But the real reason I am offering you yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe and the reason I am writing about a recipe that has been written about by better writers and bakers than myself, is because Randy asked me to make these again.  Randy.  My husband who says he does not like chocolate.  This was not a someday request, as in “someday after you’ve made 25 other cookie recipes, make this one again”.  This was a “the cookie jar is almost empty and I’m getting nervous and I want the very same cookies we are about to run out of” request.  November 26th marked the 11th anniversary of our first date and I knew that day that I would marry him.  I did not know that life would be full of surprises like moving to London, having two boys, and requests for unlikely (for him) cookies.

One Year Ago:  Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Two Years Ago:  Spicy Tomato Jam
Three Years Ago:  Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies
With very slight changes from Good to the Grain
Makes about 32 cookies

The recipe was written to make huge cookies, I prefer to have plain old large ones instead.  I have three baking sheets, so I baked these on convection all at the same time.  If you only have two, either make the cookies larger, or make them in two batches.

Dry Mix
3 cups whole wheat flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ kosher salt

Wet Mix
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped into ¼-inch and ½-inch pieces

Place three racks in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.  (DT: I was out of parchment paper and my cookies released from the sheets just fine.)

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.

Add the butter and the sugars to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  With the mixer on low speed, mix just until the butter and sugars are blended, about 2 minutes.  Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is combined.  Mix in the vanilla.  Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until the flour in barely combined, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from the standing mixer.

Add the chocolate all at once to the batter.  Using your rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate by hand.  Make sure it is evenly incorporated and there are no floury bits on the bottom of the bowl.  Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out mounds of dough and place them, three to a row, on the prepared baking sheets.  These cookies spread significantly so be sure to leave enough room.

Bake the cookies for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.  (Rotating is not necessary if you are using convection.)  You want the cookies to be evenly dark brown.  Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on a rack.  Boyce says the cookies will keep for 3 days in an airtight container, but they kept for over a week in my cookie jar.

Healthier Macaroni and Cheese

December 5, 2010

Sometimes you need to cook for a crowd.  Sometimes that crowd is very mixed – young and old, male and female, picky and not picky.  You catch my drift.  I find it best in those situations to turn to good old macaroni and cheese.

Graham turned six (!) on November 28th (more thoughts on that milestone when I can actually write the post without crying).  We decided to have a party for him the day after Thanksgiving.  I found a very cool activity for the kids to do which happened to be right near our house.  As I was planning this little party, I felt very strongly that I wanted to have everyone (parents included) back to our house for dinner afterward.  And I felt even more strongly that I did not want to serve everyone the pizza fall-back that seems to be inescapable at a kids’ birthday party.

There is nothing wrong with pizza.  In fact, I love pizza and it is a terrific thing to serve to a mixed crowd, but I just got it in my head that I wanted to cook for these friends and family members.  Yes, we had just hosted 16 adults and 4 kids for Thanksgiving.  What can I say?  I got help with the turkey feast and also I am insane.

There was never really any doubt about what I wanted to make for the party but I wanted to change it up.  Since we all had just feasted on turkeys and stuffing and potatoes, I decided to lighten up the mac and cheese quite a bit.  A few years ago, I found a recipe for it using cauliflower in place of some of the milk and cheese.  I thought it turned out really well and I decided to re-visit that idea for Graham’s party.  I love mac and cheese as much as the next person but I always feel like it needs something else.  One note food tends to bore me after a few bites, no matter how delicious those bites are.  I decided to add some mustard for tang and heat, and some smoked paprika for some, well, smokiness.

Now, this is not spa food.  There is butter and there is milk (2% though!), and there is still a pound and a half of cheese here.  BUT.  There is also 2 pounds of pasta.  I made it to serve a large number of people.  Like 24 adults and 10 kids.  Not everyone ate it of course, but most did and I still had a bit left over.  Considering your standard mac and cheese has about a pound of cheese for 12 ounces of pasta, this is substantially lighter.  The cauliflower is virtually undetectable here.  I’m not a big fan of hiding vegetables in my kids’ food.  I want them to recognize vegetables for what they are and choose to eat them, not trick them into it.  But seeing as there is no way in hell that either of them would eat cauliflower willingly, I am glad that they got a little dose with their noodles.

I realize that you may not have many occasions to make such a large portion.  Nor may you have a pan to fit it all in.  I had a couple of large aluminum dishes that I bought for a long-ago catering job and that is what I used.  You can certainly fit all of this into two large baking dishes (like 13×9 or 15×10).  I’m also sure you can cut the recipe in half and just make a more normal sized (though still very generous) portion.  I did not test the recipe that way so I am giving it to you the way I made it.

Mac and Cheese Previously on Dana Treat: Gratinéed Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes, Three Cheese Mini-Macs
One Year Ago: Spicy Tomato Jam
Two Years Ago: Seitan Bourguingonne

Healthier Macaroni and Cheese
Dana Treat Original
Serves 20-25

In spite of the name of this dish, I almost never use macaroni when making mac and cheese.  It’s too small and boring for me.  Other short tubular shapes are more interesting.

1 large cauliflower (about 3 pounds), broken into florets
2 lbs. short tubular pasta (I used gemelli)
Olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
½ tsp. smoked paprika
3 cups 2% milk, divided
2 tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup flour
½ cup half-and-half
1 lb. extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
½ lb. Gruyère, grated
Panko or breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375ºF with the rack in the middle.

Bring a large pot (at least 8 quart) of salted water to boil.  Add the cauliflower florets and cook until fork tender.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor.  Add more water to the pot and then add the pasta.  Cook until al dente, according to package instructions, then drain.  Toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the mustard, smoked paprika, and 2 teaspoons of salt, to the food processor.  Pulse until chunky.  Pour in 2 cups of the milk through the feed tube and process until you have a smooth and loose purée, adding a bit more milk if it seems too thick.  You want it like extremely thick cream.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or similar type pot.  Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour darkens slightly in color and smells nutty, about 3 minutes.  Pour in the cauliflower purée and stir well.  Slowly pour in the remaining cup of milk and the half-and-half.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until rich and thick.  Turn off the heat, add both cheeses, and stir until everything is nice and melted.

Place the cooked pasta in a very large bowl.  Pour the sauce over top and carefully mix until the noodles are completely coated with sauce.  Butter one extra large or two large baking dishes and then pour the coated noodles in.  Sprinkle with either panko or bread crumbs and cover with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes then remove the foil and bake for another 10.  The center of the pan should feel hot.

Homemade with Love, Indeed

May 25, 2013

If you came into my house right now, you would find homemade cookies in the cookie jar, homemade ice cream in the freezer (and some non-homemade flavors), about ten different kinds of baking chocolate, half of a homemade ginger pound cake, half a homemade chocolate pound cake, and remnants of Easter candy.  Some people might wonder how I can live with all of these things surrounding me and not eat them.  The reason is because I am a savory person.  Not that I don’t like sweet, believe me, the chocolate tempts me sometimes.  But it is not all that difficult for me to ignore the fact that I have a mini bakery going on in my house.  My problem area is the shelf that houses the chips, pretzels, crackers, and don’t even get me started on popcorn.

Something I truly can not stop eating is homemade croutons.  Therefore I do not make them all that often and when I do, I double the amount I need so that there will be some left, you know, for the dish they were intended.  I have always baked my croutons in the oven.  And they have always been great.  What is better than great?  Awesome?  Stupendous?  When you cook them in a pan on the stove, croutons become stupendous.

Homemade croutons figure very prominently in Panzanella, the Italian bread salad.  It is a very simple dish with few ingredients.  It is the epitome of rustic Italian food.  Take the very best quality things and put them together in a simple and beautiful way.  I’ve made many Panzanella recipes in my cooking life but have either made more complicated versions (see this Heirloom Tomato Salad  and Panzanella with Artichokes, Olives, and Manchego) or I have half heartedly thrown halved (pretty flavorless) cherry tomatoes, those mini balls of mozzarella, a few basil leaves, and croutons in a bowl.  It sad to me now that I could have been so overambitious or so careless with something that can be so simple to make and so incredibly tasty.

You know what they say about pizza, right?  Even when it is bad it is still good.  I’ve eaten plenty of Panzanella in addition to the ones I have made and I always like it.  A few weeks ago, when I went to a lunch party thrown by Jennie to celebrate her new book, Homemade with Love, I got to taste the Panzanella that helped me see the light.  Jennie did all the cooking for the party and I was delighted to see that everything was vegetarian.  I took a bit of everything on my plate with an extra healthy helping of her Panzanella.  All the food was beautifully presented and incredibly tasty, no small feat when you are cooking out of a hotel room kitchen, but this salad stole the show for me.  What had always been really just an excuse for me to eat dressing soaked croutons has become a thing of beauty where each ingredient shines and together there is magic.  Cherry tomatoes are better than romas but slow-roasted cherry tomatoes are glouriously sweet and jammy.  Any crouton is a good crouton, as I think I have made clear, but tossing them with just a bit of Parmesan and parsley and then cooking them in a pan on the stove, gave them charming browned bits and that perfect texture of crunch but with a little squish.  (Technical terms.)  It became clear that this would become my Panzanella forever more.

I have now made this several times and I have just a few tips.  I like using a loaf of bread with a dense crumb.  Too many air pockets means croutons that are too crispy and potentially burned in spots.  I have had luck with Pugliese bread.  I cut off each end and then shave a bit of the crustiest parts off.  More or less equal sized pieces are my preference and I like them big.  As much as I am absolutely smitten with the stovetop method, the second time I made the salad I had a lot going on in the kitchen and didn’t feel like I could successfully manage to keep turning the croutons in the manner they deserved.  So I put them in a 375º oven and they were great.  Not stupendous, but still great.  Because there are so few ingredients here, do use the very best.  Be sure to grate your own Parmesan for the croutons and buy a really good fresh mozzarella, preferably an Italian one made with buffalo milk.

Two Years Ago:  No Knead Olive Bread
Three Years Ago:  Spicy Peanut Noodles, Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread (sooooo good)
Four Years Ago:  Greek Pasta Casserole, Green Bean and Fennel Salad

Slow-Roasted Tomato & Fresh Mozzarella Panzanella
Homemade with Love
Serves 2

Please note, this recipe as written serves only 2.  Both times I have made it, I have scaled it up by using a the whole pint of cherry tomatoes, more croutons, and about 8 ounces of mozzarella.

1½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups Parmesan Skillet Croutons (recipe follows)
3 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
½ cup Slow-Roasted Tomatoes (recipe follows)
Handful fresh basil leaves, torn

To  make the dressing, whisk the oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper together in a deep bowl.  Adjust the seasonings to taste.  Add the croutons, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil to the bowl, tossing well to combine.  Let the salad sit for at least 5 minutes so the croutons can absorb the flavors, but mo more then 15 minutes or they will get too soggy and lose their crunch.  To serve, spoon the salad onto a platter or individual plates.

Parmesan Skillet Croutons
Makes 2 cups

2 cups cubed day-old bread
1 tsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl until the bread cubes are well coated

Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the seasoned bread cubes to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until golden all over, 5 to 7 minutes.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Makes about 1½ cups

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, copped

Preheat the oven to 250ºF.  Add all the ingredients to an 8-inch square baking dish and toss well to coat.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Bake until the tomatoes are slightly collapsed and tender, about 1 hour.  Let cool completely, and store in a tightly covered mason jar or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


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