My latest creation … please go over to my blog’s new “home” www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com for the recipe!
When Sonali at The Foodie Physician posted this Pesto Rosso, I was immediately taken with it. Suddenly I wanted nothing but to make her lovely red pesto. With all the fresh garden tomatoes in my kitchen at the time, I couldn’t bring myself to go buy sundried tomatoes to make this, so I decided to try oven-drying some of them. It worked! I got some really lovely oven-dried tomatoes out of it. I didn’t pack them in oil, though. I just stuck them in a bag and put them in the fridge. They softened up a bit in the fridge, but much to my joy, they had the same lovely sundried tomato taste. So I used them in the pesto rosso and it turned out just as wonderful as I had imagined.
If you want to try oven-drying your tomatoes, here is the post from Love the secret ingredient on how to “sun” dry your tomatoes in the oven. She says it takes 5-6 hours, but it took my tomatoes about 9 hours to dry. I think it really depends on your oven.
Here are some suggestions from Sonali at The Foodie Physician on how to use this marvelous tomato-based pesto:
- Mix with a little pasta water and toss with hot pasta. Top with shredded Parmesan. Instant dinner!
- Spread it on hot or cold sandwiches- anything from turkey sandwiches to grilled cheese
- Top grilled chicken breasts, fish or other meats with it
- Mix it with a little ricotta or goat cheese and use it as a stuffing for chicken breasts or pork chops (or lasagna!)
- Add flavor to vegetarian or egg dishes- try stirring a spoonful into sautéed vegetables or a frittata
- Mix it with Greek yogurt to make a healthy dip for vegetables or chips
- Spread it on garlic bread for an extra hit of flavor
- Use it onto homemade pizza dough as an alternative to tomato sauce
- Spread it on toasted country bread and top it off with some arugula and shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano for a healthy snack (actually, it’s great on bread all by itself!)
I think it would also be marvelous to stir a spoonful or two into an Italian soup, or use a spoonful as a beautiful & tasty garnish on top of a thick, creamy soup.
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Several fresh basil leaves
- A sprig of fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 5 ounces small tomatoes (cherry or grape would work well … I had some tiny romas from mom’s garden that seemed perfect)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese (Sonali recommends Parmigiano Reggiano, but I had Asiago on hand …)
- Place the almonds, sundried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs in a handi chopper or food processor. Pulse several times until everything is finely chopped.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and olive oil and process until the tomatoes are finely chopped. (Sonali says to add the olive oil in a steady stream while the processor is on … my handi chopper doesn’t allow for that.)
- Add the cheese and pulse just a couple times to mix it in fully.
I dreamed of this tart for days but I was too busy to make it … I could picture it in my mind: a lovely summer tart filled with garlic and herb-infused Ricotta and Asiago cheeses, topped with rows of beautifully overlapping garden fresh tomato and tender little purple eggplant slices. Finally I could not stand it any longer. I had to make it. It was nearing twilight, so I rushed to finish it in time to have enough light to photograph it. I was using these lovely little purple eggplant from mom’s garden and some of those little tomatoes that pretty perfectly matched the diameter of the eggplant.
It turned out beautiful … but the cornmeal crust I had thought would be so good was just awful (re-confirming my irrational fear of pie crust). It looked perfectly lovely … I tried eating it, but ended up eating the topping and leaving the crust … I stuck the tart in the fridge overnight while I considered what to do … the next night I went and bought some puff pastry at the store, scraped the topping off the old crust, roasted some more eggplant and re-made the tart, again rushing to beat the impending darkness. This time, it turned out MUCH better, taste-wise, but not quite as pretty. I had used up all the tomatoes that matched the size of the eggplant so I couldn’t get that perfect layered effect. I used one of the darker Japanese eggplant in hopes that it would match the size of the larger tomatoes, but it didn’t at all. And this tart was square, not round. I don’t think I allowed the puff pastry enough time to thaw because the crust really wasn’t as puffy as it should have been. But despite all that, it tasted oh so wonderful. Almost as good as my dream tart.
Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart
- 1 sheet of puff pastry (or a pie crust would work if you are not afraid of such things like me)
- About 2 small, tender eggplant
- Several small tomatoes (with a diameter that roughly matches the eggplant)
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese + a few extra tablespoons for the top
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- Several sprigs of fresh tarragon and basil, chopped
- Thaw your puff pastry or prepare the pie crust.
- Slice the eggplant thinly (about 1/8 inch thick) and place on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and dust with Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt. Bake eggplant at 350 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant slices are tender. (These little tender eggplant don’t require any peeling or salting.)
- While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes thinly and set them aside.
- Mix the ricotta, asiago, garlic and about half of the chopped herbs.
- Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out the puff pastry (or place the pie crust in your tart pan). Spread the ricotta filling almost to the edge of the crust, then arrange alternating layers of the eggplant and tomato slices on top. If you are using puff pastry, roll up the edge of the pastry just a bit and pinch the corners. Sprinkle with a little asiago cheese and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or so or until the pastry has browned on the edges and the cheese is all melted.
- Sprinkle with the rest of the fresh herbs. Slice and serve immediately.
with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil
Yikes! I’m caught up a double alphabet challenge! One on facebook that is a daily A-Z health challenge … and then there’s this monthly “Eating the Alphabet” challenge that I just started last month and I really don’t want to miss out on this month since I JUST started.
The monthly “Eat your Alphabet” challenge is focused on the letters M, N, and O this month. Given that I’ve been racking my brain DAILY for “what food starts with this letter”, you think this would be easy, but I’m only on the letter K on the DAILY challenge … and this is a few days ahead of that. I don’t plan that far in advance (most of the time)! I suppose it’s good to think about it now, right? Head start on the daily thing?
So first I thought melon … hey, a watermelon margarita sounds yummy! … but then I spent a couple days gazing at gazillions of amazing photos of garlic and pasta and such, so I had NOODLES on my mind … so I decided to go with something with ONION (for the O) and NOODLES (for the N) … hey that’s a DOUBLE “eat the alphabet” win … and then I threw in another double plus: double garlic! Yeah! This is getting waaay too synergistic now … and then I threw some fresh garden tomatoes and basil on top … just for good measure.
Don’t worry too much over the amount of garlic in here: roasting the garlic makes a very mild, creamy flavor that is just wonderful in the sauce.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention! There’s a bit of zucchini in there too. Cuz, well, I’m all about zucchini lately. I still have two more from my sister to use up and I’m going to my parents’ house soon and they will give me more! We are not through with zucchini mania just quite yet … if you happen to be making this dish outside of zucchini season, I would suggest replacing the zucchini some other mashed cooked winter squash such as pumpkin or butternut.
Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles
with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil. I think this would serve about 4 people. I have had it for two meals so far and there is still plenty left. It reheats pretty nicely, by the way.
The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift given to me from Dofino cheese. It’s such a good cheese for making the sauce extra creamy because it melts really well and adds a little extra smoky flavor to the dish.
- 1 head of garlic, roasted
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 of an onion, sliced fine (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
- 3 paper-thin slices of prosciutto
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- about 1/4 cup white wine
- 4 teaspoons of flour
- 2 cups lowfat milk
- 1/4 cup shredded Smoked Havarti cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
- 1 – 2 cups fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
- a handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I used tarragon, rosemary, thyme and basil)
- 1/2 lb. angel hair, spaghetti, or linguini pasta (whole grain or gluten free noodles are cool!)
- Garnish: Fresh, sliced basil leaves + a little freshly shredded asiago
- Cut the top off the head of garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil, put in a small oven-safe bowl, cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 F. for about an hour or until the garlic is completely soft. Set aside to cool while you start the sauce, but don’t turn the oven off. We’ll be roasting the tomatoes shortly too.
- Prepare all your vegies and heat up the water boiling for the pasta.
- Spray a skillet pan with cooking spray, then drizzle with a little olive oil and add the onions. Sautee over medium heat till the onions are soft and translucent, add a little wine, cover and cook for a minute, uncover and stir till the wine has evaporated. Repeat this process till the onions are lightly brown and the wine is gone. Remove the pan from the heat just for a moment while you tend to the tomato and pasta.
- Set the chopped tomato in a small baking dish coated with cooking spray and set it in the oven to roast while you finish up the sauce. Hopefully the water is boiling by now? Start the pasta cooking. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and mash it with a fork.
- Back to the skillet pan: Add the raw garlic, prosciutto and zucchini, set it back on the medium heat and sautee for about 5 minutes longer. Add the mashed garlic and stir it into the brown mess of vegies. It will all look sort of ugly at this point. Don’t despair! It will get prettier.
- Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegies in the pan. Lower the heat to medium low and add the milk. Stir until the sauce starts to thicken, then add the cheeses and cook just a few minutes longer till the cheese is melted. Stir in the herbs, reserving some basil for garnish.
- Remove the sauce from the heat. Now, the noodles should be about done by now, so drain them, then stir the noodles into the sauce. Put in a serving bowl, top with the roasted tomatoes and garnish with fresh basil and a little shredded asiago. Serve hot.
This post is for the Eating the Alphabet challenge
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to see all the other cool recipes in the Alphabet Challenge this month …
This recipe was also shared at Tastetastic Thursday.
It’s finally cooled off enough here to BAKE (yay! happy dance!) and I decided I needed to make some flatbread. My son loves flatbread … he came upstairs just after I took these flatbreads out of the oven and decided he was going to have flatbread and a fruit smoothie for dinner. I panicked a little because that boy has a BIG appetite and he could easily polish off just about all the flatbread in one sitting, but he only ate 3 of them! Whew! There were still plenty left for the photo shoot.
I’m participating in an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page and today is the letter I. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. G was Garlic. I was scratching my head for the letter I … how many healthy things can you think of that start with the letter I? All I could think of was Ice Cream, and even though I have several healthy ice cream recipes, it didn’t seem like a very good choice, so I asked my kids who are both wonderful at brainstorming. My daughter suggested Italian Seasoning and that led me to think: Italian food! There are lots of health benefits to eating Italian food. You should see all the wonderful Italian recipes on my facebook page today! (If you happen to miss it or want to see some of the other recipes that were shared, I’m pinning all of the recipes to my A-Z Health Challenge Pinterest Board.)
This flatbread might not be “traditional” Italian cuisine, but it does have lots of the wonderful healthy things that Italians use in their cooking: whole grains, olive oil, lots of herbs (via the Italian Seasoning!) and the wonderful flavor of Asiago cheese. And hey, what’s a good Italian meal without bread? This flatbread is a wonderful base for a pizza, or serve it as the bread with your meal with some olive oil for dipping. Oh they go wonderfully with hummus too! … or you can just eat them plain, hot out of the oven, like my son. If you have any leftover flatbreads, put them in a bag and freeze them for quick meals (add sauce, cheese, and toppings and you have instant pizza!)
Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread
Inspired by this recipe from Red Star Yeast. I just saw that recipe and thought it was such a cool idea to put zucchini in a yeast bread!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons shredded asiago cheese
- 2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/3 – 2/3 cup water (or other liquid)
- Put all the ingredients in the bread machine (or the bread attachment to a KitchenAid … that works too!), using 1/3 cup of water to start. Set the machine on the dough setting and watch it as it starts mixing: add water as needed until it forms a nice ball of dough. I had to use the full 2/3 cup on mine.
- When the dough is done, take it out and cut the dough into equal-sized pieces for the desired number of flatbreads. I made 12 mini-flatbreads, but you can make 2 large rounds for pizza or 6 for individual pizzas if you prefer.
- Dusting the dough with cornmeal to keep it from sticking, shape the dough into discs with your hands, cover and let rest for 5 minutes or so, then stretch the dough further with your hands or use a rolling pin to roll the flatbreads to about 1/4 inch thick (adding more cornmeal as needed to keep it from sticking).
- Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place till your breads are the desired thickness, then bake at 425 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. I like to cook my flatbreads on a pizza stone to get them nice and crisp on the bottom, but you can bake them on a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone.
Last night my facebook page zoomed past 10,000 “likes” when I wasn’t looking. I was out having a glass of wine with my friend, talking out all the things we needed to talk about, sharing things we probably wouldn’t ever tell anyone else.
How did it zoom by without me so quickly? I think it’s because I’ve been doing an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page. Every day there is a letter, you choose one thing that starts with that letter and share the health benefits of your chosen thing. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. Yesterday was G and I chose Garlic. Somewhere along the way I invited my foodie friends to join in and share facts or recipes on my page. That’s when things really got fun. Suddenly I wasn’t talking to myself anymore … everyone was joining in and we had such a spread of beautiful recipes and wonderful conversations going on everywhere.
Today is the letter H and because I’m so HAPPY, I’ve asked everyone to share what makes them happy. And I thought I better take a minute to share what makes me happy. Each and every one of you that comment, visit, or like me on facebook or Pinterest or twitter: you make me happy. You are what makes all of the time and effort I put into this blog worthwhile.
What makes me happy?
Snuggling, hugs, curling up with my cat, the many shades of green leaves on the trees, joking with my son, hearing my daughter sing, seeing her dance, visiting my parents, talking with my sisters, playing with my nieces and nephews, going for long walks and hikes in beautiful, natural spaces, a text or visit from a friend, yoga, a genuine smile. Art. Live music. Singing. Beautiful architecture. History and Books. Sunrise on the lake.
Thunderstorms and rain, rainbows, blue sky, clouds, flowers, sunshine, seeing a deer or beautiful bird or a bat flying in the sky. Dragonflies and butterflies. Mountains. Plants. ANYTHING purple. Looking at the stars somewhere away from the city where you can see so many more of them. Riding on a boat, canoeing, sailing. Swimming. Camping. Dancing. The sound of waves and the feel of water and sand on my toes. Opening the windows and feeling a slight breeze through my house. Travelling. Meeting new people and seeing new things, trying new foods and seeing the world from a different perspective. Coming home. Breathing freely. Being healthy and so grateful to be alive.
A hot cup of chai on a chilly morning, dinner on the patio, a really good smooth dark chocolate. Having a drawer full of different wonderful cheeses, a bottle of wine and several lovely dark beers in my refrigerator. Picking berries, vegetables, herbs or flowers and eating them fresh. Hot soup and the smell of fresh bread baking on a cool or rainy day. Thai food. Or Mexican or Greek or anything funky and ethnic. Baking cinnamon rolls with my daughter, making up new recipes with my son. A beautiful salad. Little toasts! Pizza. Cold sweet ice cream on a hot day. Cooking. Having a handsome man cook for me and rub my back or my feet. Growing herbs. Foraging. Writing and reading and sharing with all of the wonderful foodies that have graced my life with their presence.
Smoky Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata
Cheese is one of those things that send me into a happy oblivion. Dofino cheese noticed this and sent me a bunch of cheeses. One of the cheeses they sent me was this smoked havarti which is very creamy and has an intense smoky taste, which blends so well with mushroom, tomato and eggs and a bit of smoky bacon.
- 1 teaspoon of butter
- 2 cups mushrooms
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 cup fresh spinach or swiss chard
- A small handful of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
- 2 – 4 eggs (depending on how fluffy you want your frittata … I used 2, but it was a little flat)
- 1 slice lean bacon, fried crisp, cooled and crumbled or chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, smoked havarti, & asiago, mixed)
- In a skillet pan, melt the butter, then add the mushrooms. Sautee for a few minutes, add the tomato & onion. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then uncover and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the spinach and sautee briefly until wilted.
- Put the vegies in a bowl, mix with the herbs, and set aside. Clean out the pan. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a spoonful of water for each egg. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or just salt) and freshly ground pepper.
- Heat the skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour in the eggs and let them cook for just a moment to start setting up. Quickly spread the vegie mixture over the eggs, sprinkle with bacon and top with the shredded cheese. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let cook till the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and serve immediately in wedges.
What makes you happy? I would love to know!
I have always wanted to make one of those funky flat focaccia breads with the tomatoes baked right into the top. So today I just did.
It is lovely to have a wedge of this with your soup at lunchtime (like I did today). And you can make a killer turkey sandwich on focaccia like this (um, yeah, that was dinner …)
It turned little more dense than I would have liked, and I thought the flavor of the herbs REALLY came through. If you want a more subtle herb flavor, cut down the amount of italian seasoning.
I threw a little pumpkin in the dough just because I have pumpkin coming out of my ears right now. I baked up a gargantuan pumpkin the other day and filled up 4 quart jars with the puree from this one big orange pumpkin. I hope I have time to make something ELSE with pumpkin before the busy weekend starts …
Rosemary Tomato Focaccia
- 2 c. bread flour
- 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 T. vital wheat gluten
- 2 1/4 t. yeast
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. Italian seasoning
- 3/4 c. + 1 T. water
- 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1/4 c. shredded Asiago cheese
For the top:
- Fresh garden tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- Coarse sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Finely chopped fresh rosemary
- Throw the ingredients for the dough into your bread machine and set it on the “dough”setting.
- When the dough is finished, I cut it into two pieces and made two smaller focaccia. You could also make one larger focaccia.
- Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it gently with your fingers or use a rolling pin till it’s 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
- Brush lightly with olive oil or spray with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and let rise until it’s about doubled in size, about 40 minutes or so.
- Arrange the tomato slices on top, then sprinkle with garlic, sea salt, pepper and rosemary.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it.