Good Morning! It’s Fri-YAY!! Now that I’m back at work, Friday’s become a little more FABULOUS! My neighbors, the Harts, have been out of town and I’ve been watering their tomatoes. Steve is not only a backyard bee keeper, but also a prolific tomato grower. His wife, Maggie, is a prolific tomato chef…trying new recipes just to keep up with the abundance. Well, since I’ve been picking them the past few weeks they’ve been piling up and I’ve been making tomato sauce, oven roasted tomatoes, tomato soup…you name it…everything tomatoes. My easy, go-to, favorite is just cutting tomatoes into chunks, along with some chunks of cucumber and avocado and throwing them in a bowl with, that old favorite, Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix or Makato Ginger Dressing. I have the Good Seasons cruet, but use balsamic or white balsamic a little past the “vinegar” line, add water almost up to the “oil” line and waaaay less oil than it calls for…and I use olive oil. It makes it much lighter than the actual recipe. I think I’ve had this for lunch at least three or four times this past week.
Thought I’d share a few more favorites I’ve found….
Adapted from Easy Garden Fresh Tomato Basil Soup from NeighborFood blog
- olive oil (I just eyeballed the amount)
- chopped yellow onions (against, just the amount you want)
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- chopped tomatoes (I used a variety of kinds and didn’t measure just the right amount for the amount of onions you’ve chopped)
- 6 cups chicken broth (or swap vegetable broth)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Basil, to garnish (I didn’t use this)
- Cream, if desired (I didn’t use this either)
In a large (at least 6 quart- bigger is even better!) heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until they’ve started to soften. Add the balsamic, sugar, and garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the chicken broth and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Simmer another five minutes then taste. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Use an immersion blender (I just got one…they’re amazing!!) to blend the soup into the consistency of your choosing. You can make it totally smooth or leave some chunks. You can also blend this in your blender, but just blend the solids to avoid a blender explosion! Once the solids are blended, add them back to the liquid and stir to combine.
To serve, spoon the soup into bowls. You can top with sliced fresh basil & a swor; pf half and half or heavy cream. I made some crostini with parmesan for dipping.
To freeze, allow the mixture to cool then ladle it into freezer safe containers or quart size freezer bags. Freeze bags laying flat. Thaw soup in the fridge overnight then reheat on the stovetop.
Oven Roasted tomatoes
I just cut some of the yummy grape size tomatoes in half, drizzled with olive oil, chopped garlic and salt…pop in the oven at 375 for about 1/2 hour. Then I let them cool and put in freezer bag for later use.
Puffed Pastry Tomato Tart
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- ricotta (I had leftovers from Pizza Monday)
- two different colors of tomatoes sliced really thin (I only used 2 of each cause I made mine small)
- carmelized onions
- pitted kalamata olives cut in halves or quarters (optional)
- olive oil
- mozzarella/italian style or parmesan cheese
- S&P to taste
Heat oven to 400°F.
I didn’t really roll out the puff pastry and make it larger, cause I was in a hurry and the smaller size fit my toaster oven pan, but you can make it much thinner and use a large cookie sheet to make it for a bigger crowd. Too hot to turn on that big oven!
- Spray your pan with Pam.
- Wet the ends of the pastry and roll up the sides a bit. place in pan
- combine the pesto and ricotta and spread on pastry
- overlap the tomatoes, alternating the two different colors…so pretty!!
- spread on some carmelized onions
- add a few of the kalamata olives
- drizzle a very little olive oil over everything
- top with cheese
Bake for 15-20 minutes or so. I like my puff pastry pretty brown and tomatoes blistered. Slice into squares. Enjoy!!
Easy way to peel tomatoes…cause some people don’t like the skins and it’s easy to freeze them for future recipes
- prepare a bowl with water and ice cubes (an ice bath)
- boil a large pot of water
- cut off the stem and put a cross on the opposite, or bottom side, of the tomato
- place in water for about 30-60 seconds…when skin starts to split
- remove and place in ice bath
- when they cool, just peel off the skin…super easy
REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT….cause you have lots of tomatoes to do!!
….and of course you’ll need to use some of those fresh tomatoes on your pizza!
Another super easy appetizer that is a huge hit is crostini, topped with pesto, a slice of fresh tomato and some parmesan. Quick & oh, so yummy!