Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 29, 2010

Tomato Days

Filed under: Recipes — Karma @ 9:17 pm
Tags: , , ,

tomcrop

I decided to take a break from the Maine posts to ask you a question: Do you have tomatoes coming out of your garden like crazy right now?  Could you use a few different ideas for ways to use them up?  My tomatoes are ripening and begging to be used, so I thought I’d offer you a few of my favorite recipes.

For my first favorite, I really don’t have a recipe though!  Oops!  But I can tell you how to do it and how you can make it to your liking : Fresh Salsa!
Fresh salsa

My ingredients:

Tomatoes

Hot Peppers – any kind; we grow jalepenos, cayennes and thai dragons

onions

cilantro

garlic

Chop up an onion and garlic cloves.  Place them in a strainer and pour some boiling water over them and let them sit for a few minutes.  Chop hot peppers with gloved hands!  Remove the seeds; depending on how spicy you like it, remove some or all of the inner membranes.  More membrane = more heat.   Chop tomatoes.  My basic proportion is about 1-2 hot peppers per 3 tomatoes, more if you like it extra hot and spicy.  This gives what I would call medium heat.  Dice some cilantro leaves and add in enough until you have a nice sprinkling of green among the red.  Stir, and let sit for a few hours.  Enjoy within a few days for best flavor.

This recipe I got from Cooking Light magazine, but I’ve made an improvement to it. 

Quick Panzanella with Chicken:

Ingredients

  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  cups  (1-inch) cubed tomato
  • 2  cups  diced ciabatta bread (about 4 ounces)
  • 1  cup  thinly sliced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1/2  cup  fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
  • 1  small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2  English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

Preparation

1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from heat, and chop.

2. Place tomato in a large bowl; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add chicken, bread, and the remaining ingredients to tomato mixture, tossing well to combine. Serve immediately.

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Taking that bread and toasting it into croutons makes this recipe over-the-top delicious!  I toss the bread cubes in a frying pan with olive oil and some herbs snipped fresh from my herb barrel.  I also cook the chicken on my George Foreman grill with some Greek seasoning, rather than just salt and pepper.  I mix up all the veggies and vinegar and oil before adding the chicken and bread:
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Add the warm croutons and the chicken right before serving, and this is what you get:
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Delicious!

This last recipe is a recent one I’ve tried.  It was good, but there was definitely room for improvement.  You can find the full recipe here.  I started with these for my ingredients:
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I pretty much followed the recipe straight except that I had frozen ravioli instead of fresh and big garden tomatoes instead of grape tomatoes.  I par-boiled the frozen ravioli and that seemed to work out fine.  The dish turned out beautifully in my opinion:
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It was lacking a bit in flavor, however.  I think both the tomato sauce and the raviolis could have benefited from more seasoning in the cooking process.  Maybe some basil ( duh, why didn’t I think of that when I was cooking?) for the tomatoes, and some garlic or maybe even a dash of some cajun seasoning on the ravioli.  Meghan and I ground some garlic salt over the ravioli when we ate them, and that helped.  I wanted to include this recipe because I think it most definitely has some potential.  Why don’t you give it a try and let me know how it comes out?

P.S. to Jennifer: yes here’s another that could have been a guest post for you!  Feel free to use the new “reblog it” feature if you’d like!