Friday, August 30, 2013

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes with Herbs and Garlic

gather ye rosebuds (or tomatoes) while ye may.
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes 
Herbs and Garlic
You won't get away from me that easily, Summer.

I don't want to panic anyone, but summer is drawing to a close. Soon fresh tomatoes will be nothing but shiny memories for us to cling to during the cold, gray winter months. So now is the time to go crazy, people. Throw caution to the wind and eat tomatoes by the fistful, morning, noon and night. And when you're not eating them, you should be preserving, preserving, preserving. My suggestion to you? 
Make and eat a batch of these every day until you can't stand it anymore. 
Then make more. 

Raw tomatoes, in olive oil and topped with garlic and
herbs, ready for the oven.

Recipe notes: 
The roasting concentrates the flavor of the tomatoes, making them incredibly rich and slightly smoky. Use whatever seasonal herbs you have on hand; thyme, rosemary, oregano and basil are my favorites. Eat them with crusty bread, toss them into a tomato sauce or use them to amp up the flavor of a summer ratatouille. Pack extra tomatoes in small jars (I used 4 oz mason jars), drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top and seal tightly. You can use any variety of tomato in this recipe. Just be aware that moisture levels vary quite a bit by variety, so cooking time isn't concrete. Smaller tomatoes can be halved; larger cut into segments. Be sure to use a large baking dish, 
giving the tomatoes enough space to roast without touching. 

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

1 lb tomatoes (roughly 4-5 medium)
1 large clove of garlic, sliced thin
2Tbsp olive oil
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme or oregano
sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Drizzle 2Tbsp of olive oil into an anodized aluminum, glass 
or other non reactive baking dish.
Wash and core tomatoes, slicing them into halves or quarters, 
depending on their size. 
Place tomatoes, cut side down, in oiled baking dish.
Scatter herb sprigs and garlic slices over tomatoes.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Roast for approximately 2 hours. 
Cooking time will vary by tomato type, so keep an eye on them.

The finished tomatoes should be softened and wrinkled, with darkened edges. 
They will keep for a week in the fridge and about 6 months in the freezer. 

Roasted and packed for the freezer, ready to brighten any winter day.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Quinoa Fritters with Fresh Corn & Basil Salad

more ways to eat corn.
and quinoa, too. 
Sweet Onion, Corn & Basil Quinoa Fritters 
Fresh Corn & Basil Salad

When all else fails (or becomes tiresome), make fritters.

So... I bought too much corn. That's the long and the short of it. I ever so slightly (read: wildly) overestimated just how many ears would get eaten during a 7-person camping trip. Three per person seemed so very reasonable when standing before the massive corn pile at the local farm stand.  But no, three per person was not so reasonable. Three per person is how I wound up schlepping 20+ ears of corn from Boston to Maine, then 15 from Maine back to Boston. So it all began with the corn. More specifically the desire to expand the use of my overstuffed refrigerator beyond just corn storage. When all else fails, or becomes frustratingly tiresome (you couldn't pay me to eat another ear of grilled corn right now), make fritters. I've used this technique in years past when drowning in midsummer zucchini. Shred it, add a grain, some seasonings, a binder and fry those babies up. I'm here to tell you, the zucchini principal holds true for corn; these little fritters are damn tasty. Maybe even worth buying more corn for...

Hello empty vegetable drawers, how I have missed you. 
Time to hit the farm stand again. 

Fresh corn on the cob, grated and ready to be added to quinoa mix.

Recipe notes:
This recipe calls for removing corn kernels from the cob in two different ways. The first being grating (for the fritters), for which you simply shuck and de-silk the corn cob and grate it over the coarse part of a box grater. This will yield a (slightly messy) pulpy corn mash. The second (for the corn salad) being shaving the kernels from the cob using a kitchen knife. This New York Times video tutorial will show you two simple techniques for removing corn kernels.

Prepare quinoa well ahead of time, as it needs to cool completely beforehand. You could easily cook the quinoa the night before.

Quinoa Fritters with
Fresh Corn & Basil Salad
(makes about 20 small fritters)

For the Corn & Basil Salad:
1 cob of corn shucked and kernels shaved from cob
1/2c loosely packed torn basil leaves
1/4c minced sweet onion
1tsp apple cider vinegar
1tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2tsp olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
crushed red pepper to taste

Shuck, de-silk corn and shave kernels from the cob.
Whisk together vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl combine basil, corn and onion.
Pour dressing over top and toss to combine.
Season to taste.

Forming quinoa mix into patties before frying.

For the Quinoa Fritters:
1c quinoa/ 2c water
1 cob of corn, shucked and grated (approximately 1/3c)
1/2c whole wheat flour
1/3c minced sweet onion
1/2c minced basil
2Tbsp ground flax seeds
 6Tbsp boiling water
2Tbsp nutritional yeast
2tsp sea salt
1tsp black pepper
1tsp crushed red pepper
1tsp paprika
Oil for frying

Rinse and drain quinoa. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. 
Add 2c water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes. 
Allow to cool completely.

These are gonna be good.

In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax seeds and boiling water. Set aside and allow to thicken and cool. 

Place a box grater over a bowl or dish and grate corn lengthwise until all kernels are removed. You will wind up with a pulpy, liquid-y corn mash, measuring about 1/3cup.

In a large mixing bowl combine cooled quinoa, grated corn, sweet onion, basil, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, peppers and paprika. 
Stir to combine, being careful not to over mix. 

Add cooled flax mixture, stir gently until combined.

Season more as needed. 

Using a tablespoon, scoop out dough and gently form it into balls using your hands.
Roll in a little bit of flour, flatten into a patty and set in a single layer 
on a plate or baking sheet.

Heat 2Tbsp of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. 
In batches, add fritters and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. 
Add more oil as needed. 

Serve with the corn and basil salad. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Tomatoes

what winter dreams are made of..
Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Tomatoes
Oh fried tomatoes, I will long for you when the snow is falling.

During the long New England winter I dream about these tomatoes. I lie in bed during the seemingly endless cold nights, in flannel pajamas under three layers of heavy blankets, and fantasize about bare legs, short sleeves and a griddle full of these sizzling away on the stove. The kitchen slowly fills with their delicate scent of and then like magic they appear, a heaping pile of crispy summery perfection. Topped with generous scoops of homemade pesto, fresh basil leaves and lemon wedges. They are devoured in a frenzy, tomato juices running down my chin, ultimately utensils are forsaken and extra bits of crispy breading 
get scooped up with bare fingers. 

We're talking ultimate foodie fantasy here, people. 

Calendar days are counted down and crossed off, days get longer and then...

In the summertime, tomatoes burst forth from sagging vines and fantasies turn to reality. If these aren't on the menu at least once a week, withdrawal symptoms begin to set in. The season is all too brief, and we've got to bank what dirty, sexy tomato memories we can for the next long, dark winter. 

Tomato line-up.
A few recipe notes:
Look for ripe but firm tomatoes. Tomatoes on the softer side will work fine but firmer will stand up better to frying. 
A large cast iron or non-stick pan or griddle will work best.
The flax mixture, once mixed and allowed to sit, should be slightly gelatinous and resemble the texture of a beaten egg. If you find that the mix is not thick enough, microwave it for 15-20 seconds then stir. 
Any type of unsweetened non-dairy milk will work, I prefer coconut or hemp. 
These taste best fresh off the griddle and do not keep well, so plan on eating them all ASAP.

Tomatoes, ready to be sliced, flax seed, ground and whole, and spices.

Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Tomatoes
(serves 4)
4 large, firm, ripe tomatoes
2 Tbsp flax seeds, ground
6tbsp boiling water
1/2c non dairy milk
1cup cornmeal
1c all purpose flour
1Tbsp ground sea salt 
1Tbsp finely minced oregano
1 1/2tsp finely minced basil
1tsp ground black pepper
1Tbsp finely minced garlic
about 1/4c canola or olive oil, for frying.

Wash and core tomatoes and cut into 1/2" slices.
In a medium bowl whisk together ground flax seeds and boiling water, allow to thicken and cool.

Combine cornmeal, flour, oregano, basil, black pepper, garlic and salt and stir. 
Once flax mixture is slightly cooled and gelatinous, whisk in non-dairy milk.

Heat a stove top griddle or large nonstick pan over medium high heat.
Add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.
You can use a silicone pastry brush to get a thin, evenly distributed layer of oil.

Dredge tomato slices first through flour mix, into wet mixture, and back into flour again, making sure they are fully coated. 
Add to hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, 
adding an extra drizzle of oil as needed. 
If using a large griddle, you should be able to cook all the tomatoes in one batch. 
If using a smaller pan, split into two batches. 
Serve immediately with pesto, fresh basil or a lemon wedge.