Posts Tagged ‘Tomatoes’

Hi, my name is Jessica, and I’m addicted to goat cheese.

When Jared and I went to Paris this year for our three-year anniversary, I fell in love with the creamy goodness all over again! We had goat cheese salad every day (and sometimes twice a day). It just melts in your mouth and is the perfect, tangy consistency.

I posted earlier this summer about Smitten Kitchen‘s amazing Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Pasta, and I’m always looking for new recipes to try with my favorite ingredient. So when I saw that goat cheese was the featured food in the “Five Ideas for…” section in the September 2009 issue of Good Housekeeping, I was definitely on board. I’ve already tried the Lemony Goat-Cheese Salad (blog post to come soon). Delish!

  1. Fresh-Tomato Pasta:  In a large saucepot of salted boiling water, cook 1 lb. bowtie pasta as label directs. Drain well; return to pot. Meanwhile, in large bowl, toss 2 lbs. chopped ripe tomatoes, 3 sliced green onions, 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives, 1 tbs. olive brine, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Toss with pasta; let stand 10 minutes, tossing twice. Stir in crumble cheese. Serves 4.
  2. Artichoke Spread:  In food processor, coarsely chop 1 jar (6 oz.) artichokes, rinsed and drained. Add crumbled cheese, 3 tbs. snipped chives, 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel, and 1/8 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse until combined. Makes 1 cup.
  3. Lemony Goat-Cheese Salad:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. From 1 lemon, grate 1/2 tsp. peel and squeeze 4 tsp. juice. On plate, combine lemon peel, 3 tbs. panko bread crumbs, and 1/2 tsp. olive oil. Cut cheese log into 4 slices. Dip slices in crumbs, pressing to adhere to all sides; place on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden. In large bowl, whisk lemon juice, 2 tbs. olive oil, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Add 1 package (5 oz.) baby greens; toss. Divide among 4 plates; top with cheese. Serves 4.
  4. Goat-Cheese Frittata:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, whisk 8 large eggs, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper until blended. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in 10-inch ovenproof skillet on medium. Add 4 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves (from 4 stalks) and 3 sliced green onions; cook 5 minutes or until softened, stirring. Add egg mixture; stir to combine. Sprinkle with coarsely crumbled cheese; cook 4 minutes or until beginning to set. Bake in oven 10-12 minutes or until egg is set in center. Serves 4.
  5. Honeyed Peach Pillows:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large glass bowl, microwave 1/4 cup honey on high 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups peach wedges (1 lb.). On plate, microwave 1/2 cup pecans on high 2 minutes or until toasted. Cut plain cheese log into 6 slices. Cut 1 sheet puff pastry into 6 rectangles. Bake on cookie sheet 13-15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Top each with cheese slice, peaches with honey, and pecans. Serves 6.

Each recipe uses a 4-0z. log.


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I had the privilege of attending the Disney Institute this past April for Leadership Excellence training. It was a three-day course focusing on leadership and vision in the workplace, and if you ever have the chance to take this, I highly recommend it.

One of the perks of the training was the food! Each day we had a gourmet breakfast and lunch prepared for us by the chefs at the Contemporary Resort. The second day, they served Fire Roasted Tomato & Tortilla Bisque for lunch (topped with homemade jalapeno cornbread cubes – wow!). My fellow classmates and I raved about the dish so much, our instructors brought in the chef who made it, who in turn gave us all copies of the recipe! I’ve made this several times, and it’s delicious. If you want a lighter version, substitute fat-free half-and-half for the cream. Serve it with a light salad and cornbread, and you’ve got yourself a meal!

  • 4 oz. onion
  • 2 oz. celery
  • 2 oz. carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 24 oz. canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  • 1/4 bunch oregano
  • 1/4 bunch basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 corn tortillas, chopped
  • 4 oz. canned green chiles
  • 2 tbs. cumin
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 1 tbs. chili powder
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint heavy cream, heated

Saute onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in a large pot for five minutes, or until the onions turn translucent. Add tomatoes, herbs, corn tortillas, chiles, and spices to pot and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Puree with a burr mixer or place in a blender on high, until smooth. Finish with the heated heavy cream and adjust seasons to taste. Yields 1/2 gallon. (Trust me, it will all disappear!)

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A friend of mine has been bringing me fresh tomatoes from her garden, and Jared and I love making a quick side dish by roasting them in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. The Washington Post had an entire portion of its food section dedicated to tomatoes a few weeks ago, and we tried Pasta With Fresh Tomato, Roasted Garlic, and Brie (serves 4-6 people):

  • 12-16 oz. dried whole-grain thin spaghetti, such as Barilla brand
  • 6-7 large Roma tomatoes or 2 pints of assorted cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 head roasted garlic
  • 6 oz. brie, preferably at room temperature
  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, coarsely chop the tomatoes and place in a large serving bowl. Stack the basil leaves neatly, then roll them tight and cut into very thin shreds; add to the bowl. Squeeze about half of the cloves from a head of roasted garlic, or add about 1 1/2 tbs. of roasted garlic and mix well. Tear the brie into chunks, discarding the rind, if desired, and add to the bowl, along with the oil to taste, salt, if desired, and pepper to taste. Toss to combine, placing the bowl of sauce on a warm surface of the stove top.

Drain the pasta thoroughly and add to the sauce; toss until the brie has melted. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss lightly to combine. Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls and serve with more of the cheese for passing at the table.

This dish is delicious, light, and refreshing. I especially loved the flavor of the garlic, which brushed with a little olive oil, wrapped in foil, and roasted in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. I’m excited to try this method of roasting garlic (a new concept to me) to spread on toasted bread, add to homemade pizza, and many other things!

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Tonight’s meal took longer than 30 minutes, but it sure was worth it! I made Charred Tomato Soup With Stromboli (p. 194, 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray). Charring the tomatoes and onions under the broiler before pureeing them into a chunky soup gave the dish a really smoky flavor that Jared and I both loved. The recipe called for a cup of heavy cream to thicken it, but I used fat-free half-and-half instead. Although we saved some calories, it did make the soup a little more watery than I would have planned. If I make this again (and I plan to!) I will probably use a little less chicken stock to account for the difference.

The best part of the meal, in my opinion, was the stromboli. I’m not a big fan of proscuitto – not only do I find it difficult to locate at the grocery store, I find the flavor to be a bit salty for my taste. Instead, I substituted turkey pepperoni, and the result added a bit of spice that I really enjoyed. Rachael Ray suggested making the stromboli into a breadstick-like form, but I had some trouble rolling out the refrigerated pizza dough (note to self – allow dough to come to room temperature before rolling next time). Instead I cut the dough into four pieces and rolled them into crescent-like rolls. The results were fantastic! They turned out golden and just chewy enough to melt in your mouth after soaking them in the soup.

This recipe reminds me of one of my favorite new meals, Tomato Bisque – a recipe I actually got from the Contemporary Resort at Disney World when I attended training there in April. What a fantastic, creamy dish! I’ll have to post that recipe soon. Bon appetit! Here’s the recipe:

  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 small red onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbs EVOO
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 tbs flour or cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 12 slices proscuitto di parma (I used turkey pepperoni)
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used fat-free half-and-half)
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn

Preheat the broiler to high.

Arrange the plum tomato halves skin side down, with the onions on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle EVOO on the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Broil for about 4 minutes, flip and continue to broil for 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes and onions are slightly charred. Lower the oven setting to 400 degrees.

Dust your hands and the dough lightly with flour or cornmeal and unroll the dough out onto a work surface. Stretch out the dough, gently spreading its rectangle shape. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces: working across the dough cut it in half and cut each half in half again. Cover each piece of dough with 2 tbs of pesto.

Fold 3 slices of the prosciutto and 1 slice of the provolone to fit each pesto-covered piece of dough, then roll each piece on an angle from corner to corner, making a long roll that is thicker in the middle and thinner on each end. Brush the rolls with EVOO, then mix the sesame seeds, dried italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in a small cup. Sprinkle and pat the mixture onto the stromboli, place in the oven, and bake until evenly golden, 12 to 14 minutes.

Place the tomatoes and onions in a blender or food processor, and puree until somewhat smooth.

Preheat a soup pot over medium high heat, add the 2 tbs of EVOO, add the garlic and the remaining 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes. Saute the garlic for a minute, then add the pureed veggies and the chicken stock. When the soup comes to a bubble, add the cream, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer the soup for 8 to 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, turn off the soup and stir in the basil. Adjust the salt and pepper. Serve the soup alongside the pesto and stromboli, dipping them into the soup as you eat them.

Makes 4 servings.

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