Tag Archives: tomatoes

Glory

So last week I showed you how to preserve tomatoes in their own precious juices (okay, really, the precious juices of olives, but that’s not as dramatic.)

And now you get to see the wonder of what I did with them. You should go out and do it too. Right now, after you finish reading this post. Because the tomatoes aren’t going to be this good again. In fact, it’s mid-September. It might ALREADY BE TOO LATE. Hold onto this recipe though, and be ready for next year, because I promise that you won’t be disappointed. This is a tomato tarte tatin – an upside down fruit tart traditionally made with apples in which caramelize the fruit in sugar and butter. Barbara Lynch twists the concept into a savory dish using tomatoes – and what a dish it is!

So you’ve already made your tomatoes en confit.

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Tomato confit.

Next, you’re going to caramelize some onions:

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Onions pre-caramelization!

Those guys are just getting started. We’re going to really caramelize them. So that doesn’t mean throw them in a pan and blast them with high heat until they’re burnt and terrible.

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Closer…

It means we will be patient. We will cook them slowly. Gently. And 45 minutes to an hour later, we will have the softest, sweetest, lightly browned onions imaginable.

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Perfection!

Now you can either keep going, or save those for a day or two until you’re ready, because there’s a bit of work left.

Ready? Okay. Mix those onions up with some Dijon mustard and some basil – preferably basil from your garden – that you chopped up. Mix it good! Sadly, I seem to have neglected to photograph this, but it looks like you’d imagine.

Grab your tomatoes, some tart pans, and some frozen puff pastry. (I know, I know, but you won’t ALWAYS have the kind of time to make your own puff pastry, will you?)Use the tart pan to cut the appropriate sized puff pastry circles. Let that hang in the fridge while you work.

Then, take your little tart pans, and spread some honey on the bottom. Place your tomatoes in a layer skin-side down on the honey.
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Top that with your onions.
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Get out your puff pastry circles, and put them on top of it all. Whip up some egg and brush it on.

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Now put your little pans on a bigger pan (because this WILL get messy). Bake it at 375°.
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Give them a few minutes to rest and relax. But not too long, or they’ll stick! Run a knife along the edge and unmold. Admire the beauty.
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Now you get to be artsy! Get some more basil leaves, and fry them for a few seconds on either side. Be careful, because they will spit a bit. Grab some marscarpone and just dab some in the middle of your tarts. Garnish with your fried basil leaves.

How’s that for glory? Serve them immediately, they deserve to be eaten hot. They will be sweet and savory, buttery and delicious, a perfect encapsulation of the end of summer.

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Glorious!

If you would like a more precise recipe, you can buy Stir, or you can visit The Pêche, who have laid it out nicely.

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An Abundance of Tomatoes

My dad grows a lot of tomatoes in his garden – both in quantity and variety. He and mom love a wide variety of heirlooms, but also grow some conventional tomatoes since the heirlooms don’t produce nearly as much fruit. They eat a LOT of tomatoes in the summer, in salads, scalloped, and just straight off the vine. Luckily for me, they still have enough to share, and a few weeks ago, they brought me these beauties:

Shiny

Home-grown tomatoes.

I was super excited, because as we all know, a tomato fresh from the garden is to a supermarket tomato as bacon is to a piece of cardboard. They are full of flavor – the very essence of summer. But! I was also worried, because it was a LOT of tomatoes, and they go bad so quickly, and Mr. Menace does not care for tomatoes in their un-sauced, un-ketchuped state. WHAT TO DO?

Then I remembered, vaguely, that Barbara Lynch’s Stir had a recipe that might do the trick – help me to extend the life of the tomatoes without completely removing the fresh sweetness of them.

People – you can confit tomatoes.

Okay, maybe this isn’t as exciting to you as it is to me, or maybe you don’t know what confit means. It’s often done to meat, specifically waterfowl in the French tradition, and usually the legs. You take your duck legs, you salt and season them, and you poach them in duck fat. This preserves them, and also makes them incredibly tender and delicious. Any non-waterfowl prepared this way (say, chicken legs in goose fat) would be properly called “en confit.”

You can also confit fruit, with sugar. Essentially it comes down to preserving your food WITH the essence of the food, right? So how do you confit a tomato?

With olive oil!

So fresh and so clean

Ready to go!

You core and de-seed all of your tomatoes:

THE SLAUGHTER

Tomato guts

Delicious

The tomatoes are ready to go!

Then cover them with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and some thyme (which was from my own garden!), and let them slowly cook in the oven:

The result is soft, incredibly flavorful tomatoes and some pretty tasty olive oil, as well! The best part is that they’ll keep for 5 days, far longer than the tomatoes will on the counter.

What can you then do with these products? I used the oil to cook up greens, flavor some quinoa, and over pasta. The tomatoes can be put in salads or a supremely tasty grilled cheese sandwich, but the confit recipe is actually part of a larger recipe in the book – tomato tarte tatin. I made those beauties too – so check out next week’s post to see how they came out!

The Vegetable Therapist Makes a Super Easy Summer Dinner

To be honest, I was originally just going to post this under normal food business, because it really is so simple that I didn’t think much of it at first. But the more I ate it, the more I decided that this was a true Vegetable Therapist recipe. If you try this preparation, and you still hate the vegetable in question, neither love nor money is going to make you learn to like it.

I’m talking about summer squash. Just like I promised I would, way back when!

To be fair, I don’t know a ton of people who HATE summer squash (actually, if you do fall into this category, could you let me know in the comments?). For the most part, people tend to be pretty meh about the whole experience. And who could blame them? Unlike their sweet and assertive winter cousins, summer squash are a bit of a meh vegetable. Oh, sure, they’re high in manganese (a powerful antioxidant) and vitamin C (ditto) and magnesium (good for the blood!). But taste-wise, they’re kind of watery, right? With a flavor charitably dubbed delicate, but we all know that’s code-word for bland. Zucchini and their ilk are best served by dredging in breadcrumbs and frying, or eating raw and loading with dip, right? Lucky they’re so low in calories so we can load them back up!

What if I told you there was another way? A better way. One that allowed the poor, ugly-duckling summer squash shine like a beautiful vegetable swan?

My friends, I’m talking about sauteing.

Now, I realize that this probably isn’t a totally radical concept for most of you. You may have sauteed a zucchini or two. And I’m not even saying it’s the only way to enjoy this noble vegetable – my dad loves to shred them up and make veggie pancakes, which are insanely delicious, and I haven’t even begun to touch the wonders of zucchini spears, lightly oiled and rolled with garlic and seared on the grill. But friends, this recipe I made tonight was so simple, and perfect, and just everything I hoped summer squash could be, that it’s the one I’m going to focus on right now. A way to love summer squash for its own sweet self. Besides, I just made it up!

The squash I used was pattypan from the Dewey Square Farmer’s Market, although honestly summer squashes are pretty much interchangeable. If you have one million zucchini, use those. I like pattypan mostly because they look like little flying saucers or Pac-Man ghosts:

Oodles of squash

So here’s what I did! First, I heated some butter and oil in a pan, about 1 tbsp of each. Keep the heat about medium low. Vegan friends, use 2 tbsps of oil, or as much as you need to keep your squash from sticking to the pan.

Next, I put two cloves of garlic, roughly chopped, and 2 spring onions, thinly sliced into the hot oils, and let them soften. You could probably sub in half of a regular, medium-sized onion if that’s all you had on hand, or a couple of shallots could be great, too!

Then I threw in my squash, sliced paper-thin. To this I added salt, freshly ground pepper, and a handful of basil from my garden!

Once the squash had started to cook and release a bit of water, I added a handful of pine nuts. I continued cooking for about 10-15 minutes, until all of the squash was tender, and the tiniest pieces were starting to brown.
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I put all of this over a bed of brown rice, and added a sliced garden tomato. Voila!
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The result was the most tender, sweet summer squash imaginable, buttery and flavored with basil. With the nutty rice and pine nuts, and the slightly acidic tomato, this was pure vegetable heaven. I seriously think I ate about a pound of squash, it was so good.

The best part is what a quintessential summer dish this is, with the tomatoes and basil. Everyone’s always got too much zucchini – now you’ve got something to do with it!

A quick housekeeping note – we are about to reach 100 posts here on Adventures in Food! It doesn’t seem possible, but here we are. I’ll try to come up with something special for the 100th post. I’ve also been thinking of better ways to organize the blog and topics to cover. If there’s anything you’d like to see, let me know in the comments!