Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Now’s the time to head to your local farm stand and pick up a bag of gorgeous plum tomatoes, before the season is gone! And this is what you do with them…

These are not sun-dried tomatoes. They’re better, because fresh plum tomatoes are still moist after roasting, with a bit of that magic tomato liquid in every cup! A great, simple platter to offer at parties.

Tomatoes before

Tomatoes before

12 to 18 halved, seeded plum tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
Freshly ground pepper
Fleur de Sel or sea salt

Pre-heat the oven to 250.

Line a baking sheet with foil and rub it lightly with olive oil.

Arrange halved and seeded tomatoes on it in a single layer, cut side up. Drizzle evenly with 1/4 cup olive oil, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar, and season with pepper to taste.

Bake the tomatoes until they are still juicy but slightly wrinkled, about 3 hours. Transfer to a platter and let cool slightly.

Just before serving, sprinkle tomatoes with Fleur de Sel, and garnish if you like, with chopped parsley leaves, mint leaves, or basil.

Tomatoes after

Tomatoes after

At a recent summer garden dinner for 12 of our friends, I wanted to serve my corn and tomato salsa that I featured here a few weeks ago.

We “smuggled” a few treats from a recent visit to Santorini Greece: capers, caper leaves and sun-dried tomatoes. Adding them to fresh corn and tomatoes gave it that salty bite that. I usually use feta cheese in this recipe, but we served a cheese plate as an appetizer, so I left the feta out. Turns out we like it even better this way…

1 dozen fresh ears of corn, lightly sautéed in olive oil
2 dozen (or more) tiny tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon caper leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (in addition to what you saute the corn with)

Slice the kernels of corn off the ears with a sharp knife. Saute them in a little olive oil, just to remove the raw taste. Don’t over cook them!

Combine the corn with all the other ingredients and place in a bowl in the fridge.

Just before serving, let it come back to cool, not cold, and check for seasoning. The capers and caper leaves are salty, so I’m careful not to over-salt.

Now’s the time to head to your local farm stand and pick up a bag of gorgeous plum tomatoes, before the season is gone! And this is what you do with them…

These are not sun-dried tomatoes. They’re better, because fresh plum tomatoes are still moist after roasting, with a bit of that magic tomato liquid in every cup! A great, simple platter to offer at parties.

Tomatoes before

Tomatoes before

12 to 18 halved, seeded plum tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
Freshly ground pepper
Fleur de Sel or sea salt

Pre-heat the oven to 250.

Line a baking sheet with foil and rub it lightly with olive oil.

Arrange halved and seeded tomatoes on it in a single layer, cut side up. Drizzle evenly with 1/4 cup olive oil, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar, and season with pepper to taste.

Bake the tomatoes until they are still juicy but slightly wrinkled, about 3 hours. Transfer to a platter and let cool slightly.

Just before serving, sprinkle tomatoes with Fleur de Sel, and garnish if you like, with chopped parsley leaves, mint leaves, or basil.

Tomatoes after

Tomatoes after

If you do your share of Italian recipes, a common product found in just about any store has many people confused: San Marzano tomatoes. Most good cooks agree that San Marzano tomatoes are some of the best canned tomatoes you can buy.

But unfortunately,  the label can say “San Marzano tomatoes” even if they are not real San Marzano tomatoes.

San Marzano is a region in Italy near Naples and Mt. Vesuvius, and the special combination of climate and volcanic soil make these plum tomatoes world-famous. They have less water, fewer seeds and are picked off the vine when perfectly ripe, then processed the same day.

But San Marzano is a variety of tomato, too…and so you can have a can of San Marzano tomatoes that are not from San Marzano. And to add to the confusion, there’s actually a brand of tomatoes called San Marzano, with tomatoes grown in the United States. Bet your ass the sellers of these tomatoes are counting on you not to know the difference!

Sold everywhere, but not real San Marzanos from Italy. Grown in the USA.

The company has now changed their label, just calling it "SM."

The company has now changed their label, just calling it “SMT.”

Real San Marzano Tomatoes are a very old variety, extremely limited in quantity, grown and produced exclusively in the San Marzano region of Italy. Because production is so very limited, the Italian Government and the European Union have formed a way of protecting consumers from fraud by having San Marzano tomatoes tightly controlled. DOP, or denomination of protected origin, is the mechanism that the government is using to control the production and marketing of genuine San Marzano tomatoes. Labels for DOP products must be individually numbered and manually applied to each can in specific lots and government officials must oversee this application. So here’s the deal: unless you see “DOP” on the label with a hand-stamped number on the can, it’s not a real San Marzano tomato.

Nope. Italian, but not from the region.

Nope. Italian, and the correct variety, but not from the region.

Nope. "San Marzano region," but not necessarily the variety.

Nope. “San Marzano region,” but not necessarily the variety.

Nope. San Marzan "style."

Nope. San Marzan “style.”

Yes! Always look for D.O.P. on the can or jar.

Yes! Always look for D.O.P. on the can or jar.

 

peppers2

I came up with this crunchy appetizer a few years ago, when I needed a tasty bite for one of our summer parties. I wanted something fresh that highlighted the veggies of the season, so a quick trip to the farm stand helped me decide on the ingredients.

 

Baby bell peppers
1 dozen ears fresh corn, removed from the cob
1 Vidalia onion, peeled, quartered, grilled, chopped
Juice of 1 large lime
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Frank’s Red Hot
1 lb. Queso Fresco, crumbled
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped

 

Cut corn from ears, and saute very briefly in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and let it cool.

Peel and quarter the Vidalia onion, and throw it on a hot grill with a little olive oil to get some nice grill marks on it, leaving the onion still crispy, not soft. Remove, let cool, then place in a food processor and pulse until the onion is chopped into small bits, just smaller than the corn kernels. Add onions to the corn.

In a separate small bowl, combine the mayo and Frank’s Red Hot. Pour in the crumbled Queso Fresco and mix well. Pour this into the corn and onion bowl and mix well.

Add lime juice to the bowl and mix well again. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the baby bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and membrane. Stuff the peppers with the corn mixture and garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.

If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to eat, but serve them cool but not cold.

Options: You can substitute small seeded tomatoes for the peppers. Frozen organic corn works well when fresh isn’t available. And you can caramelize the onion in a saute pan rather than grill it.

 

 

 

If you do your share of Italian recipes, a common product that you can find in just about any store has many people confused: San Marzano tomatoes. Most good cooks agree that San Marzano tomatoes are some of the best canned tomatoes you can buy.

But unfortunately,  the label can say “San Marzano tomatoes” even if they are not real San Marzano tomatoes.

San Marzano is a region in Italy near Naples and Mt. Vesuvius, and the special combination of climate and volcanic soil make these plum tomatoes world famous. They have less water, fewer seeds and are picked off the vine when perfectly ripe and processed the same day.

But San Marzano is a variety of tomato, too…and so you can have a can of San Marzano tomatoes that are not from San Marzano. And to add to the confusion, there’s actually a brand of tomatoes called San Marzano, with tomatoes grown in the United States. Bet your ass the sellers of these tomatoes are counting on you not to know the difference!

Sold everywhere, but not the real deal. Grown in the USA.

Real San Marzano Tomatoes are a very old variety, extremely limited in quantity, grown and produced exclusively in the San Marzano region of Italy. Because production is so very limited, the Italian Government and the European Union have formed a way of protecting consumers from fraud by having San Marzano tomatoes tightly controlled. DOP, or denomination of protected origin, is the mechanism that the government is using to control the production and marketing of genuine San Marzano tomatoes. Labels for DOP products must be individually numbered and manually applied to each can in specific lots and government officials must oversee this application. So here’s the deal: unless you see “DOP” on the label with a hand-stamped number on the can, it’s not a real San Marzano tomato.

 

Real San Marzano tomatoes. Cento also sells non-certified San Marzano’s, so always look for the DOP on the can.

Another way to tell when you’re in the market is simple. Check the price. Your average can of tomatoes will be in the $2 range. Real DOP San Marzano tomatoes: about $4–$5 a can. It’s all about quality.

Now’s the time to head to your local farm stand and pick up a bag of gorgeous plum tomatoes, before the season is gone! And this is what you do with them…

These are not sun-dried tomatoes. They’re better, because fresh plum tomatoes are still moist after roasting, with a bit of that magic tomato liquid in every cup! A great, simple platter to offer at parties.

Tomatoes before

Tomatoes before

Ingredients:

12 to 18 halved, seeded plum tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons organic cane sugar

Freshly ground pepper

Fleur de Sel or sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 250.

Line a baking sheet with foil and rub it lightly with olive oil.

Arrange halved and seeded tomatoes on it in a single layer, cut side up. Drizzle evenly with 1/4 cup olive oil, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar, and season with pepper to taste.

Bake the tomatoes until they are still juicy but slightly wrinkled, about 3 hours. Transfer to a platter and let cool slightly.

Just before serving, sprinkle tomatoes with Fleur de Sel, and garnish if you like, with chopped parsley leaves, mint leaves, or basil.

Tomatoes after

Tomatoes after

SUMMER ISN’T OVER YET!

OK…at least I refuse to think so.

It’s still not too late to enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies that our local farmers have to offer. Soon, we’ll be forced to go back to the supermarket to buy our produce. But until then, we can enjoy the bright, fresh flavors that only our local farmers can provide.

Oven roasted plum tomatoes

These are not sun dried tomatoes. These are seasoned and slow roasted, so that their sweet flavors concentrate, but the moist, chewy texture remains.

Ingredients:

12 to 18 halved, seeded plum tomatoes

Extra virgin olive oil

Sugar

Freshly ground pepper

Fleur de Sel, or other finishing salt

Pre-heat oven to 250.

Line a baking sheet with foil and rub it with olive oil.

Arrange halved and seeded tomatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer, cut side up. Drizzle evenly with ½ cup olive oil, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar, and season with pepper to taste.

Baked the tomatoes until they are still juicy but slightly wrinkled, about 3 hours. Transfer to a platter and let cool slightly.

Just before serving, sprinkle tomatoes with Fleur de Sel, and garnish, if you like, with mint, parsley or basil.

 

BABY BELL PEPPERS WITH FRESH CORN STUFFING

Bags of these baby bell peppers are appearing everywhere on supermarket shelves this season. Recently, I had about 100 people over for a party, and I came up with this tasty bite to serve as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

Baby bell peppers

1 dozen ears fresh corn, boiled for just a couple of minutes, then removed from the cob…or organic frozen corn

1 Vidalia onion, peeled, quartered, grilled, chopped

Juice of 1 large lime

¾ cup mayonnaise

20 shots of Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco

1 lb Queso Fresco, crumbled

Salt

Fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped

Cook the corn for just a couple of minutes to keep it crisp. If using corn on the cob, cut corn from ears and place in a bowl.

Peel and quarter the Vidalia onion, and throw it on a hot grill with a little olive oil to get some nice grill marks on it, leaving the onion still crispy, not soft. Remove, let cool, then place in a food processor and pulse until the onion is chopped into small bits, just smaller than the corn kernels. Add onions to corn.

In a separate small bowl, combine mayonnaise and Frank’s Red Hot. Pour in crumbled Queso Fresco and mix well. Pour into corn and onion bowl and mix well.

Add lime juice to the bowl and mix well again. Taste mixture and season with salt.

Cut the baby bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and membrane. Stuff the peppers with the corn mixture and garnish with cilantro or parsley.

If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to eat, but allow some time for them to warm up a little bit. You don’t want to serve them ice cold.

If you do your share of Italian recipes, a common product that you can find in just about any store has many people confused: San Marzano tomatoes. Most good cooks agree that San Marzano tomatoes are some of the best canned tomatoes you can buy.

But unfortunately,  the label can say “San Marzano tomatoes” even if they are not real San Marzano tomatoes.

 

San Marzano is a region in Italy near Naples and Mt. Vesuvius, and the special combination of climate and volcanic soil make these plum tomatoes world famous. They have less water, fewer seeds and are picked off the vine when perfectly ripe and processed the same day.

 

But San Marzano is a variety of tomato, too…and so you can have a can of San Marzano tomatoes that are not from San Marzano. And to add to the confusion, there’s actually a brand of tomatoes called San Marzano, with tomatoes grown in the United States. You can bet that the sellers of these tomatoes are counting on us not to know the difference!

Sold everywhere, but not the real deal. Grown in the USA.

 

Real San Marzano Tomatoes are a very old variety, extremely limited in quantity, grown and produced exclusively in the San Marzano region of Italy. Because production is so very limited, the Italian Government and the European Union have formed a way of protecting consumers from fraud by having San Marzano tomatoes tightly controlled. DOP, or denomination of protected origin, is the mechanism that the government is using to tightly control the production and marketing of genuine San Marzano tomatoes. Labels for DOP products must be individually numbered and manually applied to each and every can in specific lots and government officials must oversee this application. So here’s the deal: unless you see “DOP” on the label with a hand-stamped number on the can, it’s not a San Marzano tomato.

 

Real San Marzano tomatoes. Cento also sells non-certified San Marzano’s, so always look for the DOP on the can.

Another way to tell when you’re in the market is simple. Check the price. Your average can of tomatoes will be in the $2 range. Real DOP San Marzano tomatoes: about $4–$5 a can. It’s all about quality.