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3 recipes to make use of your homegrown tomatoes – Lifestyle – New Jersey Herald

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It has been a brutal summer for all of us, especially farmers and gardeners. If tomatoes are an important staple for your family, it’s vital to keep them well mulched to preserve soil moisture as much as possible. A healthy, two-inch layer of mulch will mean less time irrigating your plants and put less strain on your well or water bill.

Gratefully, I’ve harvested a few tomatoes of my own and found more at the farmers market to use for no-cook and almost-no-cook meals. Fresh Tomato Sauce is a long time favorite. The only thing to cook is the pasta—and I put a lid on the pan to keep the steam from filling the house:

– 1 medium to large tomato per person

– 1 small garlic clove for every 1-2 tomatoes (or to your taste)

– Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

– Olive oil

– 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

– Your favorite fresh herbs: basil, parsley, tarragon, dill are my first choices and I often used a combination.

– Your choice of cheese, such as fresh mozzarella, freshly grated Parmesan, or crumbled Feta.

1. Peel the tomatoes over a stainless steel or other non-reactive bowl to catch all the juices. When perfectly ripe, heirloom varieties usually have a thinner skin and are very easy to peel with a sharp paring knife.

2. Peel the garlic cloves and press through a garlic press or mince very fine and combine the tomatoes and garlic and sprinkle with salt to taste. Drizzle with olive oil — just enough to lightly coat the tomatoes. Let the mixture stand at least 15-30 minutes. The salt will draw more of the delicious tomato juices out of the fruit.

3. Mince or tear the fresh herbs and stir into the tomatoes and garlic. Let stand a few more minutes.

4. To serve, toss the tomato sauce over warm pasta and top with grated parmesan, crumbled feta or shreds of fresh mozzarella.

Gazpacho, the cold Spanish soup, is traditionally a puree of raw summer vegetables at their peak of flavor. I prefer my sister’s crunchy version, where small chunks of tomato, onion, peppers, celery and cucumber float in a fresh tomato sauce.

I peel three or four medium to large, very ripe tomatoes and whiz them up in a processor or blender until smooth. Alternatively, you could run whole tomatoes through a food mill to separate the pulp from the peels, but I prefer peeling the tomatoes to washing a food mill with tiny bits of pulp stuck in all those holes. Either way, you want to end up with 2 to 3 cups of pulpy tomato juice. Pour this into a glass or stainless-steel bowl. Add another peeled tomato cut into chunks or cherry tomatoes cut in half.

Add the following, chopped into very small dice:

– one-half cup sweet bell pepper—orange or yellow provide a pretty contrast to the red tomato

– one-half cup celery

– one-half cup cucumber

– one-quarter cup sweet onion such as Vidalia

1. Add a handful of parsley chopped fine, 1 garlic clove put through a garlic press, 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, one-half teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and some ground black pepper to taste.

2. Stir until all the ingredients are mixed well and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

A bowlful of this soup along with some nice cheese and a little good bread make a very satisfying, refreshing evening meal.

Finally, a most indulgent recipe from Deborah Madison:

– Comforting Tomatoes in Cream with Bread Crumbs and Smoked Salt for One

– 4 tablespoons heavy cream [I prefer light cream and/or 2 percent milk]

– 1 garlic clove, smashed

– 1 fresh basil leaf, marjoram spring, or tarragon sprig

– 8 ounces ripe tomatoes

– A slice of your favorite bread, toasted, or fresh bread crumbs, toasted until crisp

– Smoked salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Warm the cream with the garlic and basil in a small skillet over gentle heat. When it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and steep.

2. Peel the tomatoes, or drop them into the boiling water for about 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of cold water to cool, then peel. Cut the tomatoes into quarters if large, into halves if smaller.

3. Add the tomatoes to the cream. Turn the heat back on and allow the cream to bubble up over the tomatoes and mingle with their juices for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. If using toast, place one slice in a shallow bowl. Slide the tomatoes and their sauce over it and season with smoked salt and pepper. If using the bread crumbs, scatter them generously over the tomatoes.

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Parts unknown: whole animal recipes from Feather and Bone | Meat

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Traditional whole-animal butcheries have become a rarity in many developed countries.

The overwhelming majority of domestic and export meat in Australia is traded through the commodity meat market. Much of the meat produced for this market will be sourced from farms that are organised around the primary goal of maximising turnover of animals. As a system that rewards volume and speed, it works brilliantly.

But if you’re a farmer or butcher or consumer interested in other dimensions of value, such as traceable animal and environmental welfare standards, then it will come up short. This is because when a farmer sells into the mainstream commodity market, their animals disappear into a generic product pool.

Filled with crusading zeal for a better food model, we decided that our commitment to transparency and a whole-animal practice meant two things. First, we would seek out diverse breeds of animals grown on farms managed with the goal of improving the entire ecosystem. Second, we wouldn’t buy boxed meat from a wholesaler, but instead would always buy meat on the bone direct from the farmer, offal and all.

Of course, if your business is built around buying the whole animal, then you also have to sell it, which can be challenging. Many of us have lost the traditional skills that allowed us to prepare and consume the whole animal. Eating offal was something quaint our grandparents did, and these days we spend more time watching cooking shows than we actually do preparing food. All of this means we default to the cuts we know how to cook, and we’re less likely to choose the unfamiliar ones.

Change is hard and change is slow but from little things big things grow.

Tammi’s crispy slow cooked pig’s ear banh mi

Feeds: 4-6
Active prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
Chill: Up to 24 hours

“When we first started selling our pastured pork, I had only been eating meat for about seven years, after a decade of vegetarianism, and was determined to make use of every part of the animals we raise with such care. And so my crispy pig’s ear banh mi was born, of necessity and respect, inspired by regular visits to Vietnam over the years. Banh mi are best when there is a balance of fat, fresh, sweet, sour, salt and spice, all wrapped up in a crispy baguette with a soft centre. These crispy pig’s ear banh mi capture that formula perfectly, and also leave room for everyone at the table to self-determine their own ratios of each constituent flavour.”

Tammi Jonas, producer and activist

For the pigs’ ears
4 pasture-raised pigs’ ears
1 leek,
coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves,
lightly crushed, still in skin
50g palm sugar
300ml pasture-raised pork bone broth or chicken stock
200ml Shaoxing rice wine
200ml soy sauce
6 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 eggs
Plain (all-purpose) flour,
for dusting
60g panko breadcrumbs
Lard or rendered animal fat
, for deep-frying

For the banh mi
4-6 fried eggs
Freshly made mayonnaise or aioli
, to serve
40g lightly pickled carrot

2 cucumbers, cut into batons
Long red chilli, coarsely chopped, to taste
Coriander leaves, to serve
Fish sauce, to serve
Crusty baguette or white rolls, to serve

Start this recipe one or two days ahead. Preheat oven to 120C (235F). Place pigs’ ears in an ovenproof dish with leek, garlic, sugar, broth or stock, Shaoxing, soy sauce and spices. Cover with baking paper, seal tightly with foil, and braise for about eight hours, or overnight, until very tender.

Place ears on a cooling rack in the fridge to dry out for up to one day. Slice ears into thin strips. Beat eggs in a wide bowl and place flour and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dust pigs’ ears in flour, shaking off excess, dip in egg, then coat in breadcrumbs. Melt 5cm fat in a deep, heavy-based saucepan until shimmering, then deep-fry ears for two to three minutes until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack.

Serve pigs’ ears in baguettes or rolls, and offer fried eggs, mayonnaise, pickled carrot, cucumber, chilli, coriander and fish sauce for people to fill as they like. Voila – a crunchy, salty, sweet, sour, spicy banh mi made with a part of the pig most people wouldn’t know what to do with. Uncommonly delicious.

Christopher’s seared liver with tomatoes and caramelised onions

Feeds: 2-4, depending on the size of the liver
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

Christopher’s seared liver
Photograph: Alan Benson

“I’m an artist, but my father was a butcher, and we had a nice little herd of Black Angus for a while. My first cooking job was to make the Saturday morning butcher’s breakfast, before I did the deliveries. So I used whatever morsels were around – liver, ends of bacon, kidneys, little lamb chops – fried them up in an old electric frying pan, then served them on a slab of thickly buttered bread. It was a tough gig, as butchers don’t like their meat ruined, so timing was everything. I love good fresh liver, served medium–rare, with jammy onion and pan-roasted tomatoes. Sear the liver at the last minute while the sourdough bread is toasting.”

– Christopher Hodges, Feather and Bone customer

40g butter, plus extra for spreading
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 brown onions (1 per person)
, diced
250g cherry tomatoes
, halved
1 lamb, goat or calf (veal) liver
, rinsed, membrane removed, sliced into 1.5cm strips
1 handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
, chopped
2-4 slices sourdough bread

Add a generous knob of butter to a frying pan over medium-high heat. Swirl for two to three minutes until lightly browned, then add a good dash of olive oil. Add onion and a large pinch of salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring gently, for 15-20 minutes. The onion will slowly turn golden, then brown, sweet and yummy.

Meanwhile, heat a separate frying pan over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes – they’ll sizzle as they hit the pan – then add a bit more butter, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook, turning once, for five minutes or until lightly browned and juicy.

Drizzle liver all over with remaining olive oil. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat, add liver and sear it quickly, without turning, for one minute until sealed and caramelised a little, then turn it quickly and sear for another minute until nicely browned but still rare in the middle. Transfer to a plate, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and top with parsley, then cover with an upturned bowl or a lid – it will keep cooking so by the time you serve it will be cooked through but still pink in the middle.

Meanwhile, toast sourdough in a toaster. Butter toast, and top with onions, tomatoes and liver to serve.

Norman’s lamb tongue with numbing chilli and tahini sauce

Feeds: 4-6 as a shared entrée
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 2 hours (five minutes with pressure cooker)
Special equipment: Pressure cooker (optional)

Norman’s lamb tongue with numbing chilli and tahini sauce
Photograph: Alan Benson

“This recipe is from northern China, where middle Asian and Arabian influences blend with the complex beauty of Sichuan cooking to shine brightly. It often uses sliced pork belly but I think lamb tongue, with its tender buttery texture, is much more luxurious. This recipe is also a good way to use up any leftover roast lamb.”

– Norman Lee, Feather and Bone customer

For the tongue
500g lamb’s tongues
2 small star anise
2 cloves
½ cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
Coarsely chopped coriander leaves
, to serve
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Numbing chilli-oil vinaigrette
25g crushed Sichuan peppercorns
100 ml sunflower oil
2 tablespoons black (Chinkiang) vinegar
1 tablespoon chilli oil (I use Lao Gan Ma brand)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Tahini sauce
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon light soy sauce

If you have a pressure cooker, fill it with the minimum amount of water, then add tongues, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, bay leaves and one teaspoon of salt. Heat until it comes to full pressure, cook for five minutes, allow to cool, then drain.

Alternatively, add tongues, spices, bay leaves and salt to a large saucepan, add enough water just to cover, bring to the boil, skim surface, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for two hours or until just tender – a skewer should pass through with only a little resistance.

Rest the tongues until they’re cool enough to handle, then peel off the skin with a small knife while they are still warm. Slice tongues thinly lengthwise – you should get about four slices per tongue.

Meanwhile, to make vinaigrette, warm crushed Sichuan pepper in oil in a small saucepan over low heat for three to five minutes or until fragrant – be careful, it can burn quickly. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes to extract all the fragrance. Strain, discarding Sichuan pepper, and combine oil with remaining ingredients.

The Ethical Omnivore cover

Whisk all tahini sauce ingredients with three tablespoons of warm water until smooth and silky. Add more water if needed; sauce should be a pouring consistency. Season to taste with salt.

For a cold summer dish, arrange tongue on a plate. (For a warm dish, heat oil in a frying pan over medium–high heat, add tongues, and cook, turning halfway, for three to five minutes until crisp and golden.)

To serve, spoon the tahini sauce over. Splash on the chilli-oil vinaigrette, pile chopped coriander in the middle, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Toss at the table and serve.

  • This is an edited extract from The Ethical Omnivore by Laura Dalrymple and Grant Hilliard, photography by Alan Benson. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for aubergine with tomatoes | Food

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Even though, in these everything-always times, they never actually went away, it is not unreasonable to say that aubergines are back for the summer. Front row, heaped high, two euros a kilo: thank you very much.

Melanzana nera, the black beauty: some round, others like big tears with elfin hats. Melanzana violetta lunga: as slim as a carrot, as long as a cucumber and inky purple-black. Melanzana tonda viola with its grapefruit proportions and the colour of amethyst. Melanzana zebrina viola: streaked white and violet, like the inside cover of a fancy book. What an enviably striking bunch; and members of the deadly nightshade family – no wonder some were distrustful when this exquisite vegetable, believed to have originated in India and been brought to Europe by the Arabs, was first cultivated in Sicily and Spain. For some, that distrust and diffidence persisted for centuries. Pianta volgare (“vulgar plant”) was how the naturalist Pietro Andrea Mattioli referred to aubergine in 1568, on observing its frequent use by the volgo, or common people, who ate it “fried in oil, with salt and pepper, like mushrooms”.

Aubergines are the ants of the vegetable world, their ability much greater than their size. Rather than lifting, though, the aubergine absorbs – up to four times its own weight in liquid – soaking and sopping up whatever it is (oil, sauce, stock, like a sponge. Until it becomes the camel, when heat and salt breaks it. This reverses the process and it expels its own liquid, which evaporates, intensifying flavour and turning the aubergine from a foam mattress to a fat and silky one.

It is the ant and the camel aspects of aubergine that we want to harness in this recipe for aubergines cooked al funghetto. It’s a Neapolitan recipe, the name of which refers to the diced aubergine both looking and being cooked like mushrooms. Cubes of aubergine absorb olive oil with a deep or shallow fry, but then the heat, salt and stirring help to expel the liquid. Like a pushy parent, the cook then adds more liquid in the form of tomato juices, and the aubergine releases more combined juices back into a sauce, which thickens and clings. It is a claustrophobic circle that one friend refers to as “a pass the parcel of flavours”.

This circle is a reminder that, in cooking vegetables, so much depends on how we manage the water content of the veg in question. Talking of water, you don’t need to do a preliminary salt for this recipe, unless they are bitter (taste and see), in which case an hour sprinkled with coarse salt is worthwhile.

The aubergine skin seems even blacker after cooking and glints like squares of tourmaline, with its fringe of oil, in the red slump of tomatoes. We eat melanzane al funghetto with lumps of salted ricotta or feta, pan-melted cheese such as scamorza, provola or halloumi, or with boiled potatoes. It is also a dish unto itself, needing only bread in order that the thick, oily juices, which have already been soaked up and released, can be soaked up once more, by us. After all, we are all sponges.

Aubergine with tomatoes – melanzane al funghetto

Serves 4
1-1.2 kg aubergines
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves
400g cherry tomatoes
, quartered
Salt
1 tbsp capers
1 small handful basil

Cut the aubergines into 1.5cm dice and squeeze them dry with kitchen towel.

In a large, deep frying pan set over a medium flame, warm six tablespoons of olive oil until hot, then add the aubergine cubes and fry, moving them constantly with a wooden spoon, until soft and golden. Tip on to a plate.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan, add the garlic – crushed for a milder flavour, sliced for a stronger one, chopped for the strongest – and fry until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt, then cook over a lively heat for five minutes.

Add the capers, then stir in the aubergine and cook for another 10 minutes, adding the basil in the last minutes of cooking.

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Make a Tasty Dish of Butter Broiled Florida Spiny Lobster Tails

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Fresh From Florida Recipe

ABOVE VIDEO: Fresh From Florida shows you how to make a delicious recipe of butter broiled Florida spiny lobster tails.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Fresh From Florida shows you how to make a delicious recipe of butter broiled Florida spiny lobster tails.

INGREDIENTS

 4 (6-9-ounce) Florida spiny lobster tails, split open in the shell

 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

 Favorite spice blend

 Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

 Preheat oven broiler on medium high. Place all 4 of the lobsters on a cookie sheet and make sure they are opened up down the middle.

 Evenly spread the softened butter over each of the lobster tails’ meat. Lightly season each lobster tail with salt and pepper. Place lobsters in the oven on the middle rack under the broiler.

 Let lobster cook under the broiler for about 7 minutes or until just barely cooked throughout. Remove lobsters from oven and let cool slightly. Serve lobster tails warm with fresh lemon.

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