Archive: 2010

  1. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Fettucini

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    If you “are what you eat,” then we all should be turning into zucchinis, tomatoes, or peaches… who hears me? This weekend at the farmers market, I made my way over to a tent that is ALWAYS packed. I’ll admit, I purposely avoided the area during my previous visits because I always felt like I would bother shoppers with my bulky hiking backpack that overflowed of carrot greens. There was a break in the action this Sunday though, and my Mom and I meandered over. One word – Wow. I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on all this time! At least two dozen varieties of homemade pastas, breads, and pestos. Decisions were tough: chickpea fettuccine, spinach angel hair, sun-dried tomato capellini. We settled on the pappardelle with basil on the chefs recommendation.

    With a brand new hand-crank pasta maker at home, I thought making my own sun-dried tomato basil noodles would be an inspired challenge. I’m not sure how crazy creative this dish is, but I think that’s what I love most about it because when the plate or bowl is empty, you feel like you just got a great hug.

    Homemade Sun-dried Tomato Fettucini 

    • 1 cup unbleached bread flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup basil, minced
    • 1/4 cup, finely chopped
    • your favorite sauce (mine is plain old stewed tomatoes)

    In a large bowl combine flour, basil, tomatoes, and salt. Stir together, making a crater in the middle for the eggs. Crack the eggs and yolks into the crater and start to whisk them (as if you were scrambling eggs) slowly incorporating the flour surrounding it until the mixture sticks together and starts to crumble. Add about 1/4 cup of water, and begin to knead by hand on a lightly floured surface. When you have shaped a ball, cut into quarters. Set aside.

    Bring a deep saucepan filled with water to a boil. Saucepan sounds weird, but I think this is the easiest way to keep the noodles from sticking. Assemble your pasta machine. Before you start, remind yourself that patience is key in this process. Because the tomatoes and basil give the dough a bit of 3-Dimensionality, it’s not going to look perfect. Accept that. Proceed.

    With the cran on the lasagna setting, take one quarter of the prepared dough and roll it through to flatten. Fold the dough over itself three times and roll through one more time. Move the crank to the wide noodle setting, and roll the flattened dough through, catching the cut strips with a hand beneath the machine. A little extra flour helps things along. Use it when things feel too sticky. Set strands aside to dry slightly for about 20 minutes.

    In three batches, place pasta gently in a boiling saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove with a fork or ladle into a strainer to dry – do not rinse. Repeat until all the noodles are cooked.

    Top with your favorite pasta sauce, olive oil and garlic, parmesan cheese, or whatever strikes your fancy.

  2. Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa

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    Rick Bayless knows salsa. Alice Waters calls him a “brilliant teacher with an inexhaustible curiosity about authentic Mexican cooking.” I couldn’t agree more. Looking for another way to use up the piles of tomatoes I have around the kitchen, I turned to In The Green Kitchen (techniques to learn by heart), where Bayless describes the simple and delicious way to serve up heirlooms and tomatillos. I combined the two, added some mango, and served it on everything from salad, cumin roasted garbanzo beans, and zucchini noodles.

    Some of you might be thinking, wait – what’s a tomatillo again? I did a little digging online and found a great explanation from a site called Vegetarians in Paradise… (cute, right?)

    “Tomatillos earn their diminutive name by their petite size that varies from that of a cherry tomato to one of a small tomato. What makes them unique in appearance is their paperlike cellulose husk covering that resembles the shape of a small green lantern that hangs downward from the bushy, annual plant on which it grows. Inside the protective husk is a smooth, plump, firm variety of tomato that is usually picked green. When fully ripened, they are actually yellow, but these are rarely brought to market. The husks turn a greenish brown when the fruit is losing its freshness.With their dense, highly seeded interior, tomatillos burst with a distinctive tart, lemony flavor that makes them the perfect ingredient in Mexican dishes like fresh salsa.

    The highly nutritional aspects of tomatillos may surprise you. One medium raw tomatillo contains only 11 calories, yet it packs 91 mg. of potassium. That same little fruit contains 4 mg. of vitamin C, 2.4 mg of calcium, 2.38 mg. of folic acid, and 39 IU of vitamin A. Imagine the benefits if you include several in your recipe.”

    Roasted Tomatillo and Tomato Salsa

    Adapted from Rick Bayless, In the Green Kitchen (Waters)

    • 3 large garlic cloves
    • 4 ripe heirloom tomatoes
    • 6-7 small tomatillos
    • 1 medium sized sweet onion
    • salt
    • 2 limes
    • 1 bunch of cilantro
    • 1 mango

    Remove skins from tomatillos and give them a vigorous wash. Core the tomatoes and tomatillos and cut them into quarters and 1/8 slices/chunks. Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat. Add the garlic (skins on) and tomatoes and tomatillos and cook for 10 minutes until they soften and brown. When tender, remove from heat.

    Squeeze garlic out of the skins, and pour roasted mixture into a mortar or large bowl. Mash the mixture into a “mush.” Peel and finely dice the onion, put in a strainer, and rinse in cold water to crisp the onion and take away some of the raw bite. Stir in onion, chopped cilantro, and chopped mango chunks. Season with salt and lime juice.

     

  3. Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

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    Shaun and I took our first stab at integrating some creative media to the cooking process. If you haven’t checked out our short video yet, scroll to the bottom of this post.  This recipe was inspired by the two lovely tomatoes that we’ve had on the kitchen table, ripening to perfection, for the past  few days and some micro-basil that I picked up at the North Park Farmers Market yesterday. I went looking for ‘regular’ basil, but a friendly representative from Suzie’s Farms encouraged me to try the mini version and I must say, what a treat! I had honestly never tried/seen anything like it before, and I encourage you to be on the look-out!

    This recipe is honestly so easy. It has all the qualities of a fancy expensive restaurant entree, but is even better when you have the freedom to stuff it with what you really love.

    Here’s what I used for my stuffing, feel free to get creative though and play with the flavors of the season.

    • 1 large heirloom yellow summer squash, grated
    • 1 bunch of rainbow chard, deveined and finely chopped
    • 1/2 of a spring onion, finely minced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 cups micro-basil
    • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    • 4 tablespoons chevre cheese
    • (optional: 1/4 cup pine nuts)
    • 1 cup plain Israeli cous cous
    • 2 extra beefy tomatoes

    This is what you didn’t see on the video:

    1. In a medium sized pot, bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of cous cous to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered for 8 minutes. Check frequently that the cous cous is not sticking to the bottom of the pan, stirring when necessary. Remove from heat, add a little water and olive oil, and let sit covered for 4 minutes.

    2. On low heat, begin to saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. After a few minutes add the chard, olives, grated squash, basil and pine nuts if you’re using them. Grind in a little salt and pepper. Stir slowly to coat, do not let the contents start to “sizzle.”

    3. Add cous cous to the veggie mixture and stir to coat. Cover and let sit over low heat while you prepare the tomatoes.

    5. To see a demonstration on how to carve out the tomatoes, see video below.

    6. Bring tomatoes and stuffing to the same work surface, and a gently spoon in mix until about 3/4 full. Add a small dollop of the chevre, then add another heaping scoop to fill and cover the top opening.

    7. Sprinkle with fresh basil and a little salt. Bake for 10 minutes at 300′ in the middle rack of your oven. Serve immediately, and enjoy! You did it! Go you!

     

     


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