Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon Pasta Salad

bacon-tomato-ay-1875384-x

Herb Vinaigrette (see below)

12 ounces uncooked pasta such as orriachette

2 T olive oil, divided

4 ounces bacon

1½ pounds heirloom tomatoes, chopped

4 C loosely packed arugula

8 oz cheese, such as fontina or smoked gouda

15 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

3 T chopped fresh parsley

½ T red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Make Herb Vinaigrette (see instructions below).

 

Prepare pasta according to package directions for al dente. Toss together pasta and olive oil in a large bowl. Cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle. Crumble and reserve. Add tomatoes, next 5 ingredients, and 6 T vinaigrette to pasta; toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste; top with bacon. Just before serving, stir in remaining vinaigrette.

 

 

Herb Vinaigrette

 

Makes about 3/4 cup

 

2 T red wine vinegar

1 T fresh lemon juice

4 small garlic cloves

½ C olive or grapeseed oil

12 fresh basil leaves

½ C fresh parsley leaves

½ C grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Process vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic cloves in a food processor until smooth. With processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream, processing until blended. Add basil leaves and parsley leaves, and process until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese; pulse to combine. Stir in kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.

 

Advertisements

Warm Potato Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing

potatoes

 

 

Baby new potatoes are great in this. The golf-ball sized tubers start hitting farmers markets around April. Use a variety of colors –purple, yellow, red-skinned – if you can find them for maximum nutrition, or stick with red-skinned or yellow Yukons. We love the sweet flavor of the new potatoes in this recipe, but any type of boiling potato works for year-round goodness. If you have a culinary mandolin, use that to slice the potatoes, or better yet, the slicing bade on a food processor. The sauce comes out thick, almost like a chimichurri sauce. Mix and match herbs – tarragon, chives, parsley; or dill, parsley and chives; or basil, cilantro and chives. Mix your sauce in while the potatoes are still warm for maximum flavor, and also to “cook” the raw garlic, making it less harsh. You can serve it any temperature, though it is best either warm or room-temperature. One last thing – if you don’t have a steamer (and lots of us don’t), just boil these gently in about an inch or so of water, covered.  Demoed at USBG in March 2016. Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking.

1¾ lb. baby potatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
Kosher salt
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 C lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ C lightly packed fresh basil
½ C thinly sliced chives
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large, wide pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring about ½-inch of water to a boil over medium high heat. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer in the steamer and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Cover and steam, carefully stirring every now and again, until the potatoes are just tender, five to six minutes. Drain and put them back into the hot pan, cover.

While the potatoes are cooking, finely grate the zest from the lemon and then juice the lemon. Put the zest in a food processor and set the juice aside. Add the garlic to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the herbs and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the olive oil, 1t salt, and ½ t pepper and pulse until the mixture is fairly homogenous, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. (Avoid overprocessing or the herbs will heat up and discolor; 10 to 12 pulses should do.) Add 3 T of the lemon juice and pulse once to mix.

Drizzle the herb mixture over the potatoes and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with more salt or lemon juice. Serve warm.


Marinated Tomatoes

cherriesWhen you grow cherry tomatoes, you get a bargain for the space you must a lot them. Yes, they are rambunctious and prone to wandering about.  But staying on top of the prodigious output of a cherry variety — a close descendant of the wild cherry native to the roadways, fields and forest edges of South America  — is a summer feat without the famine. This recipes does cherry tomatoes justice, taking full advantage of the characteristic sweetness inherent in the fruit while providing a colorful and flavor-packed condiment, which you can play with by adding hot peppers and/or sliced lemons. And of course, you can always sub out regular tomatoes, just cut them into smallish chunks.  Fill an attractive jar with the marinated tomatoes and make a gift of it.  If you keep yours in the refrigerator — recommended — you’ll have to bring the tomatoes to room temperature before using as the olive oil congeals with the cold to a butter-like consistency.  The original recipe comes from Southern Living. Adrienne demoed this at the US Botanic Garden in August 2015.

8 cups halved assorted grape tomatoes
1/8 C coarse salt
1 large shallot, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1½ C olive oil
14 fresh thyme sprigs
1/3 C white wine vinegar
1 C fresh basil, torn
½ t black pepper
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes

Put grape tomatoes in a large non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with the salt and toss gently with your hands; let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté shallot and garlic in hot oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until vegetables are translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in thyme. Cool completely. Toss together vinegar, next 3 ingredients, tomato mixture, and shallot mixture. Serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 4 weeks.  Serve over grilled fish, meat or vegetables; atop crackers and cheese; add to salads.


Spring Greens Sautéed with Capers and Basil

swiss chardThe Crayola colors of rainbow chard brighten farm market stands at this time of the year, their brilliant purples, reds, yellows, pinks, oranges flooding stems and veining the large, crinkled leaves. In the garden rainbow chard Bright Lights is a show stopper, seeming to delight in attracting attention with its candy colors. Stalks and leaves easily top out out at three-plus feet. Chard loves cool temperatures and in June, when the heat of the summer smiles on tomatoes and peppers, it takes a well-deserved break from production in the lead-up to a big come back in the fall, when it shows off again. A real workhorse of a garden vegetable, chard also is rich in iron and calcium and boasts a mild, buttery flavor and more pliant texture than other hardy greens like kale and collards. No wonder chard has become such a popular item at CSAs and farmers’ markets. Showcasing our theme of the month “Colors of Spring,” here’s another terrific way to fix this tasty green vegetable. Danielle demoed this for our April 2015 selection of recipes. 

chard

3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ t hot pepper flakes
1 chopped large tomato
2 T drained capers
2 bunches spring greens or 1 lb. baby greens, washed and coarsely chopped (red, green or rainbow Swiss chard, kale, or any combination of greens)
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan – optional

Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot, large enough to hold all of the greens. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and sauté a minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the chopped tomato and capers, cook for 2 minutes. Add the greens, handfuls at a time and cover the pot with a lid to steam the greens. Cook until the greens are all wilted but have not completely changed color, about 2 minutes. (The acidity of the tomato will cause the greens to lose their vibrant color if overcooked.) Just before serving, add the chopped fresh basil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan on the side, if desired. Serves 4-6.


Mediterranean Sweet Pepper Salad

tanis

Adapted from David Tanis’ cookbook, “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes”, this dish bursts with color and flavor of summer. A great way to use up a bumper crop of sweet peppers. The peppers store very well in the fridge for up to a week and the flavors improve after a day. Great as a side or as a topping for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Chop the peppers into dice and toss with pasta. Great to use tossed with leftover grilled veggies. Read More


Fresh Corn Polenta with Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Puree

corn polentaThis is an eye-popping dish, the bright yellow polenta served in a pool of red. To turn it into a main course, top with grilled veggie, grilled fish or buffalo mozzarella sliced and finished with ribboned basil. For a dairy-free version of the polenta, use three tablespoons olive oil and omit the butter. The recipe is adapted from Jacques Pepin. We demoed it at U.S. Botanic Garden August 15, 2014. Read More


Corn, Edamame and Bell Pepper Salad

corn

What I love about this salad is the colors – green and orange and yellow – so summery, so fresh, so appetizing. They are colors you want to wear all summer to stay cool and feel beautiful. With the zing of lime and a touch of herbs – use mint if you don’t like cilantro, or add basil if that’s what you’ve got too much of – it’s about the most refreshing thing you’ll eat. Serve with a rose or better yet a margarita, if, like me, you think a really good drink adds to the right meal. I like this with toasted naan.  Oh, and if you have to have protein, try something grilled, but keep it simple.  This salad doesn’t want crowding. You can find cooked, slightly salted edamame beans in 8 oz plastic tubs in the produce aisle of your supermarket. Or use frozen and cook it yourself. Adrienne demoed this for Brookside June 17, 2014, and again at USBG June 18, 2014. Serves two as a light main course, four sides. Read More