Fattoush Salad

fattouchPita Chips

2 rounds pita bread (8- to 12-inches)

2-3 T olive oil

½ t sumac

Salt and pepper

 

Salad

2 C shredded romaine lettuce

1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled and seeded, diced small

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

5-6 radishes, sliced

½ C parsley leaves, chopped

¼ C mint leaves, chopped

5-6 scallions, chopped

 

Dressing

½ C lemon juice

½ C olive oil

1 t sumac

1/8 t cinnamon (optional)

Sea salt to taste

 

 

Toast the pita bread in your toaster oven until dried and crisp but not browned. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Break the pita into pieces and put into the heated oil. Fry briefly until browned, tossing frequently. Remove from the oil and place on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sumac.

 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the salad ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss lightly. Lastly, add the pita chips and toss one more time. Serves 4-6.

 


Tomato, Watermelon and Beet Salad with Caramelized Almonds

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2 cups tomatoes, cubed (or cherry tomatoes, halved)

2 cups watermelon, cubed

3 medium-small beets, boiled, peeled and cubed

1 cups slivered almonds

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane sugar

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped, for garnish

 

Dressing:

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

 

To cook the beets: place the unpeeled beets in a medium saucepan, and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fully cooked, about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted indicates they are tender. Drain and cool.

 

Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, toss the almonds with the maple syrup and sugar. Spread them evenly on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake until caramelized 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Break up the clumps into small pieces.

 

Remove skins from the beets with a peeler or a knife, cut into cubes roughly the same size as the watermelon and tomatoes, place them in a salad bowl. Cube the tomatoes and watermelon, add them to the beets. Whisk together the vinegar, salt and olive oil, toss into the salad. Serve the salad sprinkled with almonds and garnished with chopped mint. Serves 8.

 


Gratin of White Bean, Zucchini, Tomato

white bean gratin

We first posted this recipe three years ago, after it had become a perennial favorite in our households. A go-to for using up summer zucchini, this gratin is hearty enough to satisfy winter appetites. The zucchini can be replaced with delicata or butternut, but you’ll have to increase the cooking time. The gratin also could be assembled and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes before being broiled.  We demoed this for USBG as part of our January heirloom bean theme; we used fresh dried beans rather than canned ones. The original recipe came from The Washington Post so many years ago they don’t have it in their archives any more!

3 T olive oil
3 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ C canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
2 T fresh thyme
4 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 15-oz can white beans – cannellini, navy or great northern, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat a skillet and add olive oil; when oil is hot, add zucchini and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned; remove with slotted spoon and reserve.  Add onion and garlic, turn heat down, cover and cook gently, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, five minutes, until onion is soft and translucent.  Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cook another five minutes.  Add thyme, basil, beans and zucchini.  Simmer five minutes, taste for seasoning.  Pour mixture into a gratin dish and top with shredded cheese. Place gratin under pre-heated broiler five minutes or until cheese is lightly brown and melted.  Serve immediately.


BLT Pasta

blt pasta2 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced or 4-5 strips turkey bacon, diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or 1 large ripe tomato, cut into large dice
½ t sugar
1 leek, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ C dry white wine
½ C chicken broth
1 t red wine vinegar
Dash of red pepper flakes, optional
1 large handful baby spinach leaves

4 ounces bucatini or spaghetti, cooked according to package

For the bread crumbs:

1 C (about one ½” – thick slice) French or rustic country bread, cubed
1 garlic clove

Make the bread crumbs: mince the garlic in a food processor, add the cubed bread and process until coarse. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the crumbs. Toast until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.

Sauté the bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook until crisp, then drain the pieces on a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings. If using turkey bacon, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and sauté bacon until browned (turkey bacon will not crisp up like thick-cut bacon). Remove bacon bits from skillet, add another splash of olive oil if necessary. Add the cut tomatoes and sugar, cook about 5 minutes, until tomatoes begin to caramelize. Add the leeks and cook until wilted, 3-4 minutes.

Deglaze the tomatoes with wine, simmer until liquid is nearly evaporated. Add the broth, vinegar, pepper flakes and simmer until reduced by 1/3. Add the spinach, bacon pieces and cooked spaghetti. Toss to coat, season with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta between two plates and sprinkle with bread crumbs before serving. Serves 2.


Tomato Essence

tomato essenceTomato Essence is actually the clear or nearly clear liquid that is the real juice of the tomato.  What we typically know as tomato juice is actually pureed tomatoes, often thinned with water.  But if you strain tomato chunks through cheesecloth for several hours, what comes out is Tomato Essence, a liquid that has such deliciously pure tomato flavor you’ll want to spoon up every drop.  This liquid can be used on its own, as a soup, spiced with salt and pepper, drizzled with fruity olive oil and garnished with finely diced tomatoes and cucumbers and basil chiffonnade, all thoroughly chilled, for an elegant first course.  Or you can use Tomato Essence to dress a salad, per the recipe below.  Adrienne demoed this for a class at Brookside July 16 2014. Read More


Eggplant and Red Pepper Terrine

eggplant-redpepper-terrine

 

This lovely terrine makes a great first course, or, served warmed in the oven, a filling side dish.  From Simply Recipes.

 

Terrine ingredients:

1 large jar roasted red peppers
2 large, firm eggplants (about 2 lbs)
1/4 C oil – olive oil or grapeseed oil
1½ C loosely-packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 tsalt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
8 oz of fresh Mozzarella, cut into 1/8-in slices, about 14 slices

Raw tomato sauce:

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 to 3 ripe tomatoes (1 1/4 lbs), chunked
1/4 C virgin olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
½  t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Heat a grill or grill pan until very hot. Cut the eggplants into ½-inch slices and slices on both sides with oil, and sprinkle with salt. Cook the eggplant slices on the grill, covered, for 4 minutes on each side, until they are nicely browned and softened. While the eggplant is grilling, soften the parsley by blanching it in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds. Remove, cool under cold water, drain.

Line a terrine mold (loaf pan) with plastic wrap. Arrange a layer of eggplant in the bottom of the mold and top it with about a third each of red pepper pieces, parsley, and cheese. Repeat, beginning and ending with a layer of eggplant, until all the ingredients are used. Cover with plastic wrap and press on the wrap to compact the mixture. Refrigerate.

Prepare the sauce. Place the garlic and tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth. Optional, push the mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Add the remainder of the sauce ingredients. Mix well.

To serve, pour some of the sauce on a large platter and unmold the terrine in the center. Cut it into slices and serve with the remainder of the sauce.


Summer Squash and Tomato Gratin

gratin

Give this gratin time to cook slowly, releasing juices and then caramelizing slightly.  This gentle treatment emboldens flavors and intensifies the sugars.  What you’ll get is not just an explosion of summer flavors, bur also a rich, satisfying dish that could easily be the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal.  Using the basic recipe, experiment with different vegetable combinations, such as potatoes and eggplant, and also with different cheeses.  You’re sure to agree that this dish captures the essence of late summer.  Adapted from Fine Cooking. Read More