Mediterranean Summer Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Figs and Kasseri

Combining thyme and mint in one dish is common throughout Greece and Turkey. Look for the best summer tomatoes you can find, it will make the salad shine. Pomegranate molasses is found in most supermarkets or any middle eastern grocery store.

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1½ lbs heirloom tomatoes, chopped into ½ inch dice (2-3 large)

½ pint (about 8) figs, quartered

1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 T fresh mint leaves, chopped

¼ C red onion, finely chopped

6 C baby arugula or mixed seasonal greens

1½ C crumbled Kasseri cheese (or Feta)

 

Dressing

Juice of 1 lemon

2 t pomegranate molasses (or good quality balsamic vinegar and 1 T honey)

¼ C olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large serving bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients except the cheese. Whisk together the dressing and pour it over the salad. Toss well. Add the cheese and toss lightly. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

 

Note: make it a main course by adding chunks of cooked chicken.

 


Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon Pasta Salad

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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.

 


Provençal Leeks

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We learned this recipe quite literally at our mother’s apron strings. As children, we spent summers on the beach of a coastal small village on the Cote d’Azur. Our mother occasionally brought in Madame Victoria, an elderly woman from Provence who then lived in St. Maxime, where she cooked and cleaned.  She taught our mom a lot about the cuisine of the region, leeks Povençal being a classic favorite. Mom made it every spring when leeks were abundant in the marchés near the village outside Paris where we lived. Danielle made this for our alluim ,month, May 2016.

3 medium-sized leeks, trimmed and washed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tomatoes, or 1 (15-oz) can, cut into eighths
¼ C pitted black Kalamata or green olives
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t Herbes de Provence
¼ C white wine
¼ C olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Trim and clean the leeks: remove one outer layer of the leek and remove the dark green top. Slit the leek vertically and rinse under running water to remove and sand or dirt. Cut the leeks into 2-inch pieces, removing any additional dark or touch pieces. You want to be left with the white and light green parts only. Put the trimmed, washed and cut leeks into an ovenproof baking pan.

In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, olives, lemon juice and zest, garlic and Herbes de Provence. Spread mixture over the leeks, mixing gently. Add the white wine and olive oil. Season with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes until leeks are very tender. Serve warm or chilled on a hot summer day. Serves 4-6.


Pasta with Tomatoes and Peaches

5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, dried or oil-based
4 C tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 C fresh or frozen peaches, peeled and chopped
1 C onion, chopped
3 T olive oil
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t cayenne
1 T red wine vinegar
2 T tarragon, chopped
Sea salt and pepper

12 oz. chunky-shaped pasta, cooked according to package directions
Parmesan cheese, grated – for serving

If using dried tomatoes that are not in oil, soak the tomatoes in boiling water for 15-20 minutes until softened and plumped. Drain and chop coarsely. If using sun-dried tomatoes in oil, remove them from the jar, drain well and coarsely chop.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a 9×13-inch baking dish, stir together the sundried tomatoes, tomatoes, peaches, onion, olive oil, spices and a bit of salt and pepper. Roast uncovered, stirring a few times until the ingredients have softened and thickened, about 40 minutes. When cooked, remove from oven and stir in the vinegar and tarragon.

While the sauce is roasting, cook the pasta according to the package directions. In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce. Top with grated cheese. Makes 4 servings.


Peach-and-Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Yogurt

peach-tomato-gazpacho-sl-x This soup is totally refreshing and quite beautiful, especially if you use all-red tomatoes as your base, but a mixture of colors for the chunked-up portion. Yellow or white peaches do great in it, as well as nectarines and even apricots. I don’t bother peeling any of the fruit or veggies (tomatoes, that is — I do peel the onions!). If you plan on doing some ahead, just do the pureed part — once the peach chunks are cut up and added, the soup will  hold up for only about a day or two. Almonds are optional but they do add a nice crunch and their flavor goes beautifully with peaches. Of course, if you’re coming to eat at our house, you’ll have this soup with a soupcon of red pepper flakes! Demoed by Adrienne at US Botanic Garden August 6, 2015. Adapted from a recipe from Southern Living.

5 large peaches, divided
3 large tomatoes, cored and divided
1/2 medium-size sweet onion, coarsely chopped (about ½ C)
3 T apple cider vinegar

1/4 t red pepper flakes (optional)
½ C slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely ground
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C finely diced cucumber, seeded as needed
1/3 C plain yogurt
2 T minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
snipped chives or minced parsley for garnish
Fresh-ground black pepper

Quarter 4 peaches and 2 tomatoes. Process quartered peaches and tomatoes, onions, vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Chop remaining peach and tomato. Stir into pureed mixture. Add almonds and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 1-4 hours. Meanwhile, combine cucumber and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with 1 T yogurt mixture, drizzle with olive oil, garnish with minced parsley or chives and a grind of pepper.

Yield: Six servings


Peach & Heirloom Tomato Salad

marinated-peach-tomato-salad-recipe_xlg3 C Sherry Vinegar and Rosemary Marinated Peaches, drained, marinade reserved

1 t Dijon mustard
4 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 lb.), cored and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, and freshly ground black pepper

8 medium fresh mint leaves, torn

 

In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved marinade and the Dijon; it’s OK if it doesn’t emulsify. Arrange the tomato slices on 4 plates or a platter, top with the peaches, and drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the top. Season lightly with salt and pepper and garnish with the mint. Pass any remaining vinaigrette at the table. Serves 4.

 

 

Sherry Vinegar and Rosemary Marinated Peaches

This savory marinade balances peaches’ natural sweetness with the complex tartness of sherry vinegar. Fresh rosemary adds earthy pine notes, olive oil lends richness, and rum contributes a bit of spice. The marinade also softens the skins, which means you can skip the tedious task of blanching and peeling the peaches. These peaches are delicious in salsas, salads, topping flatbreads and pizzas, and in braises.

 

3 medium ripe peaches, pitted and sliced, diced, or cut into wedges

1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 ½ T spiced dark rum (optional)
2 T sherry vinegar

2 t finely chopped fresh rosemary Pinch kosher salt
Pinch of sugar

Gently combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and let marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours. After marinating, you can refrigerate the peaches for up to 1 day.

 


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.