Category Archives: tomatoes

Summer tomatoes

Every time we head out to the backyard now, little man goes straight for the tomato plants. We had a slow start to our tomatoes this year since we were in France from mid-May to early June. Even though we weren’t able to plant them until we got home, I knew we’d eventually have some tomatoes to enjoy thanks to our long warm season.
Well, they’re not as impressive as last year, but we have definitely been enjoying lots of cherry tomatoes. Most of them have been eaten right off the plant. This is little man’s preferred method of tomato-consumption. In fact, there have been times when he’s eaten tomatoes voraciously while outside, only to flat out refuse the very same tomatoes in his high chair. I guess I officially have a toddler.
As long as the warm weather persists, I’ll at least be able to get him eating veggies on our trips out to the backyard. Next summer, he might even be know how to choose between green and red ripe tomatoes. What a wonderful way to learn your colors.
For now, we’re taking full advantage of our warm days while they last.
Get in my mouth!

Pesto and Heirloom Tomato Tarte

Finally a food post! It will be a quick one since I am about to head to bed, but that’s ok because this recipe is super easy and delicious. I made it while Q was napping, when my mom was coming over for lunch. Of course, by the time we were ready to eat, he had woken up and I ate the tarte one-armed with a fussy baby in the other arm. This did not, however, make the lunch any less tasty.

All you need is a frozen puff pastry dough, some pesto, 2 heirloom tomatoes and some parmesan cheese. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough and press it into your buttered pan. Spread pesto on the bottom (I always keep ice cubes of pesto in my freezer for last minute pesto fixes…I think I used 3 cubes for this). Cut the tomatoes into thick slices and lay them in the tarte. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes. Then lower the oven temp to 350 and bake for another 10-15 minutes…until the puff pastry and parmesan are golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so. Serve and enjoy!

p.s. I apologize to all readers who do not live in California…I realize that a post about heirloom tomatoes right now is a little late for you. Really, I’m not trying to rub it in that we are still enjoying tomatoes here.

Chicken Meatballs with Fettuccine and Tomato Sauce


For Christmas this year, I got treated to a kitchen gadget I’ve had my eye on for ages, but never pulled the trigger on….because I mean, who really needs a meat grinder? I would say this definitely falls on the “want” side of the spectrum rather than the “need,” but it’s still really cool! Plus, as we are seeing more and more news stories about food-born illnesses, my already crunchy-green-locavore-sustainable self is becoming even more cautious about where my food comes from. Especially meat. Even more especially ground meat. I always have to wonder what all is included in ground meat, and what bacteria might be lurking in there. My solution for the past few years has been to purchase my meat from local sources of grassfed beef. For a while, we were able to purchase beef from our CSA. At the time, we were using Eating with the Seasons. They had a deal with Paicines Ranch in Hollister and would deliver the beef in a cooler along with our veggies. This worked pretty well for us, but I found the quality and variety of veggies to be lacking, so we switched to our current CSA- Two Small Farms. They don’t offer meat delivery, but we’ve been very pleased with their veggies, so we’re sticking with them! Next season, starting in March, they are splitting back to their two original farms- Marquita Farms and High Ground Organics. I’m sure we wont be disappointed! Anyway, back to the meat. After Paicines Ranch, we started buying most of our beef from Prather Ranch, available at the Campbell Farmer’s Market, supplementing with grassfed beef from Whole Foods. The meat grinder doesn’t change where we will buy our meat from, but I may start buying more whole cuts of meat and grinding them myself. Even Whole Foods is not perfect and grinding the meat myself helps me to know exactly what went into my hamburger.

As far as chicken goes, Prather Ranch has whole roasting chickens, in season, although they often run out before I get to the farmer’s market. Mostly, we get Rosie Organic Chicken from Petaluma Poultry (through Whole Foods). That’s what we bought yesterday to try out my grinder! My new toy was super easy to use, and Trevor even said it was easy to clean. I think I see homemade bolognese in our future. Below, I’ve posted my recipe for the tomato sauce and for the chicken meatballs. Obviously, you can purchase already ground chicken for this recipe and they will turn out just fine. So if you don’t have a meat grinder, don’t fret…try it out!

Tomato Sauce:
Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 cans diced tomato sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • dried oregano to taste
  • dried thyme to taste
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pot and then add the onion.
  2. Once the onions begin to become translucent, add celery and carrots. Cook until they begin to soften.
  3. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Add spices. Allow to simmer for about 40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Before serving, remove bay leaves. Season with salt just before serving.

Chicken Meatballs:
Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, cut into about 12 pieces.
  • 2 very cold chicken breasts, fat removed and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • 5 Tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp kosher salt
  • Olive oil for cooking

Instructions:

  1. If using a meat grinder- set up grinder, turn Kitchen Aid to speed 4 and begin feeding pieces of chicken and onion. Use the provided plastic tool to push chicken down for grinding. If not using grinder, put ground chicken in a bowl and chop onion as finely as you can. Mix onion and chicken with your hands.
  2. Add egg and mix into chicken.
  3. Add breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and salt. Mix thoroughly with your hands.
  4. Form meatballs and place them on a plate as you go to keep them from sticking together.
  5. Heat a heavy-bottom pan (I used a cast iron pan) to medium and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  6. Place the meatballs on the pan, allow to brown on one side and use kitchen tongs to turn them.
  7. Once the meatballs are browned on all sides they are ready to serve. Remove from pan and serve with tomato sauce and pasta. Enjoy!




Pesto, heirloom tomato, pepperoni & zucchini pizza

I think I pretty much gave the recipe away in the title of this post. Pretty basic pizza, but don’t let that boring word “basic” fool you. Sometimes the simplest meals are the best. You really can’t go wrong when you choose ingredients at the peak of seasonality, make your dough from scratch… oh and the pepperoni was from an artisan “charcutier” at the San Pedro Square Farmer’s Market in San Jose. I have to say, it was pretty delicious. For more specific “sub-recipes”…the dough recipe can be found here, and my pesto recipe is here. And the rest is pretty independently obvious. Have fun coming up with your own pizza creations!

And since this was such a short post, you get another pizza picture! Enjoy!

Garden Update- July 2010

I’m always a little apprehensive about venturing out to my patio garden after a long time away. We do have a drip system now (thanks to my wonderful, handy husband!) so the odds of my plants shriveling away have significantly decreased. But you never know when a hoard of aphids will attack poor unsuspecting tomato plants! When we got home Sunday night I took a quick peak outside and everything looked okay…better than okay, in fact. We had a bunch of new cherry tomatoes popping up and a new little eggplant! The eggplant…plant?…also has a bunch of flowers on it, so hopefully there’ll be more eggplants to come. I see eggplant parmigiana in my future!

This morning I snapped a few pictures of the tomatoes and eggplant to share:

Sweet 100 Tomatoes
Baby Eggplant

Sick gourmet?

Friday marked the end of my third week of my Student Teaching at a preschool for children with special needs. It has been a wonderful experience so far and, of course, the kiddos are absolutely adorable and mostly well-behaved. I’ve loved it so far. As I neared the end of week 3 and had not yet gotten sick, despite the dozens of children sneezing all over me, I thought I must have an immune system of steel. Friday morning I woke up feeling great, at 10am the runny nose started, by noon the soar throat was in full swing, and by Saturday morning I had a fever that lasted the rest of the day. Gosh these kiddo germs sure are strong!! Needless to say, I haven’t had the energy or appetite to cook much these last few days.
Friday night, I did muster up the energy to make a sausage, potato and cabbage soup that warmed me up and upped my vitamin C (from the cabbage). Saturday was leftover cabbage soup for lunch and pâtes au beurre (“pasta with butter”) for dinner. This morning, I’m starting to feel a little better, and suggested we have an omelet for breakfast. After all, we still have tons of veggies in our fridge that cannot be ignored!
Well my sweet sweet husband took charge (i.e. would not let me help with anything), and created an absolutely scrumptious omelet with cherry tomatoes, avocado, scallions, onion, turkey sausage and feta cheese. The sausage had a nice smokey taste and the feta was a perfect complement of flavors. The tomatoes were also a perfect addition. At this rate, I’ll be better in no time! Thank you sweet husband.