Thursday, June 16, 2011

We have tomatoes!

About a month ago, we discovered a tomato plant intertwined with bush in our front yard.  As of today, we have tons of grape tomatoes, green and red!  Take a look at our most recent bounty!

Since there are so many I have been making tomato salads almost daily.  Here are some of the recipes I have come up with.

1 cup grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, leave skins on
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper
1/2 cup marinated artichokes  
fresh mozzarella, diced, cubed, sliced, whatever you prefer
2 cups cubed crusty bread
3 tbsp olive oil or marinade from artichokes
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a roasting pan; toss garlic gloves with olive oil, wrap with aluminum foil and roast for 20 minutes.  Add tomatoes, bell pepper and bread cubes; toss with remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Roast for another 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are almost completely soft.  

Once cooked, remove vegetables and bread cubes from roasting pan and set aside.  Mash garlic cloves and mix in with juices.  Toss with vegetables, bread and mozzarella.

This next recipe I make often because it is great to add to homemade gift baskets, have on hand for appetizers and even just for snacking. This recipe eliminates a lot of the unnecessary sodium you find in the jarred brands.

1/2 pound fresh green beans, halved
half of a head of cauliflower, broken down into florets
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1/2 pound brussel sprouts, first layer of leaves removed, halved
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
1/4 cup green or kalamata olives, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup vinaigrette, recipe follows


                1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

                ½ cup balsamic or red wine vinegar

                1 garlic clove minced or ½ tsp garlic powder
                ½ shallot minced or ½ tsp onion powder
                juice and zest from 1 lemon
                salt and pepper to taste     

Bring a stock pot of water to boil; blanch the green beans, cauliflower and brussel sprouts 3 minutes, and the carrots 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse each blanched vegetable with cold water at least two times to stop the cooking process and cool. 

Next, combine blanched vegetables, olives, artichokes, garbanzo beans and garlic with vinaigrette.  Store in an air tight container or sterilized mason jars at least 24 hours before serving. 

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