Monday, September 1, 2008

A few good tomato recipes (for one hungry or two not as hungry people)

Garlic toast [time: 5 minutes, sometimes including eating]

1 clove garlic
olive oil
yummiferous tomato

Toast your bread, in the skillet if you want something really yummy. Rub it with a piece of cut garlic. Dribble on some olive oil. Put on slices of the yummiest tomato you can find.

Pasta Salad [time: 20 minutes, including pasta boiling time, and then half an hour for chilling]

(All measurements are approximate, since I never measure for this recipe anymore, and I don't remember where I got the original. Please comment with corrections, if you find that different proportions work better.)

2 c. cooked pasta
1 T olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/8 t. salt
1 or 2 as-delicious-as-you-can-find ripe tomatoes, diced in to 1/4-inch pieces (approximately)
1 1/2 T snipped parsley
juice from half a lime

Combine the ingredients and chill. It is important to use fresh lime, fresh garlic, and fresh parsley. Adjust seasonings to taste. (In particular, you might want more salt and/or lime juice; I didn't want to over-guess on those.)

Notes on the ingredients:

These days I use spaghetti for the pasta, but the original recipe called for shell. I also use whole wheat pasta, these days, to make it more healthy.

I snip the parsley with scissors. Books always say to use kitchen scissors (which are specially made for use in the kitchen) but I don't have any, so I use regular scissors and call them kitchen scissors because I use them in the kitchen. Remember that the stems have more flavor, and snip accordingly. I think that I snip it off about a quarter of an inch at a time. I have also substituted cilantro for parsley in this recipe, with success.

Of course you can use a lemon instead of a lime, but limes are always a little cheaper, and sometimes a lot cheapter than lemons, so I have taken to using limes. I also find that if I let them sit on the counter and get a bit hard before I squeeze them, the juice comes right out, which is most handy. If you can't get decent tomatoes and you are really craving this salad, you can add extra salt and extra lime juice to make up for the cardboard-type taste of bad tomatoes.

Stuffed Tomatoes

[time: five minutes, then two hours (or overnight), then 10 minutes]

The excuse for this recipe's lack of exactness is that the cookbook is in a storage unit at the moment, but I must admit that I had stopped measuring for this recipe before I sent the book off to boarding school, anyway.

some ripe, delicious tomatoes, big enough to hold stuffing
good bread (a little stale is OK) (maybe a slice, wonderbread-size, for every two tomatoes, which is of course four tomato halves)
herbs, like parsley or basil or dill or rosemary (1 t of dried or 1 T of fresh, cut up, per slice of bread)

Cut the tomatoes in half. Score each cut side with a knife (i.e. make little teeny cuts, like paper cuts, on them). Salt them and then put them in a colander with the cut side down, then leave them to drain for at least a couple of hours.

Also, put some garlic and olive oil on the bread and leave it to-- er-- marinate, while the tomatoes are draining. It's fine if the bread somewhat dries out during this process. (Use the instructions for the garlic bread up at the top, to figure out how to put the olive oil and garlic on the bread.)

When the tomatoes are all drained, scrape their guts out with a spoon (a-la Halloween pumpkins). Save the guts to use in Ratatoullie (recipe below).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, cut the bread in to small cubes-- small enough to be spooned in to the tomatoes at the proper time. I think that 1/4 inch is pretty good, but if you are in need of something finer-- like, you decided to try this with cherry tomatoes or something-- then make sure your bread is nice and dry and toasty (this can be accomplished with a skillet) and then grate it on a cheese grater. If the bread isn't toast when you try to grate it, then you will get some crumbs, but you will also get larger, rolled-up bits of bread that aren't good for much, so remember to toast them first. Not that I know this from experience.

Mix the olive-oil-and-garlicky bread bits with a teaspoon of dried herb or tablespoon of fresh, per slice of bread. Add a little more olive oil to make it nice and shiny, and then spoon it in to the tomatoes.

Broil the tomatoes for a slightly shorter period of time than I always do. Try a minute and a half with a preheated broiler. I always forget them and have to take off the burned bits on the top.

I suspect that this recipe would be pretty good with cheese on top, but I have yet to confirm this suspicion.

Ratatoullie [time: 20 minutes. I think.]

Just for the record, I loved this and was in the habit of making it some time before the movie was made. I'm just thankful that the movie made everyone aware of at least the name of this delicious food. I never had a recipe for this. I just made it after my sister did.

tomatoes (sure, let's say two of them), diced or sliced
zucchini (one medium. Meaning less than 8 inches long.), sliced to maybe 1/8 inch thick
olive oil

Other potential ingredients:
minced garlic (bottled is fine)
yellow squash
mushrooms (button, rehydrated shiitake, whatever)
lima beans
other summer vegetables that look promising
mediterranean stir fry mix (frozen. Yes, I know it's a travesty, but it does taste OK, and it brings vegetables in to my diet.)

Preheat the olive oil. Oh, yeah, you want amounts. Cover half of the bottom of your skillet, and don't add more than a layer of vegetables at a time. Add zucchini slices, and depending on how meticulous you are feeling that day, brown them to perfection, or else just take the edge off that summer-squashy taste. Remove them to a plate. Heat a little more oil. Start frying the tomatoes. It is important that the oil be hot before the tomatoes go in, or they won't brown properly and it won't taste half as good. Once the tomatoes are a bit brown (you do have to look closely to ascertain this-- it isn't very obvious), add back the zucchini and whatever else you want (I definitely recommend separate cooking of mushrooms, if you want to add them) and cook until-- mm-- done. I mean, until the zuchhini isn't crunchy whatsoever, and the tomatoes are most delicious. If you were feeling meticulous at the beginning of this recipe, the combining stage will take anywhere from ten to thirty seconds, depending on how fast you are at scraping zucchini from a plate in to a skillet and then stirring things together.

When the ratatoullie is on your plate, add some salt. I recommend eating this with the best bread you can muster.


kjh said...

It's not really completely up and running, but eventually it will be there. Until then, at least there's a good egg salad recipe! And, hopefully tomorrow there will be a good taco soup recipe too :).

Day said...

you make me hungry. :)

Day said...

I found this and thought you might like it if you don't know it already. :)