Zucchini & Tomato Pasta

 

Hi all– Still “tomato time” around here.  So many tomatoes!  We are eating them twice a day–lunch and dinner (so far no tomatoes have slipped into our breakfast cereal!)  And this is my favorite use of our “crop” so far.

The little cherry tomatoes burst and shed their juices.  And this mixed with parmesan and garlic makes a lovely rich sauce.  Throw in some pasta and its a pretty perfect summer supper.  I was excited that we had leftovers to enjoy it all over again!

ZUCCHINI & TOMATO PASTA
8 oz. of your favorite pasta
6 oz. pancetta (or 6 slices of bacon), chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped to bits
garlic salt & freshly ground pepper
4 cups cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut to shreds

While you are making the tomato topping, put the pasta on to cook.

Cut the pancetta to small bits and cook it in a large nonstick skillet.  When it’s cooked crispy, remove the bacon from the skillet, leaving the fat in the pan.

Put the chopped zucchini in the skillet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt & freshly ground pepper.  Cook 4 or 5 minutes until the zucchini starts to brown, but is still crispy (not soggy!).  Take out the zucchini and set aside.

Then add the tomatoes to the skillet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper and cook on high heat, 7 or 8 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and release their juices.  Add the minced garlic to the skillet the last couple minutes the tomatoes are cooking.  Stir in the parmesan romano, stirring to melt it a bit.

Finally add the zucchini & bacon back to the skillet. Stir in the shredded basil.   Spread the drained pasta on a platter and then top it with the tomato mixture.  Enjoy!

Honey Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Hello all you gardeners (or just plain old tomato eaters!)– I’m pleased to report that Larry’s tomato crop has come in!!  We have piles of tomatoes of all shapes and sizes on the kitchen counter.  That is to say, tomatoes are a mandatory part of every meal around here.

So when Joy and Larry invited us to sit out on their deck in the breeze on Sunday evening, we took along these roasted little cherry tomatoes– with some bread and a little fresh mozzarella to round them out.  Add a glass of wine and convivial friends.  Summer perfect!

HONEY GARLIC TOASTED CHERRY TOMATOES
4 cups assorted cherry tomatoes*
3 cloves garlic finely minced**
1 tab. honey
3 tab. olive oil
1/4 tsp. sea salt***
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Put the cleaned tomatoes in a mixing bowl.  In a smaller bowl stir together the garlic, honey, oil, salt & pepper.  Then pour it over the cherries and mix until the cherries are well coated.

Turn the cherries out onto a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.  Scrape all the extra oil mixture out of the mixing bowl and drizzle it over the tomatoes.

Bake it all up at 400 degrees for 15 minutes– wonderful serve hot or cooled.

* We used red, yellow and slightly larger purple varieties.
**Love Trader Joe’s minced frozen garlic– so easy!!
*** if you use regular salt in place of sea salt, use less!!  (I learned this the hard way on another dish.)

P.S –These paper thin crackers are my new addiction– You can get them at (where else??!) Trader Joe’s.

Peachy Tomato Salad with Honey Tarragon Dressing

 

Hi there– I’ve been reading some of my favorite bloggers talking about what’s coming out of their gardens this summer.  Fun to see your kale and summer squash and spicy peppers!  Our humble little garden (besides sprouting lots of weeds!) has produced tomatoes a plenty and nice healthy basil.

So tonight for dinner I wanted to use some of those tomatoes that are piling up in the kitchen!  And here’s the result.  Fresh and bright, colorful and so simple– fine for a summer supper.

PEACHY TOMATO SALAD WITH HONEY TARRAGON DRESSING

Salad:
4 ripe Roma tomatoes
1 large ripe peach
2 -3 tablespoons feta, crumbled
basil sprigs

Dressing:
3 tab. olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes into wedges and the peach in smallish chunks.  Spread them on a platter and crumble the feta over the top.  Sprinkle on the basil leaves.

For the dressing, combine the oil, vinegar, honey and salt & pepper in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake it until the ingredients combine thoroughly.  Pour it over the salad when you are ready to serve it up.

 

Tomato Zucchini Ricotta Pizza

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Hi there–Went over the Jac & Jackie’s for dinner with a table of friends this week.  There were huge fragrant sales of lasagne and a bright summer salad for dinner.  And to start us off with a little glass of celebratory bubbly wine (one more retirement toast!!), I brought along this “pizza.”  It’s more of an appetizer than a full meal, cut into small slices, but could be a lovely summer lunch or supper as well.

TOMATO ZUCCHINI RICOTTA PIZZA

Crust (makes enough for 2 12″ pizza crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Cheese Topping:
3/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (about 2 oz.)
3 tab. chopped basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tab. milk

Tomatoes & Zucchini:
1 pint small tomatoes (varied colors are nice)
1 small zucchini
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
a little more chopped basil for garnish

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch half the dough onto a 12″ pizza pans that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Wrap the other half of the dough in saran and save for another pizza soon.  Cook the dough for 7 minutes at 350 degrees without toppings.

While it’s cooking, mix the ricotta, feta, 3 tab. chopped basil, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt and milk in a bowl.  Set it aside.

Slice the Tomatoes and lay the slices onto a paper towel to drain off extra moisture.  Then with a peeler, shave the zucchini not thin slices.  Mix the zucchini and with 1 1/2 tab. olive oil.

Spread the ricotta mixture over the partially cooked crust.  Layer the zucchini over the top.

Then in a bowl, coat the tomatoes with the other 1 1/2 tab. of olive oil and layer them over the zucchini.  Season with salt & freshly ground pepper.

Pop the pizza into the 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is browned and the ricotta is bubbly.
Sprinkle on a little more chopped basil when you pull it from the oven.  Cut in slices and serve hot.

Simple Tomato Compote on Pasta

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Hi friends–  A couple Saturday’s ago, a bunch of us carpooled down to Roger’s Gardens for a morning cooking class.  We sat in a little amphitheater, surrounded by aisles of luscious plants and flowers.  The chef cooked up a few tomato/pepper dishes and passed around samples.  It was a whole lot of fun!

I picked up a new thyme plant for the side yard and sweet pea seeds to plant just ahead.  And then we all headed over to Lemonade for noisy talkative lunch together.  Thanks Lynn for organizing us all– it was a grand day out!

Here’s one of the things that came out of the cooking class.  The chef served it to us on toast as bruschetta, but here at home, we just poured it over pasta.  So quick and easy!!

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SIMPLE TOMATO COMPOTE ON PASTA
16 oz. of your favorite pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, cut fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 points cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
salt & freshly ground pepper

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Cook your favorite pasta according to the directions on the box.

This is fast, so you can do most of it while the pasta is cooking!  Heat 2 tab. of the olive oil in a skillet.  Drop in the red onion and cook just until it is translucent.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Then add in the cut tomatoes, rosemary and thyme and cook it on medium for about 8 minutes until the tomatoes “wilt” and release their juices.

Finish it off in the skillet with the rest of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the rosemary and thyme.

Drain the pasta and spread it on a pretty platter.  Then scrape all the tomatoes, onion and oil onto the pasta.  Garnish with another sprig of rosemary if you have it on hand.  Enjoy!

And the flowers at Roger’s Gardens were a photo-takers paradise–  They just made yu want to go home and muck about in the garden.  Here’s a few:

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And we wound our way down to lunch at Lemonade, a new style cafeteria of little plates– every kind of veggie, grainy, fruity salad you can think of.  Plus sandwiches and hot dishes and several flavors of lemonade!

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Lunch at Lemonade– a few of the friends set to lunch away and  my fig topped flatbread & berry iced tea.

Linguine with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

IMG_4342Hello all–  We’re finally into the hot days of summer here.  And there are tomatoes out there ripening on the vine as I write. It’s lovely to pick them out in the side yard and carry them right in to use at dinner time.  We’ve been taking brown bags of tomatoes to family–wish I could send off a bagful to you…

LINGUINE WITH OVEN-ROASTED TOMATOES
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
4 oz. dry salami, cut to bits
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup pitted dark olives
1 tab. capers, minced
1/2 cup basil or marjoram, chopped
8 oz. linguine

IMG_4331Cut the tomatoes in half and in a bow, toss them with 2 tab. of the olive oil and a good spinkling of salt and pepper.  Spread them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until they look roasty (but not yet mushy!)

While they are cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add in the salami bits and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until the meat starts to crisp a bit.  Remove the salami from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil.  To the same skilllet add the wine and simmer until it reduces, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Then stir in the tomatoes, capers and olives and toss them in the wine and oil in the pan.  Stir in the salami and basil (or marjoram).

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain it and spoon the warm tomato mixture over the linguine.

Serves 4 a delicious warming supper.

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Tomato Gratin

IMG_3439Hi friends–  When we came back from China, Larry had quite a tomato crop waiting for him!  Here’s the truth.  I don’t really like to like to EAT tomatoes, but I love their rich redness and all those beautiful curves.  I have to admit tough, baked up with a sprinkling of panko crumbs and parmesan they do taste yummy in a pizza-ish sort of way.  Larry liked them a lot.  He’s the tomato man.  And you might too.

IMG_3428TOMATO GRATIN
2 tab. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
6 firm ripe yellow & red tomatoes
1/2 tsp. each salt & pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup romano parmesan cheese
1 tab. fresh thyme leaves (plus a sprig for garnish)
1 tab. more olive oil

Heat a pan with the 2 tab. of olive oil.  Drop in the red onion and when it’s soft add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Slice the tomatoes into nice 1/4 inch slices.  Spray a smallish casserole with cooking spray and layer half of the tomatoes in the dish.  Sprinkle on half the salt and pepper and top with half of the onions.  Then repeat with the remaining tomatoes, salt, pepper and onions.

Mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, thyme and 1 tab. olive oil.  Sprinkle that all over the tomatoes in the casserole.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the crumbs are golden and the juices are bubbling.