Posts tagged: tomatoes

From Nature With Love

By , September 6, 2012

***

Fresh from our garden. Luscious!!!

*****

And a Few More…

By , July 12, 2012

Here are a few more garden pictures that I wanted to show you, since I was over there yesterday. It was a brilliant weather day — not too hot, not windy, and just humid enough to make the air delicious and soft. Mentally and physically however, it was a total bummer day, so being in the garden felt vitally important! It’s such a grounding and life-affirming space, that wild and abundant garden. There’s some really intense energy flying around right now to put it diplomatically. Can you feel it? Intense situations, frustrations, and pivotal decisions abound! Nature spaces are the antidote — I’d make time to visit one if I were you.

***

So what you have here are the first tomatoes of the year — Black Cherry, and the orange one further down is Jaune Flamme, both heirlooms, and both really awesome. The Jaune Flammes are always my earliest and most reliable tomatoes; Black Cherry is a new one this year, but so far I’m definitely impressed.

I put up this bean trellis on Sunday; I really love it. It creates the feeling of a cozy outdoor room, and maybe if the beans get big enough they’ll provide some welcome shade from the afternoon sun.

And here this is our living room right now. In flux you might say!

As I write you this, I’m eating a beet that I pulled out of the garden yesterday. Steamed whole and eaten plain with just a bit of sea salt, how can something BE so delicious!?

Writing to you!…

Wishing you well on this beautiful, summery night!

*****

Classic Tabbouleh

By , April 4, 2012

One of my all-time favorite foods, ever! This is my mom’s famous recipe.

***

And since my diet has gone essentially low fat vegetarian, which is presently all my body will handle, this stuff is my mainstay. I plow through an entire batch all by myself every 2 or 3 days! And since I can’t eat much oil at all, I change up the dressing to be only a small drizzle of oil, and tons of lemon juice, and I’ve grown to really love it this way!

Also, tabbouleh is normally made with bulghur. I always make it with quinoa now since I love the taste of it and it’s more nutritious and also a complete protein — but bulghur is of course delicious too!

***

Mom’s Tabbouleh

1/2 cup uncooked bulghur or quinoa*

1-2 cups chopped tomatoes — (2 cups = about 1 lb) (I always make it with 2 cups of tomatoes now, but if you do, you may need to increase the amounts of lemon juice and olive oil slightly)

2 cups finely chopped parsley — chop first and then measure (about 1 medium-large bunch parsley…but do measure it first)

1/2 cup chopped green onion or 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion

1 level Tbsp dried mint, crushed (or 2 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped)

1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt (about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp), or to taste

Pepper to taste

***

Cook the 1/2 cup bulghur or quinoa* (1/2 cup grain to 1 cup boiling water + dash of salt; cover, simmer till water’s absorbed, about 20 minutes). Cool it to room temperature. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll put the hot quinoa into the freezer to cool it quickly.

Mix everything together in a big bowl. But if you don’t think you’ll eat all of it within a day or two, mix the dressing separately, and add it to the tabbouleh right before you eat a helping of it. That way the tabbouleh will stay fresh several days longer in your fridge.

Enjoy!

*****

*Cooking quinoa:

Be sure to rinse the quinoa well to remove bitter saponin residue. The quick way to cook it is to boil your water (ratio of 1 cup grain to scant 2 cups water), add some salt, add quinoa and cover, simmering until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

However, if you’re able to plan ahead enough, it’s much better, healthwise, to soak your quinoa for at least 12 hours to make it more digestible — the way traditional cultures do. Soaking grains neutralizes phytic acid (which binds to essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and blocks their absorption) as well as enzyme inhibitors in the grain. Soaking also breaks down difficult-to-digest proteins and encourages the production of beneficial enzymes which in turn increases the vitamin (especially B vitamin) content of the grain.

So…

To soak quinoa: Thoroughly rinse 1/2 cup of dry quinoa to remove bitter saponin residue. Put 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar into a measuring cup and fill to the 1/2 cup mark with warm water, then mix with the quinoa in a bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours, or up to 24. When you’re ready to cook, rinse and drain the quinoa well, and place in a saucepan. Add a scant 1/2 cup of water, and a little salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Cool, and proceed with the recipe.

*****

Tomato-Quinoa Soup

By , November 1, 2011

When I was a kid, I used to love Campbell’s Tomato-Rice soup from a can. While I don’t buy canned soups anymore, I found myself wanting something similar this past week. Within minutes, I had a delicious and much more healthful rendition.

I used Bionaturae Organic Strained Tomatoes because it’s the perfect tomato soup consistency; just pour from the jar into a pan and add a little water. You could also whizz a can of tomatoes in the blender till smooth.

Add as much cooked quinoa to the pan as you like, and heat until hot enough for you.

Add salt & pepper if needed. (If I buy canned tomatoes, I like to get salt-free so that I can add my own unrefined sea salt.)

Yum!

*****

*****

 

Gazpacho & Garden Shopping List

By , August 30, 2011

I love this time of the year because meals can be made almost entirely out of the garden! Today I made one of my faaaaaavorite dishes, Gazpacho. How can a combination of vegetables taste so good?!

And since the gazpacho used up almost all the produce I picked last week at my garden, I was really tickled to be writing up a “shopping list” for the things I need to get when I go back in the next couple days. Going shopping in one’s own garden is way too much fun!

Israeli Cucumber-Tomato Salad

By , September 14, 2010

I love eating this light, fresh Israeli staple dish almost every day now that the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and parsley are so abundant in the garden. In fact, preparing and eating this particular salad brings me so much joy because almost all of its ingredients come from our garden. I close my eyes and savor each bite, knowing I’m nourishing my body with the very freshest, purest food possible, and that feels so good! Our homegrown vegetables seem so alive and life-giving! I’m very grateful to have them.

Using quality ingredients in this salad will make it shine!…fresh, flavorful vegetables, good olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

The ingredient amounts below are approximate, and I never measure when making this salad. Adjust the recipe to your liking!

Israeli Cucumber-Tomato Salad

Makes 1 large salad or two small side salads

1 large tomato, chopped (roughly equal to the amount of cucumber used)

1/2 a cucumber, chopped (roughly equal to the amount of tomato used)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (approximately!)

2-4 Tbsp green onion (or substitute a smaller amount of red or white onion), finely chopped

1-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Sea salt / freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the tomato, cucumber, parsley, and onion; the proportions are up to you, but the recipe gives a rough idea. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over the salad just before serving; I love the zingy taste of lemon so I use equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, but it’s more common to use 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil.  Add salt & pepper to taste!

For packed lunches, I like to mix up the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onion, and ground pepper the night before, and then pack the olive oil and lemon juice in a small glass jar, adding that — along with the salt — at the last minute.

I love mine plain, but you can also serve this with rustic crackers or toasted pita bread.

For a nice variation, add Feta cheese and Kalamata olives! Or, add some cooked quinoa for protein to make it more of a main dish.

Quinoa Salad, Greek Style

By , July 26, 2010

This is a recipe that my best friend Sonja gave me a long time ago; it was one of our very favorite things to eat. I love it! It’s a light, refreshing dinner choice which is great for this time of the year because it doesn’t require use of the oven. Heck, you could even cook the quinoa in your solar oven (you have built one, right? ;-)) and you wouldn’t even need the stove, either! It would also be a great meal to take on a picnic.

Quinoa Salad, Greek Style

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 cucumber, diced

3/4 cup chopped green onions

Scant 1/2 cup olive oil

6 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Black or Kalamata olives, chopped (as many as you like…I usually use between 1/2 and 1 cup)

Lettuce, torn into pieces (use as much as you like, though not too much — it’s not meant to be the main ingredient)

Salt + Pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa* and cool it to room temperature. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll put my hot quinoa into the freezer to cool it quickly.

Then, gently stir everything else — except the lettuce — into the quinoa. I leave the lettuce out until I’m ready to serve the salad, and then I stir it in. That way, I can store the leftovers for a day or two and not have to worry about wilted, soggy lettuce. You could also leave the lettuce out altogether, and just serve the salad on a bed of lettuce leaves, as in the picture above.

This salad is best served on the day you make it. Enjoy!

***

*Cooking quinoa:

Be sure to rinse the quinoa well to remove bitter saponin residue. The quick way to cook it is to boil your water (ratio of 1 cup grain to scant 2 cups water), add some salt, add quinoa and cover, simmering until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

However, if you’re able to plan ahead enough, it’s much better, healthwise, to soak your quinoa for at least 12 hours to make it more digestible — the way traditional cultures do. Soaking grains neutralizes phytic acid (which binds to essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and blocks their absorption) as well as enzyme inhibitors in the grain. Soaking also breaks down difficult-to-digest proteins and encourages the production of beneficial enzymes which in turn increases the vitamin (especially B vitamin) content of the grain.

So…

To soak quinoa: Thoroughly rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa to remove bitter saponin residue. Put 2 Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar into a measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup mark with warm water, then mix with the quinoa in a bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours, or up to 24. When you’re ready to cook, rinse and drain the quinoa well. Place in a saucepan. Add a scant 1 cup of water, and a little salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Cool, and proceed with the recipe.

*****

Summertime Gazpacho

By , July 10, 2010

Today I’d like to share with you one of my favorite summer recipes — gazpacho! This chilled, raw-vegetable soup is so refreshing on a hot summer evening. Pair it with buttered, rustic bread and a cold beer, and you’ve got yourself a fabulous quick summer meal that’s light and delicious.

I don’t actually measure my gazpacho ingredients anymore, and it’s a little different each time I make it. But this recipe is a favorite, and is a good place to start.

Summertime Gazpacho

2 lbs (approx.) ripe tomatoes, diced (3 – 4 large tomatoes)

2 scallions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced (optional – I usually leave it out if they’re too expensive or I can’t find organic)

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced

2/3 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped (or lots more if you like!)

1/2 – 1 jalapeno, diced with seeds removed (optional!)

Half a cucumber, diced

6 Tbsp olive oil

2 – 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3 – 4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt to taste (usually between 1/2 and 1 tsp)

1/2 to 1 tsp pepper

Couple dashes of Penzeys Smoked Paprika (optional, but adds incredible flavor…I am obsessed with this smoked paprika! It’s one of those “secret weapon” ingredients.)

*****

Mix everything together in a bowl. If you’d like, transfer half to a blender and blend until somewhat pureed but still a little bit course. Transfer back into main bowl. OR, feel free to skip that step! It’s up to you whether you like the texture smoother and soup-like, or chunkier and salsa-like.

Serve with homemade croutons, or toasted & buttered rustic bread.

Yum, I could eat this every day!

*****

Cheap + Tasty: Greek Melt Pita Sandwiches

By , November 12, 2009

Greek Melt Pita Sandwiches

This dish has a special place in my heart; it was the “last supper” I ate with my very dear childhood friend, Sonja, before she was killed in a car accident the next day. We had the best time out in my garden that day, chattering away and harvesting New Zealand spinach and cherry tomatoes for these delicious Greek Melt Pita Sandwiches. And each time I’ve made them since, I’ve had loved ones around the table to enjoy this dish with me! Everyone loves it!

Since this is a frugal-yet-nourishing dish (not to mention delicious!), I’m linking it up with Pennywise Platter Thursday over at The Nourishing Gourmet.

Greek Melt Pita Sandwiches

Serves 2

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or, chop up regular tomatoes until they measure about a pint)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

4 oz crumbled feta cheese

2/3 cup plain yogurt

About 2 Tbsp lemon juice

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 10-oz bag spinach, washed (or, use frozen spinach for a more frugal option)

2 whole wheat pitas (or, 1 pita split in half to share) (I’ve also used tortillas in a pinch!)

For the tomatoes: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss tomatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp of the salt. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet. (If you don’t want to turn on the oven, this can also be done in a skillet.) Bake till they are just softened, about 10 minutes.

For the sauce: Meanwhile, get a small bowl and whisk together the feta, yogurt, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt; set aside.

For the spinach: Add 1/2 Tbsp of the olive oil to a skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until garlic is soft and just turning golden. Add the spinach and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is just wilted, about 4 minutes.

For the pitas: Brush both sides of the pitas with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil. Place in the oven (or into a toaster) and heat till lightly toasted.

To assemble: Place the pitas on plates. Top with the spinach and tomatoes. Drizzle the yogurt-feta sauce on top. Serve open-faced, or fold it in half like a sandwich.

New Zealand Spinach - Greek Melt Pita Sandwiches

New Zealand Spinach from the garden

The Herbangardener is powered by WordPress