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Archive for the ‘Tomatoes’ Category

As a child, my mom would often open a can of Campbell’s Tomato soup for lunch.  Served with a toasted cheesie, there was nothing quite so quick and appealing for lunch.  While I have long found canned soup to be overly salty, I still often find myself craving a warm bowl of tomato soup.  My dilemma has been finding the right tomato soup – I haven’t been overly impressed by the soups either canned, jarred, or boxed on offer at the grocery store.

My roommate recently shared a secret with me: making homemade tomato soup is easy.  Her secret is using a jar of canned soup to add a touch of sweetness to this super simple yet delicious soup.  Since she shared the recipe, I’ve made it a few times and it’s never taken me more than 20 minutes.   And it’s super easy to build on: for a creamy rendition, simply stir in some cream or to give it a little zing, stir in some pesto.

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper
 
 

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

(serves ~4 large bowls)

 

Ingredients

1 onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 28 oz can of diced or whole tomatoes, drained

1 jar of roasted red peppers

750 mL of chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

(Optional add ins: herbes de provance, cream, pesto, grated cheddar cheese)

 

Directions

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Mix in the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and broth.  Bring all soup ingredients to a boil, and allow to simmer for ~10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the stove and allow to cool slightly.  Blend with a hand-held food processor or in a blender until smooth.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. It’s great as is, or considering topping of the soup with some of your favourite finishers: handful of chopped fresh herbs, a little cream, some grated cheese, or a piece of toast.
 
Bon appetit!

– Catherine

 

 

 

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I’ve been waiting for some inspiration in the last year in order to bring you some new recipes on Gourm(eh), and I’ve finally admitted to myself the reason that it’s been a slow time in my culinary adventures. The truth is, it’s not very exciting to cook for oneself. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed, however, has been long-distance meal-planning with my significant other, especially because it’s so exciting to see that despite distance, food is still able to bring us together and we often send messages back-and-forth of ideas and questions about how best to prepare things, and what produce has been good lately at the market or grocery store. Yes I’ll admit, Hamilton is a bit ahead of Ottawa, but we’ve got some good things here too now! It’s not nearly as nice as a meal together, but it will do if it’s all we’ve got for now!

I’m telling you this because this recipe was inspired by his own a few weeks ago. A tomato sauce with beets! I had one pound of delicious ground beef from my CSA box, new young leeks, fresh oregano and beets, so I decided to attempt some meatballs with spaghetti and a spicy beet tomato sauce. The spicy sauce is well-balanced by the sweet beet base, and it goes very well with flavourful beef.

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Ingredients – 4 servings

Meatballs

1 lb ground beef, extra lean
2 young leeks, cleaned and minced
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed (I like to pound mine in a mortar and pestle)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 egg
dash salt and pepper
olive oil

Spicy beet tomato sauce

1 onion, diced
2 young leeks, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 – 1 tsp dried chili flakes (to taste)
1 beet, diced into small pieces
1  good tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes (796 mL or 28 Oz)

Spaghetti or other pasta, enough for 4 (according to package)

Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients for meat balls except olive oil and egg in a bowl with hands until everything is well mixed, then add the egg. Form into small balls in the palm of your hands, and place on a plate drizzled with olive oil. Roll the meatball in the olive oil so it is coated, and repeat until you have made all the mixture into meatballs. Depending on the size, you should get 20-30 meatballs. Set aside in refrigerator while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, dice the onions first, and heat up the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the minced leek. Cook for a few more minutes and then add the garlic, chili flakes and basil. Stir until the onion is soft and everything is fragrant. Add the beet, and then the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a strong simmer and then reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, while you prepare the meatballs and the pasta.

For the meatballs, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat in another frying pan. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs, turning them carefully so all sides brown. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, until they are cooked through (you should not see any pink inside).  Set on a paper-towel lined plate once cooked.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook pasta to your liking. Pour a ladle-full of water into the beet sauce to make it a little saucier if you like. Serve the meatballs tossed in the sauce, over the pasta, with grated parmesan and enjoy!

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Gazpacho

Earlier this fall,  I held a dinner party to christen my new home in Toronto.  I decided to make gazpacho, one of my absolute favourite cold soups to start.  When tomatoes are at their prime, this recipe just bursts with flavours – a refreshing mix of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.  I love this soup as a starter or with a few slices of crispy baguette, as a meal on its own.  And it makes for great leftovers; the flavours only continue to deepen!

This recipe is slightly modified from Silver Palate.

 

Gazpacho

Gazpacho

(8 to 10 portions)

 

Ingredients

6 large ripe tomatoes

2 red bell peppers

2 medium-sized yellow onions

2 large shallots

2 large cucumbers

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1  1/2 cup canned tomato juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup fresh basil

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground peppers, to taste

 

Directions

Wash all the vegetables.  Coarsely chop the tomatoes, saving the juices.  Stem, seed, and coarsely chop the peppers.  Peel and coarsely chop the onions, shallots, and cucumbers.

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, reserved tomato juices, and canned tomato juices.

In a food processor, puree the vegetables in small batches, adding the tomato juice mixture as needed to keep the blades from clogging.  Do not puree completely – the gazpacho should retain some of its crunch.

Stir in the dill, basil, cayenne, and salt and pepper.  Cover and chill for at least four hours, or preferably overnight.

To serve, stir, taste and correct the seasoning, and ladle into chilled soup bowls or mugs.

Bon appetit!

 

– Catherine

 

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As you can probably guess, my last two weeks have been quite an adventure. Sandwiched between two vastly different rock-climbing weekends, I spent two weeks working on some intense mind-numbing data collection in the field in the Eastern Townships of Québec. With that behind me, however, I’m thrilled to be home and to enjoy the simple things like cooking dinner together at home.

In Québec, I could well have been paid for my work in mulberries, fresh Montreal Tasty heirloom tomatoes, and zucchinis from a delicious garden in the place I stayed at. Monkeying around in the mulberry tree at 7am probably made me look like quite a character to the neighbours – but I was willing to take on the role if it meant a salad-bowl full of mulberries for breakfast every day!

When I came home, we basically changed gears into preparing for an up-coming adventure (more details to come – but I will admit it will require us to move, and very far at that). That has meant planning to cook so many meals we’ve had on our list of recipes to try all summer. Tonight was no exception: we cooked Lamb Keema from the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine (summer 2012).

We had high hopes for this recipe. Full of home-mixed spices and protein, it’s a perfect end-of-summer meal for those days that are heavy in exercise (it was also delicious without exercise too). Not only was it delicious, it was easy to make as long as all the ingredients are readily available in your kitchen (as long as you’re into Indian cooking, your pantry can probably handle it). Topped off with a sunny-side-up egg, this meal is also an eye-pleaser. Finally, I also want to mention that it is low in carbs, if you’re looking for that.

Ingredients – 4 servings (don’t be discouraged by the long list – most are spices!)

1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
salt

1 lb ground lamb (500g)
1/2 cup yogurt

2 Tbsp cooking oil + 1 Tbsp clarified butter
2 whole green cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon

1 medium cooking onion (or the other half of the large red onion), diced
1 Tbsp grated ginger (fresh)
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup tomato purée
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander

2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp garam masala

4 eggs
1 Tbsp butter
cracked black pepper, cayenne to taste

Fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions

Slice the half onion into half-rings. Sprinkle with salt, and let stand.

Heat the oil in a pot with a lid. Once hot, add the whole spices and fry until fragrant, around 3 minutes. Add the diced onion, and fry until translucent but not browned.

Meanwhile, mix the ground lamb and yogurt in a bowl. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger. When onions are ready, add the lamb to the onion mixture and stir to break it all apart. Cook until it is no longer pink, then add in the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or two.

Add the tomato purée and 1 1/4 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil. Sprinkle all of the spices on top except the garam masala. Add the potatoes, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, covered. Remove the cover near the end and leave open if amount of liquid remaining is too much.

Heat the butter in another frying pan. Cook each egg separately sunny-side up, seasoning according to taste.

Finally, add in the peas and garam masala. Remove from heat. Rince the onions under the tap. Divide the keema into four portions and serve with a sunny-side-up egg on top, accompanied with some of those salted onions, and fresh coriander if you have some.

This meal is delicious alone, accompanied with naan, or salad!

The only thing I want to do is thank the LCBO for publishing such a delicious recipe in its Food and Drink magazine!

-Sitelle

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Having another home in West Africa means I have added a whole new repertoire of recipes, West-African style, to my cooking – and I’m really excited to share them on gourm(eh).

Cooking in Gambia is a totally different story than here. Imagine cooking mostly one-pot meals over an open fire, or if you are fortunate enough, an improved cookstove. It a communal experience, and the saying ‘many hands make for lighter work’ is fitting as the work is hard, and most often done in groups.

I found it interesting that my taste buds actually adjusted while living there: a dish I did not like at first became one of my favourites by the end – and this was actually the case with a number of dishes. Domoda, however, was always at the top of my list from the beginning!

Domoda is a rich groundnut (peanut)-based stew, a favourite of mine from Gambia and Senegal.

Ingredients – Dinner for 6
2 purple (spanish) onions, diced
1.5 lb cubed stewing beef or 6 chicken pieces
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp (heaping) tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, germ removed
2 bouillon cubes (I like to use chicken)
1 tsp peppercorns
2 cups just peanut smooth peanutbutter
Juice from one lemon
1 scotch bonnet pepper (very spicy) or 1 jalapeno pepper
3 carrots, peeled and then cut into thirds or quarters
1 eggplant, washed and quartered
1 cup squash cubes (any kind – butternut or acorn for example, peeled)
salt to taste
water
1.5 cups uncooked rice, medium grain

Directions
In a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, heat oil over medium-medium high heat. Brown the beef, reduce the heat, and add the onions until they are translucent. Then add the tomato paste and stir. Cook for another 3 minutes stirring occasionally. If you have a mortar and pestle, pound the peppercorns and then add the garlic and the bouillon cubes until you get a smooth paste. If you don have a mortar and pestle, just chop everything finely and mix by hand.

Add the seasoning mix to the meat, stir, and then add the vegetables and the whole (washed) hot pepper. Cover with water, stirring well to incorporate all the tomato onion mixture. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove a cup of hot liquid and pour into a large bowl with the peanutbutter. Stir well with a fork until the peanutbutter is all incorporated. Stir this into the pan with everything else, and stir well so everything is evenly mixed. Add the lemon juice. Let the mixture simmer uncovered until you have a stew-like consistency. If you find the vegetables still need more time but there is little sauce left, just cover the pot.

When it is almost ready, cook rice according to package instructions.

To serve, ladle stew over rice. You can squeeze the hot pepper on your spoon a tiny bit to get spicy juices out thereby tailoring how spicy your own plate is – and then share the hot pepper with the others. Just remember scotch bonnets are VERY spicy!

Alright, bonne appétit.
-Sitelle (Alias Ya Ndey)

Pumpkin

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When my friend Alex and his partner came to visit me earlier this Fall, they treated me to this pizza.  I’ve since tried it out on a few friends, and it has met with high approval ratings.  Now I don’t know whether it’s the saltiness of the crumbled feta or the intense burst of sun-dried tomato or the intricate olive flavour – but this is one classy pizza!

(The top of your roof will have to watch out in case you try to eat it too fast!)

Sun-dried Tomato, Olive, and Red Pepper Pizza with Feta Cheese

(serves 2 hungry or 3 regular appetites)
Ingredients:

1 prepared pizza skin

1/2 can tomato sauce

Sliced olives

Sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Thin slices of red pepper, cut in half

About 4 mushrooms, sliced thinly

A few thin slices of red onion

Mozarella cheese

100 grams of feta cheese, crumbled

Mozzarella cheese to your liking, grated
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit.  Spread the pizza sauce over the pizza skin.  Sprinkle on the toppings to your desired density.   Top with the feta cheese, crumbled and the mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom of the pizza is slightly brown.  Broil for a further two minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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With the first frost approaching, I thought it would be likely this recipe would come in handy! Before moving to Montréal, we harvested all our tomatoes (even though it was just the end of August), and made pots and pots of sauce to put in the freezer. Our tomato harvest this year was phenomenal.

The oxheart variety we planted was particularly spectacular. You can see the tomatoes truly resembled a heart (with the ventricle and atrium larger on one side than the other!). Many of the oxheart tomatoes were over one pound, some almost two, and we couldn’t keep up with eating them as fast as they ripened.

Having too many tomatoes is definitely a blessing. And if you’re wondering what to do with yours, well, here’s a possibility!

Ingredients – 10-12 servings

-10-14 tomatoes (I measure the quantity by seeing how many fit into my big pot I’m going to make the sauce in, and then use all of them)
-2 onions, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-3 Tbsp olive oil + more for brushing
-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1.5 Tbsp dried
-1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
-2 bay leaves
-1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional, but I find it makes cleaning up a lot easier). Slice tomatoes in half or quarters, brush with olive oil, a dash of salt, and roast in the oven for approximately 35-45 minutes, or until they begin to have brown spots on them and taste sweet.

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions,then reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook them until they become translucent. Stir in the garlic, and cook for another minute or so but try not to let garlic brown.

Add in all roasted tomatoes and any of the juices from the bottom of the pan if it is not burnt. Stir, and then add in bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and basil. Increase heat to medium-high and wait until it is simmering. Then stir, reduce heat to medium-low or low, letting it simmer away for 40 or so minutes. Taste, and add salt accordingly.

To store, place in containers and freeze. If you use jars, make sure to freeze this with them open and then close the lids after it is solid! The sauce itself stores around 5 days in the fridge without being frozen.

You can also alternate the herbs in this with parsley, herbs de provence, rosemary, and hot pepper flakes.

-Sitelle

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