tomato

All posts tagged tomato

Rosemary Focaccia with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onion

Published October 10, 2016 by jenmatteson

Have you seen that commercial with Oprah saying that she loves bread? Well, who doesn’t? If you say you, I know you’re lying. You’ve got to be. What’s wrong with it? It smells good, it’s filling, it tastes so light and fluffy, and it’s a perfect vehicle for…well, anything!

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I’ve been swimming in tomatoes from my garden these last few weeks, so I am trying not to overload the hubs with BLTs every night. You know what else I have a lot of, rosemary. Rosemary and bread are one of those classic duos, like peanut butter and chocolate, or tomatoes and basil. In light of that, what better than a rosemary focaccia with sliced tomatoes baked in?

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I had absolutely no reason in the world to make this outside of having all the ingredients, and I really wanted to get back in the kitchen after a very busy summer. Plus it was football Sunday, which means the other half is not leaving the couch all day – despite how nice it may be outside. But, it really would be a perfect thing to make as an appetizer for guests, or even to bring to a potluck.

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Oh, and did I mention caramelized onions? You can never have too many caramelized onions! I used yellow and red tomatoes, but either/or would work just fine on their own. Don’t be shy with the rosemary, because that is what really pulls everything together. The dough recipe itself was wonderful. It would make for a fantastic pizza crust, too!

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Rosemary Focaccia with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onion

Source: Adapted from Cookin’ Canuck
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup warm water
1 tsp honey
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil, separated
2 tsp kosher salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1-2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used gouda, but parmesan, Romano or mozzarella would work great)

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, gently stir together yeast, warm water and honey. Let the yeast proof, about 10 minutes, until bubbles form on top.
  2. Add flour, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Mix until dough is smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Place dough in lighted oiled bowl, cover with plastic or damp kitchen cloth, and let rest in warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove dough from bowl and press into a lightly oiled 9 x 13″ baking sheet, trying to keep an even layer, until it touches the edges. Using your finger, poke holes all over the dough. Drizzle the dough with 2 tbsp. olive oil and let rest until the dough becomes puffy.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion slices, cover and cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  5. Top the dough with tomato slices, onion, rosemary, cheese and salt. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  6. Bake until the focaccia is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut and serve.

For real, I’m back. With Chunky Tomato Basil Soup.

Published February 15, 2016 by jenmatteson

Can you believe it – it’s me! I’m back(ish). I’ve had far too many requests for me to return to my blog, so that is precisely what I’m going to do (trying…). It’s easy to become distracted and/or complacent, which is exactly what I’ve been up to the last year. I have had a wonderful year of memories with my family, closest friends and new friends! In case you’re curious, here’s a quick hit list of the year’s events in hindsight:

  • Ladies winter wine party 2015
  • A trip to Sonoma County, CA with some of our best friends
  • Lake time at cabins which are not ours 🙂
  • Ladies summer wine party
  • My first trip to Moondance Jam with a mini-flood and tons of rockin’ music
  • State softball tournament with our first place team
  • Annual canoe trip down the Namekogen River in WI
  • Annual end of the summer party
  • Las Vegas for bachelor/bachelorette party
  • Wedding in beautiful Saint Paul for aforementioned bachelor and bachelorette
  • Apres Ski themed Friendsgiving
  • Hunger Games marathon party
  • New Years Eve bash
  • Snow tube soiree
  • Scuba diving trip to Bonaire
  • and finally, a yet another ladies winter wine tasting party

Wow, quite a year! And these are only highlights. Oddly many ending in “party”.

It’s now the deepest part of winter, and the current temperature as I write this is 5 degrees. I don’t even want to mention the wind chill over the last few days. My tan from Bonaire is fading fast, and I have been craving something to warm me to the core. Soup seemed to be the answer here…

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Tomato soup. Chunky tomato soup. Chunky tomato basil soup. What could be better. I choose a recipe with canned tomatoes for two reasons. 1. Its the middle of winter, so I don’t have an overwhelming amount of tomatoes flourishing in my garden (try none). 2. I find that fresh tomatoes tend to be a bit more watery than their canned counterpart. I used whole peeled tomatoes so I could control chunkiness, but you could use diced if you prefer. It would be far less messy!

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I loved this soup because it tastes creamy and rich, but there is no cream. There is a touch of butter, which surprisingly adds a luxurious texture. The basil gives a nice fresh balance to the acidity of the tomatoes. Overall a perfect soup to cure your winter blues!

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Chunky Tomato Basil Soup

Source: Adapted from The Roasted Root
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:

olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 28 oz  cans whole peeled tomatoes with juices
2 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken broth as that’s what I had on hand)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook another 3 minutes.
  3. Open canned tomatoes and dice, reserving juices. Add tomatoes and juices, stock, basil and butter to the onions. Stir until butter is melted and incorporated.
  4. Add baking soda (*Note: this will cause the soup to bubble up, but bubbles subside after stirring for a minute).
  5. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Supreme Hummus Sandwich

Published February 17, 2014 by jenmatteson

Do you ever get sick of your same old boring lunch?  Maybe not.  But maybe you want to try something new, possibly a little healthier or fresher than that café in your building that serves pre-wrapped sandwiches.  Do you even know when those sandwiches were made?

Supreme Hummus Sandwich

I wanted to try out a few vegan sandwich recipes to serve at my girlfriend’s baby shower in a few months.  Yes, I’m already planning!  One of the best things about this sandwich is that there is absolutely no cooking.  Use store-bought hummus if you like to make this even quicker  (I made a classic creamy hummus, though a roasted red pepper hummus would be fantastic!).  I also used a store-bought 8-grain bread, but this would be even better with a thick cut gourmet bread.  Don’t forget to lightly salt your veggies before assembling your sandwich; you wouldn’t believe how much of a difference it makes.

Supreme Hummus Sandwich

The original recipe calls for pomegranate molasses, but my grocer didn’t carry it, and I didn’t want to make a special trip to find it.  I just went with regular molasses, and I thought this sandwich was absolute heaven!  Even Nate liked it, so don’t be afraid to feed it to your meat loving kids or hubbies!  The thinly cut crisp veggies paired with the smooth savory hummus is awesome.  The drizzle of molasses really brings it all together and knocks it out of the park.  I know it sounds a little weird, but trust me – it adds SO MUCH with just a tiny drizzle.

Supreme Hummus Sandwich

Supreme Hummus Sandwich

Source: Inspired by Vegan Soul Power
Servings: Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

2 slices hearty wheat or grain bread
4 tbsp. hummus
4 thin slices cucumber
4 thin slices tomato
thin sliced red onion
1/4 tsp molasses

Directions:

1. Lightly toast bread (this is optional, but I like a little crisp and warmth in my bread).  Spread each slice with hummus.  Layer one slice of bread with arugula, cucumber, tomato and red onion.  Drizzle lightly with molasses and top with second prepared slice of bread.

Meatless Monday: Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Published November 25, 2013 by jenmatteson

Only 4 1/2 months after my 30th birthday, I am finally trying to wrap up my 30 before 30 list.  Disappointing that I couldn’t finish it up before my birthday, but, in case you didn’t know, I was slightly busy getting married this summer 😉

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli

Speaking of getting married, this recipe comes from Executive Chef David Bush at St. Francis Winery, where we had our dinner in Sonoma, CA after our ceremony.  This was by far the most fantastic meal I have ever had, maybe closely followed by the first food and wine pairing we’d done there in November of 2012. 

As you probably know, I’m not big on cheese, which may make you wonder why my first attempt at homemade pasta would be cheese filled ravioli.  Well, I’m cooking for a dinner party next month, and my client (sounds so official!) decided her and her guests would like to make homemade pasta, and we agreed on ravioli.  So, that being said, I was determined to make this amazing sounding recipe from Chef Bush in hopes it would be perfect for this dinner party.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli

Making the pasta was actually a lot easier than I imagined.  Momma Marsha and I spent an afternoon trying to man her pasta roller (its the kind that should hook to a countertop, but she doesn’t have a place to do so, so we had to hold it, crank it, and feed the dough in all at the same time – this would have been impossible if it were just me).

I made a few raviolis sans cheese, so more or less just Swiss chard, but most were by the book so Momma Marsha, Leo (my FIL) and Nate could try them and give me their honest feedback.  Unfortunately, the feedback wasn’t what I was looking for.  However, I’m always glad to hear the truth, especially so it can be improved and better for the dinner party.  The ricotta fell flat, so for next time, I think I’m going to opt for a blend of cheeses.  The star of this recipe, however, was the smoked onion tomato sauce.  I absolutely loved it; it would be fantastic on spaghetti with sausage (lightbulb!).  If you don’t have a smoker, I think it’d be just as easy to roast the onions and add a touch of liquid smoke.  Never tried it, so don’t take my word for it.  But if you do try it out, let me know how it turns out.

All in all, this recipe is still a work in progress, but I wanted to be sure to share even my not-so-great recipes.  Though, again, the tomato sauce was killer!

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli with Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli in Smoked Onion Tomato Sauce

Source: Adapted from Chef David Bush/St. Francis Winery
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

For the smoked onion tomato sauce:
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 quart tomatoes, diced
salt

For the pasta dough:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs
2 tsp salt

For the pasta filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup ricotta

Directions:

1. Make the smoked onion tomato sauce.  Place onion slices in foil and lightly wrap.  Smoke in electric smoker on low for about 4 hours.  Preheat oven to 350.  Transfer onions from smoker to oven and cook until onions are soft, about 1 hour.  In a food processor, pulse onions until coarsely chopped. 

2. In a medium saucepan, bring tomatoes to a simmer.  Add about 4 tbsp of chopped smoked onions and season with salt to taste.  Simmer for 15 minutes to incorporate the smoked flavor.  Save remaining onions for another use.  Place tomato mixture in food processor and pulse to make a slightly chunky sauce.

3. Make the pasta dough. Mix all ingredients in a food processor.  It’s important that the dough not come together, rather resemble course cornmeal.  Turn mixture out onto work surface and knead a few times.  Add a few drops of water if the dough seems too dry.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

4. Make filling for ravioli. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add Swiss chard and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer chard to a mixing bowl and let cool.  Add egg, breadcrumbs, salt, nutmeg and ricotta.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside.

5. Separate dough into 4 portions.  Using one portion, keeping the rest wrapped in plastic, knead and begin to roll out into sheets using a pasta roller.  Place scoops of 1 tbsp filling on pasta sheets, leaving at least 2-3 inches (depending on how large your ravioli cutter is) and cover with second sheet of pasta.  Press the dough firmly together around the filling, trying not to leave any air pockets.  Cut individual ravioli with round cookie cutter or ravioli stamper.  Repeat for remaining dough and filling.

6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add raviolis in batches, being sure not to crowd the pan.  Boil for 3-4 minutes, remove and toss with smoked onion tomato sauce.  Serve and garnish with parmesan cheese if desired. 

Meatless Monday: Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

Published October 7, 2013 by jenmatteson

Yes, I know.  October might be a little late in the season to be posting a “summery” recipe, but guess what?  My tomatoes don’t start getting crazy until late August/September.  We left for California mid-late August, with only our cherry tomatoes blowing up.  My Big Boys were big, but green.  When we returned the first week of September, we had more tomatoes than we could handle.  I made salsa, and several batches of marinara sauce and stewed tomatoes to freeze.

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

Food and Wine certainly had my number, because one of my daily emails was summery fresh tomato soup.  In September, the weather is always hit or miss.  It could be 85 degrees and sunny, or it could be 42 degrees and rainy or gloomy.  So, soup isn’t so weird at this time of year.  Seeing as though I had a butt-load (this is a technical term) of tomatoes, I thought this would be excellent to make.

The peeling and seeding the tomatoes is the most work in this recipe, and that’s not much at all.  I just dropped the tomatoes in boiling water for about a minute, transferred to ice water, and peeled.  I then seeded them easily by cutting them in half, horizontally, then cutting out the seeds with a paring knife.

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

The soup was exactly how it sounds, fresh!  Some people like tomato soup made with cream, and you can certainly add some for a little luxury, but I think it’s completely unnecessary.  The soup is thick and rich, without being heavy (if that makes any sense at all).  The basil gives it the freshness, and the meaty tomatoes give it the rich thickness.  Add some crusty French bread for dipping and you’ll be in heaven!  If you use vegetable broth, this is an awesome vegan recipe.  Also, if you check your labels of your ingredients, it can easily be gluten-free (I believe tomato paste is the biggest culprit, but Hunt’s brand is gluten-free).

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 8-12

Ingredients:

4 tbsp olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, minced
2 pound tomatoes, peeled and seeded (I used big boys from my garden)
2 tsp tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth would work fine)
1 sprig basil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. In large deep sauce pan, melt butter.  Add onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and their juices along with tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add broth and basil to tomatoes, season with salt and pepper.  Simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, about 20-25 minutes.

3. Remove basil sprig and puree using immersion blender.  You can use a regular blender here, but make sure the soup is cooled first, otherwise you’ll have a huge mess on your hands (and all over your kitchen).

TBA (Turkey, Bacon, Avocado) on Tomato Basil

Published February 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

If you haven’t tried this tomato basil bread yet, you’re really missing out.  What are you waiting for?  Of course I just made it on Saturday night, and so I was dying to make a sandwich with it for lunch on Sunday.  It snowed all day on Sunday, and while Nate headed out to shovel for the second time, I started these sandwiches.  To take it to the next level, I even broke out the Panini press!  Oh yeah 😉

Turkey Bacon Avocado on Tomato Basil

I added a little mozzarella to Nate’s sandwich (we had a tiny bit in the fridge that I just wanted to use up), but of course I loved it without .  There was so much flavor, I wouldn’t even know where to begin explaining it.  Crisp salty bacon, creamy avocado, oven roasted turkey, and fresh, fluffy tomato and basil bread.  It was a perfect little lunch on a snowy day.  I also brough one for lunch today – minus the bacon and Panini pressed part.  Looking forward to lunch in a few minutes…

Turkey Bacon Avocado on Tomato Basil

TBA on Tomato Basil

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

4 slices tomato basil bread
2 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
16 leaves fresh spinach
sliced red onion
1/2 lb oven roasted turkey
4 slices cooked bacon
1/2 avocado, sliced thin
mozzarella (if desired)

Directions:

1. Spread 1 tbsp of mayonnaise on two slices of bread.  After the mayonnaise, layer each slice with 8 spinach leaves, sliced red onion, 1/4 lb oven roasted turkey, two slices bacon and avocado slices (add mozzarella if desired).    Top each with remaining slices of bread.

2. Place sandwich on heated Panini grill.  Press and cook for 2-4 minutes.  Keep an eye on it so the bread doesn’t burn. Remove, slice, and enjoy!

Tomato Basil Bread: Panera Copycat

Published February 10, 2013 by jenmatteson

I have been eyeing a KitchenAid stand mixer for a few months now.  When they first came out – okay, when they first came out again a few years back – I wasn’t buying into all the hype.  But I also didn’t cook and bake nearly as much as I do now.  I was completely satisfied with my hand mixer – seriously.

Tomato Basil Bread

Nate and I moved in together in the summer of 2011, which meant the marrying of our stuff.  He had an old Krups stand mixer that was a hand-me-down from Mama Marsha.  I’m quite sure he never used it.  But, I made some really good use out of it over the last year and half.  Here’s what it looks like:

My low powered stand mixer

Once I started baking a little more, I realized that it didn’t have quite as much power as I thought it should – it couldn’t handle large bread doughs and thick cookie doughs.  Finally, I came to the conclusion that I should invest in a new stand mixer for myself (I rarely spend a lot of money on anything, let alone kitchen gadgets – unless you count my awesome fridge!).  Like almost any large purchase I make, I did a lot of research before making a decision on what I wanted.  From what I found, the new Cuisinart and KitchenAid were fairly similar. Part of the reason I went with the majority and wanted the KitchenAid was because Mama Marsha had one, so we could swap attachments.

Just last week, I got my 20% off one item coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond, plus I saw that KitchenAid had a $30 mail-in rebate, which made the $350 Artisan Series $250 – a $100 savings!  I immediately told Nate that I was going to get it, to which he responded, “no”.  After a conversation, he said he didn’t think it was money we needed to be spending now, which I understand, but was sort of annoyed as I rarely buy myself anything, I’ve wanted this for a while, and I had the patience to wait until I could get it $100 less than regular price.  But, I agreed, and begrudgingly decided not to buy it. 😦

Turns out, his parents had purchased one for us for his birthday/our Valentine’s Day gift.  I found out the next day.  I was so surprised and super excited to start using it.  Mama Marsha said it wasn’t the Artisan Series, which I didn’t really mind – as far as I know, the only difference is the Artisan has more power and a larger work bowl.  Anything was an upgrade from what I’d been using!  Here is my new baby:

My new KitchenAid stand mixer!

I knew the first thing I wanted to make was bread – my sworn enemy.  I had recently had lunch at Panera Bread, and I have always loved the tomato basil bread.  I get it on any sandwich I order.  It’s so light but packs so much flavor!  After a quick Google search, I found quite a few copycat recipes.  I’m not sure why, but I settled on a recipe from The Keenan Cookbook.  It was a fantastic choice on my part, because this bread turned out so tasty!  It was hard to be in the kitchen while this was baking.  The tomato and basil combo smelled heavenly, which is exactly how the bread tasted.  Someday, I’ll master this bread thing…but I think this is a great start!

Tomato Basil Bread

Tomato Basil Bread

Source: Adapted from The Keenan Cookbook
Servings: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add basil, parmesan, tomato paste, sugar, olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper.  Gently stir until ingredients are combined.  Add 2 cups flour and start mixer.  Once dough begins to come together, add an additional 1/2 cup flour.  Add additional flour if needed to form a stiff dough.  Continue kneading dough for 1-2 minutes in mixer, or by hand for 3-5 minutes.

2. Transfer dough to greased bowl, turning once to cover all sides of dough with oil.  Cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour, in a warm place.

3. Punch dough down and knead for 1 minute.  Shape into a round loaf and transfer to a greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rise for another hour.

4. With a sharp knife, cut a large “x” into the top of the loaf.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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