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Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

With my husband away for the week, I am reminded of how easy it is to prepare meals for one person. I feel like I’m a single gal in college again! (with much more financial stability…and a baby)

I picked up our CSA bounty last night and was super excited to see a bunch of tomatoes in the bin (along with peppers and squash!..but that’s a different meal). Plus, there was a bag of fresh basil! You know what that means: Caprese Salad!

I think I could eat caprese salad every night of the week during the summer. It’s so clean and bright in flavors.Maybe it’s just me, but I think it helps cool you down when you’re a hot sweaty mess; like I’ve been for 4 weeks straight!

Wanna know what else I love about this salad: it takes 2 minutes to throw together. Literally, 2 minutes.

Slice your tomatoes, slice your fresh mozzarella, strategically place your basil leaves…drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar…a few grinds of salt and pepper…DONE!

I used 3 medium sized tomatoes because I wanted to make a whole meal out of this salad. If you wanted to eat this as a starter to a meal, then 1 tomato would be plenty.

I also used a Balsamic Reduction ala The Pioneer Woman; but you could easily just drizzle balsamic vinegar straight outta the bottle…I know I’m not above doing that. I already had the reduction in the fridge (leftover from Sunday)…so I used it. The End.

**To keep with the casualness (and laziness) of this week’s posts I am going to use only photos that I’ve taken with my new iPhone. Half because I want to test out different camera settings/apps and half because I’m too lazy to bust out the Nikon…yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah**

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When I was 19 (and still somewhat of a picky eater) someone told me that “you don’t have to like tomatoes, but you do have to appreciate them.” At the time, I thought this person was incredibly arrogant and douce-y for saying this to me. I was legitimately offended that someone DARED to tell me what I should and shouldn’t appreciate. I mean, C’mon…I’d been to Paris! I’d visited the Louvre! I’d dined at the Eiffel Tower! I drank red wine and listened to Indie music! I was, in my own mind, “cultured”. Therefore I knew a thing or two about appreciating the “finer things in life”; and tomatoes were not something you “appreciated”…hello! Tomatoes were gross and beneath me.

Fast forward 6 years…

I had an “a-ha” moment today while cooking the most amazing tomato sauce ever. As the tomatoes simmered away in a sea of fresh basil and garlic, lightly drizzled with olive oil, I was just blown away by how something so simple could be so awesome. As the most amazing flavors came crashing over my taste buds, I hit me…I TOTALLY GET IT NOW! I totally understand why I was told to appreciate tomatoes (have I over used the word “totally” yet?). Tomatoes are these amazingly simple things that (when paired with the right elements) can create the most complex flavors…ever. I get it…absolutely 100% get it.

Needless to say, I am finally over my “I don’t like tomatoes” whiny brat phase. Thank God! How boring was I?! I actually love tomatoes now. But more importantly I FINALLY appreciate them. Woo Hoo! This calls for celebration! Let’s eat!

4 ingredient tomato sauce aka Awesome Sauce

serves 4

1 package of cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)-chopped

6 cloves of garlic-minced

1 handful fresh basil-chopped

2tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

(Ok that’s clearly more than 4 ingredients…deal with it)

-Chop up your tomatoes. I actually chose to take on the tedious task of halving each tiny tomato. I wanted them to break down but still retain their “structural integrity”

(I used cherry tomatoes only because I had them on hand and didn’t want them to get sucked into the black hole that is the back of my refrigerator. I think heirloom tomatoes would be AMAZING in here. However if you want to use some nice Roma tomatoes, by all means, go for it!)

-Heat 2tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a skillet. Add your chopped up tomatoes to the oily-goodness. Add a pinch of salt and pepper (or in my case a few grinds of each).

-Once your tomatoes begin to break down, add the minced garlic and chopped basil. (are you salivating yet?)

-If you’re going to add red pepper flakes to your sauce do so….now.

-Now cover and let this simmer on low for a few hours. Check and stir regularly so it doesn’t burn. That would put a big bummer so don’t let that happen!

Serve this sauce over whole grain penne with a bit of grated parmesan

OR

Use this sauce as a base for the most amazing pizza ever (my personal favorite)

OR

spoon this sauce into a nice big bowl and eat it with a loaf of good crusty bread (man, that sounds WAY better then pizza right now)

Whatever way you chose to consume this awesomely simple tomato sauce, I only ask one thing of you: take the time to understand what it means to appreciate tomatoes (and don’t be like me and get all prissy and offended that someone DARED to ask you to appreciate anything…you’re better than that!)

Enjoy!

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