Category Archives: Tomatoes

Report From the Beach House

I kid, I kid (kinda).  We were cooking at a point for 25 people.  Why vacation small? I say go big or go home.  Except then we did go home, so I guess that really doesn’t work here, does it?

Anyhoo, but lots and lots of cousins of different generations had tons of fun.

So what did we eat?   We did these Honey Teriyaki Chicken Legs from Skinnytaste.  Always a hit. But with a large crowd we had to supplement the 25 chicken legs with 38 tacos. 38 TACOS. Yep, you read that right.

Another night we made these Steak and Brie Sandwiches with Chimichurri Sauce from Martha Stewart:

Sorry about the photo.  While this rental house is extremely well stocked for everyday living, it is less so for Instagram-worthy food photos. They didn’t have a drawer of white marble slabs, distressed wood or rumply farmhouse tea towels!

Had plans for another big dish but when the evening came, everyone was tired and over-sunned and a big meal just wasn’t doing it for me.  So we did this DIY BLT bar.

Roasted all the bacon in the ovens.  Also had choice of adding avocado or Israeli Salad (background photo bombers).  Hit the spot.  Of course, that meant the 7 pound pork shoulder had to ride home with us. And the pork should didn’t have a iPad so he whined the whole way.

What do you do besides swim and eat?  Well, games, coloring, puzzles and drinks!

Brought some Aperol with me and made a sparkling Aperol Rosé Spritzer:

1 cup chilled pineapple passion fruit juice (though you could sub in just pineapple or maybe a little grapefruit juice – whatever moves you)
1/4 cup Aperol
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
4-5 tsp sugar
1 bottle chilled sparkling rosé
lime wedges

Stir first 4 ingredients together until the sugar dissolves.  Add in the sparkling rosé.  Stir and then serve over ice with a lime wedge.

Also did this Lillet Rose Spring Cocktail again from Grand Maester Stewart.

I was fresh out of edible flowers however, so lime slice it is!

If you’ve got tomatoes coming in from your garden or a basil plant threatening all the other herbs out there, I’d highly suggest a riff on this Tomato Garlic Toast With Whipped Basil Feta from How Sweet It Is.  I say riff because I didn’t exactly make this because I’m not a feta fan.  I KNOW, then why am I reading recipes about feta? Because then, maybe when you change the cheese its just as delicious as the main recipe would be with feta if you were the kind of person that liked feta. FIGHT ME!

Basically, instead of feta I subbed in Ricotta Salata (not the stuff you use for lasagna, the harder ricotta by the other cheeses).  And I added one more ounce of cream cheese and a very full 1/4 cup chopped basil.  Otherwise follow Jessica’s directions. But taste before you salt, because ricotta salata is really salty.  Salata=salt (free Italian lesson – you’re welcome).  I used zero additional salt.

Try to lean back and enjoy the rest of your Sunday as much as D enjoys his sand bed.

Have a great week everyone!

Happy Birthday Dodd-Frank Act!

You share a birthday with my husband. However, Dodd-Frank, so far you have not shown me how you are useful or done anything to impress me. So you, Dodd-Frank, do not get a custom can koozie. Kevin, on the other hand, has done all that and more. So he gets one for his birthday:


Step up your game, Dodd-Frank.

My friend receives a monthly box of fair trade food/ingredients, similar to the Hatchery box I get. We’ll call her Mbork to protect her identity. She wasn’t sure what to do with the California peach vinegar she received and Jbork agreed. So they dropped it off over here. Challenge accepted!

20150718_090045What, what?!  That’s right, first up is Pineapple Salsa


1.5 lb fresh pineapple, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups diced)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
1 cup finely diced red pepper
4 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 TBSP peach vinegar
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cumin

Whisk last 5 ingredients in a bowl. Add first 5 ingredients and stir. Cover and let chill at least 2 hours for flavors to meld. Serve with tortilla chips when you get to a 9 year old’s birthday party




Or save it as a topping for grilled fish.

What’s that you say? Big deal, so the bottle is missing about two tablespoons worth of vinegar?  Not going to concede? Alllllrighty then.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Peach Vinegar Dressing

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP peach vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 heirloom tomatoes
2 TBSP sliced basil
1 ball burrata or mozzarella cheese

Combine first 4 ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Slice tomatoes and place on platter. Slice cheese and place under tomatoes (if burrata – cuz it’s messy) or on top of tomatoes (if mozzarella). Drizzle dressing over and scatter basil on top.


Had enough?! No? Prepare your face.

Pork Tenderloin with Peach and Ginger Sauce
adapted from Epicurious‘ recipe

1 TBSP canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup PEACH VINEGAR (Bam!)
2 TBSP minced or chopped ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 16 oz pork tenderloin
12 slices frozen peaches, thawed.

Heat vegetable oil in a pot on medium heat. Add onions and sugar and sauté until only slightly golden brown. Add remaining ingredients up to pepper and boil 2 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and cool. Once cool, add about a cup of the sauce to the pork tenderloins in a gallon size bag and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Store remaining sauce in refrigerator.

When ready, heat grill to medium. Remove pork from marinade and grill until done. “Done” is a subject of intense debate here at Lucky Rhino headquarters. Some members would defer to the USDA which lowered the pork safety temperature to 145 degrees with 3 minutes of resting time. Others of us feel that we aren’t going to be tricked by some shadowy government agency who is likely trying to grow a tapeworm army with humans as hosts and insist there not even be a hint of pink. Thus, 155 and 10 minutes of rest time it is.

Anyhoo, boil remaining sauce (don’t use the marinade) until reduced by half, about 5 minutes or so. Add the peaches and cook another two minutes. Slice pork and serve sauce over pork.

Sorry, pork simply doesn’t photograph well.

And, since today is National Ice Cream Day (yep!) I also made this S’mores Ice Cream Pie from Two Peas and Their Pod. Don’t worry, I didn’t put vinegar in it.


The only thing I changed, albeit inadvertently, is that I forgot to mix the cracker crumbs into the ice cream, but I don’t think anyone noticed.


And I also drizzled the top with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Because, why not?

And of course, then we went next door to Fake Sister’s house to make actual s’mores. Because, why not?


Have a great week everyone.

Weather – Please Make up Your Mind I’ve Got Things to Do

And pick up your toys and dirty socks from the family room! Oh, no, wait, that’s the boys, not the weather.


Do you have tomatoes that are not up to par on the summer tomato bliss meter?  No problem, just slow roast them.  Yep, that’s right, I went right from pictures of dirty socks to food.  No time for segues.


And add them to my new favorite Summer Pasta Salad just as Smitten Kitchen predicted it would be.  She never steers me wrong. Do not fear the oregano amount.  She’s right, she’s always right. I used white wine vinegar for a lighter taste and ricotta sallata as I sometimes find feta overwhelming.


Also did Garlic Roasted Potatoes from Ina Garten.  With two luminaries of cookbooks like that, it can’t go wrong.  And since we were straddling between spring and summer over the weekend, we grilled steaks but then sautéed some asparagus.


Asparagus with Pancetta

1 tsp olive oil
1 lb asparagus, sliced on diagonal in 1 inch pieces
1/4 lb pancetta sliced thick and then diced

Heat olive oil in pan.   Add pancetta and stir until crisp.  Remove pancetta to a paper towel lined plate.  Add asparagus to the oil in pan.  Stir about 4 minutes.  Add 1 Tablespoon of water, stir and cover loosely and steam for about 3-5 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and tender.

Remove from pan with slotted spoon and sprinkle crispy pancetta over the asparagus.


What’s up for dessert.  How about giant Pretzel M&M Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod via What’s Gaby Cooking?  I really flattened them and thought that was better than when they puffed up.  But to each their own.


Now it is June so hopefully we’ll see some solid summer grilling weather. I made some teacher gifts of candle holders with 150 sharpened pencils and tucked in Gerber daisies in their own test tube vials.


Fake Sister had her very last day at grade school.

So after today, she and Drummer Boy will no longer be in school together.  Hang on, this computer keeps getting dust in my eyes. *misty*


Happy Last Day of School everyone!


Too Many ‘Maters

If your summer garden decided to explode with tomatoes (as many of my friends’, family’s and co-workers’ gardens did) I thought I’d share some recipe “hits” from the last week or two of summer tomatoes. All of these work best with fresh, summer tomatoes, but you might be able to pull off the pasta sauce, the tart and the dip in the winter too with store-bought grape tomatoes.

Baked Tomato Sauce from Smitten Kitchen

Made this with both red and yellow cherry tomatoes from my CEO’s garden. It was delicious (not just saying that because he’s my boss)! I also added an additional clove of garlic to the breadcrumb mixture and once it was tossed with the pasta, topped with a chiffonade** of basil and a tablespoon of parmesan.


Sorry, we we’re hungry from being at the pool, so no “after” picture, just “gone”.

Crack Dip with Grape Tomatoes from Whiteonricecouple

I had even more yellow grape tomatoes from the aforementioned CEO bounty. This was as delicious as their website advertised.


Shortly thereafter at the Rehor’s pool (nom, nom, nom):

Tomato Burrata Baguette from Gouda Monster

If you happen to have ombre heirloom tomatoes, which are currently $179.99/pound at Whole Foods, then you will have something as beautiful as the picture. But I’m here to tell you that whatever mutant but beautiful summer tomatoes you have will work just fine (see this interesting video “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” from Intermarche in France and what a difference it makes to not waste non-perfect produce).

Slice the bread a little thinner than just in half, otherwise it is very hard to eat unless you are capable of opening your jaw Jim-Carrey-in-Mask style. Depending on the thickness of your chosen loaf, I might even suggest thirds and then use the middle, non-crust piece to make breadcrumbs. After toasting the bread, I spread the burrata on and put it back in the oven for about 2-3 minutes to get it extra melty. Used sea salt on top of the tomatoes. I’ve made this twice as a starter, and each time Kevin said, “Why did you even make anything else for dinner?”

Grilled Cherry or Grape Tomatoes  or just Tomato Vierge Spread adapted from Prasino’s in LaGrange

Grilling Option:

In a large bowl, mix 3 cups whole yellow and red cherry tomatoes, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (I use a mix of basil, chives and parsley), ½ teaspoon of onion powder and 1 tablespoon chopped garlic.

Let sit about 30 minutes. While they sit, soak wooden skewers in water. Thread tomatoes on skewers and place on grill (with whatever you are otherwise grilling).   Grill about 15 minutes or until charred. Eat as a side or serve with toasted bread and whatever else gets you crackalackin (buffalo mozzarella, goat cheese,  more basil, red onion, etc.). You can use the remaining marinade to drizzle over the bread.

Overnight or Baking Option:

In a large bowl, mix 3 cups halved or quartered red and yellow cherry tomatoes, (½ cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (I use a mix of basil, chives, parsley), 2 tablespoons capers, drained (or ½ tsp onion powder) and 1 tablespoon chopped garlic.

When I have time, I just let this sit overnight in the fridge and serve as a spread for bread (see above). If you don’t have time, I would suggest cooking it in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes to meld flavors. Then toast some French or Italian bread slices and use the mixture as a spread.

Tomato Tart from The Pioneer Woman

This is a nice little starter when grilling steaks.

Heirloom Tomato Stack Salad adapted from Cooking Light

You know me, if it said “Avocado and Thing” on the menu I’d say, “Mmmm, that sounds good.”  However, I am one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap, so I substitute parsley. I also lay the cut tomatoes on a layer of paper towels to drain a little, otherwise this ends up a really runny mess on the plate.  Keeping with that theme, I also use 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and sometimes add an additional tablespoon of sour cream after blending the dressing if it seems too thin. For the record, I have never been able to get the avocado into that cute little dice you see in Cooking Light’s picture. I tell myself that is because the food stylist was clearly using an un-ripe, hard avocado and therefore mine, with my lumpy pieces of avocado, is much more delicious. I am comfortable basking in the lies I tell myself.

Happy end of summer everyone!

**To the haters—back off. It’s not fancy, it just means you stack the basil leaves on top of one another, roll the basil leaves up and slice them into the thin strips. And no, I don’t have a special tool for that.