Posts tagged tomatoes
Yup, I cracked my tangine yesterday. And yes, it was my first time using it. Sigh. A tangine is a traditional Moroccan cooking dish that has a cone top that helps slow cook and steam the food inside. Well, I’m still working out the kinks with how exactly you cook using it. But for now my good ‘ol dutch oven seems to do the trick.
Prep time: 20 minutes + 15 minutes cooking
1 1/2 cups rice
1/4 cup oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup yellow and/or red pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 pinch of cinnamon (opt.)
Fresh cilantro and parsley
2 tbsp. golden raisins
Fresh lemon wedges
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a heavy-bottomed dutch oven, bring the oil up to medium-high heat.
- Rinse the rice in water to remove excess starch and then add it to the hot oil.
- Heat the rice for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.
- Meanwhile, in a blender, place the tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices, and pepper and pulse until pureed.
- Add the tomato mixture to the golden rice and cook for 4 minutes or until the color of the tomato deepens.
- Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Cover and bake for 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
- Add in the raisins, if using.
Kids’ reactions: This dish was a winner. My tween even took the leftovers to school for lunch. I made a wrap for my teen with some of the rice, avocado slices, deli turkey, and Sriracha sauce.
For my birthday, my hubby surprised me with a Moroccan tangine. It’s a baking dish with a high, cone-shaped lid (not pictured) that traps the cooking liquid and infuses the food inside with the flavor.
Yeah, I managed to crack it the first time I tried cooking with it. (In my defense, it didn’t come with any seasoning or cooking instructions.) Well, I’m now researching how to season and cook the right way with the tangine. But I still had all of my ingredients ready to go so I made this Moroccan shrimp dish in a skillet, instead of a tangine. I used a recipe I found on The Food Republic as a base and then tweaked it to mirror the flavors of a dish a Moroccan friend of mine made for me years ago.
Prep time: 20 minutes + 20 minutes cooking
1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp, tails and shells removed
2 tbsp. oil (I used grapeseed)
1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes
1 raw tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular) + more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. chicken broth
1 lemon, sliced
- Puree the tomatoes, tumeric, paprika, and garlic in a blender.
- In a heavy-bottomed skillet (no idea yet if this would also work in a tangine), bring the oil to medium-high heat.
- Add the tomato mixture to the hot oil and cook until the tomato color begins to darken (from bright orange to red), about 4 minutes.
- Add the shrimp into the tomato mixture and sprinkle with cumin, cayenne, white pepper, and fresh herbs. Cook for 3 minutes or until shrimp just begins to turn pink.
- Place the lemon slices on top of the shrimp. Pour over the chicken broth, then cover the skillet.
- Cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp is heated through and tender.
- Add additional spices, if necessary (I like to add more smoked paprika and cayenne).
- Serve over plain rice or Moroccan rice (recipe coming tomorrow).
Kids’ reactions: Thumbs up and clean plates all around. I would definitely make this again EXCEPT Mr. Squid seems to be having bad reactions to shrimp lately so I’m not sure whether we’ll have to cut out shrimp for awhile or altogether:(.
A molcajete is pretty much a the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle with Aztec origins. Mine came from a side street market in Mexico City and weighs 10 pounds (thank goodness my husband got it before the airlines started charging you to check your bags).
Made of volcanic rock, the molcajete’s porous surface absorbs the flavors of what has been ground in it before. So the garlic rub you might have used to start off a salsa a month ago will leave hints of flavor in the guacamole you make today; every batch is entirely unique.
For instructions on how to season your molcajete you can check out my post on Wandering Educators.
To create a basic tomato salsa at home using a molcajete here’s what you need:
Prep time: 15 minutes (depending on how hard you grind)
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped into slices* (See note)
2 slices onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (or 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds)
Peppers (you can use whatever kind of heat your family prefers–cayenne powder, fresh serrano peppers, jalapenos)
- Place the cumin and garlic in the molcajete bowl. Grind into a paste using the hand tool.
- Next, grind the pepper of your choice in the molcajete bowl. I often use dried chiles, but fresh is great too.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, and cilantro to the molcajete and start grinding. (My kids have fun doing this).
- Mix in salt to taste and serve at your table in the molcajete.
*Note: Many salsa recipes call for you to remove the tomato skins before grinding. I’ve found that the skin comes off during the process and you can take it out easily. Another option is to use drained, canned tomatoes. These work well, especially the roasted variety.
Your turn: Have you ever used a molcajete? What about a mortar and pestle?
“You can get a deal if you buy a box,” a woman offered as I was picking over Roma tomatoes at one of my favorite local grocers, Miles Market. For $5 you could buy a 10-pound box of slightly bruised Romas. I debated. Lately I’ve been trying to trim my grocery bill by planning my dinners a week ahead of time and making sure that whatever I buy, I use. But to get a whole box of Romas for the price I usually pay for a few? I caved and bought the box. Now I’m quickly trying to use every last tomato.
Here are a few of the things I’ve been cooking to make it through all of my tomatoes:
Simple marinara: I blended 20 cut tomatoes with 2 large cloves garlic and 1 cup fresh basil then I added it to a pan of about 4 tablespoons heated olive oil. I simmered the sauce for about 20 minutes then added a dash of cayenne pepper. I served this over pasta with fresh Parmesan cheese. Simple, tasty. I froze the extra sauce.
Homemade enchilada sauce: Instead of adding canned tomatoes to my homemade enchilada sauce, I added in fresh ones. Usually I’d roast and seed the tomatoes but this time I just threw them in skins, seeds, and all.
Chipotle Pico de Gallo: Fresh salsa anyone? The only drawback to pico de gallo and my stack of tomatoes is that this salsa doesn’t keep.
Roasted Tomato-Arbol Salsa: Roasted tomatoes are the key to a really great salsa so I was going to make this one from Rick Bayless. I’m adding some ancho chiles along with the arbol. Plus, this salsa will keep in the refrigerator for days. I’ll be tripling the batch, then freezing some.
Caprese salad: My tomatoes might be getting a bit too squishy for this, but I love caprese salad with its slices of fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and a drizzling of olive oil. Looking at Frugal Kiwi’s post this week about mozzarella, I’ve really been wanting to give cheese making a try. For now, I’m making caprese omelets where my quickly ripening tomatoes are just perfect.
Your turn–what would make with 10 pounds of ripe tomatoes?
Continuing with dishes to make to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day tomorrow, here’s my favorite version of Mexican rice.
The ingredients behind good Mexican rice may sound almost like you’re making a pico de gallo—tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic. But instead of dipping chips into a chunky salsa, you puree the tomatoes and other ingredients and add them to the rice after you’ve sautéed it in oil. Each of these steps guarantees that each rice kernel will get coated in seasoning and have that bright red color.
This recipe is based on one I discovered in The America’s Test Kitchen: Family Cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks. But I’ve made quite a few changes to make it even faster and easier to put together. The original recipe calls for you to cut up fresh tomatoes, seed jalapenos. When I’ve done that I always seem to end up with either too much jalapeno—meaning the rice is way too spicy to eat or there’s not enough oomph with the jalapeno (but I still had to get chile juice underneath my nails after getting them prepped for the recipe). I bypass all those steps by using canned tomatoes with green chiles. The milder chiles have the perfect balance of spice.
Prep time: 20 minutes + baking
2 10-ounce cans sliced tomatoes and green chiles
1 small onion, peeled, quartered
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh cilantro (optional)
¾ cups peas (canned or frozen, thawed optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse the rice with water to remove the starch.
- On the stovetop in a heavy-bottomed pan bring the oil to a medium-high heat.
- Add the rice and cook until the rice is no longer translucent (about 5 minutes).
- In a blender or food processor, mix the tomatoes, salt, onion and garlic.
- Carefully pour the tomato puree into the rice, cook for 3 minutes then add in the chicken broth.
- Bring the rice mixture to a boil and then place it in the oven for 20 minutes. (Alternatively, you can cook the rice on the stovetop.)
- Remove the rice from the oven, checking to make sure all of the liquid is absorbed. Add in the peas and cilantro and fluff with a fork.
- Serve with lime wedges to drizzle on top.
We’re trying to have veggie dinners at least once a week around here. The bounty of fresh vegetables certainly helps. That, and having friends with gardens who drop by their extras. Yesterday a surplus of ripe tomatoes and basil gave me an idea for dinner: My kids like caprese salad, which is simply fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. To make that a meal I added the cheese into an omelet and chopped the tomatoes and basil to serve on top. I used fontina cheese instead of mozzarella since it melts better and has a stronger flavor, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Also, I like a little meltiness in the inside of the omelet so I added a bit of American cheese. If you’re not an American cheese fan, you don’t have to include it. Another addition: sauteed portobello mushrooms. I cooked them in a basil oil to bring out even more of the herb’s flavor; regular olive oil is fine too.
Per serving, ingredients
1/4 shredded Fontina cheese
1 slice deli American cheese
1/2 tomato, diced
4 basil leaves, minced
handful shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
Whisk the eggs together and add salt and pepper to taste.
In a large saute pan bring 1 teaspoon olive oil or butter to medium high heat.
Pour the eggs into the pan and just when it starts to heat through add the cheeses, and mushrooms if you’re using them, in the center (except for the Parmesan).
Once the cheese melts, slide the cooked eggs gently off the plate, folding them over twice or once, depending on how you like your omelet.
Add sliced tomato, basil and Parmesan cheese on top. Serve immediately.
Your turn–have you had any good veggie meals lately you care to share?
Picadillo, not to be confused with pico de gallo, is a South American dish that’s made just a little bit differently depending on where you have it. The Cuban version is studded with raisins and olives (no potatoes), other countries include hard-broiled eggs.
But the Mexican version is the one I like.
As I’ve been trying to get my family to eat just a bit healthier, picadillo has become one of our go-to dishes (promise, it’s not a New Year’s resolution thing, it’s more of a my-kids-are-all-in-basketball-now-and-can’t-stop-eating-so-it-better-be-good-for-them thing). It’s fast and easy. Plus, it’s packed with fresh ingredients–and it heats up beautifully on day 2.
Making the dish is pretty simple too. You cook ground meat, add chopped, boiled potatoes and then pour in a fresh tomato sauce. Let it simmer while you toast corn tortillas–that’s it.
Now before I get into the recipe, I’ve gotta make a plea here–please no hard taco shells, unless you’re frying them yourself (which would definitely blow the calorie count for the dish). Instead, toast corn tortillas one at a time–if you’re lucky enough to have a gas stovetop this should go quickly. The flavor of toasted corn tortillas is so unlike the hard taco shells and even very different than if you simply heat up the tortillas instead of toasting. And it’s better for you too. Okay, enough convincing, here’s the recipe…
1.5 pounds ground turkey
3 medium-sized potatoes
4 medium-sized tomatoes
1 large onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 serrano chile pepper (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove.
- Wash and peel the potatoes.
- Dice the potatoes into small pieces and cook them in the water until they’re soft.
- Cut up the tomatoes and onions in large pieces. Place the tomatoes and onions in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth (along with the chile pepper and a handful of cilantro, if you’re using them). Set aside.
- Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the ground turkey.
- Once the meat is cooked through add the potatoes and the tomato mixture. Let the ingredients simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Toast 2 to 3 corn tortillas for each person. (Keep them heated by placing in either a tortilla warmer or in a clean kitchen cloth).
- To serve place a heaping 1/2 cup of the picadillo on each person’s plate and put the tortillas and cut limes on the table (alternatively, you can fill each corn tortilla and serve it that way).
- I sometimes serve picadillo tacos with chopped tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. But most often, we eat them plain with just a little bit of lime juice squeezed on top.
Along with trimming calories at the dinner table, check out these simple ideas for giving your family a healthy makeover. I’ve been looking through the site as part of the Motherboard team. Once a week, I’ll be posting about the exciting things not to miss on the their site, and their affiliates.
What about you? Are you trying to eat just a little bit better–and looking to convince your family to do the same?
3 red bell peppers
1 tbl spn salt
1 tsp fresh black pepper
1 cup water
juice of three limes
fresh cilantro for garnish
hickory chips or small logs (substitute other woods to experiment with flavor)
Start by lighting your coals. It’s best to use a chimney starter so you don’t impart the flavor of lighter fluid. When your coals are nearing white hotness, apply the dry chips of logs. You’re trying to create more fire than smoke. When the flames are licking the grill, apply the clean dry tomatoes and peppers. Turn them for several minutes until their skin is black to the point of crisping. Remove the tomatoes and peppers and place them in a bowl. Close the grill to put out the fire. While you’re finishing the soup, your grill will be ready for your next course. Continue by removing most of the skins, leaving a little for flavor. Remove the seeds and stem of the peppers, being careful to save the juice. Stem the tomatoes. Transfer all ingredients to a blender and puree until the desired consistency. Serve warm or chilled with a garnish of fresh cilantro.
With barbecue staples like St. Louis spare ribs and Carolina-style pulled pork served alongside one-of-a-kind creations like beef brisket, smoked gouda enchiladas and salads called the Charles Bronson (and kickin’ flavors to match the epithet) it’s no wonder that Slow’s Bar BQ has become an it spot in Detroit since opening its doors nearly five years ago.
An anchor in the emerging rebirth of the Corktown area, Slow’s, takes pride in using fresh, local ingredients and all-natural meats, explains the head chef of the kitchen, Michael Metevia. He also notes that “the staff here is great and they work really hard give it there all.” The flavorful, slow-smoked entrees along with a diligent staff, has made the BBQ joint popular among a diverse clientele—from business people to hipsters to families and, of course, Tigers fans. Metevia recommends that families try out the restaurant during one of their off hours, between 2pm to 4pm, “or you can come right when the doors open at 11am.” (Early lunch before a venture to the Detroit Science Center, anyone?) Metevia made the mistake of bringing in his 15-month-old during a Tigers’ game were lively fans filled the 80-seat establishment. The crowded restaurant induced a fit in the younger Metevia; since dad/chef has avoided bringing him in during busy times. Metevia points out that Slow’s does take reservations for parties over six people, so if you’re set on a certain time, grab some friends and call ahead to make sure you get in.
Below, Metevia shares some of his thoughts on cooking, as well as his own recipe for something fun to grill this summer—vegetables. He roasts a variety of veggies and then purees them for a summer soup that can be served either warm or cold.
What three ingredients do you always keep stocked in your pantry?
As simple as it sounds, I always have kosher salt, fresh peppercorns and quality olive oil. I put those ingredients in almost everything. I also use a lot of quinoa [a healthy, whole grain seed prepared like barley] and coconut oil.
Your favorite meal to make or serve?
At home my favorite meal is pot roast. It’s a great family meal and easy to put together—everyone is always satisfied. But I don’t always prepare it the same way. I don’t like to be in a rut and I think that happens to a lot of people when it comes to cooking. When you’re cooking for kids especially, it’s important that you mix things up so that they won’t become fickle when it comes to food. I like to mix it up, use different fresh herbs—it really depends from time to time what I use. Most of the time, I use some red wine, usually mushrooms.
We all have a favorite indulgence, for a chef like you it must be something spectacular?
Coney dogs. Usually, I’m a pretty conscientious eater and in general I try to find organic, natural foods. I know it’s bad for you, but I love having a Coney dog. With everything. It’s part of living in Detroit.
What’s one of your worst cooking mistakes?
I made 20 loaves of banana bread using salt instead of sugar. I could try to blame someone else—whoever did the stocking in the kitchen put salt in the sugar container—but I should have checked. All 20 were in the oven and then I tested one. I just spit it out it was so salty. That’s definitely the biggest cooking mistake I’ve ever made and I haven’t made one like it since.
There are so many great Michigan-made food products, what is your pick?
Calder’s chocolate milk. That stuff is delicious and the dairy is located in Lincoln Park.
What do you suggest for first-timers to Slow’s Bar BQ? What menu item should they make sure to try?
If it’s your first time, I recommend the mac ‘n cheese. Our preparation is unique to Slow’s with the dish—we find people just come back again and again for more. Everything is made from scratch—it’s really just good, old-style homecooking.