Warm heirloom cherry tomato salad

It being high tomato season here in New England I could not pass up this beautiful bunch of heirloom cherry tomatoes.  There were red ones and yellow ones and orange ones, and striped ones.  Some round and some oblong.  What a funky bunch!  And don’t you know that there were thick ponytails of fresh basil right next to them?

This recipe is quick, easy to make, and versatile.  You see it can be a salad, or it can be a sauce, or it can be a garnish.   It’s a great way to have warm tomatoes which still hold their shape (something that is quite often lost when you roast tomatoes).  It’s colorful and it’s flavorful and it does a great job of balancing the sweet tomatoes with salty Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients:

bunch of cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon salted butter

5 fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Heat a cast iron skillet over a medium-high heat with the olive oil & butter
  • Carefully place the tomato halves cut-side-down in the pan
  • Do no stir, but give the pan a horizontal shake to be sure that the tomatoes are not sticking and/or burning, and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Carefully pour the tomatoes and any juices into a serving dish and top with grated cheese, ribbons of freshly-snipped basil, salt & pepper.  Serve as-is, or over pasta or spaghetti squash, on top of chicken, or any other way that you like

J

http://www.chirunning.com/

Simple citrus beet salad

To go along with our chicken-pesto sandwiches on flax foccaccia I made this very simple citrus beet salad.  Beets are fantastic for you and offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support for your body (according to WHF), plus they’re great for your colon.  And who doesn‘t love a healthy colon, right?  Beets are also easy to grow.  And they have the advantage of having edible greens which are great raw in salads, steamed, sauteed, stewed, or even tossed into a smoothie.

Ingredients:

5 medium-sized, fresh beets

1 naval orange

5 large basil leaves

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Give your beets a good rinse and scrub in a water bath to remove all dirt and particles
  • Cut the beets in half (top to bottom).   Then turn them onto their cut sides and slice to your desired thickness (mine were about 1/8″)
  • Steam the beat slices to your desired doneness (for the love of food-this should be no longer than 10 minutes)
  • Put the cooked beats in a medium-sized mixing bowl and drizzle them with olive oil
  • Zest about 1/2 of the orange onto the beets, then peel the orange and break it up into segments, cut the segments in half, and add them to the beets
  • Slice the basil into ribbons and sprinkle it over the beets and oranges
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a few days

This recipe yields about three 1/2 pint servings.

J

Pureed Lima Beans with Rosemary Tomato Broth

So I saw this kind of strange-looking recipe that was intended as an alternative to mashed potatoes as a side.  I figured, what the heck, I’ll try anything once.  So I did.  And I am sooooo glad.  While this is absolutely no substitute for mashed potatoes, it is a fantastically flavorful pile of green mush that I liked so much, especially left-over the next day, that I bought more Lima beans and made it again the next week just to have for lunches/snacks for work.

Personally, I would call the rosemary-tomato broth optional.  It’s good, but like gravy to  mashed potatoes for me, I could care less whether I have it or not.  In fact, if you wanted to try the tomato flavor with the beans, you could even dress this in salsa and they would be great together.

Ingredients:

Tomato Broth

3 TBS + 1-1/4 cups chicken broth

½ medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBS tomato paste

½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Beans

2 15 oz. bags (frozen) Lima beans

1 medium onion, chunked

¼ cup chicken broth

2 medium cloves garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat 3 TBS broth and sauté the ½ onion for 3 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  • Add the remaining broth and tomato paste. Cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, to reduce the broth. It should reduce to about half
  • Season with rosemary, salt, and pepper
  • While broth is reducing, sauté 1 medium onion in a Dutch oven, over medium-low heat in chicken broth
  • Add beans, broth, salt, and pepper, cover, and let cook for 5-6 minutes, to heat the beans through
  • Puree bean mixture with garlic in a food processor
  • Serve beans topped with tomato broth

J

Black & Pinto Bean Salad

Looking for an easy, low-fat side dish to bring to a party?  Or something that could be either a salad or a dip for tortilla chips?  Maybe a make-ahead dish that will be fantastic as left-overs for lunch for the week?  Or a vegetarian main?  I’ve got all of your bases covered.  Creamy beans, sweet red pepper chunks and corn niblets, crunchy pepitas, bangin’! cilantro flavor.

Ingredients:

½ cup minced onion

2 medium cloves garlic, pressed

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

½ cup diced red bell pepper

2 TBS pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

3 TBS fresh lemon juice

salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Mince onions and press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Mix all ingredients together and serve

We had this as a side to some ribs that I’ll post about another day 😉  The salad really added to the color pallet.

Inspired by this post on World’s Healthiest Foods.

J

Swiss Chard with Black-Eyed Peas

Had I the fore-thought I would have bought dried peas and soaked them overnight, then cooked them off before beginning this dish.  Because I didn’t, I used canned peas, but fresh-cooked are always the better option.  This is a great dish which can be eaten as a vegetarian main course (as the beans offer about 12 grams of protein), or as a flavorful side to something meaty.

Ingredients:

1 cup black-eyed peas , drained & rinsed
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves sliced separately, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions:

  • Heat 1/2 cup broth to a simmer in a large skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add onion, garlic and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes

  • Add the chard leaves, black-eyed peas, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup broth and cook over medium heat, covered, for about 3 minutes

We served this with some pork tenderloin that was seared in balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary.

The combination was quite lovely.

Inspired by this recipe on Whole Foods’ site.

J