Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

This recipe sums up late summer vegetables here in North Carolina. The flavors all fit so well together, even though I forgot a few ingredients. It was so good, I think I’m going to make it again next week!  It is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks Local Flavors by Deborah Madison.

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced to 1/2 inch thick (about 1 big eggplant)

2 bell peppers (yellow, orange, or red, or a mix)

olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup chopped parsley

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

1/4 cup Sicilian olives, chopped

3 tablespoons capers

1 tablespoon dried oregano

sea salt and ground pepper

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti

Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano for grating

Preheat the broiler and brush a sheet pan lightly with olive oil, arrange the eggplant on it and brush the tops with more oil. Broil on both sides until browned, about 15 minutes per side. Remove and cut into strips.  Lightly oil the peppers, then broil, skin side up, until blistered. Stack them on top of one another and cover with a bowl or plate to steam for 15 minutes. Peel of the skin and dice.

Heat about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, peppers, garlic and parsley. Saute over medium high heat until the onions and peppers are softened, about 5 minutes.  Lower the heat and add the eggplant, tomatoes, olive, capers, oregano and about 1/2 cup water or juice from the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 30 minutes.

In the meantime cook the spaghetti. When it’s all done, top the pasta with the vegetables and grated cheese. Yum! I served this with some roasted asparagus (yes it’s local – I was just as surprised as you are).

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I tend to get chicken quarters (leg and thigh) at the Farmer’s Market more often than I get chicken breast or any other meat. Mostly because they are cheap, they are typically the perfect size, and they are hard to mess up. This recipe is just one of the simple ways you can make  chicken quarters.

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken quarters
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey

    In a bowl, toss chicken with olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper and marinate 1 hour (or up to a day).  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast chicken, skin side down, in a roasting pan, 20 to 25 minutes; flip and roast 10 more minutes.

    Stir together grainy mustard and honey and season with salt and pepper. Brush glaze onto chicken and broil 5 minutes.

    I served this with a salad of local tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and goat cheese, and some sweet corn on the cob.  Another quick, cheap, and easy local meal.

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    I love quinoa, and I’m always looking for new recipes, and new ways to use it. This is adapted from a recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, an oldie but goodie. This was a great way to use some of my local basil, corn, and bell peppers. Make sure to toast the pine nuts before adding them, toasting them makes all the difference. Yum!

    1 onion, chopped

    3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

    olive oil

    1 bell pepper, any color – or even a mixture

    2 tsp ground cumin

    2 tsp ground coriander

    1 cup quinoa

    1 2/3 cup water

    1 1/2 cups corn kernels (about 2 ears)

    1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

    sea salt and pepper

    1-2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts

    In a large pot saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the bell peppers, cumin, coriander and cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Add the quinoa, water, and corn and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and all the water is gone. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the toasted pine nuts.

    I served this with some local kale (sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes), tomatoes, and watermelon. Another cheap, easy, local meal.

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    Here is another great example of how you can make a quick, yummy, local dinner. Baked butternut squash,  pork with apples, and a tomato basil salad. All local!

    For the baked butternut squash, wash then cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds then place face down in a roasting pan, add a little bit of water and roast about 30 minutes in a 375-400 degree oven, or until the skin starts to brown.

    The pork chop is first seasoned with a little salt and pepper then very simply cooked in skillet, over medium heat. When it is almost done, throw in some sliced apples, and about 1/2 Tbsp butter and cook till the apples are browned and the pork is done (at least 145 degrees inside).

    The salad is a yummy mix of sliced heirloom tomatoes, minced basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Yum!

    (If you look closely you can see my dinner is in danger of being eaten by someone other than me)

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    By now we have all heard the reasons to eat local (better for us and the environment). However, many people still think it’s too expensive.  It doesn’t have to be. This dinner is one of many examples of a cheap and healthy meal, and it happens to be 100% local. Typically the meat will be the biggest purchase, so if you’re on a budget: eat less meat. You can choose either smaller portions, or fewer “meat” meals, or both.

    This meal took about 20 minutes to make. Quick and easy. The kale: sautéed with some garlic till tender. The potatoes: roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. The eggs:scrambled. The salad: tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar. Simple and yummy! Like I’ve said before when you start with super fresh local ingredients you don’t need to do much to it to make it an amazing meal.  The most expensive part of the meal, the local wine -Bald Head Red from Duplin Winery (yum!)

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    It is summer here in North Carolina. To me, that means that the local farmer’s markets are packed with yummy produce! Going to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings is one of my most favorite things to do. It’s like a candy store and toy store all in one. Plus, I’m surrounded with lots of other people who are just as excited about eating all that beautiful stuff. During the summer I have tomatoes pretty much every day. How can you resist such a tasty and beautiful fruit as the heirloom tomato? One other item I eat on a regular basis during the summer are purple hull beans. I typically cook them with a few strips of bacon, onion, garlic and whatever else I might have around.

    2 slices of bacon

    1 onion

    2 cloves garlic

    2-3 carrots

    1 bell pepper

    1 pound shelled purple hull beans

    In a medium size pot, over medium heat, saute the bacon until it starts to brown. Add the onion, and garlic and saute a few more minutes. Add the carrots, bell pepper and beans. Add enough water to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil then cover and lower the heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Season with sea salt and black pepper.

    I served this with some local corn and of course some heirloom tomatoes mixed with some basil, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar.

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    Turkey Tacos

    I haven’t had tacos in a long time, so I was very excited to make these. Instead of ground beef this recipe uses ground turkey, so you save a little on the saturated fat. Plus this recipe adds beans, so there is more fiber and nutrients than regular tacos. Plus they are  just super tasty! This recipe is from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook.

    olive oil

    1 pound ground turkey ( I used 1/2 white meat, 1/2 dark meat)

    1/2 small onion, chopped

    1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

    1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

    1 clove garlic, minced

    1 Tbsp chili powder

    1 tsp dried oregano

    1/2 tsp cumin

    1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

    2 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (one can)

    8 oz tomato sauce

    In a large sauce pan heat the oil over medium hight heat. Add the turkey and saute about 5-10 minutes, until cooked through. Add the onion, peppers, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cocoa powder. Cook about 3-4 minutes longer.  Add the beans and tomato sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve with whatever toppings you like.

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    This was really tasty! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow, pasta sauce is always better the next day. This is adapted from Cooking Light.

    1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/4 ounce)

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion

    1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

    1/2 cup finely chopped celery

    1 (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, finely chopped

    1/2 cup dry red wine

    1/4 cup warm water

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1 (28-ounce) can organic crushed tomatoes with basil, undrained

    1 (2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind

    Place dried mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.

    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes. Add wine; simmer 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add 1/4 cup warm water and next 4 ingredients (through cheese rind) to onion mixture. Stir in ground porcini. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes. Keep warm. Remove rind; discard.

    For my gluten-free friends I like the Tinkyada brand pasta the best.

    I served this with a Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic-Dijon vinaigrette.


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    This simple recipe is even better the next day, adapted from Martha Stewart.

    1 pound dried white beans, soaked overnight

    1 onion, 1 half finely chopped

    1 carrot, chopped

    1 celery stalk, chopped

    1 bay leaf

    1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, with juice

    1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

    1 sprig rosemary

    salt and pepper

    Drain, and transfer beans to a large pot. Cover beans with 4 inches water. Add the intact half of the onion, the carrot, celery, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until beans are tender but, about 1 hour. Drain, and remove onion, carrot, celery, and bay leaf; discard.

    Heat oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion, the garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and garlic are tender, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and rosemary. Bring to a boil.

    Add beans, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomato sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm, and drizzle with oil just before serving.

    I served this with roasted potatoes and roasted broccoli.

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    I love pizza, well, I love my pizza. I haven’t had one out that I liked as much.  I like a thick chewy crust with lots of tomato sauce and not too much cheese.  Most places are skimpy with the sauce, put way too much cheese on top and serve thin crust. Some of my favorite toppings include sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers, broccoli, and seasoned tofu (a co-op that I used to work for in AZ made the BEST vegan pizza). Tonight we had a simple pizza, just mozzarella, local pork sausage and goat cheese(local as well).  The crust recipe is a compliation of many recipes I’ve tried over the years. The sauce recipe comes from Table for Two by Joanne Stepaniak, it is simple and yummy!

    The Crust

    1/2 c whole wheat flour

    1 tsp sugar

    1 packet active yeast

    1/2 cup warm water (read the yeast packet if you’ve never done this)

    Combine in a large mixing bowl, and let stand for 15 minutes.

    In the meantime…..

    1 cup unbleached flour

    1/2 cup whole wheat flour

    1/2 tsp salt

    Combine in another smaller bowl.  After the 15 minutes, add this to the yeast mixture along with…

    1/2 cup warm water

    1 tsp olive oil

    You can knead this right in the bowl, adding more flour (either kind) as needed.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm spot for about an hour.

    The Sauce

    1 14 oz can diced or whole tomatoes (Muir Glen Fire Roasted are great!)

    5 Tbsp tomato paste

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    2 tsp olive oil

    2 tsp sugar

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp oregano

    1/2 tsp basil

    Place everything in a medium-large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for 45 to 60 minutes (while the dough is rising), stirring occasionally.

    The Pizza

    Gather your toppings (shred your cheese, cook the sausage, chop the veggies-whatever you plan to put on top).

    Turn the dough out onto a clean board or clean counter top and roll out to desired thickness. Sprinkle some cornmeal onto the baking sheet and place the dough on top. Spread the sauce evenly all over the pizza. Top with cheese then the rest of the toppings.

    Bake for 12-15 minutes until cheese starts to brown.


    I served this with a simple salad of mixed greens and tomatoes.

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