Category Archives: tomatoes

Orzo with Veggies and Feta

Orzo with Feta

Orzo with Feta

I’ve been thinking about making something with orzo for a while, and saw a good recipe on Tasty Kitchen and thought I’d give it a try.  But you know me, I can’t follow directions when it comes to food, so, as always, I added my own touch on the recipe.

The asparagus I had was already roasted (LOVE! roasted asparagus) so that was one variation from the original recipe.  Another was the tomatoes.  I love tomatoes, and Sendik’s had cute little cherry tomatoes on sale.  These aren’t good enough to eat on their own yet, but are good enough to cook with (the added spiced and other things in the dish help out the paper-like taste of winter tomatoes).

Ingredients:
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 lb spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 cup roasted asparagus (sliced on the diagonal in bite-sized pieces)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Feta (as much as you like)
2 TB olive oil
Salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste.

Steps:
1. Cook orzo according to package directions
2. Let the minced garlic infuse the olive oil on relatively low heat, so it doesn’t burn, until you can smell it (or about 5 minutes)
3. Add the spinach and cook down a bit
4. Add the tomatoes, season, and cook together for about 5 minutes
5. Add the roasted asparagus and orzo
6. Add the feta

Garlic infusing oil

Garlic infusing oil

Cooked spinach

Spinach cooked down

Tomatoes

Added the tomatoes

Orzo

Added orzo and asparagus

Added feta

Added feta

Another Giveaway

It’s been a long time since my last giveaway, and the wonderful people at Red Gold have offered another sampler.  What you’d get is a fairly large tin and in the tin are cans of tomatoes, a reusable bag (I use it all the time and it holds tons), a cookbook, and a commemorative cute little truck.

So, here are the rules:

Add a comment to this blog with your favorite or easy tomato recipe.  The owner of the winning recipe gets the prize.

First Ever Giveaway

To celebrate the mention of this blog in a major publication, I’m celebrating in my true fashion: doing something for others.  So I’m giving away two gift-packs and other goodies from Red Gold.  I’ve used these tomatoes in my recipes and have found them quite good.

What do you need to do to win?  Send me your favorite easy/quick tomato recipe.  I will randomly pick one.  The giveaway ends on May 9, 2009 and I will pick a winner on May 10th.

Looking forward to seeing your favorite tomato recipes!

** Update.  You can’t win the tomatoes if you don’t submit (via comments) your favorite easy/quick tomato recipe.  C’mon people, I know you want the yummy goodies.

Chahohbili-inspired chicken stew

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew

Where I live, stew and chili season is quite a long one, from about October to about end of April or so. Not really knowing how to make this Georgian dish (ex-USSR Georgia, not southern US Georgia), I searched online and found a few recipes. I got the general idea, but not having an authentic recipe, I didn’t want to attempt it. But the pictures looked so good, that they got me thinking. With that as inspiration, I made a pretty good stew, if I do say so myself.  This certainly hit the spot on a cold and rainy evening.

Ingredients:
Chicken (I used 3 bone-in thighs and 4 legs; season with salt and pepper all over, even under the skin)
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 peeled tomatoes cut into rounds
4-5 potatoes (I use Yukon Gold)
2-3 red bell peppers cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 tb of ketchup (or tomato paste)
Beef stock (about 3-3.5 cups total, depending on how much sauce you want and how thick you want it)
Olive oil, salt, pepper, ground cumin, ground chipotle (optional, dash), paprika (a dash), fresh dill

Chicken Stew Cooking

Chicken Stew Cooking

Steps:
1. Saute the onion and when the onion starts to brown a little, add the garlic.
2. Brown the chicken. This won’t cook it, just make it look prettier.
3. Add the peppers and the peeled and sliced tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium. To peel tomatoes, place a small X on the bottom and pour boiling water over the tomatoes. Let them sit in the hot water for a few seconds. This will loosen the skin so you can peel it. Once peeled, slice in rounds.
4. Season everything (salt, freshly ground black pepper, ground cumin, chipotle, and paprika).
5. Add beef stock and ketchup (about 2 cups or so of stock, to start) and let come to a boil. Make sure the ketchup is well mixed and distributed in the pot.
6. Add the potatoes (I cut them up into bite-sized pieces). Let cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Check the sauce. Add more stock and/or spices if you like. If you like things as they are, let cook another 20 minutes on low heat.
7. At the very end, add dill.

I served it over cilantro rice.  The sauce was great with the rice, the chicken was so tender it was falling off the bone, the veggies and potatoes were good enough to eat on their own.  Which I did the next day.  YUM!  Can’t wait to make this again.

Pasta Sauce – Vegetables Galore

Chunky Pasta Sauce

Chunky Pasta Sauce

I haven’t made anything pasta related in a while and figured it was time to get back to that.  So today I decided to make pasta sauce.  Additionally, I had a lot of vegetables in my fridge that I haven’t used up yet, so I figured it’s a perfect opportunity to use them.  This worked out really well since I like a really chunky tomato sauce.  And if you have kids, this is a great way to get them to eat vegetables.  This recipe can also be vegetarian quite easily – just leave the meat out.  With this recipe, use what ever veggies you like, in any quantity you like.  Here is what I did.

We're cooking now!

We're cooking now!

Pasta Sauce Ingredients

Pasta Sauce Ingredients

Adding the meat

Adding the meat

Ingredients: 1 lb of ground turkey
1 very large carrot (cut into half moons)
2 red bell peppers (diced)
1 large white onion (minced)
1 zucchini (cut into half moons)
1 summer squash (cut into half moons)
3.5 oz of mushrooms (that was the size of the package I had. Use more or less)
3-4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
2 cans of tomatoes (I used 1 can of Red Gold roasted garlic and onion and 1 can of Red Gold basil, garlic, and oregano)
Roasted tomatoes (optional; I had some on hand so I used them)
Tomato paste (I used about 3 oz, half of a 6oz can of Red Gold tomato paste)
2-3 tb of olive oil
Olives (optional, but I had some so I used them; chopped, about 2 handfuls)
Garlic powder
Paprika Salt, Pepper (freshly ground)
Flat leaf parsley (for garnish and for cooking, to taste)
6 bay leaves (3 for the sauce, 3 for the pasta)

See the parsley

See the parsley

All the ingredients cooking

All the ingredients cooking

Adding pasta to the sauce

Adding pasta to the sauce

Steps:
1. Saute the onion for a few minutes and then add the garlic.
2. Add the carrots. Let cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the vegetables and salt & pepper. Let cook for a few minutes (I put the lid on and let the veggies steam a little).
4. If you are adding meat, do it at this stage. I pushed the veggies to the sides of the pan and added the meat into the middle so that it can brown. I also season the meat at this point. Cook the meat until it’s all browned and thoroughly cooked.
5. Add bay leaves and parsley. Mix everything together and taste seasoning. This is when I add more salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and anything else that strikes my fancy.
6. Add the tomato products (canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and roasted tomatoes if you have them).
7. Put the lid on and let cook over medium-low for about 10-15 minutes.
8. Add the pasta to the sauce (which has been cooking in a separate pot, according to the directions on the box.) I serve it with a little bit of cheese grated on top. I used a very mild goat’s cheese.

I know you can't resist this!

I know you can't resist this!

Nora’s Salad

Eggplant Salad

Eggplant Salad

Nora and I got together and cooked again today. And boy did we cook! We made shurpa (a lamb soup), damlyama (a lamb and vegetable dish) and a new salad. Since I don’t know the name for that salad and since she introduced us to it, I’ll just call this “Nora’s Salad”. She said that she’s been making it for ages. It’s absolutely delicious.

Ingredients:
2-3 eggplants (cut up like fries)
4 tomatoes thinly sliced (we used Roma tomatoes)
1 medium onion (thinly sliced in half moons and soaked in a water/vinegar solution)
1/2 cup total of dill and flat leaf (Italian) parsley finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely minced
Salt to taste
Oil for frying (or if you have a deep fryer, that would work too)
1/4 – 1/2 cup of vinegar

Finished Salad

Finished Salad

Steps:
1. Cut the onion into half moons and soak in a water/vinegar solution for at least a half hour. If you have more time, that would be fine too. Use about 1/4 cup of vinegar about as much water.
2. Cut up the eggplant like you would potatoes for french fries. Soak the eggplant in water for at least a half hour. More would work fine too. Soaking removes the bitterness. Remove as many seeds as possible, but if there are some left, that’s fine.
3. Fry the eggplant in oil in batches and layer the salad as follows:

  • Eggplant
  • Minced garlic
  • Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Greens (dill/parsley mixture)
  • Repeat.
Salad Layers

Salad Layers

Eggplant Soaking

Eggplant Soaking

Eggplant Frying

Eggplant Frying

Memories of Summer (tomato salads)

Aren't they cute!

Aren't they cute!

On days like today and those like last week, I need to remember summer. Since tomatoes are my favorite food, it’s hard to replicate the feeling of summer in the dead of winter. But somehow, I was able to spot good tomatoes at Costco (yes, I know, but they were great). These little beauties were so sweet (they were intended for soup or sauce, but I tasted one and decided that they’re good enough for salad).
So here’s my new take on salad.

Ingredients:
Tomatoes
Onions
Feta
Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar
Salt, pepper (to taste)

Steps:
1. Quarter the tomatoes
2. Slice the onions into thin moons
3. Add salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta. Mix. Eat.

Tomato close-up

Tomato close-up

Salad

Salad