Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons

Adapted from Ina Garten via Smitten Kitchen. (Wheat-Free or Gluten Free Option)

I saw this recipe and couldn't wait to try it.  When we are finally getting our tomatoes in Seattle fresh in late September, you have to get creative to use them all as the bounty arrives.  I'd say any tomato will work fine here, but  I was lucky to have a boatload of heirloom tomatoes ready to go and I think that put this over the top in the intensity of its deliciousness.  I am not very good at 'exact measurements', so I don't think I put enough croutons in when I made it and it was pretty soupy.  Perhaps I will go a bit more bready next time.  I will also try using Gluten-Free bread to make the croutons next time without fear.  The flavor of this dish was absolutely amazing.  Once our guests left, Mike and I practically drank the left-over juice out of the dish. 

3T Olive oil
2C Bread of your choice (I used a hearty wheat bread, despite the original recipe calling for a French boule.  It is what I had on hand)
2 1/2 lb tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch dice (I used a mix of cherries and heirlooms.  Again, it is what I had)
3 cloves garlic minced
2T sugar (really!)
2t salt
1t freshly ground pepper
1/2 c thinly slivered basil leaves (or pesto sub ok, too)
1c freshly grated pecorino or parm

Preheat oven to 350F.  heat olive oil in large saute' pan over med-high.  Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil.  Cook bread, toasting on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper and a good pinch of the cheese in large bowl.  When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil.  Pour into shallow (6-8c) baking dish and top with remaining Pecorino cheese.

Bake 35-40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.  Let rest 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.  Amazing!!!

Pre-cooking here.  I might use a shallower dish next time to allow the juice to evaporate more. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The first recipe! Orzo with Broccoli, Feta and Olives

It was hard to come up with the best recipe to start with, so I went with our household favorite comfort food.  This is what I make when Im really trying to butter Mike up, or it is his birthday, or we just need it. My mom made this dish for Mike and I the first afternoon we drove into town after graduating from Physical Therapy school.  We pulled the U-Haul up to the curb, came in the house and scooped up a big bowl.  This dish takes 10 minutes to prep up, but then pulling it together is a snap when you are ready to.  You can do it all at once or, if you are working around fits and burst of productive time (read: naptimes), you can prep it up in advance and it only takes 10-15 minutes of attention when you are ready.  This recipe was adapted from the one in The Seattle Times in September 1994.

Orzo with Brocolli, Feta and Olives
Makes approximately 4 servings as a main course.

2c   Orzo
1     Bunch Broccoli (about 1lb) cut into florettes

1/4c Olive oil
1/4c Pine nuts
1/2t  Dried crushed red pepper

3/4-1c Feta, crumbled (Sheep's milk has the best flavor here)
3/4c  Kalamato olives, pited and quartered
3/4c  Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan
1/4c  Chopped basil or 3T basil pesto

Cook Orzo in large pot of salted boiling water until tender but still with firm bite, about 8 minutes.  Add broccoli to water and cook 2 minutes more. 

Meanwhile, heat oil in small heavy bottom skillet over medium heat.  Add pine nuts and stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Add crushed red pepper and stir until aromatic, about 30 sec.  Remove from heat.

Drain orzo/broccoli in colander and transfer to large bowl (or back to the pot if you aren't so worried about presentation!).  Add oil mixture and toss to coat.  Add olives, cheeses and basil (or pesto) and toss.  Season with salt and pepper as you like!

Note:  as  with probably all the recipes I will think to share, this is quite flexible.  I would like to think that more cheese is always equal to more flavor.  Adding sauteed chicken is a nice touch.  Also, a few weeks ago, our broccoli wasn't ready yet, so I used zucchini instead.  I missed the texture of the broccoli, but actually liked the flavor that the zucch added even more.  This time, I used both broccoli and zucchini (but forgot the basil, ouch!)