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Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

There’s nothing like fresh tomatoes. Straight from your garden or a real farmer’s market, fresh tomatoes are one of life’s amazing gifts. Sadly, this seasonal fruit (yes, fruit) has but a brief few months before they’re gone and you find yourself in the middle of February with some canned tomato paste and a sad face.

Now, no canned tomato is going to hold a candle to that summer Beefsteak. But here we are in (hopefully) the tail end of winter and our choices are limited. However, we do have some good choices! My favorite canned tomato is Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes. They actually do taste fire roasted, they’re organic, the cans are BPA free and they are the best tasting canned tomato I’ve tried thus far.

You can actally get them at a decent price from Amazon. If you do subscribe and save it’s $1.86 per can for 12-pack and you get them delivered to your door. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you can get them through the Prime Pantry program for $1.38 per can. If you’re a Costco member you can get them right now for $6.89 for a 6-pack which is only $1.15 per can – not bad at all.

Here’s some of the things I like to do with these ‘maters:

Bruchetta

Mix a can of fire roasted tomatoes with three cloves of minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Slice a loaf of French bread on the diagonal and toast in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes, then top with the tomato mix. Broil for 4-5 minutes. Top with shreds of basil and freshly grated parmesan.

Lazy Pasta

Cook 8 ounces of the pasta of your choice (I find small shaped pasta best for this purpose – fusilli, rotini, large shells, etc.) according to package directions. Drain and return to the pan and put on low heat. Stir in a can of fire roasted tomatoes, about two tablespoons of basil paste or a handful of shredded fresh basil to taste, a cup of shredded cheese (any good melting cheese will do) and about a half a cup of heavy cream. Heat through and salt and pepper to taste.

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A while back I discovered a recipe for tomato basil soup, I can’t even remember where. It was supposed to be a copycat recipe for the one at La Madeline restaurant. Since I haven’t had the one there I don’t know how close it is, or even how much I’ve changed it since then, but it’s a soup I’ve made over and over again, loving it each time.

I’ve always used canned tomatoes for this soup, but now that tomatoes are coming in from my CSA I am going to give it a shot with fresh ‘maters soon. Mmmm. Tomatoes.

Roasted vegetable stock, simmering

Roasted vegetable stock, simmering

Anyway, it’s a really simple recipe, although for the first time I made vegetable stock to use with it. Using the roasted vegetable stock recipe from How to Cook Everything, I made a stock using carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, fresh parsley from the back deck, peppercorns and salt. It was a simple process, just took a while to make – mostly unattended.

To a quart of my fresh stock, I added three cans of diced tomatoes and simmered them together for twenty minutes or so. I let it cool a bit, then processed the heck of out of it in my food processor along with a handful of fresh basil. It went back into the pot with a stick of butter. Once that’s melted in, I added about 3/4 of a cup of half and half. (It’s better with heavy cream, but half and half is what I had on hand.) Heat through and you’re done!

Kung Fu Cup o' Soup

Kung Fu Cup o' Soup

I had some gruyere left hanging out in the fridge so I shredded it and toasted some home made bread for a little cheese toast. Ahhh. Heavenly.

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