Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ode to Tomato - September 2011

Diva:  Lovina

Drinks:  Aven's mom
Tomato Martini

2 very ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove
Kosher salt

For each cocktail:

2.5 ounces cucumber vodka
Cherry tomatoes (to garnish)

Chop tomatoes, garlic, fennel and cucubmber roughly. Place in a bowl with 3 tablespoons kosher salt and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, then transfer tomatoes and juice from bowl into food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Line a mesh sieve with a cloth napkin and pour tomato mixture into it. Let drip into a container overnight. Discard solids, and reserve liquid.

For each martini, shake 2.5 ounces tomato consommé with 2.5 ounces vodka and serve strait up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

(Adapted from

Tomato Veggie Juice
Juice tomatoes, celery, cucumber, beets, carrots, garlic, onion, fennel, and herbs of choice.

Appetizer:  Ivy (sub for Mariah)
Tomato Confit and Marinated Tomato Tart

Tomato confit
2 ½ pounds large plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
½ c olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Marinated tomatoes
1 pound large plum tomatoes
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
½ tsp coarse sea salt
1 ½ c (or more) olive oil

1 ¾ c plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
¾ tsp fine sea salt
10 T chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large egg yolks
2 T (about) water, room temperature
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water to blend (for glaze)

Salad topping
8 c loosely packed arugula
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler
6 large fresh basil leaves

For tomato confit:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Oil large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes on baking sheet. Scatter thyme sprigs and garlic cloves over. Drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake tomatoes 45 minutes. Turn tomatoes over; continue to bake until tomatoes shrink slightly but are still plump and moist, about 1 hour longer. Cool completely. Peel off skins. 

For marinated tomatoes:
Bring large pot of water to boil. Add tomatoes; blanch 30 seconds. Drain. Cool tomatoes. Peel, quarter, and seed tomatoes. Cut away membranes. Transfer tomatoes to glass jar or bowl. Add thyme, garlic cloves, and salt. Pour enough oil over tomatoes to cover. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours.

For crust:
Blend flour and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until coarse meal forms. Add 2 egg yolks and 1 tablespoon water; process just until moist clumps form, adding more water if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured parchment paper to 12-inch round. Transfer parchment with crust to baking sheet. Pierce crust all over with fork; brush with egg glaze. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 27 minutes. Cool crust completely on parchment on baking sheet. 

For salad topping:

Toss greens with oil and sea salt in large bowl. Place crust on platter. Arrange greens atop crust, leaving 1-inch plain border. 

Starting at outside edge and working toward center, alternate tomato confit and marinated tomatoes in slightly overlapping concentric circles atop greens. Top with Parmesan shavings. Garnish with basil leaves. Cut into wedges and serve.


Salad: Aven
Summer Salad

really ripe tomatoes

freshly picked cucumbers

white balsamic vinegar 

olive oil

salt & pepper

chop tomatoes, cucumbers and basil however you like and sprinkle with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
toss lightly and eat immediately

Soup:  Mary Ellen (Sub for Sara)
Roasted Veggie Gazpacho Soup

8-12 tomatoes
4 large garlic cloves
2 large red bell peppers
2 large orange bell peppers
1 large onion
2 T vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp crushed red pepper
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 T red wine vinegar
¼ c chopped cilantro

Roast the vegetables. (The oven worked for me, but you could also grill them.) Meanwhile, remove the garlic cloves from the skewers, peel them and transfer to a large bowl. Peel the peppers and add them to the bowl along with the onion, cumin, crushed red pepper, lemon juice and vinegar.

Working in batches, puree the vegetable mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour the gazpacho into a clean bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Just before serving, stir the cilantro into the gazpacho. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the cilantro, avocado, sour cream, croutons, or a bit of fresh salsa and serve.

(Adapted from

Side Dish:  Lovina
Grilled Panzanella

1 ½ c fresh basil leaves

½ c plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

5 dashes hot sauce (I used cholula)

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 T fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, assorted colors and sizes

1 12-ounce loaf rustic or sourdough bread, cut into 1/2"-thick slices
1 garlic clove, halved

Chop basil leaves and add to large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup olive oil, shallot, hot sauce, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir with fork to blend then season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes into assorted wedges, rounds, and cubes; add to bowl with dressing. Toss to coat; let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. Brush bread with remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill bread until charred in spots, about 2 minutes per side. Rub grilled bread with cut sides of garlic clove. Tear bread into 1"–2" pieces. Add bread to bowl with tomato mixture; toss to coat. Season panzanella to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

(Adapted from

Entrée: Stacey
Pasta with Homemade Meatballs

3T olive oil

1 onion diced
kosher salt and pepper

3 garlic cloves minced
2 c torn pieces of crustless white bread
½ c buttermilk

1 tsp fresh thyme

2 lbs ground beef
¼ c italian parsley-chopped
8 oz. mozz. cheese-cut into 1-inch cubes

7 c good tomato sauce (your choice)

1 ½ lbs pasta (I used orchiette)--cooked and drained
grated parmesan for garnish

In a large saucepan heat up 1 T. olive oil, add onion and generous pinch of salt, and cook for 10 mins. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Let cool.  In a bowl combine bread and buttermilk.  Add beef, onion mixture, parsley, thyme, 2 1/2 t. salt, 1 t. pepper.  Mix gently with hands.  Form 12 large meatballs and lay on a baking sheet.  Stuff one mozz. cheese cube into center of each one.  In the same pan over med-high heat, add 2 T. olive oil.  Brown the meatballs--will take two batches--about 10 mins.  Transfer to a plate.  Pour tomato sauce in pan.  Add meatballs and simmer over medium heat--turning once--for 30 mins. until meatballs are cooked through.  Serve over hot pasta with plenty of parmesan cheese.  

**meatballs can be made in advance, and frozen (uncooked).  Lay the meatballs on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight.  Transfer to a large freezer ziplock bag and put back into freezer until you need them.

(Adapted from Williams and Sonoma Catalog recipe)

Dessert:  Ashley
Tomato Tarte Tatin

1 ¾ lbs plum tomatoes (8 large)

3 T unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ c sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed, corners cut off to make very rough 9- to 10-inch round

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Cut shallow X in bottom of each tomato. Add 4 tomatoes to boiling water. Blanch tomatoes just until skins at X begin to peel back, 15 to 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer blanched tomatoes to bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. Peel tomatoes. Cut out cores, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds.

Spread butter over bottom of 9 1/2-inch diameter, 2- to 3-inch-deep ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron). Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar over butter. Arrange tomato halves, rounded side down and close together, in concentric circles in skillet to fill completely.

Place skillet over medium heat. Cook until sugar and butter are reduced to thickly bubbling, deep amber syrup (about 1/4 inch deep in bottom of skillet), moving tomatoes occasionally to prevent burning, about 25 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Immediately drizzle vanilla over tomatoes. Top with pastry round. Using knife, tuck in edges of pastry. Cut 2 or 3 small slits in pastry. Place skillet in oven and bake tart until pastry is deep golden brown, about 24 minutes.

Cool tart in skillet 10 minutes. Cut around sides of skillet to loosen pastry. Place large platter over skillet. Using oven mitts as said, hold skillet and platter firmly together and invert, allowing tart to settle onto platter. Carefully lift off skillet. Rearrange any tomato halves that may have become dislodged.

Serve tart warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

(From Bon Appetit August 2010)

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