Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

One of my worst fears has come to pass for local families, and at the worst time of the year.  Early today an apartment complex caught fire, several families with children lost everything.  Can you join me in making a donation or spreading the word to those who can make a donation to help save Christmas for these families?  One of the schools affected, Forest North Elementary PTA is taking donations of any kind but for those not in the area who want to help can do so on their website.  Alternatively, contact the Austin Disaster  Relief Network – 512-331-2600 or donate online.  News story is here.

I realize you probably have every charity in the world contacting you for help.  My dear readers, if you can spare anything for these kids I would be very grateful for any assistance you can give to our neighbors.  Thank you and have a blessed holiday season!

Now a recipe for you and your family on this chilly Austin day…


The fall back plan in my kitchen is pasta.  I can make fresh or dried pasta and any little stragglers of food in the fridge can be used to dress it up.  Even if there’s no tomato sauce, like today, I use some canned diced tomato and tomato paste instead.  Look for tomato paste infused with roasted garlic, whatever you make from the pantry with it will be pleased.

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 15oz can petite diced tomato
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste (with roasted garlic)
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Greek Seasoning (Victorian Epicure)
  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry rubbed sage

Start with the pasta.  Brown the meat in a large skillet and break apart as it cooks.  Season the meat well with salt and pepper.  Add the onion and carrot, garlic and herbs.  Stir to distribute and pick up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomato, paste and about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to dissolve the paste.  Cover and simmer gently until ready to serve and the pasta is al denté.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.   Remove from heat.

Serve with Pizza Toasts and a side salad for a comforting meal with your family.


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Grandma’s brown bread made an excellent vessel for my home-made Panini.  Roast beef, Munster cheese, and big slices of tomato were squished between buttered slices of bread.  I used a small pot to press the sandwich in the pan.  It turned out so well that I had to make another round for us.

Also, on the side was a macaroni salad inspired by one of the catered salads I’ve had.  Here’s what I made:

Macaroni Salad

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 1/3 cups dry pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • fresh basil leaves (mine were tiny sprouts from the garden, no need to chop)
  • 1 fresh mint leaf, chopped fine
  • balsamic vinegar
  • grainy mustard
  • olive oil
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • white pepper (to taste)

In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, pour in some vinegar and equal part mustard.  Add tow to three times this amount of oil and a pinch of salt.  Put on the lid and shake until it emulsifies.  Set aside.

Drain the pasta well in a colander, then run a little cool water to stop the macaroni from cooking.  Pour the macaroni in a large bowl.  Add the tomato, basil, mint, salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing from the jar over the salad and toss to coat.  Keep covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

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If you like cheese on your mouthful of joy, go forth and cheese it up…

Here’s how to make it…

  • tomato
  • Poblano or Jalapeño pepper
  • fresh basil
  • capers
  • onion
  • lime juice
  • sea salt

Dice the tomato, pepper and onion very fine.  You can drain the seeds and juice out of the tomato if you like, I happen to like a wet bruschetta to soften the hard toast.  Add about 5 large basil leaves that have been sliced into thin strips.  Add a good tablespoon of caper berries plus a bit of the brine.  Mix everything in a bowl and taste for acid and salt.  If the tomatoes are mild, add some lime juice.  Add sea salt to taste, but if you are going to top the whole thing with cheese hold back on the salt a little.

Bruschetta can be served on Melba toasts, toasted baguette, grilled flat bread or even fish as an entrée!

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This is another example of left-overs making a second showing on the plate.

  • two baked golden potatoes, cubed
  • one roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • two or three slices of bacon, cut into lardons
  • two thick slices of onion, quatered
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • fresh rosemary
  • herbes de provence
  • salt and pepper

Render down the bacon over low heat.  Take out the bacon as it gets crispy, and use a paper towel to remove half of the fat from the pan.  Turn up the heat.  Add the onion first, then the garlic.  Add the herbs, then the potatoes.  Get a bit of crispy on the potatoes before you add the tomato.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

I made the hash as a side for burgers for dinner.  There was some left for brunch the next day, which paired equally as well with french toast.  Bon appetit!

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