Tag Archives: fresh summer vegetables

Sweet Summer Tomatoes

22 Jul

Oh the bounty of a summer garden! Yummy fresh tomatoes are bursting off the vine this time of year. Don’t have garden? Ramble through the local farmers market and snap up some delicious cherry tomatoes. They are fresh, sweet, and oh so versatile! Not sure what to do? Well keep reading.

Friends just came by and an impromptu summer patio party is underway. Need a quick appetizer? Take those cherry tomatoes, put a small dish of vodka spiked with horseradish beside them, and place a shaker of celery salt there too. Get the toothpicks and Voila! A fun light Bloody Mary appetizer is ready in an instant. Put a cherry tomato on the toothpick, dip it into the vodka, shake a little celery salt on it, and pop it into your mouth. The bite begins with a delicious pop of tomato, then the other flavors flow over your tongue. Yummers!

Want something a little more succulent? Put some olive oil into a pan and heat it up. Add the tomatoes to the hot pan and give it a shake of salt, pepper, and stir.

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Let those cook for a bit, and they will begin to get creamy!

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Be patient and let those cook a bit longer, stirring every so often. Now you can add a clove of garlic that is diced. You will be rewarded-but what is next?  Is this a base on which to jump off, or is this IT? If this is IT, scoop in on a lovely piece of chicken and enjoy. Want to go a different direction with this? Okay-lets go!

You can add this to sautéed summer squash.

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Or you can toss it on some squash that has been through the vegetable twirler and enjoy a light vegetarian main “pasta” dish. Play with herbs a bit before adding to pasta, perhaps adding some fresh summer basil and parsley. Red pepper flakes would also be a well paired addition.

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Ready for another option? Start with colored tomatoes and cook the same way.

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After these beauties get good and velvety, add some spinach, arugula, or fresh green of your choice. Let that cook together.

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Oooohhhh! We are on the train to delicious town! Add some chicken or vegetable stock, stir, and add some pasta.

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This will cook down to an amazing one pot dish. Want to add some shrimp too? Go ahead! This is your time to have fun and personalize this luscious summer meal into something your family will love. Oh, you are cooking for one? Keep cooking! You will be the envy of the office with these leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Let me know what you are doing with your summer tomatoes. Follow me on twitter @amykgarman

 

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Comfort Food (in summer??)

10 Jul

That’s right.  I started craving comfort food.  But that seems a little counterintuitive when it is 100 plus degrees outside.  The south is reeling from a blazing heat filled summer, yet I want some warm filling food.  Usually good summer meals for my family consist of grilled meats, lightly prepared vegetables, and cold salads.  For some reason, though, today I needed comfort food.  So that is what I made!

I started letting my taste buds run amok, listening to them with wild abandon! I needed some heat and some spice.  So I decided to make roasted red pepper soup.  I made the recipe up as I went along, and I must say, it was fabulous!  Let me share the recipe with you.

Amy’s Summer Roasted Red Pepper Soup

1 clove garlic, minced

1 sweet onion (I used Vidalia) finely chopped

2 T olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

3-4 cups chicken stock

1 t. thyme

2 jars roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and chopped  (my short cut!)

Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Heat olive oil and add onion and garlic over medium heat.  Stir and let brown a bit.  Add the white wine a little at a time. scraping up the garlic and onions.  After all the wine is added, cook down for 5 minutes over medium high heat.  Add the chicken stock, red peppers and seasonings.  Let cook for 30-40 minutes.  Use a stick mixer (also called an immersion blender), being careful of the hot liquid, to blend the mixture to a smooth consistency.  Turn heat to low.  This can be served this hot, warm, or chilled to use the next day.

I was pretty heavy handed with my black pepper and red pepper flakes.  It is easy to adjust the heat level of this soup.  It could also be cooled down for the palate by whisking in some cream, about 1 cup, toward the end of the cooking process.  The intensity of the roasted pepper flavor can also be easily increased by adding more roasted peppers.  And of course you can always roast your own peppers.  But I needed a short cut so I used jarred peppers.  Soup is so easy to make, and easily adjusted to match any desired flavors.

I made open faced tuna melt sandwiches on french bread to go with the soup.  We ate it hot, and the 4 teenagers gracing my dinner table gobbled this up.  Evidently I was not the only one needing a little comfort food!  Sometimes you just have to give into cravings.  Bon appetite!