Tuesday, August 22, 2006

You Say Tomato

'Tis the tomato season. Our patio bush is bearing great gifts, and Ward's Berry Farm, an easy drive from the house, has baskets of tomatoes at reasonable prices. Last year, we had a bad crop and I didn't make Gazpacho. Today I will. This recipe is from July 64 Gourmet. Heaven only knows where I found that old copy, but I've hung onto this recipe for years. It always tastes good.

Combine in the container of a blender 5 very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped, 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped, 1 onion, chopped, 1 T. finely chopped parsley, and 1 garlic clove, crushed. Cover the container and blend the mixture until it is almost smooth.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups tomato juice, 3 T. olive oil, 2 T. vinegar, 1/4 t. paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Chill thoroughly. I like to serve with big Caesar salad type croutons.

Torilla Soup is also good for using up lots of tomatoes. Another recipe we really like that makes a nice vegetarian meal is:

Mediterranean Tomato Bread Salad

1/2 loaf stale Italian or French bread, cut into 1/2 in cubes
1 T. olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. fresh mozarella, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
8 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 lb. leaf spinach, washed and sliced
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 T. balsamic vinegar
3 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the bread cubes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 5 - 10 minutes, until golden brown. Watch carefully.
In a big salad bowl, add onion, mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach and basil. Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and papper. Add the crusty bread cubes and toss together. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve and then pass the Parmesan for sprinkling. Serves 4.

For extra protein, add a little shredded proscuitto. Yum!

Bon Appetit!

Grapeshot

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