Picking out an avocado at the store is a little like buying a dollar scratch ticket. You never know what you are going to get. Big winner or just a waste of a dollar.
It’s a low investment so you are not too worried if it doesn’t work out. But the dream of choosing just the right one and scoring big is strong! Oh the things you could do with the winnings.
When I pick out a winning avocado I know immediately that it needs to be enjoyed simply. The buttery flesh of a perfectly ripe avocado only needs a little salt, some ground cumin, a splash of lime juice. That’s it unless you want just a hint of hot sauce.
The secret to my nachos is simplicity. Oh and put the cheese down first. I use the broiler to melt the cheese onto the tops of the chips first. That way you get no soggy chips under there, the cheese acts like a barrier between the wet stuff and the chips. Next some fresh diced tomatoes if you can get your hands on some this time of year. A pinch of salt and pepper. The final topping is the perfect lottery-winning avocado. Mashed up with the above mentioned and simply spread on top. The avocado all fresh and velvety on top of cheesy, crisp chips. Truth be told you could leave off the tomatoes but why would you ever want to do that!
The colors are rather appropriate for the season, no?
And nothing goes better with tomatoes than corn! (and steak) I’m always looking for a twist on the corn and tomatoes pairing but this one might be a bit of a stretch.
Corn meal dusted fried chicken and a fresh tomato & vegetable “Ragu.”
Just use the standard “FEBruary” technique ( Flour, Egg, Breading) but replace the flour with fine corn meal and the breading with regular corn meal. (Doesn’t everybody have 2 kinds of corn meal in their pantry? LOL!) Oh and add some fine grated Parmesan cheese to the breading part to give it some yummy! (don’t to forget to season with salt and pepper!)
let the coating rest a few
Now for the veggies! Garden fresh tomatoes are key. I happen to have some yellow and red!
red onions and mushrooms!
small and tender Asparagus
the basics to all good ‘ragu!”
Just start with a pan of hot olive oil and throw everything in…Its a quick process ..maybe 8-10 minutes total! ( you don’t want to over cook the asparagus!)
adding some green
Fresh basil at the end!
Here’s a couple other of my “twists” on corn and tomatoes! Here, Here and Here!
This year my “supersonics” just keep on giving and although not quite as big as promised… (I blame that on the gardener not the garden) they are prolific! And the little yellow “pear” tomatoes are happily producing a handful a day at this point!
After a while there are only so many BLTs you can eat before you need a chance of pace…
What? Wait?!!! did I really just write that? I never get tired of a BLT!
But the ugly truth is that when the tomatoes are producing faster than you can make sandwiches, there is only one thing left to do….
(or “gravy” as we like to say around Boston.) Here is all you need for a simple sauce…
Brown up the meats in a heavy bottom cast enamel pan in some olive oil, turn the heat down a bit and add the finely chopped garlic, dried spices and tomato paste. Let them “bloom” for a couple of minutes and de-glaze the pan with the chopped fresh tomatoes. I like to smooth things out with a tablespoon of sugar and of course don’t forget the salt & pepper. Note that I do coat the pork roast with plenty of salt, pepper and a little bit of onion powder before I brown it to a nice crust on all sides. The sausage is fine as is.
Sauce in the making!
I like to let the whole thing simmer for at least 4 hours on lowish-medium heat and only serve it when the pork roast is basically fork tender. If you like a smoother sauce, remove the meats for a minute and take an immersion blender to the whole thing until it’s your level of smooth. Also I leave the seeds and skin on my tomatoes but you could easily poach and peel the tomatoes and strain the seeds out if that is your desire.
The finished sauce freezes beautifully and when you take some out around Christmas time it truly will be “the most wonderful time of the year” again!
When I considered the restaurant brunch options for Mother’s Day in my mom’s hometown I couldn’t think of any place nicer then her porch. Besides I know her likes and dislikes better than any chef and I love to cook!
We had a full day ahead of us, opening up the porch to ready it for summer, changing out storm windows for screens and getting the hoses out in the extensive yard.
So breakfast on Mother’s Day was not going to be an elaborate, leisurely affair but rather a quick, nourishing start to our busy day.
And lucky for everyone her garden chives are already up so I paired that with the “corn and tomatoes on the porch” leftovers from the night before to make tasty omelets!
So fresh and yummy – even if I do say so myself! and of course it’s never really too early for a decadent dessert made with early strawberries, warmed slightly and sweetened with just a touch of honey, served over the best vanilla ice cream! (crumbled chocolate brownies optional!)
I actually graduate tomorrow (yippee!) and I am looking forward to new and more frequent blog entries now that I can have my life back! Stay tuned….
If you have been reading along you already know my obsession with tomatoes.
If you don’t know already… I am obsessed.
So this past weekend when I was visiting my “tomato dealer” I just had to have some these beauties immeadiately.
And the fact that it was breakfast time didn’t stop me.
Such good looking late season fruit needs to be handled simply and since it was breakfast and I was planning on eggs, I simply sauteed them lightly with some dried basil and butter* and served over fried eggs on toast!
It was all so good that I had most of it eaten up before I remembered to take a picture!
If you love guacamole and you love bruschetta- why not create a “mash-up” of the two?!
That’s exactly what I did one night for dinner. I had a PERFECTLY ripe avocado (a rare find sometimes) which I “mashed up” (pun intended!) and mixed with a squirt or two of lime juice, salt, pepper and ground cumin. I spread that on some toasted Italian bread and topped it with sliced tomatoes. A light drizzle of olive oil and some more salt and pepper and there you have the ultimate “mash-up!”
(The only thing missing was some fresh torn basil on top, but I was too lazy to go out into the garden with a flash light and get it!)
Corn and tomatoes are one of my favorite parings and I have written about them before….here and here.
This time I paired them in a quiche. Easy and summer-y this quiche tastes like a fancy brunch dish and is so light that you feel almost like you are eating healthy! (never mind the eggs, cream and cheese in the mix!)
The key was the fresh corn – sweet and in season now – I carved it raw off the cob making sure to include all the “milk” into the bowl as well. I had never used a soft, fresh cheese like goat cheese before, in a quiche, but I had some already crumbled in the fridge and decided to throw it in. The fresh basil and cherry tomatoes cut in half rounded out this trifecta (or perhaps its a “superfecta?”) of ingredients. The moist goat cheese added a bit of luscious-ness to it.The quiche is rich but not heavy.
I just use a store-bought crust that I blind bake for 10-15 minutes so the crust will be crisp and not soggy. I also firmly believe that glass pie dishes get the best result with crust. For the liquids I simply start with 6 whole eggs and about a cup of dairy – milk cream or even half and half. I fill the cooled crust with the filling of the choice and carefully pour the liquid mix over it all. Be careful not to pour to fast as sometimes the liquid doesn’t get into the nooks and crannies as fast as it should and you can easily spill over the edges! S & p to taste.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until set in middle. Cool a bit before slicing.