Campbell’s Tomato Soup and grilled cheese were common in our house when the girls were growing up. Now that I’ve discovered homemade tomato soup, the canned stuff is out the door. I roast tomatoes all summer and freeze them for soup and sauces in the winter. The tomatoes I had frozen did not have garlic and onion in them, so I sautéed the onion in a little olive oil and added the garlic when the onions were brown. The end result was delicious. The soup was a little thick, so I added water to gain the consistency I like.
The perfect lunch or dinner for a snowy winter day!
Roasted Tomato Soup
3 lb. Roma Tomatoes (I used a variety of tomatoes from my garden)
1/2 small onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk or cream (I used Half and Half)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons fresh basil (I used pureed frozen basil)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Water or milk to thin the soup to your liking
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with oil. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper.
Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the tomatoes start to brown. (At this point you can freeze the tomato mixture for later or proceed with the recipe.)
Scrape the tomato mixture into the blender and add the milk or cream, Parmesan cheese, basil, tomato paste, and sugar. Puree until completely smooth and adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve immediately with grilled cheese for dunking. Yum!
Lemon Garlic Kale Salad is a favorite salad, especially when I had fresh kale from my garden but it is wonderful with kale from the grocery store, as well. My good friend, Maribeth, introduced this recipe to me a few years ago and it continues to be a favorite.
Lemon Garlic Kale Salad
2 cups almond slices, toasted
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon Juice (2-4 lemons)
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife, peeled and left whole
10 to 12 ounces washed and dried kale leaves, thick stems removed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
In a toaster oven or oven, toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt.
Slowly whisk in olive oil.
Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep.
Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons: gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. This need not be done very precisely or neatly; the idea is to end up with a kind of slaw. (Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep kale and dressing refrigerated separately.)
Place chopped kale in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and then cheese.
Remove and discard garlic cloves from dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for dressin and salt and add more as needed, tossing to coat thoroughly. Serve within 1 hour.
NOTE: I typically make a much smaller salad. The dressing keeps well in the refrigerator. I have also minced the garlic and added to the dressing.
Late summer harvest is my favorite garden time. The Sungold tomatoes are at their peak, basil is plentiful, and local sweet corn is available. When I saw this recipe, I was hesitant about the apple but it adds a wonderful pop of crunchy flavor. Avocado adds a little bit of heaven in every bite. The dressing makes a large quantity. Add to the salad to taste. You may have enough dressing to make a double batch. I will be making this recipe over and over and over again.
Napa Sweet Corn Salad
2 cups sweet corn kernels, raw (~3 ears) (Note: I cooked the corn then cut off the cob)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
3 small or 2 large green onions, chopped
1 small avocado, chopped
1 red apple, chopped
1/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds
1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
For the Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey (or agave for Vegan recipe)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Combine ingredients for the Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette in a jar or bowl then shake or whisk to combine. Taste then add up to an additional 1/2 Tablespoon honey if desired – remember that the sweet corn and apple will add natural sweetness to the salad. Set dressing aside.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl then drizzle over desired amount of Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Book Club almost always inspires me to try making something new and the Watermelon Heirloom Salad has been on my list of ‘must try’ since my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it.
I served this in July with tomatoes and watermelon in season. It is a refreshing salad especially during the hot days of summer. The salad was served with the feta on the side since some of our members are Vegan. Easy peasy and satisfies all. What a wonderful fusion of great flavors. It’s now one of my favorite summer treats.
WATERMELON HEIRLOOM SALAD
3 large heirloom tomatoes (about 1.5 pounds), cored and cute into chunks or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used multi-color cherry tomatoes)
4 cups cubed watermelon
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used Champagne vinegar)
juice of 1 lime
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh feta (don’t skimp on the quality of the feta)
1 lime, cut into wedges
Combine the tomatoes, watermelon, mint and basil in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix together olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Pour olive oil mixture over the fruit and toss to mix.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle the feta over the salad (or on the side). Serve with lime wedges and sea salt.
Cinnamon Basil…who knew there was such a thing. I grew Cinnamon Basil in my garden, not really sure what I would do with it. It truly has a cinnamon essence and is great in salads. I adapted this recipe, adding chopped walnuts and Craisins to add a fruity, crunchy addition to the salad. Next time, I may add a little crumbled goat cheese. Mmmmm.
ARUGULA AND CINNAMON BASIL SALAD
6 cups rocket (arugula)
1 cup cinnamon basil, torn (I used a little less)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Craisins
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 dash salt
Put the dressing ingredients in a jar, cover, and shake well.
Put the rocket, onion, walnuts, Craisins, and basil in a salad bowl and toss, with a little dressing.
Unique Zucchini recipes are always of interest to me and this Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Zucchini Break did not disappoint. Breads, cakes and cookies with rolled oats are a favorite, now adding coconut and chocolate…what’s not to like!
OATMEAL COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI BREAD
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat white flour (may be substituted with all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 3/4 cup coconut sugar (may be substituted with granulated or brown sugar) 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (may be substituted with canola oil)
2 large eggs
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard size loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Whisk together the oats, flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and coconut oil vigorously, until foamy, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini, coconut, and chocolate chips and stir until combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!
Sungold cherry tomatoes have become our family’s favorite tomatoes, eating them off the wine as a treat. They are so sweet and incredibly delicious. Just perfect for Cherry Tomato Jam.
Each year I seem to have an abundance of tomatoes, making salads with them, roasting them with peppers and garlic and much more. Tomato Jam recipes were popping up this year and I decided to try it. It’s so easy and delicious. I haven’t tried to can it because it disappears from the frig long before the expiration date. Serve it on a crusty bread or on top of a soft cheese. I also made a Grilled Cheese with a schmeer of tomato jam. YUMMO!
CHERRY TOMATO JAM
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/3 cup) 3 cloves garlic 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 32 ounces (2 lbs.) cherry tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pints) 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup 1 large spring thyme 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel or non-reactive pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until softened.
Add the chili powder and smoked paprika and sauté 30 seconds more.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until the tomatoes burst and thicken, for about 10-15 minutes. If at any time the pan becomes dry and the tomatoes begin to burn, add a tablespoon or two more of water and reduce the heat a bit more.
Remove from heat and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 10-14 days.
Zucchini is normally the vegetable that you are drowning in by the end of summer. This year it was yellow squash. After making two batches of Lemon Yellow Summer Squash Bread and roasting pans of mixed garden vegetables, I moved on to a new recipe for Sweet Yellow Squash Pickles. My Mother always made Bread & Butter Pickles and I loved them. These are very similar and quite delicious. A new favorite for my yellow squash harvest!
4 small yellow squash – cut in thin (1/4-inch slices or less); about 3 cups 1/2 cup thinly slices red onion 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup white vinegar 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 1 teaspoon celery seeds 1 teaspoon dry mustard
In a large non-metal bowl, combine the squash and onion. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Then, drain the liquid from the vegetables.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and dry mustard. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the squash and onion mixture and then return to boiling.
Remove from heat. Ladle the hot vegetables and liquid into sterilized canning jars.
At this point, the jars can be processed for long-term canning or covered and stored as-is in the refrigerator for up to one month.
My Mother always grew a large garden and had a plentiful canning room in the basement with many types of pickles, tomatoes, corn, green beans, chicken, beef, peaches, pears, apples, jams. jelly, and more. What she didn’t can, she froze. I fondly remember the annual family gathering to pick, husk, parboil, cut and pack sweet corn for the freezer. How wonderful to enjoy this bounty during the long, cold Iowa winters.
This year I had a plentiful harvest of cucumbers. With the first hard freeze shortly after Labor Day, I had to pick most the produce, including many cucumbers. I made my Mom’s Easy Dill Pickle recipe and it didn’t disappoint. The addition of fresh garlic to the second batch will be a new twist!
EASY DILL PICKLES
Medium Cucumber, sliced into spears or slices
Optional: Peeled cloves of garlic
Wash medium size cucumbers and pack in canning quart jars. Add fresh dill to the top (stem and all). Place 1/4 teaspoon alum in the top of each quart jar of cucumbers.
Boil canning lids and rings in a separate pot.
Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. To each quart of liquid add 4 tablespoons salt. Heat liquid to boiling point. Pour liquid, while hot, over pickles.
Immediately place lids and rings on each jar.Let stand until cool. Check to assure lid has sealed. Let the pickles sit in the brine for a few days/weeks. Store in a cool place.
I’ve also made these pickles and just placed in the frig, skipping the canning process.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup Raisins (I skipped the raisins since the family doesn’t like)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a Bundt or 9 inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until
light and fluffy. Stir in the shredded zucchini. Then transfer this batter to the flour mixture and stir until everything is combined. Fold in the raisins.
Pour into the baking pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in
the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to completely cool.
** Please note, cook time for Bundt pan will be around 60 minutes and for the 9 inch loaf pan, around 1 hr 10 minutes. Always check after 1 hr for doneness as all ovens are different.