Flooding Susie’s Inbox

July 1, 2009

Attack of the killer tomatoes

Filed under: Food — sashyjane @ 11:38 am

Did y’all ever watch that show? It was ridiculous.

I don’t know about you but during the summer at my house, I’m never wanting for tomatoes. Between Grandmama, Daddy and the Davis Road fruit stand, I’m always well-stocked with the ripe, juicy fruit. I love to have a few slices of tomato with dinner or on a sandwich and I enjoy chopping a few up in scrambled eggs for breakfast but I want to make my tomatoes work a little harder this summer. sb10065294f-001

One of the easiest (and tastiest) recipes I’ve tried lately is for Spaghettini with Checca Sauce. The blend of tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, green onions and fresh mozzarella makes the perfect casual summer supper. Swap out the spaghettini noodles for bowties or penne, omit adding back the pasta water, refrigerate and you’ve got a great cold pasta salad. If you’d like a little protein with your pasta, serve bruschetta chicken. Take thinly sliced chicken breasts and dredge them in eggs and bread crumbs, bake until juices run clear and top with homemade bruschetta (recipe follows.)

For a tasty crunchy lunch option, don’t just slap a slice of tomato on your sandwich, serve garden sliders (tiny sandwiches.) Top a crispy bread round with slices of cool cucumber, sliced roma or plum tomatoes and grilled summer squash. Spread garlicky or red pepper hummus on another bread round and place it on top of the sandwich. The color combination of the red, green and yellow makes the sandwich look almost as yummy as it tastes. Serve with a side of fresh, homemade salsa and tortilla chips for a light and delicious lunch.

Probably one of the strangest recipes I’ve ever come across is one I stumbled upon in an old church cookbook. Brace yourself. It’s tomato cake. Yes, cake! I was mildly horrified but decided to give it a try and it’s really quite good; it’s similar to carrot cake. Since, I’ve seen recipes for green tomato cakes but have yet to give them a try. If you’re brave enough, whip up this surprising confection and put those juicy red babies to good use.

If you’d like to savor some summer flavor all year long, canning your tomatoes is a great option. The store-bought canned stuff just can’t compare to the flavors of your own home-canned tomatoes. For step by step instructions, visit here or here.

Spaghettini with Checca Sauce
Serves 8

8 oz. angel hair or spaghettini pasta
4 scallions, coarsley chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (12 oz.) container cherry tomatoes, halved (or 5-6 chopped romas)
1 (1 oz.) wedge of Parmesan, coarsley chopped
8-10 fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 T. olive oil
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ inch cubes

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water (seasoned with salt and a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking) until tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Combine the scallions, garlic, tomatoes, parmesan, basil, salt and pepper and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse just until the tomatoes are chopped. Do not puree. Drain pasta, reserving some of the water. Toss pasta with the tomato mixture in a large bowl. Add some of the reserved pasta water until desired consistency. Stir in the fresh mozzarella cubes. Enjoy!

Bruschetta Topping for Chicken
4 Servings

1 c. diced ripe tomatoes (about 2 tomatoes)
2 T. chopped fresh basil leaves
2 t. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic. Mis well to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Spoon mixture over chicken breasts and serve.

Homemade Salsa
Makes 10-12 servings

3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper, minced
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies with juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil
Optional ingredients
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15 oz.) cans sweet corn, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
2 limes, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Stir well with a spoon and cover with plastic. Much like potato salad, this salsa tastes best the next day. Allow to refrigerate overnight.

Fresh Tomato Cake
1 c. dark brown sugar
½ c. shortening
2 eggs
3 c. all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt
2 c. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
½ c. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts work best)
½ c. dates, chopped
½ c. raisins, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs. Sift dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture. Gently stir in tomatoes, nuts, dates and raisins. Pour into greased and floured 9×9 inch baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake tests done. Ice with cream cheese frosting.

Originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

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2 Comments »

  1. Please bring me a tomato cake the next time you come to visit Tater.

    Comment by Nance — July 1, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

    • “Nance” must really love tomatoes! I can’t say that the idea of tomato cake sounds like something I’d be excited to make, but I’m sure it’s delicious and all of these recipes sound very good! Just wait until my garden is in full bloom and I’ll make something tomatolicious possibly one of your recipes.

      Comment by Susie Mae — July 2, 2009 @ 12:01 am


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