Posts tagged ‘Tomatoes’

Fresh Summer Salsa

Salsa

Yum! As I’ve said before, making fresh salsa is one of my favorite things about summer. Ripe tomatoes, cilantro, some spice, and the coolness of cucumber all come together in a fresh, flavorful condiment that can be used in so many things that it’s almost mind boggling. For some ideas, go here.

Salsa is a fun thing to make, I think, because it is so delicious, so versatile, and rather impressive-sounding (“yes, I make my own salsa…”) but it is extremely easy as long as you have the right vegetables on hand, and a food processor. A food processor is a must here to get the veggies chopped finely enough and consistently enough without your salsa-making adventure lasting until next September. A good food processor can usually be obtained for $30 – 40 (in the United States) and it’s a good investment for salsas, falafel, latkes, and many other dishes.

This salsa is a variation on the recipe that I posted last summer. I didn’t have as many tomatoes around the house this time, so I substituted other vegetables in their stead. I also blended the salsa a little bit less, creating a texture more like pico de gallo than bottled salsa. This particular incarnation was also somewhat reminiscent of a Latin-inspired bruschetta, and went very well on thin slices of garlic-infused baguette. I suspect that an unflavored baguette would treat it just as nicely.

Another Summer Salsa
Makes about 4 cups

1 cup red onion, cut into quarters (1 large onion)
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed (about 1½ cups)
1 bell pepper, veins and seeds removed and cut into quarters
2-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 scotch bonnet chile (or other chile), chopped with veins and seeds removed
1½ cups cucumber, cut into large chunks (about ½ a cucumber)
3 cups cherry tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt, preferably kosher or coarse salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice

  1. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapenos into food processor and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped (about 10 seconds).
  2. Add cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, salt, cumin and lime juice and pulse until finely chopped and well combined (about 10 more seconds).  It’s important to do this in two steps so that the harder veggies (onions, peppers) can be finely chopped without turning the softer veggies (tomatoes, cucumber) into mush.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with tortilla chips, on baguette slices, in tacos or burritos, on salads, in eggs or tofu scrambles and in any other dish you can imagine. It will keep in the fridge for about a week (theoretically; that is, if you don’t eat it all up first).

July 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Curried Tofu Mac & Cheese

img_6656Inspired by a scrumptious trip to S’MAC in New York, Sean and I decided to try out our own mac & cheese creation with the motley crew of leftovers hanging around our fridge. The result was delicious, and successful in quelling our desire to go back to S’MAC immediately. The list of ingredients is long. So long, in fact, that I considered leaving this recipe unposted. The preparation is really simple, though, and you can play around with spices and ingredients to suit your pantry’s capacities. The serving size for this recipe is relatively small, because we found the dish particularly filling – and because we wanted to eat it with giant piles of steamed asparagus, which is highly recommended.

Curried Tofu Mac & Cheese
Makes 4 smallish servings

1 cup uncooked macaroni pasta
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. ginger, finely grated
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup cornmeal (plus additional 2 tsp. for variation)
1 cup tomato, chopped
½ tsp. mustard seeds, optional
½ tsp. fenugreek seeds, optional
½ tsp. cumin
1½ tsp. garam masala or curry powder
½ cup vegetable broth or water
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1  cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded (plus additional 1 cup for variation)
1 tsp. sriracha or other hot sauce, plus additional for garnish

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Saute the garlic, ginger and onion until onion is translucent. Add tofu and saute until browned on both sides. Add cornmeal with seeds and spices, stirring to coat. Sautee until the tofu is well-coated and the spices begin to release their fragrances.
  3. Add cooked macaroni to the pot, with the coconut milk, broth, nutritional yeast, cilantro and sriracha. Add 1 cup cheese gradually, stirring constantly.
  4. Optional: Preheat oven to  400F. Spoon mac & cheese into four oven proof bowls. Sprinkle an additional ¼ cup cheese plus ½ tsp cornmeal for each bowl and bake 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

March 15, 2009 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Caprese Crostini


Need to impress dinner party guests or potluckers without breaking a sweat (ie. turning on the oven)? Caprese Crostini will do the trick, and it’s ridiculously easy to make if you use prepared pesto. Using pesto here instead of fresh basil leaves intensifies the basil flavour and lends a nice texture to the snack. If you’re making this for a dinner party, you can prep all of the ingredients in advance and then put the crostini together in minutes so that they’ll be fresh when your guests arrive.

Caprese Crostini

1 baguette, preferably whole wheat
3-4 roma tomatoes (enough to cover the baguette when sliced)
1 lb. large bocconcini balls or mozzarella
½ cup pesto (recipe follows)
several grindings fresh black pepper (about ½ tsp.)

  1. Prepare pesto if making your own.
  2. Slice the baguette into 1″ slices, and slice the mozzarella and tomatoes thinly.
  3. Spread each baguette slice with pesto, top with one slice mozzarella and then one slice tomato.
  4. Grind pepper over crostini and serve.

Fresh Basil Pesto
makes 1 cup

3 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
3 cloves garlic, chopped
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup pine nuts
¼ tsp. each freshly ground salt and pepper, or to taste

  1. Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth.

September 10, 2008 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

Two Vegetarian Chili Recipes: Super Chili

Vegan Chili

So, if you want to fancy things up a bit, here is my “Super Chili” recipe, which is essentially the basic chili with a whole lot added in. I’ve garnished it here with some Avocado Cream, which is delicious and super easy to make, but you can leave it out if you like.

Vegetarian Super Chili
makes 6 – 8 servings

1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
2-6 cloves garlic, minced (you decide)
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 large bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large carrot, chopped (about ½ cup)
½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 – 28oz. can diced tomatoes (or 3½ cups chopped tomatoes and ½ cup water)
2 cups black beans (or 1 – 14oz. can)
2 cups kidney beans (or 1 – 14oz. can)
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup corn
1 large potato, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup frozen spinach (or 4 cups raw spinach, cooked down)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. maple syrup

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil and sauté garlic, onion, jalapeño, bell pepper and carrot until onion is soft. If you are using fresh spinach, add it and cook it down after cooking the onion.
  2. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, spinach, potatoes, broth, spices and syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until desired consistency is reached, about 20 minutes.

VARIATION: Slow Cooked Super Chili: Throw all of the ingredients together into your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Avocado Cream
Makes 4 – 8 servings

1 avocado
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. lime juice

  1. In a bowl, mash the avocado.
  2. Add the yogurt and lime juice and mix.
  3. Serve immediately

August 27, 2008 at 9:07 am 2 comments

Two Vegetarian Chili Recipes: Basic Chili

Vegan Super Chili

Requests (ok, one) have come in for recipes that make large quantities and that freeze well. My favourite such recipe is chili and I’m excited to post this recipe because it’s one of the first that I ever came up with on my own. I don’t really like “meaty” chilis and was dismayed that most vegetarian chili recipes replace the meat in chili with fake meat products or TVP. What’s the point when you can throw so many beans in there? If you need your “meat,” though, feel free to throw in a package of veggie ground round or crumbled tofu when you are cooking the onions. This is my basic recipe. It’s great as it is, but feel free to experiment. Tomorrow(ish) I will post my “Super Chili” recipe, which is actually what’s pictured above (shh! don’t tell).

Vegetarian Chili
makes 4 – 6 servings

1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
2-6 cloves garlic, minced (you decide)
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 – 28oz. can diced tomatoes (or 3½ cups chopped tomatoes and ½ cup water)
2 cups black beans (or 1 – 14oz. can)
2 cups kidney beans (or 1 – 14oz. can)
1 cup corn
1½ cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin

optional garnishes: sliced avocado, hot sauce, yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheese

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil and sauté garlic, onion and jalapeño until soft.
  2. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, broth and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until desired consistency is reached, about 20 minutes

VARIATION: Slow Cooker Chili: Throw all of the ingredients together into your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

August 25, 2008 at 6:47 am 2 comments

Summer Sensation Pasta


Thanks to free BBQs, receptions and ice cream socials for new students, I have not really had to cook since I arrived in New Haven. But I know you need recipes, so here’s one that I wrote a few weeks ago that was super delicious, and should still be in season.

This recipe resulted from a vague craving for pasta and a need to start emptying out the pantry in preparation for the big move. Although a wide range of divergent ingredients got thrown into this one, it came out well-balanced and pretty delicious. Serve with a simple green salad and a cold summer wine, if you’re so inclined.

Summer Sensation Pasta
Serves 4

12 oz. whole wheat pasta (your choice, we used linguine)
1/2 tsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
4 tomatoes, chopped (about 3 cups)
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup cooked black beans
2 cups peas
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and simmer until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat oil and saute garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add pine nuts and cook until golden brown, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until they release their juices, about 2 minutes. Add artichoke hearts, beans, peas and chili flakes and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss pasta with tomato mixture and remaining ingredients. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

August 23, 2008 at 8:40 am 1 comment

Hearty Couscous Summer Salad

Tabbouleh (or Tabouli) is one of our favourite main course salads, and over the years we have modified the recipe out of recognition. This latest rendition is more of a couscous salad, with lots of veggies and parsley, and chickpeas for protein. This recipe makes plenty for two people to eat for dinner and then take for lunch for a couple of days. This is a perfect dish for hot summer days when it is too hot to cook, but you want something to fill you up.

This recipe calls for quick-cooking couscous. Most of the couscous sold in North America is quick cooking, but it’s often not labeled as such. So if you have couscous, it will probably do. You can make this dish gluten free by using quinoa instead.

Hearty Couscous Summer Salad
Makes 6 large servings

1¼ cups quick-cooking couscous
1½ cups boiling water
2 cups cucumber, diced (about ½ cucumber)
1½ cups red onion, finely diced (about ½ red onion)
2 cups bell peppers, diced (about 1½ bell peppers)
1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 2 cups)
6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups chickpeas
½ cup goat feta, crumbled (optional)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried dill
¼ tsp. Sriracha, or other hot sauce
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

  1. Place couscous in a large Pyrex bowl or pot (something that is safe for boiling water). Pour boiling water over the couscous, and cover with an inverted plate to keep in the steam. Let sit for 10 minutes (or until water is absorbed) and then fluff with a fork. OR: Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add couscous and cover, cooking about 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Transfer couscous to a large mixing bowl. Add other ingredients and mix until well combined. Enjoy!

August 4, 2008 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.