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Simple Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you have a busy schedule like I do.  With the freshest ingredients you can get and a bit of patience you will be rewarded with you won’t believe you did it yourself and from scratch.

Included in my CSA box were some tomatoes in various sizes and colors.  I particularly like the baby Romas.  Also in the box was some amazing Thai basil.  I decided to make a sauce to compliment the bucatini I got at Glorioso’s (the best Italian market in the state!).

This recipe is inspired by Martha Stewarts Spaghetti 101 episode.  With this recipe, everything is fresh, nothing is canned. I love this recipe for its simplicity.  I’m not stirring sauce all day (not that there is anything wrong with that. I just don’t have the time).  I can get dinner on the table at a decent time and everyone is happy.  I also love how versatile this sauce recipe is.  You can adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. My family loves it when I amp up the garlic and red pepper flakes.

If you are pressed for time and craving a pasta dish.  Try this one out.

Supplies:

  • Fresh tomatoes (I had 4 regular sized and 7 baby romas), pureed (more on that below)
  • 5 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped or thrown in whole
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (a little goes a long way, adjust to your liking.  Start of light with a dash, you can always add more later)
  • 1/8-1/4 C good red wine (If it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with)
  • S&P to taste

First thing you need to do is take your fresh tomatoes and turn them into a puree.  I prefer taking the skins off the tomatoes. You don’t have to, but it does make for a nice smooth sauce. Taking the skins off a tomato isn’t as daunting as it sounds; in fact it’s pretty simple and quick.  Take a paring knife and cut an X on the bottom of each tomato.

Place your tomatoes into a pot of boiling water.  You only need to keep them in the water for a minute at most.  When you pinch (very carefully they are HOT)  the tomato and the skins slide, take them out of the water and put into a colander to cool down to where you can handle them freely.  The skins will slide ride off.  Easy!

Place skinned tomatoes into a food processor, food mill, blender whathaveyou.  Puree.  You can do a smooth puree or you can leave it a bit chunky. Your choice.

In a large sautee pan, sautee onions until translucent. Add garlic and sautee until the garlic is soft.

Add red pepper flakes, tomato puree and red wine to onions and garlic.  Stir until thoroughly mixed, simmering on medium heat.   Now is a good time to season with salt and pepper.  This is the stage when I determine if I need to add more red pepper flake or not.

Add the oregano and basil and let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat. It will start to thicken up (but not much) and look and smell amazing.

This sauce won’t be a thick sauce like you get in a can or jar. It will be on the thin side and will coat pasta nicely.   If you aren’t comfortable with a thinner pasta sauce, you could use a tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken it up a bit. I personally don’t think it needs it.  Again, preference.

The taste is incredibly fresh.  You really get flavor of the tomato.  I love the kick of heat you get and all that wonderful garlic.  Sprinkle some fresh parm on top and serve with piping hot garlic bread and enjoy!

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Roasted Garlic-Chive Butter

I love garlic.  I love chives.  I love butter.  So why not put them all together to make one heck of a tastegasm?  That’s exactly what I did when I opened my CSA box to find some of the most gorgeous chives I’ve ever seen.  Kath Vogelmann of Highcross Farm really knows what she’s doing when it comes to the herbs she has growing on the farm.

I roasted the garlic so it wouldn’t overpower the chives.  Chives are strong enough on their own, I didn’t want them fighting with the garlic for the front row so to speak.  If you don’t know how to roast garlic, I go through it here.

Supplies:

  • 1 stick of salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted and chopped
  • 1 good handful of chives, chopped
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • A drizzle of olive oil

Put it all in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  That’s it!  Slather it on whatever you wish.  Tonight it was baked potatoes, tomorrow it will be grilled corn on the cob.  Mmm!

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Paprika Roasted Red Potatoes w/ Kale Pesto

Ahhh Kale…

So pretty, so good for you.  I have to admit, when I first started being a CSA member I didn’t have a clue what to do with kale.  I’m still learning.  HighCross Farm has some of the prettiest Kale I’ve ever seen by the way…

While perusing  some of my favorite food sites, I happened upon a video from someone who calls himself The Hippy Gourmet.  He was making Paprika roasted potatoes and Kale pesto.  I simply had to try it.  Let me tell you, Kale pesto is AMAZING.  I think it’s even better than the basil or arugula pesto I’ve made in the past.

The crispiness from the potatoes with the creaminess of the Kale pesto and an added punch from the grated Romano is heaven in your mouth. You will LOVE this recipe.

Supplies

  • Red potatoes, cut into halves or quarters
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 C toasted walnuts
  • Grated Romano cheese (you can use Parm or Asiago as well)
  • Olive oil

Par boil your potatoes so they are soft, but not to the point of mush.  Drain and toss with enough oil to cover, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake on 450 until crispy (about 40 mins).

For the Pesto:

Remove the hard stem from the kale and drop into boiling water.  Boil kale until soft. This only takes a few minutes.

Drain off the kale and put into a food processor with the garlic, walnuts and cheese. Pulse until finely ground.

Drizzle in enough olive oil to bind it all together. You want it nice and thick, not oily and runny.

While the potatoes are still warm, dollop the pesto over the top.  Shave some cheese over the pesto and enjoy!

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Lemony Lamb Meatballs w/ Lemon Chive Butter Sauce & Herbed Rice

There were some beautiful baby beet greens in my CSA box this week.  I normally don’t make greens on a regular basis but wanted to do something with these.  I had some ground lamb in my refrigerator and a lemon leftover from making lemonade. I figure I would put it all together and see how it turn out.  Noting short of fabulous.

I paired the meatballs with some herbed rice using the oregano that was in my CSA box as well.

This dish was easy to make, easy to clean up and most of all fantastic.  Perfect weekday meal.

Lemony Lamb Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 bunch baby beet greens, chopped
  • 3 pieces of bread, toasted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • S & P to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • rind of 1 lemon, grated
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Lemon Chive Butter Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 handful of chives, chopped
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • S & P to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Herbed Rice

  • 1 C long grain brown rice
  • 2 C water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

For the meatballs:

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients but the oil. Mix well with hands until all ingredients are mixed in well.

Roll into 1-2 inch balls.

Heat oil in frying pan and cook meatballs until brown on all sides. Don’t worry about the inside, they will cook in the sauce.

Take meatballs out of pan and let drain on some paper towel.

For the sauce:

De-glaze the pan with the lemon juice making sure you get all the good bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add in the butter until melted.  Add in the garlic, chives and heavy cream.  Stir until well blended and heated through.

Add back the meatballs. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes.

Herbed Rice

In a sauce pan melt the butter then add the rice. Let the rice sauté until lightly browned.

Add the water, garlic and oregano.  Bring water to a boil then turn the heat down and let the rice simmer for 20-30 minutes or until rice is tender and there is no longer water in the pot.

Inside:

     
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    Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

     

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    Salsa

    I took these…

    and turned it into this!

    Closer…

    I made mine rather hot.

    Salsa

    2 large tomatoes chopped

    1 hot pepper finely diced (if you don’t want your salsa on fire, take out the veins and seeds)

    1 medium onion diced

    2 cloves of garlic minced

    1 handful of cilantro finely chopped

    Juice of 1 lime

    Mince your garlic, dice your onion and chop your tomatoes. Put into a medium sized bowl and mix together. Chop your cilantro and pepper and add to tomato mix.  Add the juice of a lime, stir and refrigerate.  Let it sit for a bit so the flavors marry. (It’s equally good if you don’t..I suppose it’s personal preference). Enjoy with chips or use in your favorite recipe.

    I do have to comment on the onions I have been getting from HighCross Farm.  They are the best tasting onions I have ever had.  They put store bought onions to shame.  Same goes for their garlic.

     
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    Posted by on August 18, 2008 in salsa

     

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    Roasted Garlic

    Peel the garlic skin until you pretty much have nothing but cloves.  Drizzle olive oil on top. Cover with foil and pop into a 400 degree oven for 35-40 mins. (I take the foil off for the last ten minutes because I like mine darker on top).

    Let cool down, then squeeze the garlic until the cloves ooze out.

    You can save it for sauces or whatnot. Me, I prefer it warm, slathered on a nice piece of crusty bread with a tiny sprinkling of salt.

    One word…Yum!

     
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    Posted by on August 9, 2008 in garlic

     

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    Pesto!

    A little math equation for you…

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    This!

    The picture doesn’t do it any justice.  This pesto looks, smells, tastes fantastic.  I have some pasta cooking on the stove and I cannot wait to slather it in pesto.  The cheese, well it could not be any fresher.  The garlic, look at it.  Gorgeous purple streaks. HighCross Farm is where that comes from.

    Recipe…

    Pesto

    1 bunch of basil leaves (3-4 cups, loosely filled)
    1/4 toasted pine nuts (or walnuts)..pine nuts are better in my humbled opinion.
    1/4 Parmesan
    1-2 cloves garlic
    1/4 cup olive oil

    1
    Tear basil leaves off stem and place in bowl of food processor. (or blender)
    2
    Add nuts, cheese and garlic to the bowl.
    3
    Start blending and pouring olive oil into the mixture while it’s whirling around.
    4
    Mix until it’s finely chopped and holds together well, about 1 minute.

     
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    Posted by on August 9, 2008 in basil, CSA, garlic, pesto

     

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