Tag Archives: tomato

Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad)

I know it’s been done a million times.  Seriously though, it really doesn’t get any better than a fresh from the farm tomato, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil drizzled with a good olive oil.


  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • FRESH mozzarella, sliced
  • fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Layer the tomato, mozzarella and basil to desired height.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I like to go very light on the salt. I love the taste of fresh mozzarella and don’t want the salt to over power it.  This is my absolute favorite salad, and I hope it becomes yours.

By the way, Highcross Farm has the best tomatoes I have ever seen. They are perfect.


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Posted by on September 10, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Homemade Ketchup

I found this recipe in a magazine a long, long time ago. I found it last month when I was unpacking some boxes down in my basement.  The tomatoes at Highcross Farm have been so lovely this year, I figured there was no time like the present to try it out.

This recipe is incredible. It’s got a nice hint of sweetness to it that you don’t get in store bought ketchup.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 lbs ripe tomatoes (4 med) peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 C cider vinegar

In a medium saucepan, heat canola oil and add onion, garlic, dry mustard and salt.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until softened.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and spices.  Cook for about 2o minutes over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching.  Gently break down tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon while cooking.

Add maple syrup and vinegar and continue to cook, stirring for another 10 minutes until mixture has a nice, thick consistency.

Cool briefly and puree in a food processor.  Pour into a jar and cool completely before using.

This recipe makes on pint jar full of ketchup.


Posted by on September 3, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Fresh Tomato Lasagna

I first want to apologize for the low light picture. I don’t exactly have the most ideal lighting in my house.

With that being said… I found an amazing recipe here.  This recipe is a great way to use up your summer tomatoes.  This is absolutley delicious.

Recipe copied and pasted.

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes (see note)

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, preferably buffalo

8 Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles

5 cups water at 150º

2 Tablespoons good olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used fresh oregano that was in my box this week)

¾ teaspoon salt

1 ounce grated parmesan or grana padano

For the béchamel sauce:

2 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon flour

1 cup milk

¾ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon finely ground pepper

1 large egg

 1. Preheat the oven to 375º.

2. Start the béchamel sauce (below) and do the next steps at the same time you’re working on it. Ideally, by the time you’ve finished the béchamel all the components of the lasagna will be ready.

3. Slice 8 ounces of Buffalo mozzarella (or other fresh mozzarella) into ¼ inch pieces and sprinkle lightly with salt.

4. Slice the tops and bottoms off of the tomatoes and discard or reserve for another use. Cut the rest of each tomato into ¼ inch rounds.

5. Put 5 cups of hot water (not boiling) into a loaf pan or casserole and slip the no-boil noodles in one at a time. Let noodles soak for 15 minutes.

6. In either an 8” square casserole (2 noodles wide, 4 high) or glass loaf pan (1 noodle wide, 8 high) build the lasagna in this order:

  • A layer of uncooked tomato slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and oregano.
  • 1 noodle (or 2 wide if building in an 8” square pan)
  • ¼ of the mozzarella distributed on top of each noodle
  • ¼ cup of béchamel distributed on top of each noodle
  • Sprinkle with parmesan
  • 1 noodle (or 2 wide if building in an 8” square pan)
  • A layer of uncooked tomato slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and oregano.
  • Continue the sequence with remaining noodles and filling, finishing with a layer of tomato slices drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and oregano.

 7. Bake at 375º for 40-45 minutes, until béchamel has puffed up and the edges are bubbling.

8. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

To make the béchamel sauce: Melt butter in a quart-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is barely melted add flour and whisk with a wooden spoon. Add a few tablespoons of milk, mix it in, and then add a few more. Now add small amounts of milk, an ounce or two at a time, and let the milk get hot before you work it into the roux. Be sure the previous batch is fully incorporated and the sauce is smooth before you add more milk. Once you have successfully added all the milk and the sauce is hot and smooth, add the salt and pepper. Cover tightly with a lid and set aside until ready to use.

Just before building the lasagna, beat an egg in a small bowl. Add a small amount of sauce, whisk the sauce and egg together, and then add a bit more sauce and whisk again. Now add a quarter cup of sauce and whisk it in. Add the egg mixture back to the pan and whisk thoroughly.

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Posted by on September 2, 2010 in Uncategorized



Panzanella Salad

A panzanlla salad is comes from the Tuscan region of Italy and is basically a bread salad.  Typically a panzanella includes day old bread, tomatoes, basil, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Since the wonderful HighCross Farm had some sexy lemon basil, cucumber and red onions in the box, I decided to throw those in as well. The best part was  I didn’t have to go anywhere near my stove. Score!

Since I used lemon basil, I decided to keep with the fruity flavor profile and made a vinaigrette with some orange olive oil and strawberry balsamic I got at  Oro Di Oliva.  Fantastic!

For the Panzanella:

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled/seeded and diced
  • 4-5 small-medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of lemon basil
  • 5-6 sliced of day old Italian bread, cut into 1 inch sliced and diced

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablepoons, balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons, olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1.5 tablespoons, honey
  • 5 lemon basil leaves, chopped
  • S&P to taste

In a large bowl add the cucumber, tomato, basil, and onion.  Chill in the refrigerator for an hour to let the juices of the tomato draw out.

While that chills whisk together your vinaigrette.

Add the bread and vinaigrette to cucumber/tomato  mixture. Mix well. You want the bread to sop up the vinaigrette and juice from the veg.

Note: Make sure your bread is good and stale. If you use soft bread you will get nothing but mush. You want good hard, stale bread for this salad.

Let chill again for another 30 minutes.



Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Warm Eggplant & Summer Squash Bruschetta

I love, love, LOVE bruschetta.  I normally go for the typical tomato, basil, mozzarella bruschetta.  This time I decided to go with a super chunky, ultra rustic, warm bruschetta to put atop my fresh loaf of Italian bread.

This is rich and full of flavor without being too heavy for a summer dish.

I think I used 90% of my CSA box with this recipe.  This was a total experiment that pleased me to no end.

This recipe makes quite a lot, so grab a big loaf of fresh bread, a handful of good friends, a beverage of your choice and ENJOY.


  • 1 large zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium sized egg plant, roughly chopped
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes, juice and all
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and you guessed it, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 c red wine of your choice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 handful fresh basil. I received some beautiful lemon basil in my box this week.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • S & P to taste
  • Fresh bread, toasted
  • Grated Parmesan, optional

In a large dutch oven sweat your diced onions in heated olive oil.  Sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sautee until fragrant.  You want to be able to smell the garlic, but be careful not to burn the garlic.

Once you are able to smell the garlic add the squash and egg plant.  Sauté until they start to get golden brown.

Add the wine, tomatoes and basil and let simmer for about 3o minutes; stirring often.You want the liquid to reduce by half. Salt and pepper to your taste.

The squash and eggplant will be soft and you will be left with this delectable sauce to sop up with your bread.

Top your toasted bread with some bruschetta and top with grated parm.

Side note:  If you can get lemon basil, I suggest you do so.  The aroma and flavor it gives this dish is out of this world. Sublime.  If you want a little heat, go ahead and add some crushed red pepper flakes or thai chilies.


Posted by on August 12, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

When I saw all those tomatoes and basil in my CSA box tonight, I thought for a minute what I wanted to do with them. I remembered the bruschetta I had at the Fox River Brewery in Appleton and thought it shouldn’t be hard to come up with my own take on their bruschetta recipe.  Let me tell you…it was heaven in my mouth. I urge you to try this recipe. It’s easy to make and oh so delicious.

I used both the regular basil and the purple basil I recieved in tonights CSA box. Kath grows wonderful basil at HighCross Farm.

I loved the colors with the two varieties of basil and the red and yellow tomatoes.  I love a rustic look to my bruschetta.  The traditional bruschetta recipe calls for roma tomatoes, but I think the concentrated sweetness of the cherry tomatoes adds an extra layer to the all around flavor of this recipe.

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

  • 1.5 pounds of tomatoes (I used all the cherry tomatoes from my csa box)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • Fresh Mozzarella cheese

Mince your garlic and shallots and put into a medium sized bowl.  Chop or dice your tomatoes (if you dont want as much liquid in your bruschetta, squeeze the seeds out of the tomatoes before chopping) and add to the bowl. Chop up your basil (I do a chiffinade then roughly chop that so I have some nice pieces of basil throughout). Add salt and pepper to taste then drizzle in the olive oil. Mix and let sit in the refridgerator while you prepare your baguette.

Turn on the oven to 450 F and let preheat.

Slice the baguettte on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick.  Coat one side of each slice with olive oil with a pastry brush and set oil side down on a baking sheet. Toast on top rack for 5-6 mins just until the bread juuuuuuuuust starts to turn golden brown. Take out of the oven and turn the pieces around so they are oil side up now.

Slice your mozzarella about 1/4 inch thick or to your preference.  Place a slice of mozzarella on top of  each baguette slice.  Put back in the oven until the cheese gets soft..not melted…soft.

Take out of the oven, top with bruschetta and truly enjoy.

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Posted by on August 22, 2008 in basil, bruschetta


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