Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What to Do with a Sink Full of Tomatoes

What to do with a sink full of tomatoes?

There's tomato sauce of course, and lots of "over-the-sink" tomato sandwiches and Caprese Salad galore, tomato and cucumber salad, gazpacho and plain old sliced ripe tomatoes sprinkled with salt, pepper and basil slivers. Those are all great, but I also just discovered a great way to slice some up 'maters with some other late summer bounty and made a fantastic tasting salad.

Late Summer Harvest Salad

Kernels scraped from one ear cooked corn
1 medium green pepper, diced
3 large tomatoes, diced
handful of cilantro, minced
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Mix the vegetables and cilantro together and then dress with the olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper just before serving. This is a simple, lovely salad that makes its own dressing from the juices that leach out and it is very fresh and vibrant tasting. Best of all, I "shopped" for everything except the dressing ingredients right out of my own garden.

It's a simple recipe, but loaded with layers of flavor.

I am sending this post on to the Eat Seasonal Food, Fresh event, which ends August 31st. You can see what other seasonal, fresh cooks are making for this blog event at Motions and Emotions.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Continuing Cruciferous Fun: Hot Caulflower Dip!

Though most everything else in the Crispy Garden has been on the "meh" side in the Summer of 2013 with the weird and wonderful weather patterns we've had, as reported previously, the cauliflower crops has been outstanding. 

I planted a little six pack of cauliflower seedlings this Spring, hoping for 1 or 2 cauliflowers, but they have all matured and all six have been gargantuan.

I have made a lot of cauliflower curries and baked, cheesy cauliflower to use up this bounty, but then my friend Lee tipped me off to Hot Cauliflower Dip. There's cheese involved (great), spinach (awesome) and lots of lightly steamed cauliflower (fan-tabulous!) which gets blended together in the food processor and then topped with more cheese and baked. It's a great way to use up some cauli-bounty and to sneak in some veggies into the summer party spread. 

I made a big batch of this to bring to our friends' house and it was appreciatively gobbled down. I managed this quick and somewhat unglamorous snapshot before it was inhaled.

Hot Cauliflower Dip

1 small head cauliflower, broken into florets (or 1/2 of one head-sized cauliflower as above)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I think you can even omit this - my dip was a bit oily and needed blotting)
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
3 cups. fresh spinach leaves (I'm going to try using frozen spinach in the winter)
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam cauliflower until soft. Drain and let cool.

Whiz cooled cauliflower in food processor until smooth. Add in cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic and salt and pepper. Whiz around some more until garlic is incorporated. Add spinach and whiz around again. Mix in half of grated Cheddar.

Pack into a 13.x 9 glass baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake in a 375 degree oven until cheese is bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Serve with your favorite chips. Makes about 10-12 servings.

I'm sending this recipe over to Weekend Herb Blogging, the weekly blog event headquartered by Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, and guest hosted this week by my blogger buddy and Cook the Books Co-host, Simona of Briciole. Simona will have a roundup of wonderful vegetable, fruit, flower and herb recipes and blog posts after the August 22 deadline of WHB #398, so be sure to look for that.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Review of Some New Udi's Gluten Free Products and the Best Meatloaf I Ever Made

The Udi's Gluten-Free Bakery just sent me a complimentary box full of pack and go goodies to sample (plus a tote bag and some coupons for more Udi's goodness in the future) and what a bounty it was! (Note the use of the past tense, as my non GF teens scarfed up all of the Double Vanilla Muffins and had gotten into the Brownie Bites and most of a bag of Ancient Grains chips before Dan and I even got home from the bookstore). I got a photo in of the remains, which was still bountiful.

I actually preferred the Udi's Harvest CrunchMuffins, which have sweet potato, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds tucked in. They are delicious toasted for a quick breakfast. I usually can't find such an Udi's selection at my local supermarkets.  I typically can only find the sliced bread and chocolate muffin tops in the "healthy" freezer section, so this assortment of Udi delights was really appreciated.

Bread is the gluten-free bakery item we buy the most and I made good use of several slices of Udi's bread the other night. I made a fantastic meat loaf with the secret, special seasonings being fresh sage and parsley from the garden and a smidgeon of ground nutmeg. Delicious!

Special Spices Meatloaf

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 small white onion, minced
2 eggs
2 lbs. ground round
4 slices Udi's bread, thawed and crumbled
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands. That's the only way to get everything truly commingled.

Pat into a 13 x 9 glass baking dish (or a loaf pan if you like taller meat loaf, but it will take longer to cook). Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes and then slice. Good hot or cold.

I served this with steamed basmati rice dressed with the juice of one lemon and 1 tsp. finely chopped mint. An amazing dinner.

We haven't yet tucked into the granola bars and granola, but I can report that the Salted Caramel Cashew Cookies are really, really good. They are soft, unlike many GF cookies out there in the market, and the combo of sweet and salty flavors is a real winner.

Thanks Udi's!

Note: I received the above items from Udi's but was in no way obligated to post a review. As always, my thoughts and comments are completely my own. And I and my family thought this was a truly scrumptious package.