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Cooking Kowalski

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August 2015

Cherry Tomatoes! (4 recipes)

Fresh from the garden an hour ago - thee best!
Fresh from the garden an hour ago – thee best!

These adorable, sweet gems are great, not only for snacking or in a salad, but for cooking!  This recipe is fresh and delicious served on pasta.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes – about 2-4 servings

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (50-60)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (if you’re not using fresh garlic in your cooking by now, please make the change now-don’t look back! 😉  Garlic is so good for you and the flavor is so much better)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil/oregano/thyme (your choice, really)
  • Olive oil (I always use Extra Virgin olive oil)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil
  • Grated parmesan
  • Pasta to serve with
  1. Place tomatoes in a baking dish in single layer and drizzle generously with olive oil.  Add garlic, seasoning and S&P.  Mix.
  2. Place in preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, boil pasta in salted water.
  4. Serve tomatoes over pasta with fresh basil and parmesan.

Up next, Rachael Ray’s take on a fresh cherry tomato sauce Greek-style!  Will update after dinner 🙂

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Update:  Rachael Ray is on point with this one!  Also, this is the original recipe, but I halved it and thought there was plenty for four if you’re serving it with anything else.

Greek-style Fresh Tomato Penne – serves 4-6

  • Salt
  • 2 T. EVOO
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 T. fresh oregano (I used 1 tsp. dried)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  •  2 pints cherry tomates
  • Pepper
  • 1 lb. penne rigate (with lines)
  • 12 oz. feta cheese (use the block stuff packed in water)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (again, I used dried because that’s what I had available)
  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet with tight-fitting lid over medium to medium-high heat.  Melt butter in oil.  When the butter begins to foam, add oregano, garlic, and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and season with S&P.  Cover and turn down heat.  Simmer until tomatoes have burst and sauce is thickened, about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water till al dente.  Reserve 1/2 c. starchy cooking water when you drain it.
  3. Stir the sauce, then crumble the feta in and cook until melted, about 1 minute.  Add the pasta and reserved cooking water and toss, 1-2 minutes.  Turn off heat and top with mint and parsley.
IMG_20150804_181637119_HDR
Dinner tonight!

*Recipe from http://www.rachaelray.com/recipes/greek-style-fresh-tomato-sauce

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Two more recipes to use up those cherry tomatoes and to make them last longer!  This first one is super easy “sun-dried” tomatoes and the second, a tomato jam, sweet with a little spice. 

Sun-dried Tomatoes (in the oven) – makes about one 1/2 pint jar

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (about 50-60)
  • 2 T. olive oil, plus more to fill jar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (or whatever you like: oregano, basil, garlic, thyme, pepper, so on and so forth 😉 )
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup.)  Cut tomatoes in half and place on baking sheet cut-side up.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on seasonings.
  3. Place in the oven for 2 hours, and then bake an additional 1-2 hours, checking every 30 minutes for even drying.  Rotate pan if needed.
  4. They are ready to eat right away.  OR you can pack them in your jar by putting a bit of oil in the bottom, pack to about a 1/2 inch of the top, and then fill with more olive oil to completely cover the tomatoes.  They will be good in the refrigerator for about three weeks.
Seasoned and ready for the oven
Seasoned and ready for the oven
Great on pizza and pasta!
Great on pizza and pasta!

 

*Recipe from http://sweetlittlesmoothie.blogspot.com/2011/08/simple-oven-sun-dried-tomtoes.html

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Cherry Tomato Jam – makes approx. four 1/2 pint jars

If you don’t have a canner, no problem.  I used my large stock pot, which fit four 1/2 pints perfectly.  Be sure to sterilize jars and lids beforehand.  Also, the yield on this can really vary, so might want to grab a couple extra jars just in case.

I personally like mine just on toast or with eggs. Sooo good!
I personally like mine just on toast or with eggs. Sooo good!
  • 3 lbs. cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 5 T. fresh lemon juice (about two lemons)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger (I used the kind in a tube)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 T. salt
  • 1/2 T. red chili flakes
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.  Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir frequently, breaking up the tomatoes as you go.  This will take about 1 1/2 hours for it to reduce to a jam-like consistency.
  2. Remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe rims with a wet cloth and place sterile lids on jars with rings.
  3. Place in large stock pot of water (at least 1 inch above jars) and boil for 20 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  You should be able to hear a pop from each jar after a while to ensure it has sealed.  These can be stored up to a year.

*Recipe adapted from http://foodinjars.com/2010/09/tomato-jam/

Beginning to boil
Beginning to boil
Going good now
Going good now
Almost reduced to jam
Almost reduced to jam

*Recipe adapted from http://foodinjars.com/2010/09/tomato-jam/

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Crockpots can be your best friend!

When it’s 90 degrees outside, like it has been here lately, the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven or be cooking over a hot stove.  Using a slow-cooker is the perfect solution.

IMG_20150731_190539982
Don’t forget the sweet corn! 😉

Beef Roast – 5-6 servings

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3 lb. beef brisket or top round
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, quartered
  • 4 carrots, chopped in 1-2 inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 c. beef broth
  • 1 c. dry red wine
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Season beef generously with S&P and add to hot oil.  Brown on all sides, 2-4 minutes per side. **You can shortcut this recipe and skip this step, and it will still turn out delicious.
  2. Place onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, and bay leaves in bottom of crockpot and sprinkle with S&P.  Then top with the beef.  Sprinkle with rosemary.
  3. Add broth and wine.  If need be, pour a little more water in covering to about 3/4 up the beef.
  4. Cook on low 8 hours and then on high 1 more hour until beef is fork tender.

Be sure to remove the bay leaves.  I also like to find the garlic cloves and, using a fork, smear them over the beef.  Mmmm.

*adapted from http://neighborfoodblog.com/2014/01/slow-cooker-beef-brisket-french-dip-sandwiches-sundaysupper.html

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