Fresh Tomato Bolognese


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With 50 or so fresh picked tomatoes from the garden quickly ripening in my sunroom, I decided it was time to make some sauces.

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Tomatoes galore

This is the bolognese (meat sauce) recipe I concocted using garden and farmer’s-market supplies, along with some ground beef from an Amish market.
Once again I (healthily) thickened a recipe by adding shredded zucchini.  I love vegetables, so this sauce wouldn’t have been as exciting to me otherwise. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • TOMATOES!  (lots, I don’t know, maybe 8? 10? depends on how much you want to make)
    Diced–with pulp removed (puree a few if you can)
  • 1 shredded zucchini
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • minced leek (to taste)
  • Minced spicy / mixed peppers
  • Fresh oregano and basil
  • Salt, pepper
  • ~1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • splash of red wine (optional) or balsamic

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the ground beef.  Cook until just browned.    Add a couple tablespoons of corn starch to the pan to create a thicker sauce from the beef fat.  If the beef was really fatty, you might want to drain some off first.  If you used lean beef, you might not need to do that.

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Grating zucchini

Remove the pulp from the tomatoes as you dice them.  I used a food processor after removing the pulp, and just pulsed it a few times to leave different-sized chunks of tomato for the sauce.  On one batch in the food processor (it took several), I pureed them completely, so the sauce would have some body as well.

Add garlic, leek, and peppers and saute for a minute.  Add diced tomatoes and wine or balsamic.  Allow the sauce to cook for 10+ minutes or longer, if you prefer to slow cook your sauce.  I’m impatient.

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Tomatoes, beef, and zucchini

Add fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or so.

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Bolognese sauce cooking

Make your pasta (I prefer to use a peeler to create long “linguine pasta ” ribbons out of squash or zucchini, and then saute or blanch those for a couple of minutes.  This is an excellent gluten-free and guilt-free healthy pasta alternative).

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Squash "pasta" noodles

Serve sauce over pasta, and top with cheese if you wish.  Enjoy!

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Fresh Tomato Bolognese over squash noodle pasta with pesto-stuffed roasted tomato

 

August 16, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Roasted Pesto-Stuffed Tomatoes


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I was looking for unique tomato recipes and I came across the idea of a roasted pesto-stuffed tomato.  I love pesto, but if you stuff a large tomato with just pesto, you will have an overly salty/oily/basil-y dish.  Perhaps this would work with very small tomatoes, but not with the ones I had grown.

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Roasted pesto-sutffed tomatoes

Luckily I had just made a batch of almond-basil pesto from the basil I was growing, so I had that on hand to start with!

I made a simple modification– I added shredded zucchini to the pesto and a little bit of minced mixed/spicy pepper to a pan, cooked it up, added pesto and the innards of the tomatoes I hollowed out, and then stuffed the tomatoes with that.  I topped it with a little Parmesan cheese.

 

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes
  • Pesto
  • Shredded zucchini (or squash), with excess water squeezed out of it
  • Parmesan or other cheese
  • minced bell or spicy peppers (Optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the top off each of your tomatoes and hollow them out carefully.  Discard the seeds and pulp, but keep the firmer fleshy parts.

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hollowed out tomato

Grate or food process a zucchini or squash and squeeze out any excess water.  If you leave the water in it, the result will be soggy.

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Shredded zucchini

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Almond-basil pesto

In a bowl, combine zucchini, minced bell or spicy pepper (optional), pesto, and the diced innards of your tomatoes.

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Zucchini-pesto mixture for stuffing

Stuff the tomatoes with the zucchini/pesto mixture.  Top with grated cheese.

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Stuffed zucchini-pesto tomatoes

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown.  You can let these roast for as long or as little as you like.

Enjoy!  I had these with my squash-noodle pasta topped with  homemade bolognese sauce and a delicious rosemary roll from Atwaters :).

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Roasted pesto-stuffed tomatoes with squash noodles and homemade bolognese

 

 

August 14, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Grilled Chops and Veggies


Not much to say here. Get some hot coals and throw meat and veggies on your grill. LOL

I like to marinade my veggies in balsamic, salt, and pepper. I’ve been experimenting with fruit on the grill, so I sliced a pineapple and threw it in the marinade. Aluminum foil worked well for combining pineapple chunks and mango slices with fresh cilantro in a grill packet. This made a great chutney for the chops! YAY SUMMER!

August 7, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Greek Zucchini Fritters (vegetarian Keftedes?)


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I was craving Keftedes (Greek meatballs, which have fresh mint in them) for some reason.  As I was seeking out a recipe I came across a recipe for zucchini ‘keftedes’, or zucchini fritters.  This delicious vegetarian option contains feta (a brined cured Greek sheep’s/goat’s milk cheese), fresh mint, and fresh dill or fennel.  Dill and fennel are in the same herb family, so feel free to substitute and interchange the two.  The recipe called for dill.  I had fennel, so I used the tops off those.  I was VERY pleased.

Ingredients:

  • 1 med-large zuccini
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 cup minced leek
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh fennel (the feathery top part–or dill)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fine grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs–probably could sub for your own bread crumb mixture)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Tzatziki for dipping 🙂

How to prepare:

IMG 1254 300x225   Greek Zucchini Fritters (vegetarian Keftedes?)

Grated Zucchini

Grate the zucchini, using the larger holes on the grater.  You will need to get the moisture out before making the fritters, as zucchini carries a lot of water.  You might know this if you’ve ever tried to make zucchini bread and it’s turned out sloppy and too moist.

The recipe called for grating it onto a clean kitchen towel, which I did.  It then said to sprinkle the coarse salt over the zucchini and let it sit for 30 min-1 hr.  I didn’t wait, and this still worked.  Wring the kitchen towel out as much and as firmly as you can, many times, to squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the zucchini.

Put the zucchini in a medium bowl and add minced leek, garlic, mint, fennel or dill, lemon peel, and black pepper.

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Use Fennel in place of dill if you have it! delicious

*To chop your fresh herbs, consider getting one of these nifty tools — herb scissors! A very welcome gift from my mom (www.beachdazed.com).  They have four blades and reduce waste on fresh herbs by allowing you to chop them quickly and easily right into your mixing bowl. I loved having these for all the mint/fennel recipes I made this day.

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Chopping the herbs with herb scissors





Stir in panko and egg, then the feta.
 

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Mixing all the ingredients together

Mix, and then form into 2″ patties, and place on a baking sheet that you can place in the refrigerator to chill.

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Zucchini friters made, ready to chill for an hour

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Zucchini fritters before cooking

Chill fritters at least one hour . I chilled them for 3.
Add 1/4 ” of grapeseed oil (has a high smoke point, so it’s good for frying, plus it’s healthier than many other oils) to a nonstick frying pan, and heat.

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Frying zucchini fritters in grapeseed oil

 

Add the zucchini fritters and fry for several minutes on each side until light golden brown.  Check to make sure they aren’t sticking shortly after adding these to the pan.

Place fritters on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
Serve with tzatziki, greek yogurt, and fennel or dill garnish.

These turned out so DELICIOUS I think I will make these again, but in a much bigger batch.  I got 14 fritters out of this batch.

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Finished zucchini fritters! YUM!

May 3, 2011
Food, Kitchen Gadgets, Recipe