Bumper crop of cherry tomatoes – oven dried and chopped caprese

My daughter Abbi and I were watching one of my favorite celebrity chefs Ina Garten – I totally have Ina envy, she has a great place in the Hamptons; she has a very cool party barn, amazing gardens and a great kitchen plus I love her food;  she cooks like me, or maybe I cook like her??? Regardless I do have the great kitchen and my gardens while not TV worthy they work for us. We also have water nearby unfortunately it is a swamp – yup we are definitely not living in the Hamptons 🙂 OK back to the show, she was making dinner with Neil Patrick Harris and his chef husband David Burtka, they made a steak salad that sounded amazing; so we decided to make it for dinner the following night. It was totally worth it and very easy; the rub had some heat but was balanced out by the greens and the sweet roasted cherry tomatoes.

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Steak Rub: 1/4 cup dried mushroom, he wanted porcini we had oyster. 2 tbs kosher salt, 2 tbs whole black peppercorns, 1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tbs granulated garlic, 2 tbs sugar. using a spice grinder add a couple of the ingredients at a time in a bowl mix well. I now know why it was a little extra spicey – Abbi made the rub and just confessed she added an extra tbs of crushed red pepper flakes and put in 1 tbs less of the sugar…

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We had some of the rub leftover and being as frugal as I am, we thought it might just work for the pork chops we were making for dinner.  It did but I will say it had a lot more heat than we tasted on the steak. To cut a little of the heat I finished off the chops with a drizzle of my brother-in-laws honey.

PORK DINNER

I was pretty proud that last night’s alfresco dinner was mostly from our gardens. I cooked everything out on the grill and thankfully the bugs stayed away long enough for us to enjoy dinner on the patio. Inspiration for the sides came from what I harvested from the garden earlier in the day. We had my husbands potatoes, our first brussels sprouts and the first batch of beets all from our garden and while everything was coming off the grill my husband ran to the garden to cut some fresh chives for the potatoes – everything was simply delicious.

HARVESTS

2 ways to oven dry cherry tomatoes

From the show they simply cut the tomatoes in half added olive oil and salt and pepper roasted in a 300’ for 2 ½ to 3 hours. These worked out great with the steak salad and the rub no competing for flavors. I have SO many more tomatoes that I needed to do something with, we also had my version of chopped caprese salad with dinner, all agreed we could have this every day for the rest of our lives, good thing since we have a ton of them right now!

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I wanted to make some more oven dried tomatoes but maybe with a little more love. I sliced them in half, added olive oil salt pepper and some dried basil and oregano plus some fresh pressed garlic; which was also from my garden. I roasted them at 225’ for 1 ½ hours then I shut the oven off and left them in the oven overnight.  You may need to adjust the timing based on how large your tomatoes are but OMG I think I just made dried cherry tomato crack…Life is good!

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Chopped Caprese Salad

Cherry tomatoes cut in half

Mozzarella Cheese cut into small chunks

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 clove crushed garlic

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Fresh basil leaves roughly chopped

CHOPPED CAPRESE

Place tomatoes and mozzarella in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl add olive oil, garlic and basil let sit for a minute or two so it flavors the oil and add it to the tomato mozzarella bowl stir till mixed and enjoy! Seriously make this!!!

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