Tag Archives: cherry tomatoes

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!!!

Grilled Steak and Vegetable Salad

Happy 4th of July weekend – I hope everyone had and is still having a safe fun filled weekend with family and friends.

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I was lucky enough to have 4 days off for the holiday! I played a little golf with my girlfriends; had lunch and relaxed on the patio on Thursday.  Friday I spent some quality time in my garden weeding. With my busy schedule I can’t always give my veggies the love and care they need, so when I do weed I do my very best to get ALL of the weeds out at least 3 times during the summer.  It becomes much more manageable; for me anyway.

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Cucumbers are starting to climb

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Strawberry and Broccoli

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Rosemary, chives, parsley and oregano

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cabbages getting a great start

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While out on the patio the other day I was reading one of my favorite magazines Fine Cooking. Every time I read this wonderful magazine there are at least 3 dishes I want to try and make. Friday was going to be the best day of the weekend and it did not disappoint; it was absolutely gorgeous out. After weeding I made my grocery shopping list for one of the recipes I found and headed out.

I am going to give you a glimpse of how busy and crazy my life truly is. When I left for the store, which is 20-25 minutes away; there were going to be 4 of us for dinner.  While in the 3rd aisle of the store my husband calls to say he invited 6 more people over for dinner on the patio. I just started to laugh. I thought about changing my plan since I have never tried what I wanted to make and wasn’t sure if I could pull it off but what the hell; I got this!

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Taken before I knew how many people were coming

The picture looked amazing and everything was cooked on the grill and thrown; OK probably placed nicely together on a platter. Sounded easy enough to me; and I seem to have no problem breaking rules of no testing recipes on company so why not AND they called it summer on a plate. When better than Fourth of July weekend to try “summer on a plate”

Skirt Steak and Grilled Vegetable Salad

I wasn’t off to a great start, the store didn’t have skirt steak; thankfully they had flank steak – I will prevail

Steak

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, bruised = crush with the dull side of the knife

3 sprigs of fresh thyme, bruised the same way

1 ½ lb skirt or flank steak, trimmed of excess fat

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Marinate the steak for at least 1 hour on the counter or up to 6 hours in the fridge.

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Combine the oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in either a baking dish or zip-top bag large enough for the steak.

Vegetables

3 tbs chopped fresh basil

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Veggie Vinaigrette

In a small bowl combine 2 tbs of basil, 1 tbs of oil with the vinegar, parsley and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

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2 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered

2 small yellow summer squash, sliced on a sharp diagonal ½ inch thick

2 small zucchini, sliced the same as the squash

2 ears of corn, husked

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, if you can get the different colored ones; they add a lot to the dish but don’t fret if you can’t

2 scallions thinly sliced on a diagonal.

Rub the peppers, squash, zucchini and corn with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. On a 400-470’ gas or charcoal grill Place veggies on the hot grates turning occasionally until tender with nice grill marks. Roughly 10-15 minutes. Arrange all but the corn on the platter and drizzle with the veggie vinaigrette.

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Remove the steak from the marinade, season generously with salt and pepper, and grill, flipping once, until grill marks are on both sides and is cooked to your liking, best if cooked to medium rare about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.

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Cut the corn from the cob and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes and remaining olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss. Spoon half the corn and tomato mixture over the other veggies. Slice the steak against the grain into manageable pieces and arrange over the veggies. Scatter the remaining corn and tomatoes over the steak. Sprinkle with the scallions and kosher salt and serve.