Posts tagged ‘Tomato’

September 8, 2015

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad

If you’ve been reading this blog for much time, you probably know that I’m a big fan of culinary challenges. Unusual ingredients, strange kitchen set ups – you name it. Recently though, I completed a trial like no other.

I spent two weeks as a vegetarian.

Yes, it’s true. Your humble blogger and avowed carnivore went fourteen days without a single bite of meat. It was part of a deal that my girlfriend and I made to “eat healthier,” because meat is “bad for you.” In exchange she agreed to give up sweets for two weeks. I think I got the raw end of the deal.

(For the record, there is ample evidence to suggest that eating less meat contributes to better overall health. There, I admitted it.)

So what did I learn from the experience?

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June 2, 2015

Revisited: Gazpacho with Pea Shoots and Capers

Gazpacho Redux

With both the legislative session and school winding down, I’m making it a goal this summer to really explore one or two international cuisines. I realized recently that not really having the opportunity to cook for several months has left me in something of a culinary rut. I think a deep dive into the subtleties of a specific palette is just what the chef-doctor ordered.

And since a visit to Spain many years ago was what really piqued my interest in cooking, so it only seemed like a fitting place to return.

Almost four years ago (!) when I had just started this blog, I posted a recipe for one of the most ubiquitous of Spanish dishes – gazpacho. Here is what I wrote at the time:

There are hundreds of ways to spice up a gazpacho recipe – and believe me, I’ll be back here with some of my own takes down the road – but for a quick, refreshing dish on a hot day, you can’t beat the original.

Don’t say I’m not a man of my word.

Technically the addition of bread to this dish would make it salmorejo, the less famous cousin of gazpacho, but it’s largely the same concept. This recipe is a bit heartier – enough to be a light meal by itself – but still delightful for a warm summer day. The fried capers offer little bursts of salt and vinegar that help break up the flavor of the soup. The pea shoots, meanwhile, are a beautiful visual addition that also provide some diversity in texture.

Traditional? Not as much. Delicious? Sí.

Gazpacho with Pea Shoots and Capers

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup crusty bread, preferably a bit stale, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon pimentón or smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for plating
  • 10-12 capers
  • 1/2 cup pea shoots

Instructions

  1. Place the cubed bread in a small bowl with the vinegar. Let it stand until all of the liquid has been absorbed so that the bread is slightly soggy.
  2. Roughly chop the red pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and garlic. Don’t worry about getting them too small or the same size.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables to food processor along with the bread, pimentón, cumin and quarter cup of olive oil. Blend to your desired consistency (there are all manner of opinions on how much you should blend your gazpacho. I’m a fan of almost completely smooth, but it’s up to you).
  4. Chill the soup for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. Feel free to let it sit overnight, as the flavors only develop over time.
  5. To serve, fry your capers in a small sauce pan with a dash of oil until lightly crisped and beginning to lose their shape, about 2-3 minutes. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the gazpacho and top with a handful of capers and the pea shoots.
February 7, 2015

Kimchi BLT

Kimchi BLT

Bloggers note – It has been longer that I like since my last post. The legislature is once again in session, which means my day job is substantially busier than normal. There may be a bit more time between posts, but I promise to keep the recipes coming!

Now, to the dish at hand.

The BLT is a classic, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be made better by importing some flavors from Korean cuisine. In this recipe, it is brightened by tangy, spicy kimchi that perfectly complements the salty bacon and ripe tomato. The addition of a creamy, runny egg not only builds on the complexity of flavor, but also makes the meal a bit more substantive.

Easy to assemble while remaining both delicious and unique, this sandwich is great for a fun lunch or weeknight dinner!

Kimchi BLT (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 egg
  • 3 thin slices of tomato
  • 2 leaves of bibb lettuce
  • 1/4 cup of kimchi, diced
  • 2 pieces of sourdough bread, lightly toasted

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine the garlic, lemon juice and mayonnaise until evenly incorporated. Let the mixture sit while you cook the remaining ingredients.
  2. Heat a skillet to medium-high and cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the bacon to a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and crack the egg into the skillet. Let it cook for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy, then flip using a spatula. Sear the egg for 1 minute on the other side before removing it from the skillet, so that they yolk is still slightly runny.
  4. To assemble the sandwich, spread the garlic aioli on each piece of bread, then layer the egg, bacon, tomato, lettuce and kimchi on top.
May 19, 2014

Fennel Falafel with Simple Salad

Fennel Falafel

My girlfriend Maggie and I recently celebrated two years of dating by heading up to Vancouver, BC for a long weekend getaway. We had a blast stroll through downtown and Granville Island, biking around Stanley Park, and taking in all the beautiful scenery. It’s a really wonderful area, absolutely worth a trip if you haven’t visited already.

We kind of overdid it on the food though.

We had a ton of great food while we were there, from organic farm-to-table at Fable to sublimely good Indian food at Vij’s. But a decadent multi-course meal at Wildebeest – which specializes in some of the most succulent meat you’ll ever taste – left us both a little bit of a food hangover at the end of our trip.

So when I got back, I decide to do a week of vegetarian eating to balance things it. It was in interesting experience – not one I’ll likely repeat again soon – but it did broaden my repitoire of recipes – including this falafel dish.

Traditionally a Middle Eastern food, falafel is now found in many different regional cuisines, leading to many styles and interpretations. The version in this recipe is definitely less traditional and more Greek-inspired with the addition of fresh oregano and fennel. The pair gives these falafel a more refreshing and simple flavor profile than you would find at most restaurants.

Stacked atop a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and vinegar, this dish makes for a perfect light summer meal!

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March 16, 2014

Lamb Kofta with Sweet Tahini Sauce

Lamb Kofta

And just like that, the legislative session is over!

As I mentioned in the last few posts, I have been working down in the state capitol since the beginning of the year. But on Thursday the legislature adjourned Sine Die (Latin for “without day”) and finished its work for the year. That means I’m back in Seattle – and catching up on blogging all the iron-chef style dinners that my coworkers and I did over the past few weeks!

I posted the first challenge of the year a few weeks back: a Moroccan eggplant wrap with chorizo and pickled mangoes. This time around the three ingredients were ground lamb, eggs, and sweet condensed milk – which resulted in this delicious fusion dish that incorporates a cuisines from across the Mediterranean.

The kofta is really the star of this recipe. These middle eastern-style meatballs are crispy on the outside but tender on the inside, and packed full of flavor throughout. The slightly gamey lamb is balanced with a rich gravy reduction and accented with Moroccan spices and pine nuts. Meanwhile the rest of the pita is full of earthy garbanzo beans, robust cherry tomatoes and a silky, slightly sweet tahini sauce.

These pitas are wonderfully bite sized, so you can serve them as heavy appetizers or in groups of two or three as an entree. Either way, they’ll impress friends, family, or simply your own stomach.

Look for more culinary challenges from the past few weeks coming soon!

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February 25, 2014

Bruschetta Diabla

IMG_3081

It’s my 100th post on Rosemary Renaissance!

When I first started this blog I never expected it would be anything more than an idle side project, but seeing readership rise steadily and hearing from you all about the recipes I put up here is what has pushed me to be a more adventurous chef. So whether this is the first post you’ve seen or you’ve been following my (mis)adventures in the kitchen since my first post back in 2011, I’d like to thank you all so much for reading.

Since good cooking should always be a labor of love, it’s fitting that my 100th post is one of the dishes that I made as part of a four-course Valentine’s Day dinner for my wonderful girlfriend, Maggie. It’s the second year I’ve cooked on Valentine’s Day and she hasn’t complained yet, so I must be doing something right!

The Bruschetta Diabla is a twist on the classic tomato-and-basil Italian appetizer. The tomatoes are burst using direct heat and then reduced into a sweet, tangy and spicy compote with garlic and red pepper flakes. They are paired with buttery, meaty mushrooms and aromatic basil atop crunchy baguette slices for a compact burst of flavor.

Whether you’re looking for an appetizer for a fancy dinner or want to host a swanky cocktail party, these little bite are the perfect fit!

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August 12, 2013

Chicken Tinga Chilaquiles

Tinga Chilaquiles

When I imagined this dish, I was aiming for nachos.

I had in my head an image of cheesy goodness oozing between tortilla chips with a smattering of deliciously spicy chicken tinga tossed over the top. But I wound up getting the portions wrong, and there was a lot more chicken tinga than I expected. When I pulled it out of the oven and tried to pull a chip away it crumpled soggily under the weight of all the toppings.

So I wound up eating it with a fork instead, and it was truly fantastic. I was going to call them “fork nachos” and shout the name from the rooftops to anyone who would listen, but after a little Google searching I discovered there was already a name for this kind of delicious smothered nachos: “Chilaquiles.”

And man, these are some awesome Chilaquiles.

They’ve got everything you could want in a Mexican dish. The chicken tinga itself spicy, tangy, and just a little bit sweet, while the rest of the toppings are a blend of creamy, cheesy, earthy and herbal. The tortilla chips provide just enough of a base to hold the whole meal together without giving it an overwhelmingly starchy feel.

You won’t be able to resist going back for seconds!

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April 22, 2013

Fried Bhindi Masala with Spiced Tomato and Tofu

Bhindi Tofu

Another week, another culinary challenge from my friends: make something using okra, tofu, and cream cheese.

My immediate inclination with okra was to do something Southern. “Is there even another way to cook okra?” I wondered.

Yes, I learned after doing a little research. Yes there is.

Okra – also known in Hindi as bhindi – is actually a relatively common ingredient in Indian food, stewed or stir fried with spices and served with rice or lentils. And thus the idea for this bizarrely tasty recipe was born.

I opted to retain some of that classical Southern preparation and fry okra in beer batter – but only after stuffing it with a zesty garam masala-packed cream cheese filling. Served with a tomato and tofu sauce that is full of robust flavors and spices, and surprisingly filling, it made for quite a delicious meal.

This recipe is an odd fusion of Indian and Southern flavors and styles, but it totally works.

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April 29, 2012

Cajun Carbonara

Contrary to popular opinion, real carbonara doesn’t involve cream, milk, or flour. The silky sauce is created by slowly heating eggs so that they thicken without scrambling. The result is a relatively rich dish with a unique texture that remains nonetheless quite healthy.

So how can you make it better? Infuse it with Cajun flavor!

The onions and peppers add sweetness and crunch, while the lineup of Cajun spices add heat, zest and a depth of flavor to the sauce. The intermittent hints of parsley break up the richness and spice with cool, refreshing notes. Add that to the chicken, pasta and carbonara base and you have a filling, vibrant dish.

This recipe tastes great, but to be honest one of my favorite things about it isthe color. The red, yellow and green of the peppers and parsley pop against the pasta to make a bright, vivid plate. A great meal for your eyes as well as your stomach!

Cajun Carbonara

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 chicken breast, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, julienned (I recommend one red, one yellow)
  • 1 small red onion, halved and cut into ribbons
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons pepper
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 1/3 cup wine
  • 3 ounces pasta
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

 

  1. In a large skillet, heat the butter to high. Season the chicken breast, bell pepper and red onion with the spices. In a large pot, begin boiling water to cook the pasta.
  2. Add the chicken breast to the skill and saute until crispy and blacked, approximately 6-8 minutes. Set the chicken aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the bell pepper and red onion and saute until both begin to get tender, approximately 6-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and saute for another three minutes. Set the vegetables aside with the chicken.
  4. Cook the pasta according to instructions. Reduce the heat of the skillet to medium-low. Use the wine to deglaze the pan, being sure to loosen any stuck on spices, chicken, or veggie bits.
  5. Add the eggs and Parmesan cheese to the deglazing liquid and whisk until combined. Add the cooked pasta and toss vigorously. The egg mixture should thicken, but not scramble.
  6. Toss the pasta with the chicken and vegetables. To serve, sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan cheese and top with parsley.
February 22, 2012

Potato Keftedes

In traditional Greek cuisine Keftedes are made from ground meat, typically either lamb of beef. It’s combined with a couple finely diced vegetables, spiced, rolled into balls, and either seared or roasted as a shish kabob. This recipe takes the concept, along with many of the flavoring components, and applies it to potatoes rather than meat.

The ingredients are startlingly basic, but nonetheless create a robust flavor profile when combined against the relatively mundane backdrop that is the potato. The green onions, much milder than their burlier cousins, add a minor, pleasant kick to the mix. The tomatoes provide bursts of juicy sweetness. Finally, the paprika imparts a light smokiness while the other spices round out the palette. And although there are a variety of different tastes in play, none of them are so strong as to overwhelm the earthy potato base.

To me, the most intriguing element of this recipe is that its vegan. I take to doing the final frying in butter, because I think it tastes just a bit better, but it’s just as easy to sear the pancakes in a little bit of olive oil. I am no great backer of veganism, but a good cook is capable of making a dish for any audience.

Whether or not you’re look for a vegan recipe ace in the hole, I highly recommend keeping this card up your sleeve. When it comes down to it, it’s basically a Greek mashed potato pancake. You really can’t possibly go wrong.

Potato Keftedes

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 bundle of spring onions, green and white sections separated, finely chopped
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, finely diced and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil for a vegan recipe)

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the potato until cooked through, between 60 and 90 minutes depending on the size.
  2. Remove the potato and allow it to cool before handling. Use a fork to scoop out the contents into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the butter and combine until evenly mixed. The potato mixture should be cohesive enough to form patties that retain their shape, but not
  4. Add the butter to a pan and heat to medium-high. Fry the potato patties until golden brown, 2-3 minutes on either side. Remove from heat.
  5. To serve, plate the keftedes and sprinkle with the chopped green onion stem.
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