Category Archives: tomato

Quick Marinara Sauce

I love the way my house smells when I make marinara sauce, especially when basil is added.  I have taken this recipe from “Giada’s Family Dinners” by Giada De Laurentis.  I used my food processor to chop everything up, it makes this recipe super fast and easy to make.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups)

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
1 bunch of fresh basil, stemmed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a blender, purée the tomatoes with their juice and the basil until almost smooth.  Set the tomato purée aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté until very tender, about 12 minutes.  Stir in the tomato purée, oregano, and sugar.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium and continue simmering until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. ( The sauce can be made 1 day ahead.  If storing for future use, cool, then cover and refrigerate.  Reward over medium heat before using.)

Chicken Panini with Avocado Mayonnaise and Tomato Chili Jam

This recipe is taken from LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine Autumn 2012.  The recipe for the Tomato Chili Jam is also on this blog.  If you do not have a panini pan, use a skillet and press sandwiches down with a spatula. I used the food processor to make the avocado mayo with great results. I also used demi-baguettes.  I do not have a panini press, so i just pressed my sandwiches down with a smaller skillet, I found the spatula too small. 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 oz (175 g) each
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) grated lemon rind
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika

1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup (125 ml) mayonnaise
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped coriander
1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped green onions
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1/2 tsp (2 ml) sambal oelek or other Asian chili sauce
3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

4 ciabatta, Demi-baguette or buns
1/2 cup (125 ml) Tomato Chili Jam (recipe on blog)

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Toss chicken with 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, grated lemon rind and paprika.  Heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) of oil in skillet over high heat, add chicken and sear for 2 minutes a side or until golden.  Place in oven and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until juices run clear. Set aside.
3. Mash avocado in a bowl.  Add mayonnaise, coriander, green onions, lemon juice and sambal oelek.  Stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Alternatively, place all ingredients in a food processor and combine.
4. To assemble: slice ciabatta open and generously spread 1 cut side with avocado mayonnaise and the other with Tomato Chili Jam.  Slice chicken and pile into the middle of the sandwich.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.
5. Heat a panini  or grill pan and grill sandwiches for 5 minutes, pressing down on the sandwich, or until warmed through.
Makes 4 sandwiches

Tomato Chili Jam

This condiment goes with the Chicken Panini with Avocado Mayonnaise recipe on this blog. This recipe was taken from the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine Autumn 2012.  The magazine also suggests that you can use this as topping for hamburgers or serve with French fries.  If fresh tomatoes are not available then use 1 can (798 ml) chopped tomatoes with juice.

1 jalapeño or Serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp ginger, chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
2 lbs (1 kg) Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
Asian chili sauce, to taste

1. Place jalapeño, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar in a saucepan
2. Bring to boil slowly, stirring constantly.  When it reaches a boil, lower heat to a simmer and add diced tomatoes.
3. Simmer gently for 40 to 50 minutes or until dark red and jam-like.  If jam is too sweet add Asian chili sauce to taste.
4. Pour into a bowl, cool and place in jars.  Refrigerate for up to a month.
Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups

Bocconcini and Tomato Salad

Another great one! This recipe is taken from “The Italian Way-Cooking with the De Lucas”.

For the dressing:
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 basil leaves, torn into pieces

3 large tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
12 bocconcini or 12 slices buffalo mozzeralla cheese
12 fresh basil leaves 

1. Combine dressing ingredients and set aside.  Arrange tomato slices on a platter.  Top each with a bocconcini or a slice of mozzarella, drizzle with dressing, and garnish with fresh basil. 

Tomato Salsa

Why buy store bought salsa! This recipe is from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. This makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
2 scallions, finely minced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
A handful of parsley, finely minced
A handful of cilantro, finely minced
1 tsp. lightly toasted cumin seeds
3/4 to 1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
Crushed red pepper, to taste

1. Drop the tomatoes into a potful of simmering water for 10 seconds. Take them out, pull off the skins, and squeeze out the seeds. Dice the remaining pulp. Combine everything in a small bowl or container. Cover tightly and chill.

NOTE: To toast the cumin seeds, use a small skillet over a low flame or a toaster oven. With either method, watch them carefully so they won’t scorch.

Roasted Tomato Soup

This soup is so good! I think it may be my new favorite. I made homemade croutons as well. This recipe was taken from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen by Norene Gilletz.

3 lb (1.5 kg) Italian plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise (12 to 14 tomatoes)
3 red peppers, seeded and cut in chunks
2 medium onions, cut in chunks
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh minced basil (or 2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp fresh minced thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
2 heads garlic (about 30 cloves of garlic)
4 cups vegetable broth or water
2 tsp sugar or granular Splenda

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Combine the tomatoes, red peppers, and onions in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil, and thyme; mix well. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the baking tray, placing the tomato cut-side up. Cut a 1/4-inch slice from the top of each head of garlic, wrap each head in foil and place on the baking sheet. Roast vegetables, uncovered, for 35 to 45 minutes or until nicely browned, stirring occasionally.
3. Transfer the roasted tomatoes, peppers, and onions to a large pot. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the pot. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sugar. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
4. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup while still in the pot, or purée in batches in a blender or food processor. If too thick, add a little water or broth. Serve hot or cold.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings (about 10 cups). Keeps 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 4 months.

Zucchini Stuffed with Corn and Basil

I loved this recipe! It is taken from Cook’s Illustrated “The Best Light Recipe”. A great tip taken from this cookbook suggests to buy firm zucchini with tiny prickly hairs around the stem end as the hairs indicate freshness.  If possible, try to pick zucchini that are all the same size, with smooth bright green skin.

This recipe does take a bit of time, but it’s worth it. Leftovers are great heated up the next day too.

4 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces each), stem end removed
Salt and ground black pepper
Vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, minced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scoop out the sides and inner flesh of the zucchini until the thickness of the zucchini measures 1/4 inch.
2. Season the cut sides of the zucchini with salt and pepper and spray with vegetable oil spray. Lay the zucchini halves, cut-side down, on the baking sheet. Roast the zucchini until slightly softened and the skins are wrinkled, about 10 minutes. Remove the zucchini from the oven and flip cut-side up on the baking sheet; set aside. When cool enough to handle, dice 2 of the roasted zucchini halves into 1/4-inch pieces.
3. Meanwhile, combine the bread crumbs and 1 teaspoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the bread crumbs to a small bowl and let cool slightly; when cool, stir in 6 tablespoons of the Parmesan.
4. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon more oil to the skillet. Cover, return to medium heat, and cook until the onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining 5 teaspoons garlic and the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, until the tomato juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
5. Stir the corn, diced zucchini, 2 tablespoons of the toasted bread crumbs, remaining 2 teaspoons oil, basil, and remaining 10 tablespoons Parmesan into the cooked tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture evenly between the 6 squash halves on the baking sheet, and pack the filling lightly. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining toasted bread crumbs. Bake until the zucchini halves are heated through and the topping is crisp, 6 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

PER SERVING: Cal 150; Fat 6g; Sat fat 2g; Chol 5mg; Carb 18g; Protein 8g; Fiber 3g; Sodium 480mg

Tortilla, Sautéed Cornand Plum Tomato Soup

This soup is spicy but very good! It is taken from The Complete Light Kitchen by Rose Reisman. I brushed the tortillas with olive oil, then cut them into thin slices. I baked them in a 400F oven for 7 to 9 minutes. I also used a red pepper instead of the green.

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
3/4 cup canned corn kernels, drained
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp basmati rice
1 tsp hot chili paste
1 cup diced plum tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup thinly sliced flavored flour tortillas
1/3 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

1. Spray a non-stick saucepan with cooking oil, add the vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Cook the onion, green pepper and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden. Stir in the corn and cook for 5 minutes, or until the corn begins to brown.
2. Stir in the stock, black beans, rice and chili paste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, cornstarch (dissolved in 1 tbsp of water) and salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes until slightly thickened.
4. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish each serving with tortilla strips, fresh herbs and sour cream.

Garlicky Tortellini, Spinach and Tomato Soup

This soup takes 10 minutes to make.  I make it often as it’s super easy and packed with flavour.  This recipe is taken from The Best of Bridge – The Rest of the Best.

1 Tbsp. butter
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped. (use it all – honest!)
4 cups chicken broth
6 oz. (170 g.) cheese tortellini
14 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
or 2 1/2 cups skinned, chopped fresh ripe tomatoes
10 oz. (300 g) bag of spinach, stems removed
8-10 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
parmesan cheese, grated

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute about 2 miinutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook halfway (about 5 minutes if frozen, less if using fresh.) Add tomatoes and their liquid; reduce heat to simmer and cook just until pasta is tender. Stir in spinach and basil and cook until wilted, 1-2 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

Grilled Vegetarian Pizza

This is my favorite pizza.  It takes some work to make but it is well worth it.  The recipe asks to cut the dough in 8 pieces, i just make 2 pizzas on the BBQ. You would think the dough would fall through the grates of the BBQ, but it doesn’t.  The crust turns out perfect every time.  I highly recommend that you make this pizza with the basil drizzle, but I have made it without and the pizza is still good.  I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough attachment to make the crust.  This recipe was taken from The Best of HeartSmart Cooking by Bonnie Stern.

Grilled Vegetarian Pizza
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 envelope dry yeast (1 Tbsp)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Cherry tomato sauce (see recipe below)
4 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

1. To prepare crust, in a large bowl, combine warm water and sugar .  Sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes, or until yeast bubbles up.
2. Stir in all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, salt and 1 tbsp oil.  (This can be done by hand or in a food processor.)  If necessary, add more all-purpose flour until dough is still very soft but does not stick to your fingers or counter.
3.  Knead dough for 5 to 8 minutes, form into a ball and place in a large bowl with remaining 1 tbsp oil.  Roll dough in oil,  cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in volume.
4. Meanwhile, to prepare topping, in a food processor, puree basil, oil and salt.
5. Punch dough down and cut into 8 pieces.  Roll out or stretch each piece of dough until very thin (about 6 inches/15 cm in diameter.) Do not worry if pieces are oddly shaped.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray or brush with a little olive oil.
6. Place dough on a hot grill and grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side.  Reduce heat to low.
7. Top pizzas with tomato sauce and mozzarella, close lid and cook for about 5 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and crust is crispy on bottom (check occasionally to make sure bottom is not browning too much.)  You can also transfer grilled dough to a baking sheet, add toppings and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 10 minutes.
8. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tsp basil oil.  (Freeze any remaining basil oil.)

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Add 4 chopped cloves garlic and a pinch of pepper flakes and cook gently for a few minutes until fragrant. Add 4 cups whole cherry tomatoes, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until tomatoes split and deflate and sauce becomes somewhat thick.  If pan becomes dry, add 1/4 cup water.  Makes 3 cups