What a wonderful way to use fresh tomatoes from the garden! Unfortunately my tomatoes are not ripe yet, so I had to rely on plum tomatoes I purchased from the store. But as soon as mine turn from green to red they will be going into this casserole. The recipe comes from Ina Garten and is one of the Barefoot Blogger recipes of the month chosen by Josie of Pink Parsley Catering. I actually saw the episode of The Barefoot Contessa when she made this and knew it would be something that I would try, so thank you Josie for picking it.
There is another tomato casserole that I blogged about that comes from Mama Dip’s , an institution in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Although I love that casserole, it is almost dessert like in it’s sweetness. This casserole has just the right balance of acidic tomatoes, sugar and Parmesan cheese. The sourdough bread cubes I used in it absorbed all of the tomato juices and balanced the dish well.
Both Mama Dip and Ina Garten have a philosophy about food. Start with food that is real and food that is in season. Then prepare it simply so that the goodness that is inherent in it shines through. I am sending this post to the Two for Tuesdays blog hop. Hop on over and see all of the wonderful healthy recipes that the participants have provided this week. And check out what the other Barefoot Bloggers did with this wonderful scalloped tomato casserole.
Good olive oil
2 cups (1/2 inch diced) bread from a French boule (I used Sourdough)
16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.
Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.
Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot of warm.
It is Barefoot Blogger Thursday once again and this is a special one for me because it was my turn to pick the recipe from one of Ina Garten’s wonderful cookbooks. It did not take me long to make my selection. With the Memorial Day holiday just around the corner, it seemed appropriate to pick a grilling recipe. Grilled herb shrimp is just perfect. It can be found in Barefoot Contessa Parties! If you are planning on cooking burgers or steaks on the grill, the shrimp would make a great appetizer to cook before the rest of the meat goes on the barbie. Just add fewer shrimp per skewer. But it also makes a great meal on it’s own. It is easy and quick. The shrimp have a citrusy flavor from the lemon juice and the mustard and herbs add alot of flavor. Served with the mango salsa it is even better. The salsa has a sweet undertone with just a hint of a kick from the jalapeno pepper. I can think of no better way to celebrate the beginning of summer. Check out what the other Barefoot Bloggers did with this recipe. This is one of Ina’s “What’s not to love about that.” recipes.
GRILLED HERB SHRIMP
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled (tails left on) and deveined
Mango Salsa (recipe follows)
Combine the garlic, onion, parsley, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals, brush the grilling rack with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Skewer the shrimp. (I soaked the skewers in cold water for a few hours.) Ina used 5 to 6 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for a dinner serving. Grill the shrimp for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Serve with the Mango Salsa. This can also be done on a gas grill.
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (2 onions)
2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 ripe mangos, peeled, seeded, and small-diced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeno pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint leaves
Saute the olive oil, onions, and ginger in a large saute pan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions are transluscent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the mangos; reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the orange juice, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and jalapenos; cook for 10 more minutes, or until the orange juice is reduced, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and add the mint. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
Here is a brief garden update. My first tomato looks wonderful. I can hardly wait for the tomato bounty.
This is a perfect Spring dish, especially if you have fresh peas, asparagus and chives. I can lay claim only to the chives from my herb garden. It is Barefoot Blogger Thursday and thanks goes to Kimberly of Indulge & Enjoy for choosing this recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics Cookbook. Risottos are so versatile and I love the flavor combination in this version. It is full of leeks, fennel, the spring vegetables and a wonderful creamy mixture of mascarpone cheese and lemon. Risotto is inherently creamy so the mascarpone is just guilding the lily, but in a good way. It does require attention though, so be prepared to spend time at the stove stirring. It is very much worth it.
SPRING GREEN RISOTTO
1/1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts ( 2 leeks )
1 cup choppped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest ( 2 lemons )
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2 inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)
When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teasoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside off the heat for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.
I am late with my Barefoot Blogger recipe this month but want to thank Cassandra of Foodie with Little Thyme for choosing this cookie recipe. We have had two cookie recipes this month and I am sure all of those with a sweet tooth are very pleased. But frankly, I hope that we have at least one savory recipe next month so that my scales will stop screaming at me. These cookies were very good and easy to make. For some reason my cookie dough was a little dry, so that the cookies crumbled when I rolled and pressed them. But that did not affect the buttery flavor. The coconut added a nice touch and you can get very creative with the jam that you use. All I had on hand was blueberry and raspberry. If you have apricot jam or orange marmalade it will give you a nice contrast with the raspberry jam if you do half of the cookies with each jam.
Everything is in the ground now. Pole beans will climb the fencing. The marked rows contain sugar snap peas, rainbow chard, shallots and green onions. We have two hills of squash and tomato plants, pepper plants and cucumbers.
Hopefully we will be harvesting by July. The Friends of Hickory Nut Gorge Community Gardens have asked all of the participants to donate 10% of the harvest to charity.