Tagged:  tomato

Home » Posts tagged "tomato"

Caprese Salad with Basil Almond Pesto

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods, Salads On July 12, 2012 0 Comments

The classic Caprese Salad consists of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and basil leaves. I’ve changed this recipe because I like tweaking and creating new recipes.

My version has some fresh pesto sandwiched between the tomato and mozzarella. There are no words or emotions to describe the luscious flavors of this Caprese with Basil Almond Pesto!

Prep time: 7 to 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

2 to 3 ripe tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
salt and pepper, to taste
6 to 8 teaspoons Basil Almond Pesto (found in our Recipes, under “Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces)
1 pound fresh mozzarella balls (these are called “bocconcini” or small bites)
4 to 6 large, fresh basil leaves

1. Slice the tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices and lay on a serving platter.

2. Drizzle the oil over tomato slices, followed by salt and pepper, to taste.

3. Spread 1 teaspoon Basil Almond Pesto on each tomato slice.

4. Drain all water from the mozzarella bocconcini and, on a cutting board, gently cut them in half.

5. Lay each one, flat side down, over the pesto and tomato (the rounded side of bocconcini should be face-up).

5. Drizzle some olive oil over each tomato-bocconcini component, followed by salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Cut the basil leaves in slivers and use them to decorate the plate or to decorate the salad.

Enjoy as a starter or salad course.

Text and Photograph © 2012 Nancy DeLucia Real.

Cuban Shredded Beef (Ropa Vieja)

In Meats On April 13, 2012 0 Comments

Ropa Vieja is Spanish for “old clothes”. This Cuban recipe’s title describes shredded meat and colorful bell peppers which resemble tattered rags.
I learned how to make this recipe from Cuban friends who are fantastic home cooks.

Serve Ropa Vieja with a side of white or brown rice, accompanied by your fav red wine – a true comfort!

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

2 pounds flank steak, boiled, cooled and shredded*
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 white or brown onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
One 15-ounce can Muir Glen® Organic Crushed Tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry Sherry or white wine
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar or brown sugar
Dash ground black pepper

1. In a 12-inch skillet or 8-quart saucepot, heat the oil on medium-high setting.

2. Stir fry the garlic, onions and bell pepper strips for 2 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is soft.

3. Stir in the shredded beef, tomatoes, cumin, bay leaves, wine, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar and dash pepper.

4. Cook on medium-high heat for 8 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon to prevent sticking.

5. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper levels. Remove and discard bay leaves.

5. Serve immediately with steamed white or brown rice. This dish can also be served with a green salad.

*Note: The flank steak can be cooked for 45 minutes a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. On day of usage, shred the cooled flank steak into shreds.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux (reds).

Text & Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Zucchine Parmigiana

In Vegetables On March 27, 2012 0 Comments

When I lived in Italy, I watched my Nonna Annunziata create zucchine parmigiana when she didn’t have any eggplant. Now, remember that zucchine are a watery vegetable and can taste bland. This means that zucchine obtain a bolder flavor from whatever ingredients they’re coated with. In this recipe, they’re combined with tomato sauce and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese. Can zucchine get any more exciting than this?

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 (as main dish); 6 to 8 (as side dish)

1 to 1-3/4 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
1 to 1-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3 to 4 large eggs, beaten with 3/4 teaspoon salt and dash ground black pepper
4 to 5 medium-large zucchine, tips cut off and discarded
Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce (previously published on this blog & found in index under Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces), made up to two days ahead
1/2 to 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Pour 1 cup of the oil in a 10 or 12-inch frying pan; set aside on a cold stove burner.

2. To avoid splatters on stove, cut off and discard handles and bottom of a large brown paper bag. Cut one side of bag open, placing it over burner. Cut out a hole in bag which is the size of the burner, plus one extra inch. Place bag with hole over burner – the remaining parts of bag will cover and protect the stove from oil splatters.

3. In the meantime, cut zucchine crosswise, in half. Cut each piece lengthwise, into 1/4-inch slices; set aside.

4. Place the flour in an 8-inch wide, shallow bowl.

5. Beat the eggs, salt and pepper in another bowl of the same size; set aside.

6. Heat the oil in frying pan on high setting and, simultaneously, coat 6 zucchine slices in flour.

7. Shake off excess flour and, using two forks, coat the zucchine with egg mixture.

8. When oil is hot, lower heat to medium-high and gently place coated zucchine slices in pan.

9. Fry 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden; turn zucchine over once and repeat frying instruction. If oil diminishes, add more to frying pan, heat and continue frying.

10. With two forks or slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchine slices to a platter coated with paper towels.

11. Continue coating and frying instructions for remaining zucchine, transferring each batch to a layer of paper towels set over bottom layer of fried zucchine. Set aside.

12. Preheat oven to 350°F.In a 12 X 12-inch square baking dish, spread about 2/3 cup warmed Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce.

13. Place one layer of fried zucchine over sauce.

14. Spread 1/3 cup sauce over zucchine. Sprinkle with some grated cheese.

15. Repeat layer assembly of Zucchine Parmigiana until all zucchine have been used.

16. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve immediately as a main dish, accompanied by a green salad.

Alternatively, serve Zucchine Parmigiana as a side dish to meat, chicken or fish.

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Chianti (red).

Text & Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Desperation Salad

In Salads On August 13, 2011 0 Comments


 What do you do when you look in the fridge expecting to find that barbeque chicken YOU bought but only see two chicken legs and thighs? First, you have to get over the fact that your own family members cheated you out of the best part of that chicken. Once the trauma’s over, your creative wheels start spinning. And then, you make a meal of whatever items you desperately grab in the fruit/veggie drawer.

All of the above happened to me last month. I ended up creating one of the most artistic and delicious salads I’ve ever made in my life – here it is.

Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Serves: 2

2 barbequed chicken legs, skin and bone discarded and meat cut into cubes
2 barbequed chicken thighs, skin and bone discarded and meat cut into cubes
2 celery stalks, peeled and thinly sliced (diagonally)
1-1/2 cups diced Cantaloup melon
1 large, vine-ripened tomato, cubed
3 tablespoons slivered Italian flat-leaf parsley (do this with cooking shears or scissors)
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lime or lemon
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl.

2. Toss and taste.

3. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chilled Verdejo (white).

*Note: I prefer two types of chicken: organic chicken from Wholefoods® stores; and Mary’s Free Range Chicken® (vegetarian diet; no antibiotics or preservatives).

Text & Photographs © 2011 Nancy DeLucia Real

Shrimp Miramar (Havana, Cuba)

In Fish & Shellfish On August 5, 2011 0 Comments

About a month ago, I was introduced to this exquisite shrimp dish in Miramar, a lush suburb of Havana, Cuba. The recipe is known by a few names – Shrimp Creole, Shrimp Enchilados and Shrimp a la Cubana. It consists of fresh, wild-caught shrimp, tomatoes, bell pepper, white wine and some other wonderful ingredients. While most recipes utilize canned tomatoes and ketchup, I prefer fresh, organic tomatoes and a little sugar.

Back in Havana, accompanied by my husband and friends at a “paladar particular” or privately-owned restaurant in Miramar, the entire experience was as delicious as the shrimp.

Prep time: 50 to 55 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

6 to 8 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (organic, if possible)
1 red bell pepper, halved (seeds and stem discarded)
1 medium white or brown onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine or dry Sherry
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 bay leaves
Dash ground cumin (less than 1/8 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon salt
Dash ground black pepper
*1 to 1-1/2 pounds large shrimp, deveined and shells discarded
[*Use 1 pound for 4 people; 1-1/2 pounds for 6 people]

1. Place tomatoes and bell pepper pieces in a 6-quart saucepot and cover with cold water.

2. Cover, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Drain the tomatoes and bell pepper pieces; cover them with cold water and set aside 5 minutes (they will cool quickly for easy handling).

4. After 5 minutes, peel the tomatoes, discarding skins and green stems.

5. Place tomatoes and bell pepper pieces in a blender.

6. Purée and strain the tomato mixture into a large glass or porcelain bowl; set aside.

7. Meanwhile, in a food processor, finely chop together the onion and garlic; set aside.

8. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil. Stir the onion and garlic mixture into the oil and sauté on medium heat about 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.

9. Stir the puréed tomatoes, wine or Sherry, sugar, bay leaves, cumin, salt and black pepper into the sautéed onion mixture. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes.

10. In the meantime, rinse the shrimp under cold water and drain.

11. Add the shrimp to the simmering sauce and cook on medium-low about 6 to 7 minutes or until shrimp is white and opaque.

12. After 6 minutes of cooking, taste a shrimp – it should be crunchy but not tough or overcooked.

Serve immediately, accompanied by steamed white rice or Cuban Black Beans & Rice, previously published on this blog.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chilled Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay.

Text & Photograph © 2011 Nancy DeLucia Real