Tag Archives: tomato

Mini Quiche Tartlets

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Why hello! We’re back!

It has been an almost unprecedented length of time between blog posts–Caty, as semi-avid readers of the blog will know, has posted every once in a while about her concoctions in her dorm kitchenette, but the two of us have not blogged together since Christmastime. Half a year, nearly! This is due to the fact that geography has separated us for much of this semester– she’s been kicking butt at school in NYC and writing for  NYU Spoon, while I was traversing Peru and volunteering at an orphanage. (I decided not to dedicate an entire post to Peruvian cuisine as it was not my favorite, but you all might be delightfully disgusted to know I sampled both alpaca and guinea pig meat while I was there, as well as some more appealing empanadas and tamales.)

However, we’re both back in our little town, and though we’ve been sad to end our years’ adventures I think it’s safe to say one of the upsides of summertime is going to be blogging more frequently and being able to enjoy each other’s company again. Summer is a beautiful time to cook; one of my favorite things to do this time of the year is pick over fruit and veggies at farmer’s markets and make something delightful to eat on the porch on a sunny late afternoon. So, rest assured we will be bringing you lots of treats to look at (and make, if you want!) in the upcoming months.

We kicked off our summer cooking a couple days ago with these scrumptious mini quiches. Quiche has been one of my favorite foods since I was little, partially since I am a sucker for anything with a pie-like crust, and these little guys were no disappointment. Quiche is wonderful because you can put really anything you like in it and it’ll still taste good. Most kinds of cheese and meat bits work great, as well as virtually any vegetable. We ended up making these with goat cheese and a small assortment of veggies (sundried tomatoes, swiss chard from the garden, and mushrooms) and they were delectable. The crust is buttery and couldn’t be easier to make; we used the same reliable 4-ingredient dough recipe we’ve been counting on for years now. It’s the perfect summer snack or meal and so easy and adaptable. Enjoy.

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Mini Quiche Tartlets

1 recipe pie dough
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch  Swiss chard, stems and leaves divided, both chopped
1 clove garlic
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, minced
¼ cup mushrooms, sliced and sautéed if desired
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 ounces goat cheese, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Press pie dough into four greased mini tart/quiche pans, poke with a fork a couple of times, and cover with aluminum foil. Fill aluminum foil with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil/pie weights/beans and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chard. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chopped Swiss chard stems and a dash of salt. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Mince the garlic with another dash of salt. Add garlic and chard leaves to the skillet and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and milk with a wire whisk. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. After the crusts have cooled, divide 1 ounce of goat cheese between the four crusts, then add chard, tomatoes and mushrooms. Top with the remaining goat cheese. Pour the egg mixture on top of vegetables.
  6. Bake the quiches at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until set.

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Ultimate Lasagna

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So, I’m not really sure what to call this dish. “The Best Lasagna Ever” is a bit subjective, right? “Roasted Red Pepper, Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna with Whole Wheat Pasta” sounds like a carnivore’s worst nightmare and fails to mention the chunks of Italian-style chicken sausage simmered into the sauce. “Homemade Lasagna” doesn’t sound right either. If I’m giving you a recipe for it, isn’t it homemade by default?

Perhaps I should just tell you about this “Ultimate Lasagna,” a carb and cheese-lovers favorite casserole that I created from many different recipes. It features layers of homemade chunky tomato sauce, homemade whole wheat pasta, homemade ricotta cheese blended with sautéed spinach, roasted red peppers and mushrooms and a generous helping of a combination of smoked mozzarella and regular mozzarella. It sounds complex, like a fan of Old English literature, but it’s not. It’s perfection in casserole form, if I do say so myself.

The great part about this dish is that you don’t have to make every component from scratch. I probably wouldn’t have made my own pasta, ricotta and sauce and roasted my own red peppers except for the fact that I am on spring break and nobody’s around, so the kitchen has become my best friend. If you’re pressed for time, you can just as easily use prepared ingredients, or prepare the sauce, ricotta and veggies a couple days beforehand. The components are pretty easy to make, even the pasta–but it all takes time. Fortunately, I think the finished product is well worth your time.

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Ultimate Lasagna

Ricotta Sauce
1 recipe ricotta (or 1 15-oz container)
6 oz fresh spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

Tomato Sauce
1 recipe tomato sauce (I added 1/2 can tomato paste to thicken)
2 chicken, turkey or regular sausages (I used Italian-style chicken)

Vegetables
2 roasted red peppers, diced
2 Portabella mushroom caps, stem & gills removed, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper

Whole Wheat Noodles
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or, 1 cup wheat & 1/2 cup white)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water

To Assemble
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 1/2 regular mozzarella and 1/2 smoked mozzarella)

  1. Add 2 diced sausages to tomato sauce and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add spinach, salt and pepper. Saute until the spinach is wilted. Let cool, then mix in a medium bowl mix together ricotta, spinach, egg, parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. In the same skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add mushroom pieces and sauté about 5 minutes, or until soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat oven to 375. Meanwhile, prepare the noodles.

For Noodles:

  1. Mix together flour and salt in a shallow dish. Make a well in the center of the flour and add egg and water.
  2. Beat the egg and into the flour with a fork until the dough comes together, then use your hands to knead it. Roll into a ball and let rest for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 9 even pieces and roll each piece into a 9×3″ rectangle. Place the noodles aside, storing in 3 layers of 3 noodles. Cover each with a piece of damp paper towel.
  4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

To Assemble:

  1. Spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9×9″ baking dish.
  2. Place three noodles in the pot and boil about 30 seconds. Remove from the water, rinse under cold water, pat dry, and layer on top of the tomato sauce.
  3. Spread about 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by 1/2 of the peppers and mushrooms, 1/3 cup of mozzarella and then another 1/3 of tomato sauce.
  4. Repeat the process to make another layer–you should have used up the peppers/mushrooms and ricotta and have 3 more noodles, 1/3 tomato sauce and 1/3 cup mozzarella remaining.
  5. Boil the last noodles and layer on top of the tomato sauce. Spread the remaining tomato sauce on top then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  6. Place an oil-coated piece of aluminum foil over the lasagna and bake for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes before cutting & serving.

Adapted from Chow and Naturally Ella

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

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Hey, look! We made something that isn’t dessert!

You may (or may not) have noticed the large amount of sweet recipes we’ve been churning out lately. And you may have assumed that we are only capable of baking desserts. But worry not, because today we’re sharing with you a surprisingly simple and insanely delicious recipe for tomato soup. Trust us, you’ll never break open a can of Progresso again.

The best thing about most soup recipes (as I think I may have mentioned before…) is that it’s not necessary to use precise measurements; you’re free to adjust the soup to your personal tastes without worrying about ruining the final product. And soup always tastes better the longer it’s cooked.

To make this soup, make sure you use ripe tomatoes. This is super-important because the tomatoes are roasted in the oven until they’re caramelized and juicy, so ripe tomatoes will release a good amount of juice.

And, of course, serve the soup with a melty, delicious grilled cheese. It’s a requirement. (Helpful hint: if you’re using a dense cheese such as cheddar, be sure to grate it so it will melt on the sandwich!)

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup
Adapted from Sophisticated Gourmet

1 ½lbs ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 medium-sized peeled yellow onion
1 small head of garlic or four regular sized garlic cloves, top cut off but skin still on
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into small pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (or more) tablespoon basil olive oil (if you don’t have this, use regular olive oil and increase the amount of fresh basil)
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock and 2 tablespoons heavy cream, optional

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Spread the tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil on a roasting tin. Sprinkle with sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Roast the ingredients in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the tomatoes have shrunk a bit, are wrinkly and some of the juice is caramelized on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Pour the tomatoes and onions into a food processor. Squeeze out the contents of the garlic clove, mash with a fork and add to the tomatoes. Pulse the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender in a large bowl. This makes for much simpler cleanup.
  5. If the soup is not thin enough, add stock and heavy cream