Tag Archives: arugula

One Hot Tomato

Just another meatless Monday…..

If you asked my mother, she’ll tell you I don’t like tomatoes.

Tomato_scanned

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I LOVE tomatoes, and it is out of love of tomatoes that I pick them out salads all winter long.

I love tomatoes fresh from the garden, which here in Plymouth is possibly July, definitely August and into early September.

I buy tomatoes at the Plymouth Farmers Market and sometimes from roadside stands – and there do seem to be fewer of them with each passing year – and I accept them – greedily- fresh from the gardens of my friends and family.

Random passing strangers with bulging bags of fresh produce are never turned away, either.

It wasn’t until I moved out and lived on my own that I realized I didn’t have to eat pink cottony golf balls that are sold under the name of tomato in winter time – nicely packaged in little plastic crates – at all.Bright_red_tomato_and_cross_section02

I also love all sorts of canned tomato products, and dried tomatoes and tomato paste, especially in the little toothpaste like tube.Progresso canned tomatotomato paste tube

I needed one tomato to make Flora’s Lentils and Macaroni, so I did what I always do in the winter in the grocery store – I bee lined it straight for the mark down produce rack.

My winter shopping often starts here.

I started collected cauliflower recipes because it was so often found here, and often for under a dollar.

Good Eats at a Great Price!

And often things are repackaged or trimmed in such a way that for the single or single plus one, a much more reasonable haul.

So I found a package of tomatoes, one of which went into the lentils…what to do with the rest?

And FAST – even at LOW LOW prices I don’t want to pay cash money for compost.

One way to improve and generally pump up the flavor of tomatoes is to heat them up. Think hot summer sun and fresh off the vine……

These tomatoes are a long way from their vine, and the sun is not heating up much here (or if it is, the snowfall is masking it it). That leaves cooking them.

But First – a few words about

Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin in 2006

Jacques Pepin in 2006

Years ago,on some cooking show (but it was in color so after 1977)  where Jacques was trimming various vegetables, cutting and chatting and moving the trimmed bits into a scrap bowl….and then he caught sight of these so-called scraps out of the corner of his eye, and paused, speechless. With the knife still in one hand, with the other he pulled (and for the life of me I can NOT remember what) part of the discard OUT of the scrap bowl . He peered below the counter. He put down the knife, pulled out a second bowl, placed the now NOT garbage vegetative bits in second bowl and said either “for soup” or “for something else” and continued with the regular show.

This whole maneuver probably took under 10 seconds.

It also summed what I dislike most about cooking shows and  food magazines –

In the quest for the best,

 We toss aside far too much of the very good and the perfectly fine.

There’s a world of good eating, and often very, very good eating, in the bits that aren’t best. Cooking /seasoning/mixing things up together can make good things better.

And this is why I’m a major Jacques Pepin fan. He saved the good. Even when it wasn’t part of the script. Bravo, Jacques!

And now for

Pappa al pomodoro

(One Hot Tomato Bread Soup)

 

1 large out of season tomato

1 Tbs olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 oz day old, slightly stale crusty bread*

1 oz fresh basil or fresh rocket, coarsely chopped **

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil (for sprinkling)

1 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese***

  1. Core and peel the tomato, then roughly chop, saving the drippings.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stirringly cook until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add tomato and juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until tomato starts to soften and break down.

  4. Add the bread to the tomato. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the bread soaks up the sauce.

  5. Stir in the leafy greens, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes more. Scrape into a warm bowl and sprinkle with more olive oil and grated cheese.

adapted from Pappa al pomodoroThe Boston Globe, August 20, 2008. Jonathan Levitt.

* I’m using one of Jenny’s Bread Cheese Rolls, hence the weight  specific. Otherwise part of a stale loaf – pull it apart and leave it out for a while to hurry the staling (for the truly impatient a minute or two in the oven will dry it out)

** I almost never have fresh basil in the house in the winter (too cold grow citrus is also too cold to keep basil; I freeze it, which turns it black, which is fine for sauce because you can fish it out before serving, but this needs a little more substance). Rocket is another name for arugula and you need some zingy-zangy greenage to add here.

*** I actually prefer Romano, but PLEASE -nothing fr0m the green shaker can!

Pappa al pomodoro - pappa is indeedy related to pap....and pomodoro is tomato

Pappa al pomodoro – pappa is indeedy related to pap….and pomodoro is tomato

Leave a comment

Filed under Bread, Recipe

Getting a round to it

Corners are cool….

Huey Lewis and the News Hip to Be Square

Huey Lewis and the News Hip to Be Square

but eventually even I have to get a round to the pizza.

It’s not that I haven’t made round pizzas. Try finding a not-round pizza pan, for one thing.

But more recently, Rachael Ray – yes, Rachael Ray  – showed me a pizza that was both round and involved cast iron.

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray

It was the September issue…..which I didn’t really have time to read until the first week in December.

Rachael Ray EveryDay Magazine September 2013

EveryDay with Rachael Ray Magazine September 2013

So, make some  dough…..you remember.

Rache would have you buy it, but now that you know how easy dough is, and that you can hold on to it in the fridge until you need it so you can make it ahead and have it on hand, why would you buy it?

The other secret  to Cast Iron Pizza is that the seasoning in the dough – really necessary. Even if you don’t use a premix, use some basil, use some oregano get some flavor in it.

You will also need a 8 inch cast iron frying pan. Or skillet. And a lid for said pan. I just has to be a lid that will cover the pan, it doesn’t have be be that pan’s lid.

A close  up of the pizza in the magazine

A close up of the pizza in the magazine – that’s arugula on top; arugula is also known as rocket.

Many cast iron pans have the size on the back – look for an 8. Another clue – the paper for the magazine is approximately 81/2 x 11, which means the picture in magazine in the magazine is close to life size. These are single serve pizzas. Which works out rather well for a single girl.

Cast Iron Pizza

1 pound of dough, divided into 4 –  4 oz. balls. Knead some seasoning in if you bought it – even a little Romano cheese will perk it up. Big Pan Pizza makes about 2 1/2 pounds of dough FYI.

(flour, to keep the dough from sticking)

Olive oil

tomato sauce, heated (I use Pastene kitchen ready tomatoes  – I like the tomato flavor )

Fresh or dried herbs for seasoning

cheese – mozzarella ( I used some lovely mozzarella from Wolf Farm, grated, but fresh, cut into a small dice would work well here.A little Parm or Romano is always good for the center )

Other toppings – arugula or peperoni or …..

  1. Heat the pan  – the 8 inch cast iron pan – over medium heat for 10 minutes. Make sure that the lid is nearby.
  2. Flatten one 4 oz ball of dough and stretch it into an 8″ round ( I just did this in my hands and didn’t roll it out at all).
  3. Put 1 tsp of olive oil in the hot pan and swirl it to completely cover the bottom. Put the dough circle in the pan
  4. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes (that’s 90 seconds) You’re just setting the bottom.
  5. Flip the dough, cover the pan and cook for 3 minutes, until the bottom is brown. (My first bottom got a little black….so I turned it down for the next three)
  6. Turn the dough again. Top with heated sauce (a 1/4 of a cup – I used my big spoon). Sprinkle on cheese. Other toppings? Now’s the time to add.
  7. Cover for another minute (or two) until the cheese is melted.
  8. Move it out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Wipe out the pan.
  9. Repeat until done.
  10. Mangia!
Pastene Kitchen ready tomatoes

Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes

1 Comment

Filed under Christmas, Pizza, Recipe