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Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

We’re taught that the key to maintaining our figure when surrounded by so much food creations is to eat in moderation. But once in awhile, we all encounter a dish that we take a “test bite” of and then just can’t resist going back for more! Before you realize it, you’re making another batch just so you can serve a presentable looking dish to your dinner guests.

The other day, I was bitten by the “can’t stop eating” bug when I made this highly addictive and extremely simple bread pudding.

Looking for inspiration for what to do with my days-old baguette, I came across this scalloped tomatoes recipe from the Contessa herself, Ina. It was, as you might call it, a life changing experience. Who knew such a simple equation of tomatoes + bread + oven = bliss? From that day forth, I recreated variations of that recipe whenever I came home from a long day at work (and had leftover bread from TomKat bakery). This is one of my favorite variations, filled with healthy veggies and bubbling with cheese on top:

First Hit:

  • 4-5 Ripe Tomatoes, diced
  • 5 cups of bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (I use baguettes, but mostly any bread will do)
  • 1/2 of a zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch thick medallions, and then halved
  • 1.5 cup of fresh cut corn (frozen/canned will work too)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms (I like using a combo of baby bella, oyster & shitake)
  • 2 cups of shredded fontina cheese (chedder, mozzarella, monterey jack also work beautifully)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into thin Chiffonade shreds
  • 2 Tbsp Xagave Nectar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 3-4 Tbsp of olive oil
  • a pinch of salt & pepper, to taste

Get Hooked:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a frying pan, toast the garlic in olive oil
  3. Add the bread cubes; toss & toast on medium heat until bread is crouton-like
  4. In another frying pan, saute the zucchini, mushrooms, and corn in some oil & salt & pepper until just cooked (3-5 min)
  5. Meanwhile, mix the diced tomatoes and basil with the Xagave nectar until well blended
  6. Add in the cooked veggies to the tomato mixture and mix well
  7. Mix in the toasted bread cubes and pour into a casserole baking dish (don’t worry if it’s a little watery – the bread will soak up the tomato liquid when baking)
  8. Season with some salt & pepper, layer the fontina cheese on top, & pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes until cheese is bubbly and the top is crispy and browned
  9. Dig in with a spoon and don’t resist the temptation to keep on eating!

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As a New Yorker, the date 9-11 will always stir up deep emotions inside of me. It was the day the world turned a bleak and surreal black, white, and gray. And so I dedicate this blog post in memory of those we lost, and their loved ones who survived, hoping that this Pick-Me-Up Guacasalsa dish, so dear to my heart, will bring forth some color and good cheer.

This love affair and marriage of Guacamole and Salsa results in a kaleidoscope of beautiful colors and a refreshing blend of crisp, citrusy flavors. It is my go-to concoction when I need a crowd-pleaser, and my inspiration-potion on days when I feel “blah”.  The magic of this dish is that you never ever get sick of eating it. It teases your palate and lures you to come back for more. Garden-fresh veggies like juicy tomatoes, crunchy bell peppers, creamy avocados, and plump corn kernels fuse together in a symphonious medley.

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Ingredients:

  • corn Kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 2-3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2-3 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, or green)
  • 2-3 avocados
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • juice from fresh limes
  • a bit of sugar
  • red chili pepper flakes
  1. Dice all veggies into petite-cut sizes
  2. Finely chop the basil and cilantro
  3. Mix well, and add some salt & pepper, chili flakes, and fresh squeezed lime juice until desired acidity and heat is achieved
  4. Add some sugar to balance out the acidity
  5. Serve with tortilla chips the traditional way, use as filling in omelettes (yes, delicious!), serve as a side dish in lieu of salad, or take a spoon and enjoy it “in the nude”! 

Variations:

  • Add black beans for smoky richness
  • Easily swap in lemon for lime (or a combination of both)
  • Substitute lemon/lime for balsamic vinegar and honey for a fruitier, sweeter taste
  • Replace cilantro with parsley, or play with a mix of oregano and rosemary for a warmer, more robust flavor

Happy Munching!

Avocado Salsa on Foodista

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