Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Speaking of Tomatoes....

So speaking of tomatoes....I have been trying to use up my little garden babies before they all go bad. Two great solutions: roasting them and freezing them! Then you can preserve the delicious flavor, save a little money, and utilize your homegrown produce. I have one recipe for each! For the first recipe I used roasted tomatoes, which are one of the most wonderfully flavorful and delicious things on the planet. To roast tomatoes, cut lengthwise and place in a bowl. Add a few tablespoons olive oil, some salt, pepper, sugar, and oregano and give a good toss. Then on a cookie sheet lined with foil place tomatoes cut side up. For this batch, I slow roasted them, which really intensifies the flavor. I roasted them at 200 degrees for about 6 hours. You can store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator and serve them on salads, or use them in recipes.
If you don't have time to slow roast them you can broil them like in the roasted tomato soup recipe.
Now on to the featured recipe.... When I was blog surfing the other day I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Design Sponge. I knew it was right up my alley and that I could use my garden babies to make a tasty meal. The recipe calls for taleggio cheese, which I have never tried, but it sounded expensive! ha ha. So I used mozzarella instead. The creme fraiche was really what sold me on making this recipe. If you have never tried it, try it! It is so decadent! (but also a bit of a splurge in more ways than one I am sure) I modified this recipe also by adding less cheese. I generally do that just to make things a bit healthier.
You could use this recipe as a base to make all kinds of culinary delights. Think of switching up the cheeses and adding different ingredients in the stuffing. Goat cheese with mushroom would be nice. Or maybe you could try brie and apple. Or prosciutto and smoked mozzarella, or good old fashion ham and cheddar. Oh so many choices. The crust was really flaky and tasty. If you are really pressed for time and want to make this a week day meal perhaps you could use pre-made bread dough, but that takes all the fun out of it!!!
Taleggio and Spinach Roulade (serves 6)
Dough Ingredients
  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) full-fat milk
  • 2 tsp dried active yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 3½ tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 whole medium egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 350 g (3 cups minus one tablespoon) strong white flour (bread flour)
Filling Ingredients
  • 80 g (3 ounces) crème fraiche
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100 g (3.5 ounces) baby spinach leaves
  • 20 g (1 ounce) basil leaves
  • 100 g (3.5 ounces) Pecorino cheese, grated
  • 250 g (9 ounces) Taleggio cheese, sliced (or substitute with a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella)
  • 100 g (3.5 ounces) semi-dried marinated tomatoes
To Finish
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 handful of poppy seeds

1. In a small saucepan, warm up the milk very slightly, just to about 30°C/85°F. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Set aside for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
2. Place the rest of the dough ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast and milk and work with a dough hook on slow speed for about 2 minutes. Increase to high speed and knead for another 7 minutes, by which point the dough should become a smooth, shiny ball (this process could also be done by hand; you will probably need to knead the dough for an extra 5–10 minutes).
3. Transfer the dough to a large bowl brushed with a little oil. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth and put it somewhere warm. After about 45 minutes, once the dough has doubled in size, line a 30 cm x 40 cm (roughly 12 in. x 16 in.) oven tray with greaseproof paper.
4. Transfer the dough to a work surface dusted very lightly with flour and roll it out thinly so it reaches the size of the tray. Line the tray with the dough, pulling it right out into the corners. Cover with the tea towel again and leave for 30 minutes.
5. Once the rolled-out dough has risen significantly, cover it with the filling. Use a palette knife to spread the crème fraiche all over the surface, sprinkle salt and then scatter the spinach, basil, Pecorino, Taleggio and tomatoes.
6. Carefully pick up one of the longer sides of the dough and roll and push it all up into a neat spiral log shape. Stand the log on the seam so it doesn’t unravel when baked. Cover the tray in the tea towel again and leave for another 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F .
8. Brush the roulade’s surface gently with the beaten egg and then scatter on the poppy seeds. Make sure the oven has reached 200°C/390°F and then put the tray inside. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 160°C/320°F.
9. Continue baking for roughly 25 minutes. Don’t worry if the roulade breaks or cracks a little. When ready, it should have taken on a nice dark brown color. Stick a sharp knife inside to check. It should come out with some melted cheese but no dough.
10. Remove the roulade from the oven, allow it to cool down a little (or completely) and cut into thick slices. Serve immediately with a salad.
This recipe originally appeared on Waitrose.com in May 2008.

Read more at Design*Sponge http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/10/in-the-kitchen-with-yotam-ottolenghis-taleggio-roulade.html#ixzz13VOr34un

Techniques: Freezing TomatoesI got the idea for freezing tomatoes from my Everyday Food magazine.

The information below came from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Check out the website here. They have all kinds of good ideas for preserving food.

Preparation--Select firm, ripe tomatoes with deep red color.

Raw--Wash and dip in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Core and peel. Freeze whole or in pieces. Pack into containers, leaving 1-inch headspace. Seal and freeze. Use only for cooking or seasoning as tomatoes will not be solid when thawed.

Above: Here are my "frozen tomatoes" after I peeled them, but before I put them in the freezer.

Juice--Wash, sort, and trim firm, vine-ripened tomatoes. Cut in quarters or eigths. Simmer 5-10 minutes. Press through a sieve. If desired, season with 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of juice. Pour into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.

Stewed--Remove stem ends, peel and quarter ripe tomatoes. Cover and cook until tender (10-20 minutes). Place pan containing tomatoes in cold water to cool. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.

Now on to the featured recipe. I know I have a tendency for posting complex recipes. That is just what I enjoy making the most! But this recipe is easy peasy and super cheap. It comes from Everyday Food, one of my favorite sources for delicious and easy recipes. The only thing I modified was that I added mushrooms just because they are delicious. We served it over rice.

Chicken in Tomatoes

This recipe for chicken in tomatoes was created with frozen summer produce, but if you just can't wait, fresh will work just as well.

Read more at marthastewart.com: Chicken in Tomatoes - Martha Stewart Recipes


2 pounds frozen tomatoes (4 cups), thawed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (1 1/2 pounds total)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 sprigs oregano


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until coarsely chopped. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin side down, until golden and crisp, about 7 minutes. Flip and cook 1 minute. Transfer chicken to a plate and drain all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to skillet and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.

Add chicken, skin side up, and oregano, then transfer skillet to oven. Cook until chicken is cooked through, 25-30 minutes.

Above: Chicken in Tomatoes.  After trying this wonderful recipe that was shared by my sister, my husband and I decided that this would be equally delicious served over pasta or served with a crusty loaf of bread (to sop up the tomato and juices...kind of like a make-it-yourself bruschetta).


  1. I have no idea why blogger cut of the second half of this post. Sorry! Sarah do you know how to fix?

  2. It's all fixed! These look yummy. I, myself, would have to use frozen bread dough. With my sweet little guy, I just don't have the time to make bread from scratch. You could also use frozen puff pastry. I'll bet that would be yummy too.

  3. Laurie, thanks for your Chicken in Tomatoes recipe. I have been meaning to try this forever and I finally got to the other night (thanks to Mom's amazing tomato yield this year). Jeremiah and I both thought it was yummy. And surprisingly enough both Peter and Jonathan ate it too!

  4. I am going to try roasting and freezing tomatoes. This will help with our bumper crop and then you can have some in November since you didn't get much of a yield with your new shady yard in Ohio. Come to Utah where the tomatoes are bounteous!

  5. I need to get some more tomatoes from you. The tomatoes are only bounteous in the Salt Lake Valley! I am just barely starting to get red tomatoes. I might get a total of 5 ripe tomatoes from my beefsteak tomato plant!