Tag Archives: tomatoes

Quick Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~

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I’m a Johnny-come-lately to the pleasure of calamari.  For most of my life if you had offered them to me – my automatic response would have been “If I wanted to eat rubber bands, they certainly wouldn’t be the fish flavored ones!”

I think I started to change my opinion at Carmine’s, a family style restaurant.  Someone ordered fried calamari for the table and insisted I try one.  OMG!  Who knew how delicious, tender, and non-rubber bandy they could be.  I couldn’t stop eating them…and now I dream of them.

But that was fried calamari…let’s be honest if you fried fishy rubber bands and gave me a delicious dipping sauce for them , I might fall in love with them too.  The transition to non-fried calamari came in a seafood cooking class.  One of the dishes was a squid salad and one of my tasks was cleaning the squid (which I was awesome at) and after doing all that work, I had to try the dish.  Okay, not love a first bite – but pretty good.

Fast forward to last week and I’m at the farmer’s market where the fish monger has fresh squid and some weird impulse seduced me to buy some.  I think it was more to see if I remembered how to clean them (the class was several years ago) then to actually eat them.  But here I am, a bunch of perfectly cleaned calamari and wondering what to do with them.  This recipe was my answer…and an excellent answer it was!

BTW if you want a really speedy version of this recipe, just heat up your favorite spaghetti sauce and stir in some calamari slices and cook a minute or two until opaque.

Of course I serve mine with zuchetti, if you are not paleo or gluten free, you can use any kind of pasta.

Bon Appetit!
Continue reading Quick Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Aloo Gobi Matar (Cauliflower, Potato, and Pea Curry)

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo *

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This has always been my favorite dish to order when I’m having a meal at an Indian restaurant (or when I’m ordering in from one).   It’s probably one of the only savory dishes I make that doesn’t contain either onion or garlic – which means I can serve it to my friend who is allergic to both.

Usually you find Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) on restaurant menus but I like the texture and color that the peas (matar) contribute to the dish.   Though I like the peas, if you are strictly paleo you may want to leave them out. When cooking this, it’s hard to tell how juicy your tomatoes are going to become, so you may or may not need additional water.  Using boiling potatoes will ensure that your potato cubes remain pretty intact. You don’t want mashed potatoes; you want the dish to be just a little saucy.

Aloo Gobi Matar

Stir this dish occasionally as it cooks to make sure the liquid doesn’t evaporate completely.

1 tablespoon olive oil  

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Ground red pepper to taste

2 tablespoons water + additional if necessary

3 cups cauliflower florets

1 cup cubed new red or Yukon gold (boiling) potatoes

1 cup tomato wedges

1/2 cup peas, optional

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro + additional for garnish

Salt to taste

In a 3-quart pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the ginger and cook, stirring 30 seconds.

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Add the curry, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and ground red pepper; stir until absorbed.

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Stir in the 2 tablespoons water; add the cauliflower, potato, and tomatoes.  Stir until vegetables are coated with spice mixture.

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Cook, covered, over medium heat 5 minutes until mixture starts to steam.  Stir; reduce heat and cook, covered 10 minutes longer.  Stir and see if any additional water is needed (adding 1 to 2 tablespoons as necessary).  Continue cooking 10 minutes, covered or until potatoes are cooked through.

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Add peas and cilantro, adding water if necessary.  Cover and continue to cook 5 minutes longer.  Season with salt to taste.

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Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with chopped cilantro if desired.

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Makes:  4 cups    Serves:  4

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Mama’s Meat Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~ 

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So last week I wrote about zucchetti and promised to give you a meat sauce to use with it.  True to my word, here it is…and it’s easy and pretty quick (only cooks for 30 minutes)!  It makes a lot, but the great news is it’s one of those foods that freezes beautifully.  I freeze it in individual portions and then just pull one out of the freezer whenever I want a quick meal.

This is one of those recipes where you can use any ground meat and still end up with a tasty sauce.  You can use beef, buffalo, pork, chicken, turkey, veal, ostrich, or sausage or any other ground meat or combination of meats you can think of.
Enjoy!
Continue reading Mama’s Meat Sauce

Roasted Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo ~~       

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Another recipe straight from my expedition to the farmer’s market .  The green beans just looked too perfect to pass up and the grape tomatoes were sweet as candy.  These are great served warm or cold and are another of those recipes perfect to bring to a picnic or pot luck.

I’m feeling kind of stuck here for a longer narrative to share with you about this recipe or these ingredients, but this is just a straight forward recipe I created because I had great ingredients on hand.

It may not be an especially beautiful dish but it’s taste makes up for its looks.  You’ll love it – really!

Enjoy!
Continue reading Roasted Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar

Manhattan-style Clam Chowder

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~~

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Every now and then I get a craving for clam chowder. In my dreams it’s that velvety, unctuous, creamy New England Clam Chowder with just a hint of bacon…

Oh well, that was before the “dairy and wheat problem” and now I can dream of it, but sipping it is out of the question. But that doesn’t mean I have to forgo Clam Chowder – there is always Manhattan-style that has its own special appeal. Personally, I like it with a bit of a bite from plenty of black pepper, but you can tone it down to your own tastes. Also, after lots of fooling around with the recipe, I find that chopping all the vegetables fairly finely helps the flavors meld so much better than larger pieces. Of course having a food processor makes this a snap.

I make this on a kind of regular basis. It’s only fair to tell you that this is more of a vegetable soup with clams than a clam soup with vegetables.   It makes a large batch, but it freezes nicely so you don’t have to worry about what to do with leftovers.

About the ingredients:

The Clams – So I confess that I am a horrible person because all the recipes I saw online from “big name” cooks start out with fresh clams and honestly – that is not something I routinely keep in my pantry or even refrigerator. So, I use canned minced clams and if I want to boost the clamminess, I substitute clam broth instead of some of the vegetable or chicken broth.

I use waxy (boiling) potatoes because I think they hold together better than baking potatoes.

I use 2 kinds of canned tomatoes – crushed and stewed.  The crushed gives a more intense tomato flavor and the stewed (or you can use diced) gives you the tomato pieces.

I love this soup because I always have the ingredients on hand so when the weather is particularly nasty and I want soup, I don’t have to go out of the house to buy any ingredients. Continue reading Manhattan-style Clam Chowder

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo

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I Love blizzards. When I went out shopping this afternoon the snow was coming down so hard that the flakes were more like micro-snowballs and some were even flower and star shapes.  I was so excited I stopped a stranger on Broadway and asked him to photograph my glove and email the photo to me – which you can see he did – aren’t New Yorkers the greatest people on earth??? (okay I am biased on that subject).  I was so amazed by these flakes I stopped several people on the street and in Zabar’s to show them. They probably thought I was a nut, but they all praised my flakes and enthusiasm…and then they (the flakes) melted and that was that.

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By 6 when I walked Bella the snow had tapered off to almost nothing I was thinking this is going to end up a dud blizzard  : (  But here it is 1a.m. and I’m giving Bella her last walk of the day and it’s snowing pretty hard : )

Bella Bleu Cheese
Bella Bleu Cheese

The last blizzard we had I sat in my living room reading three Twilight books (it snowed for 3 days and I read one book each day).  It was pure heaven.

In addition to marathon reading, I love to make soup when it’s snowing.  BP (before Paleo) I would make hearty bean soups – split pea or lentil, now I make hearty vegetable soups.  This one is pretty simple and straight forward and delicious.  Everyone who has tasted it has asked for the recipe.  If you have a cabbage in your refrigerator, you probably also have everything else you need to make this soup without having to go to the store.

Here’s hoping I’ll wake up tomorrow to a winter wonderland.  Happy Snow Day!
Continue reading Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Easy Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo *

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These easy-to-make hors d’oeuvres are perfect for family gatherings.  They don’t require much muss or fuss.  I made them mostly out of stuff I had around the house – but then I keep and obscene amount of food and foods around the house : )

The hors d’oeuvres I made today are:  Melon Stuffed Genoa Salami – a take on melon and proscuitto; Stuffed Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes; Eggs and Green Ham; Bacon Wrapped Almond Stuffed Dates; and Cucumber Slices with Smoked Salmon and Caper Sauce.  Along with today’s recipes, I invite you to browse the “appetizer” category for even more ideas/recipes.

Happy Holidays to you and all of yours.  Enjoy!
Continue reading Easy Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres

Curried Zucchini Soup with Rum

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo (variation)

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I bought a lot of zucchini with the thought that I would make it as a side dish for Thanksgiving. However, I went with the vegetable medley and used only a half of one zucchini.  That left me with a few unused ones.  I could have made zucchini spaghetti – and I still might since I only used two of the 3 remaining zucchini for this soup.

I can’t claim inspiration for the rum as I found this combination of flavors in one of my favorite cookbooks:  The Summer House Cookbook by Chris Casson Madden.  It was published in 1979 and I’ve been using it ever since.  It cost $5.95 new – what a deal!  You can find used copies on Amazon for a penny + shipping, it’s worth getting and still a deal!

Enjoy this easy-to-make, satisfying soup.
Continue reading Curried Zucchini Soup with Rum

How to Peel and Seed a Tomato

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Good Morning, it’s Friday time for This and That.  Since I’ve been making recipes using fresh tomatoes for the last few posts (and probably will for the next few posts as well), it only seems right to show you how to prepare them for cooking.  Now to be honest…in all my recipes I don’t bother to peel or seed tomatoes because the skin and seeds don’t bother me in the final products.   But, if you want to be really sophisticated, skinning a tomato really does improve the dish.  Seeding the tomato can change slightly the consistency, so unless the recipe writer suggests that tomatoes be seeded, assume that they should not.

I know of two ways to skin tomatoes.  The most popular is to place the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute or two and then immediately plunge them into an ice water bath.  I don’t love this method because the tomatoes feel cooked and mostly I don’t like to have to mess up pots and bowls when I don’t have to.  Here’s how I do it (but you need a gas range):

Peeling a Tomato

Pierce the blossom end of the tomato with a fork

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Turn your burner onto high and hold the tomato in the flames, rotating it, until all the skin has blistered (it’s okay if it chars in places)

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Using your fingers or a knife, pull the skin from the tomato until all the skin has been removed

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Seeding Tomatoes

This can be done to tomatoes that have been skinned or unpeeled tomatoes

Cut the tomato in half, through the middle (not the blossom)

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Put half into the palm of your hand and squeeze over a bowl or garbage can to catch the seeds you want discarded

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The tomato is now ready for chopping, dicing or whatever the recipe calls for.

Shakshuka (shakshouka)

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian *  Parve * Paleo

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It would be lovely if I could tell you that I fell in love with Shashuka while I was in Israel or when I first tasted it in my favorite middle eastern restaurant, however, truth be told, I saw the recipe in the cookbook Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi and was compelled to try it.  Turns out it’s quite yummy and a great way to use ripe summer tomatoes.  The first time I made Shashuka was last summer.  I followed the recipe to a “T”, except I confess it goes against my very being to use 1/2 cup oil in a recipe that serves 4 – so I reduced it to 1/4 cup – everything else I did exactly…until it came to adding the 1 cup of water.  The recipe said to add water until the mixture is saucy – but my mixture was so saucy before I added even a drop of water that I just shrugged my shoulders and figured it was just another poorly written recipe – how disappointing.  The end result, however was quite delicious.  Scroll forward 6 months.  It’s January,  I’m making Shashuka for company and this time my tomatoes are just not giving off any juices.  Suddenly I need that 1 cup of water to make the recipe work – so Mr. Ottolenghi, I apologize for doubting you.

Two weeks ago when I made Ratatouille, Irwin had brought me beautiful tomatoes from his garden.  This week Sheila brought me tomatoes from her garden

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which is why I was moved to make Shakshuka in the first place.  There will be many more tomato recipes to come very soon.
Continue reading Shakshuka (shakshouka)