“A Simple Sauce, Dave’s Tomatoes & an Ode by Pablo Neruda”

DSC_9694

My son-in-law, David,  has the magic touch when it comes to growing almost anything. He plants casually like a seasoned farmer. He does not fuss or worry, but accepts that things will grow, or not, depending on the weather. Tomatoes grow well for him in bad years, but this year, a good year, his plants are laden. He and my daughter, Whitney, are very generous with their bounty. See the big beauties above? Yep, those are David’s Cherokee Purple tomatoes.

 Vine ripened, just picked tomatoes. I am moved by their shapeliness, their innate lack of sameness and their color wheel of “reds, oranges & pinks”.

This is my favorite hot-summer, no-cook tomato sauce. It can only be made “right now” with just picked Summer tomatoes. Fresh, no fuss, quick and just plain good.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

You only need a few ingredients….Fresh homegrown tomatoes, a few basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, smashed garlic cloves, a good fruity olive oil, salt & pepper, a splash of red wine vinegar and just grated Parmesan cheese to scatter over the top.

DSC_9706

If you live in Nashville stop by Lazzaroli’s on 5th Avenue North in Historic Germantown. Tom has an amazing selection of olive oils. I picked up this bottle of Madonna Olive Oil especially for this dish. It’s amazing.

DSC_9704DSC_9712

Cook up some pasta al dente.

DSC_9721

Toss the sauce with the pasta, scatter Parmesan over the top…stay cool, eat well.

DSC_9727

 “Ode to Tomatoes” by Pablo Neruda

 …..at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth,
recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

 

No-Cook Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce for Pasta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print
Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce
Ingredients:
  • 2 Large or 4 smaller size vine-ripened Tomatoes, cored & chopped
  • a small handful of fresh Basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/3 cup good quality fruity olive oil
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

 

  1. Add the chopped tomatoes, chopped basil, pine nuts & garlic to a mixing bowl
  2. Pour in olive oil & vinegar and toss well.
  3. Season with salt & pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
  4. Chill until ready to serve covered.
  5. Serve with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan, a crusty loaf to sop the juices on your plate and your favorite summer wine.

Notes: Unlike a cooked sauce, this is just a mouthful of summer. I have been making this for years and only eat it in the middle of tomato season. Some dishes have to wait for the right season to enjoy, such is this one.

Any homegrown tomatoes will work great. I used some of my baby tomatoes in this dish to add texture.  Probably 2 lbs of tomatoes would be good for this recipe for two servings. Just increase to feed more.

A Refreshing & Intoxicating “Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook” and a “Spicy Golden Mary”

IMG_1728

Above is a cool, refreshing & quite intoxicating “Spicy Golden Mary”.

Below is the refreshing & intoxicating cover of the “Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook” by Nancy Vienneau (her blog is Good Food Matters). This book’s release date is just a few days away, June 17th, 2014 and will be available at your local bookstores and on-line. It’s a beauty full of wonderful stories of food and folks. The “monthly chapters” feature seasonal produce & recipes from each month of the year. You can cook your way through 5 years of Third Thursday Potluck gatherings all in one book. I was so pleased to do the food and prop styling for this book, which was a real labor of love.

Third Thursday FINAL

What do these two things have in common you might ask?

One is a much-anticipated cookbook that chronicles the stories and recipes that have been shared over the past 5 years, every Third Thursday of every month, at one of Nashville’s best kept secrets. Nancy, and her friend, Gigi Gaskins (who owns HatWRKS) started this potluck as a way for a group of food friends to get together, share incredible seasonal recipes & foods, have a glass of wine and talk. There is no set theme except for the season.  As the cover says, this truly is a potluck like no other.

To herald this book’s release I want to share with you a recipe of mine from the book. The deliciously refreshing & intoxicating “Spicy Golden Mary “.  Get the book for this and so many more enticing recipes and stories. This recipe is from July’s Chapter “The Big Tomato”.

Before we have a “Spicy Golden Mary”, here are two events you will not want to miss if you happen to live, or be visiting the Nashville, TN area on these dates….lots of fun and good food.

This one is on Tuesday night, 6/17……

3rdThursComPot_SaveDate_3a

This is on “Third Thursday”, 6/19 of course! Bring a dish and a drink (wine, etc) if you like and come join all of us…..

Untitled

Here is how to make my  recipe,
“Spicy Golden Mary”
Orange heirloom tomatoes
1. Core and chop 4-5 pounds of very ripe yellow tomatoes. (About 7 cups).
IMG_1622
heirloom tomatoes
IMG_1621
2. You will also need 1 1/2 cups good quality Vodka such as Tito’s from Austin, Texas or Ketel One from Holland.
IMG_1647
3. Puree chopped tomatoes in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade until smooth.
IMG_1637IMG_1642
4. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp, pressing down gently with a wooden spoon to get all the juice from the pulp.
IMG_1649Whoa! Look at that beautiful golden tomato juice.
IMG_1668
5. To the bowl of tomato juice add the following:  the Vodka, 2 tsp grated horseradish, a generous pinch of salt to taste, freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 tbsp Serrano chili-lime pepper sauce (or 2 tsp Tabasco sauce), 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.
IMG_1715
7. As I was making this for a  Third Thursday Potluck evening I used two bottles to transport it to the gathering. First I made a label on my computer of a giant tomato on a gold background and added type identifying what was in the bottles. All the ingredients were listed, along with my blog name and a catchy phrase “Drink your breakfast for dinner right now!”.
IMG_1725
IMG_1752
I cut up some fresh limes & celery sticks, packed it all up in my antique carrier and off to Third Thursday!
Here is a toast to all the past Third Thursday Community Potluck dinners and to many, many more! Congratulations Nancy on your beautiful cookbook!

“A Recipe for the Easiest End-of-Summer Lunch”

Simple, very beautiful, delicious, healthy, fresh and locally grown…the  perfect lunch. Can a recipe get more simple than this?

(I think this is a “German Strawberry Tomato”, but it looks like a heart to me.)

(Any heirloom or homegrown tomato is equally delicious.)

Keep it simple, keep it fresh.

“Bacon-Tomato-Polenta Breakfast Stack”

   “Breakfast Stack” Sunday morning, 6 am….hungry….a fresh & varied selection of homegrown heirloom tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter…some thick sliced bacon in the fridge..a BLT? No bread. Hmmmmm.

I do find, along with the bacon, some fresh mozzarella, some leeks & fresh dill…still…no bread. Polenta? Yes, I have polenta and can make some quick polenta skillet cakes…eggs? Yes, I have eggs from the West Nashville Farmer’s Market.

To Make the Polenta Skillet Cakes you will need:

1 cup polenta, 1.5 cups water, shredded Gruyère cheese (or whatever cheese you have), a hunk of cream cheese would be nice, 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks, some fresh dill, butter, salt & pepper to taste.

1. Add the water to a pan & bring to a boil. While whisking, pour in the polenta. Turn heat to medium & continue to whisk & cook until polenta mixture begins to thicken which will take a few minutes.

2. Add the remaining ingredients whisking to blend. Remove from heat.

3. Let polenta mixture sit for about 15 minutes to cool somewhat while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

4. To make skillet cakes heat a non-stick or well-seasoned iron skillet over medium-hi heat. Add a dollop of butter. (We are not counting calories on a Sunday morning!)

5. Spoon large dollops of the polenta mixture into hot skillet cooking until a bit crusty and brown on both sides. Note: these skillet cakes will be soft, messy but that is okay. Just work the hot polenta dollops into “cakes” using your spatula. When crispy on the outside remove to a sheet pan and place in warm oven until all skillet cakes are done.

“Crispy Polenta Skillet Cakes”

6. Cook some bacon until crispy. (Our dog, Ella, was at this point doing a kitchen dance hoping to get a scrap!)

7. Choose some ready-to-eat homegrown tomatoes to slice.

“Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Wild Cherry, Mortgage Lifter & Yellow Pear Tomatoes”

8. To Serve: Place one of the Polenta Skillet Cakes on each plate. Top with a thin slice of Mozzarella. Add a slice of tomato & then one slice of crispy bacon cut into two pieces. Repeat layers ending with some tomato slices, a dusting of sea salt & cracked black pepper. Eat with a knife & fork. It’s okay to let the stack slide over to eat!

Alternative: Fry up an egg. Slice an avocado. Add  these to the top of stack along with a few tomatoes.


                                                                   “Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes… what’d life be without homegrown tomatoes….                                                                                                                                                                     Only two things that money can’t buy…That’s love & homegrown tomatoes”                                                                                                  Lyrics by Guy Clark, Song: Homegrown Tomatoes