Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cherry Tomato Marinade Sauce for Pasta


marinated cherry tomato sauce


Looking for a quick, but tasty and easy summer dinner? Marinate some cherry tomatoes for about an hour and then use them for a sauce for zucchini noodles or your favorite cooked ( gf) pasta. It's that easy, and cherry tomatoes are so abundant right now. It's a perfect seasonal dish!

Need to use up some of your cherry tomatoes and zucchini?
This fabulous pasta recipe will do the job!
I never tire of making zucchini noodles ( that you make yourself in 1 minute from your zucchini using an inexpensive gadget like this one ) and I love this marinated cherry tomato sauce. Of course if you are a pasta lover, you could use any kind of pasta. It's a perfect recipe for a hot summer night!

I love my cherry tomatoes plants,  and right now they are so prolific that we are having trouble keeping up with what to do with all the cherry tomatoes. In addition, I belong to a CSA that provides me with additional cherry tomatoes.  This sauce is the perfect answer since it requires no cooking, only marinating. It's wonderful on any kind of pasta-spaghetti squash- zoodles, or over rice.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is not only gluten free, grain free, and dairy free, it is also raw! So it's a perfect allergy friendly recipe that most eaters can enjoy.

Since this delicious sauce is not cooked, it's especially great for those that eat a raw food diet or for those who want to include more raw food in their diets. Some nutritionists say that a diet of 80% raw food and 20% cooked food is the best diet.

In addition to the cherry tomatoes, this recipe calls for some fresh chopped basil or any other fresh herbs that you may have growing in your garden or on your windowsill. There is something about tomatoes and fresh basil that just scream summer. Their flavors are fabulous together.

Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow and will keep you well supplied with tomatoes from end of July through at least the end of September if you live on the East coast. If you are ever interested in growing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes are the easiest and most prolific to grow. They are great plants for little ones who can enjoy the thrill of picking their own little tomatoes. ( How to grow cherry tomatoes) .


The marinated tomato recipe is  light and tangy and gives any pasta a delicious flavor. Feel free to add toppings of your choice like feta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, or even some cooked chickpeas. Any of them would make great toppings, or you can just eat the sauce plain or top it with slices of avocado if you are vegan.
Check out this post from last year for cherry tomatoes, avocado and chickpeas

cherry tomatoes



The marinated cherry tomato sauce only has to marinate for about an hour, but it can marinate for even 6 hours. The taste just gets better and better.

Marinated Cherry Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved ( I used yellow, orange, and red cherry tomatoes)
juice of one fresh lemon
1/4 cup ( or more)  of olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
( any other fresh herb you have - oregano, thyme, etc.)
optional: 1 clove fresh garlic, pressed
salt and freshly cracked pepper to tast

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together, marinate for at least an hour. Eat over pasta, rice or zucchini pasta. Makes a great side dish or a BBQ. Eat the pasta hot and the marinade at room temperature or even eat the pasta and marinade cold .

When writing this post I wasn't sure whether marinade was spelled with a "d" or a '"t" . I learned something.

  • Marinade with a "d" is a noun- so it's a tomato sauce marinade
  • Marinate with a " t" is a verb- so I would marinate the tomatoes
Whew! Glad I got that straight!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homemade Tomato Soup ( chilled or hot )





There is nothing like a bowl of real homemade tomato soup without all the processed commercial fillers or sweeteners! I have eaten this soup hot or chilled and both ways are sensational. With this hot weather , chilled may be the way to go right now.

summer tomatoes in a bowl

Yesterday was my CSA farm pick up day,  and I received 10 pounds of fresh juicy Jersey type tomatoes, 1 quart of sweet cherry tomatoes, and 3 pounds of paste tomatoes. (plus red peppers, onions, and all the other veggies) .

We had a busy weekend planned and I knew I wouldn't be eating home at all. I didn't want the tomatoes to go bad,  so I decided I would needed to cook and freeze them. I decided to make a homemade fresh tomato soup.  I probably used about 8 pounds of tomatoes.


homemade fresh tomato soup
I froze 4 containers of this soup
As often as I make soup, I have really never made a tomato soup before from scratch . I guess we usually polish off the tomatoes before I have time to think about cooking them. I usually make a big tomato, raw corn and basil salad with lemon juice and olive oil , or thick tomato slices sprinkled with cumin on a plate, or just eat a tomato like a big piece of fruit.



To make this soup, I had to search  Pinterest and the Internet to finally find a combination of a few  recipes that looked like it they would work for me. Believe me there are no lack of tomato soup recipes available, but I wanted a recipe that didn't use flour or sugar.

My adapted recipe  roasts garlic, tomatoes, onions, and red peppers and adds lots of fresh basil. The original recipes that I had been looking at called for about 2 T sugar, but my tomatoes were really sweet and even sweeter after they were roasted, so I left the sweetener out. Use your own desecration.

quartered tomatoes on a cookie sheet



















Serve this soup hot or chilled! The basic soup recipe meets both vegan and Paleo standards.


You  can serve this delightful summer soup with a variety of toppings. It can be topped with a little Parmesan cheese, some sour cream or Greek yogurt,  perhaps even some creme fraiche, or just blended with some warm heavy cream. According to your preferences, add  dairy or dairy substitutes like coconut milk if you prefer. My husband was the one who discovered that this soup it is also excellent chilled. In fact, we really liked it that way- a lot!!



Ingredients: 
10-12 med-large summer tomatoes, quartered
2 red peppers, cleaned and quartered
6-12 cloves garlic in skin
2 l red onions, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
seasoning to taste ( salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme etc.)
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 cups vegetable broth
Optional: 1/2 cup coconut milk or half and half cream when serving
Optional toppings: Parmesan cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, etc.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper
Mix the oil, vegetables, and seasoning in large bowl and then lay the  quartered vegetables, garlic, and onions on the cookie sheets .  Roast for about 40 minutes. Remove the skin from the garlic and then transfer  to a stock with pot juice and all.. Add the fresh basil and cook down for about 20 minutes ( I took off some but not all of the skins and discarded-it's not necessary since you are going to blend it) and then blend with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender.

To serve: I heated some organic butter in a pot, added the tomato soup, vegetable broth, and cream.
I also served it cold and just stirred in a few Tablespoons of organic half and half into each bowl. For vegans, you could use coconut milk!


Homemade Tomato Soup

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Portobello Caps Towers ( vegan and Paleo)



portobello mushrooms and roasted vegetables



Need a vegetarian and naturally gluten free  idea for a Labor day weekend BBQ ? These Portobello roasted vegetable towers, made with end of summer vegetables,  make a beautiful presentation, are easy,  and delicious! They are a nice addition to any BBQ!

You know the large beautiful Portobello mushrooms that that you see in the produce section of the market? Trader Joe sells them in packages of two, so I treated myself the other day. Once I got them home, I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. I could have simply grilled them and had a vegan burger substitute, but I wanted something a little more interesting and more special!

I decided to make a roasted tower that I remembered eating as my vegetarian entree at a friend's  wedding.  It was a layer a large grilled portobello mushroom with large gilled zucchini slices, grilled red pepper slices, roasted eggplant slices, roasted red onion slices, grilled asparagus and yellow pepper slices. Actually, you could make any roasted sliced vegetable combination that you like. They will all work!  I added some guacamole as the base.  The guacamole made the towers more filling and added some protein, making it a perfect vegan entree.


For convenience: BJ's sells a package of 6 individual sized guacamole containers that are slightly spicy. I like the individual packagas because I can just take out one individual sized container whenever I need it. I do make my own guacamole from fresh avocados but I often have problems getting the avocados ready to use when I need them. They either ripen too fast or they are hard when I need them. They are never just right. But the little individual containers are really convenient. ( they are in the refrigerator section) They are perfect for one or two people with no leftovers! Or use my delicious easy to make guacamole recipe 

roasted eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, yellow pepper, red onion

The towers:  I grilled my vegetables in advance and allowed them to cool ( or you could roast them in the oven at 400 degrees) I them grilled the portobello mushrooms on both sides  in a small Forman Grill.( or you could use any grill or roast in oven) You do not want to overcook then mushrooms ; you want them cooked but on the firmer side.

large roasted portobello mushrooms
I know it looks like a burger, but it's portobello mushrooms 

When they were done, I  spread each half with the spicy guacamole and then took my roasted vegetables and layered them into a tower on each of the mushroom halves.



portobello mushroom caps stuffed with roasted veggiesThey were really delicious.  I ate it with a salad and dressing.



This could be used as a side dish for two or a vegan meal for one!



Ingredients:
1/2 red onion, sliced and roasted
1/2 yellow zucchini, sliced on a diagonal and roasted
1/2 green zucchini, slicked on a diagonal and roasted
1 red pepper halved and roasted
2 slices of eggplant roasted
2 large portobello mushrooms
4-5 Tablespoons guacamole
* You could grill instead of roast the vegetables
* season vegetables with spices and salt and pepper to taste if desired

Instructions:
Grill or roast all of the vegetables and set aside. Prepare your guacamole recipe  ( or use slices of avocado)
Grill your 2 portobello mushrooms and lay on plate with the inner part of the mushrooms facing up.
Spread guacamole on each mushroom, layer vegetables on top and enjoy!


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The inside of the portobello mushroom


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