Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tomatoes to Use Up

Last week I saw some lovely Campari tomatos on sale so I bought three pounds. As the week wore on, and I'd only thrown the rare one or two into a salad, I realized I needed to start using them up quickly. Last night, we were having mahi mahi, so I made this gratin to go with it. It was so colorful (sorry there's no photo) and full of vegetables, I didn't even bother with a salad.

Tonight I made a one-dish meal of Black Bean Soup. Soups are so versatile, you can really throw in whatever you want, and mix and match based on your tastes, but this turned out so well, I'll probably stick to the recipe next time.

Potato-Tomato Gratin with ZucchiniServes 4

3 T. olive oil
1 cup sliced/chopped onion
1 ½ - 2 pounds tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T. tomato paste
½ - 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup red wine
1 medium zucchini, sliced into ½ inch slices, then cut cross-wise into quarters
Handful herbs (basil and oregano, or your favorites)
2 medium yukon gold potatoes
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup panko (or breadcrumbs)
1 T. butter

In large frying pan, saute onion in olive oil until translucent.

Dice tomatoes and add to onion along with garlic.

Stir in red pepper and tomato paste and cook over medium low heat until tomatoes are breaking down, stirring periodically.

When tomato juices start to thicken, add wine and zucchini and continue to stir.

While this is cooking, slice the potato as thinly as possible – about 1/8 in thick. Line a 10” round pan with the an overlapping layer of potatoes.

When the tomato sauce mixture is sufficiently thickened, stir in the herbs. Then layer half the mixture over the potatoes. Top with a layer of the remaining potatoes, then the remaining sauce.

Mix the parmesan, panko and butter together and sprinkle over the top layer of sauce. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Black Bean Soup
Six servings

Cover 1/2 pound dried black beans with water, and simmer about one hour until just starting to get tender. (Or used two cans beans, rinsed well.)

1/2 large onion, diced
1 pound tomatos, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste

Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Stir in tomatoes and garlic, and cook - covered - over medium heat until tomatoes release their juice and begin to wilt, about 10 minutes.

2 small or 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes

Add sweet potato to tomato mixture along with 2-3 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth. Cover and simmer 12 minutes.

1/2 large green bell pepper
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2" thick moons
jalepeno or other pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 2 tsp dried)
(corn would be good too!)

Add the beans and remaining vegetables to tomato mixture. Add additional broth if necessary to keep ingredients covered, and continue to simmer covered on low heat at least 30 minutes and up to two hours.

Use an immersion blender to puree about half the soup (or pour some into your blender or food processor). Just before serving, stir in 1/4 cup sherry wine (apple cider vinegar can be substitued). Serve hot in bowls, with a garnish of sour cream (or good yogurt) and chopped fresh cilantro.

A great beverage to accompany this is a pineapple spritzer - part pineapple juice with sparkling water and a cilantro spring garnish.

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