Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

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At this time of year the tomatoes are plentiful, and I do not like to see any go to waste …. also don’t have quite enough time to can it all!  This is my go to, for whatever amount of tomatoes I have ripe at the time.

Fill a roasting dish with tomatoes, (roughly chopped, skin on), garlic, onion, sweet peppers and entire stalks of fresh herbs.  (I also sneak a few carrots in there) Drizzle over some good quality olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 350 for 2-4 hours, very flexible.  This also works in the crockpot.

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Allow to roast until reduced by about half.  Remove the stalks of fresh herbs, they have done their job …..

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Puree with immersion blender or food processor (if you use processor make SURE you have left room for steam to escape or this can be a nasty experience).  Stir in 1 small tin of tomato paste and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes, you might like to stir in a bit of sugar, but taste first.img_9396

It is easy to just put the cooled sauce in a marked freezer bag, and put it in the freezer to enjoy all winter long.

Vinaigrette

Try either of these vinaigrettes, easily done and keeps in the fridge to be your own "house dressing".

Try either of these vinaigrettes, easily done and keeps in the fridge to be your own “house dressing”.

I love making my own salad dressing vinaigrettes – and when the herbs are fresh and growing right outside my back door it is even more fun.

These recipes are written for whisking by hand – but if you have an immersion blender they will create a deliciously creamy dressing.

Here are a couple of my herby delicious faves.

SCALLION VINAIGRETTE

In a small bowl, whisk together:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 chopped scallions (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt

Whisk well, and then slowly drizzle in 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.

HERB & GARLIC VINAIGRETTE

In a small bowl, whisk together:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
3 tbsp fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, tarragon)
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp honey
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk well, then slowly drizzle in 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil. Taste!! Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Halibut with Caper Beurre Blanc

Probably one of the simplest and most delicious ways to enjoy halibut – in season right now. Start with halibut from a great fishmonger – well worth it.

Moist, flaky and delicious halibut served with Caper Beurre Blanc.

Moist, flaky and delicious halibut served with Caper Beurre Blanc.

Caper Beurre Blanc

2 finely diced shallots
3/4 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc work well)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup cold butter, in small pieces

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1-2 tbsp capers, to taste

In small saucepan simmer the shallots, wine and vinegar until reduced by about half. Add butter one piece at time, whisking well until smooth and creamy looking.

Keep warm until you are ready to serve halibut, adding capers and dill right before serving – just until capers are heated through.

Halibut

6 serving size pieces of halibut fillet

1/2 cup mayonnaise
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 tbsp assorted fresh herbs, finely chopped (I like basil, parsley and tarragon)
2 tbsp finely chopped chives or green onions
1 tsp black pepper

Blend the mayonnaise well with all the ingredients. Spread over the tops and sides of the halibut.

This can be done earlier in the day, and allowed to rest in the fridge. I’m not a huge fan of recipes that have fish or chicken slathered in mayonnaise – this allows the flavours of the halibut to work beautifully with the herbs and is enough to keep the fish moist. Feel free to add more mayo though if you like.

Bake halibut in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick the fillet is. Watch carefully after 15 minutes. The minute your fish starts to flake easily it is done, so remove it from the oven.

Serve with Beurre Blanc sauce – simple white rice is a great carrier for the sauce. We served it tonight with some of the first of the seasons carrots and asparagus, along with fresh garden greens – but I wasn’t fast enough to get a photo of the completed plate!

Sun Dried Tomato Brie

brie two ways

Brie is a favorite appeitzer, whether served hot and oozing, or cold on a cheese platter.  This is one of our favorites – always a hit to take when you need a quick easy appetizer.

minced sun dried tomatoes

generous sprinkling of fresh herbs, minced  (parsley, oregano and basil work well)

finely chopped fresh chives

finely chopped fresh fresh garlic

salt and pepper

lemon

olive oil

Depending on the size of the brie wheel you have – mince up enough of the toppings to generously cover the cheese.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, squeeze a bit of lemon over, and top with salt and pepper.

Heat in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes, just until the cheese starts to bulge against the rind.  Serve with fresh baguette, toast rounds or your favorite cracker. 

This also works really well on the grill if you have a good heat resistant container to both warm and serve in.

Best Ever Cheese Ball

1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

8 ounces cheddar (I like applewood smoked!)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp hot pepper sauce

1/2 cup minced herbs

1/4 cup thinly sliced chives

In food processor, combine cheeses, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and pulse until well blended – stir in 2 tbsp of the herbs.

Form into a ball, then roll in the fresh herbs and chives to coat.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least one hour to firm up and allow flavours to meld.  Serve with bread sticks or crackers.

Fresh Herb Aioli

You will love this!  Such a fresh hit of herb flavour, fantastic used as a burger topping, vegetable/crudite dip or just plain old potato chips.

1/2 cup mayonnaise                      

1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lemon – juice only

1/3 cup finely minced chives

The herb part is where it gets really personal …. use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, and be generous with them. (at least 1/2 a cup in total)

basil, parsley (flat and curly leaf), oregano, rosemary, tarragon