Green Bean and Tomato Salad

 

Green Bean & Tomato Salad

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s website, and with both beans and tomatoes at the market it was a quick and easy side dish – loved it!

Serves 6

1 pound green beans, though if you can find a mix of green and yellow beans, it will be all the prettier
1 pound cherry tomatoes
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Basil or other herb (optional)

Prepare the vegetables: Top and tail the beans and cut them into large segments. Parboil the beans in salted water until just tender, about four to five minutes. Drain and immediately spread them out to cool. Stem the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.

Make the vinaigrette: Peel and mince the shallot and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed. Toss the cherry tomatoes in with the vinaigrette; this can sit for a while. Do not add the green beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette. For variety, the salad can be garnished with basil or some other fresh herb such as parsley, chervil or hyssop.

Do ahead: Beans and vegetables can be prepared ahead of time. Simply toss with the dressing only at the last minute, as it can discolor the green beans after several hours.

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.

Panzanella Salad

When tomatoes and basil are this fresh you can’t go wrong with a Panzanella salad, so simple, few ingredients and yet the flavours are just bursting with freshness.

Juicy tomatoes, bursting with flavour, basil out of the garden and naturally, a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio while preparing it all.

Juicy tomatoes, bursting with flavour, basil out of the garden and naturally, a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio while preparing it all.

These amounts are rough, use whatever you have on hand that is fresh:

Grilled bread, cut into bite size pieces (or use home made croutons – well seasoned)
fresh tomatoes, cut into about the same size piece as the bread
1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
1/4 cup roasted red pepper slices, diced
fresh basil, torn

Dressing:
1 tbsp capers
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup really good quality extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In serving bowl mix dressing ingredients together, taste and adjust seasonings ….

Stir in all the other ingredients, mix well and allow to sit for 30-45 minutes to allow flavours to blend.

The combination of olives, capers, and fresh tomatoes along with the texture of crispy crunchy bread is absolute summer perfection.

The combination of olives, capers, and fresh tomatoes along with the texture of crispy crunchy bread is absolute summer perfection.

Linguine with Shrimp and Spinach

I’m really going to try and simplify a few meals …. seems as though I look at 20 or 30 minute meals and only use that as a starting point … always adding more dishes. Next thing I know I’m looking at 60 minute meals … Usually that is just fine, it is my kitchen yoga after a busy day at work. However – sometimes, like when my beautiful Sloan and Stella are helping out, a 20 or 30 minute meal is the way to go.

Freshly harvested corn, spinach and tomatoes make this deliciously simple pasta dish extra tasty.

Freshly harvested corn, spinach and tomatoes make this deliciously simple pasta dish extra tasty.

Here is one for you to try – deliciously simple and when made with fresh tomatoes and spinach out of the garden, not to mention the first of this years corn, it really is enough.

You can use any pasta you like for this – the main point is to cook it in enough salted water – be generous with that salt, and have lots of water. Cook pasta until al dente.

3/4 pound pasta
1 pound raw shrimp
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt
lemon
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in boiling water, in the last few minutes of cooking time, toss in the shrimp and cook ONLY until the shrimp is opaque and slightly pink throughout. Neither pasta or shrimp do well when overcooked. Drain well, reserving a bit of the pasta water in case needed.

Return to pot and add in freshly grated lemon zest, the juice of 1 lemon, chopped fresh tomato, 2-3 tbsp olive oil and the 4 cups of baby spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If it seems a bit dry, this is the time to add a bit of the pasta water. Parmesan cheese grated over finishes it all off.

Served with the fresh corn on the cob it really is a great meal – quick and easy too.

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Capers and Tomatoes

This pasta is quick, light and easy. Most of these ingredients are things I have on hand anyway, so as a last minute dinner it always works – add a fresh, crisp green salad and some garlic toast and your meal is perfect.

Plump juicy shrimp, fresh tomatoes and spring onions combine with capers for a quick easy dinner.

Plump juicy shrimp, fresh tomatoes and spring onions combine with capers for a quick easy dinner.

Put on a large pot of water to boil – salt only once it has come to rolling boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, heat a fry pan and stir in:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter

Once melted, stir in
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
when lightly brown, stir in
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, stir for 30 seconds and add:
3 pounds large shrimp – shelled and deveined
Stir occasionally and cook only until shrimp are cooked through – around 3-4 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper
Finish with 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and a knob of butter.

Stir well and set aside.

By now your water has come to a boil and you are ready to cook your angel hair pasta – add a generous amount of salt to water, then pasta (enough for 4). Cook for time listed on your pasta container – being careful not to overcook. Drain – reserving 1 cup of the pasta liquid.

Return the pasta to the pot, toss in the shrimp mixture, including and juices, along with:
2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp capers
green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Stir well, adding pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce up a bit and season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you don’t have any frozen shrimp on hand, this works really well with chicken too!

Summer Ratatouille

I always think of a ratatouille as a long stewed vegetable dish. When the summer vegetables are at their peak, or even just starting to wane -that flavour is fresh and delicious.

Summer Ratatouille

Summer Ratatouille

Tonight’s version included;

olive oil
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 garlic cloves
1 cup each chopped zucchini, cauliflower, eggplant and tomato
2 tbsp tomato paste
fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in olive oil until well softened and starting to turn a golden colour. Add zucchini, cauliflower, and eggplant. Saute until vegetables are starting to soften – move vegetables over to the side and in a little hot spot add a wee bit more oil, along with the garlic and tomato paste. Allow tomato paste and garlic to cook a bit, then stir into the vegetables. Add basil, salt and pepper.

Greek Salad

I’m always puzzled by anybody using a bottled jar of dressing …. it is so easy to make your own and nail the taste down just the way you like it! Greek salads are so amazing at this time of year … full of fresh vegetables out of the garden mixed with tangy, salty olives and feta cheese.

Greek Salad

SALAD

cubed cucumbers, tomatoes, colored sweet peppers and sliced red onion
crumbled feta and black olives
torn fresh basil and oregano leaves

DRESSING

I like to make my dressing right onto the salad … gives me an excuse to keep tasting the salad in the event I need to make adjustments …

Over salad squeeze:
juice of 1 lemon
1 crushed garlic clove
drizzle of your best olive oil
sprinkle of salt and pepper

Now taste it …. enough balance? If not, and you aren’t eating it all immediately while you taste, just keep adding bits at a time until it is perfect.