Orzo Salad with Basil and Tomatoes

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Great Summer Salad!!

orzo1

Last I had a cooking class at one of our stores, using Fresh Herbs was one the points for the class.
Picture of the class, a few more came after I got started, it was a great turn out 🙂

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This was one of the recipes I did, I love using this really as a base with so many options at your finger tips.

You can certainly serve as is, or add fresh grilled veggies chopped, add cubes of fresh mozzarella instead of feta, or shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, or slice pepperoni, salami, cube ham or turkey.  And what about Grilled Shrimp, thin slices of grilled flat iron steak even chunks of grilled salmon there are endless possibilities!!

Along with other fresh herbs you could add as well!!

Everyone at my class love it as is and a friend of my mine made it last week for his work’s cook out and it was hit with them as well.  Enjoy if you make it!!

Orzo Salad with Basil and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1-2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

2 cups orzo, cooked

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/3 cup basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

½ cup Feta cheese, ¼ in cubes or crumbled

Salt to taste
Gently toss all ingredients together, serve at room temp.  And of course you can add other veggies, cheeses or fresh herbs as you like 🙂

Savory Tomato Cobbler!!

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IMG_20130809_142435Okay so my Dad has a ton of Tomatoes…wait let me capitalize that “A TON” from his garden…I think he gets like 20 a day 🙂

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So I was thinking what could I make…hhmmmm oh what about at Tomato Cobbler!! 

Now this turned out in my mind just okay, after I made it I tasted a piece and thought I could make it better for sure 🙂

I then hopped in my car to take the over to my “food tasters” my “parents” 🙂

And they absolutely loved it!!!!!!!!  I was so surprised but very happy.

When I went to the office the next day someone brought in a huge bag of fresh roma tomatoes from somebody’s garden, and as people were in our kitchen getting the tomatoes 🙂  

Pat one of the many Great Men that work in our Corporate office, said “Oh I just love tomatoes”…I then said well you would love this new recipe that I came up with, I’ll take some of these tomatoes here and I will make it and bring it in for everyone to try.

So I did…and well as I’m sitting here typing this I have getting lots of emails and people stopping by and telling how good it was and can I get the recipe 🙂  Mostly from all the Great Women in our office 🙂

I am so happy that everyone loves it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Now I did change it a little from the first time I made it today so here is the recipe!!

Ingredients – added fresh basil – not in picture

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score your tomatoes

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boil your water

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add tomatoes

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peel tomatoes

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chop or squish tomatoes add to a colander to drain, keep juices

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add melted butter and sugar together

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mix 

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add flour, seasonings, salt, pepper, baking powder mix

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then add cheese and fresh chopped basil

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add milk

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mix together

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baking dish I used

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add batter to baking dish

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smooth out

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add tomatoes

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then 1 cup of juices from tomatoes

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bake

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add basil and cheese and bake till melted

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this is the one I made of the office, didn’t take a picture till it was almost gone 🙂

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Recipe – Savory Tomato Cobbler

I used a 2.75 qt. baking dish   Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Batter

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Southwestern seasoning, **See Note below
1 tsp. Italian seasoning,  **See Note below
3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for topping
1 2/3 cup fresh Parmesan/Romano cheese, shredded, divided  ***See Note below

1 3/4 to 2 cups tomatoes, skinned and drained

Spray your baking dish really good

Boil water in a large pot, score your tomatoes on the bottom with an “X”
Once water in boiling add tomatoes and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on size.
Pull them out and take a paper towel to pull skin off, then core and place in a colander over a large bowl.  Add all tomatoes to colander then squish with your hands to release all juices, let drain as long as you can or over night in the fridge.  (you will need the juice)

Batter – in a medium bowl add sugar and melted butter and stir to combine, then add flour, seasonings, salt, pepper, basil, cheese, baking powder and mix and fold to combine, then stir in milk.  This will be sticky, once combined then spread out evenly into baking dish.

Top batter with tomatoes, then use 1 cup of the juices from the drained tomatoes (if you don’t have 1 cup add cold water to make 1 cup)

Pour over tomatoes the 1 cup of juices, then bake for 1 hour,  once done you can top the cobbler with some more fresh chopped basil all over it and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese all over as well.  The cheese will melt a little or you can return to the oven for a few minutes more to melt.  Let set for 10 minutes before serving.

****Seasonings note – the southwestern blend that I used had a combination of cumin, garlic, oregano, cilantro leaves, coriander and chives.  To make this I would take a heaping 1/4 tsp of each, that would make up what you need for this recipe.  Or you can just use Italian seasoning entirely for this recipe.

****Cheese note – in my pictures I have Parmesan and Romano cheese, you do not have to use both you can just use Parmesan cheese.  But Please…you must you fresh….you can shred a wedge or you can buy in a tub already shredded.

DO NOT use the Non-refrigerated kind in the Jar!!!

This dish would be great with a nice big salad!!  I hope you will give it a try!!!  Enjoy!!

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Strawberry Bruschetta

1 Comment

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A friend of mine was coming over because we were going to go see Theresa Caputo – The Long Island Medium.  She was in town doing a show, and if you know who she is or watch her show then you know who I’m talking about, no we did not get read.
But the show was much more then that, it was great experience and I’m happy for the people who came and might have gotten a glimmer of hope and peace.

And since we were not going to be having dinner, I thought maybe a little appetizer and a glass a wine before hand would be nice.

I had been thinking of this recipe and how I wanted to make it a little different then other recipes…well it came to me…maple syrup 🙂

(you can see from the pictures I cut the recipe in half, the recipe below is the full recipe)

Ingredients

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Dice the strawberries

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add balsamic vinegar and maple syrup

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add a pinch of salt and stir, let set for 1 hour

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add maple syrup to ricotta and a pinch of salt, stir

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Slice your baguette, brush with olive oil, bake to brown

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till light brown

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stack your basil leaves on top of one another, and roll like a cigar

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Chiffonade

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Ready to assemble 

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spread ricotta, then top with strawberries

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then basil….One done 🙂

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The rest done 🙂

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Recipe – makes 18 – 20 pieces

14 strawberries, diced (1 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. good balsamic vinegar
 couple pinches of salt (I used Kosher)
1 cup ricotta cheese 
18 – 20 slices of a baguette
olive oil
Fresh Basil, chopped

In a small bowl add diced strawberries, vinegar, 2 tbsp. maple syrup and a pinch of salt, stir to fully coat all the strawberries, set aside for for 1 hour, stirring about every 20 minutes. You can leave longer, the strawberries will start to release their juices, this is a good thing since we will be using all the left over juice.

In another small bowl add ricotta and remaining maple syrup, along with a pinch of salt, stir to fully combine, keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

Take slices of baguette and brush with olive oil and bake on a baking sheet at 400 degrees until lightly brown.   Let cool.

Putting them together, divide ricotta among the slices of bread and spread over top, top ricotta with strawberries, but try not to get too much of the juice, you can drain, but reserve the juice for a tip later in this post.

Take you basil leaves and stack them on top of one another and roll like a cigar, take your knife and slice roll (like in photo above), this is called Chiffonade.

Top the strawberries with a few pieces of the basil and serve with the beverage of your choice…ours was some Sweet Strawberry Wine 😛

These were so delicious, what great appetizer for a party or a great dessert after a summer meal.  It’s light and it really it the spot 🙂

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Okay now I told you to keep the juice from the strawberries…which is now Strawberry Maple Balsamic Vinegar
Which you can put on a salad like I did, or you can whisk in a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil as well and toss with your lettuce or mixed greens.
This would be great on a salad with sliced strawberries and candied pecans too!!

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