You Say Tomato I Say Tomahto!!

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Tomatoes, who has tomatoes…I DO!!!!!!!!
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My Dad’s garden is producing a plenty, his plants are 8 feet tall and going wild!!!

I have a few pictures here from the beginning stages, they are about 5 to almost 6 foot at this point,
my Dad here is growing, leaf lettuce, kale, peppers, cucumbers, onions, green beans, eggplants and of course Tomatoes!!!
There maybe be more he grows but I can remember, I do know he has another patch that asparagus is in and the green house that things grow too…

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but I just decided to write this blog about tomatoes last night, so I don’t have recent pictures of it 🙂 these picture were about the 2nd week of June

So I have been eating a lot of tomatoes lately, but they have really only been from my Dad’s, I don’t buy them usually, but I do love when I get them from him and his garden.

As anyone knows they just taste better than you can get in the store and it’s really the only eat time I do eat them.
My Mom and Dad will freeze them, stew them, roast them, sauce them, slice them for BLT (which I think they east daily during the summer) and chop them for salads.  Plus whatever else they do with them 🙂

I on the other hand I tend to eat them a little differently 🙂

First I blanch them and remove the skins, I have issues with the skins, that’s all I will say 🙂

Here are a few pictures of ways that I have enjoyed using my Dad’s fresh tomatoes from his garden.

I hope you will enjoy too!!!

Making sauce, in my Vitamix are tomatoes, roasted garlic, some Italian herbs, red pepper flakes and salt.
The Vitamix will also cook it too you let it run about 5-7 minutes and you have hot soup or sauce 🙂

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Mixing it all up

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Freezing some for winter 🙂

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Cooking some down too

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This is the cherry tomatoes, sauteed with garlic, onions and spinach
tossed with the pasta, then fold in some fresh mozzarella pearls
then a drizzle of some balsamic glaze…Delish!!!!

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My all time favorite thing in the world is
Polenta with fresh tomatoes and a poached egg!!!
This is heaven for me!!!

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another day again…YUMMY!!!

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This is my FBT…Fake bacon and tomato 😛

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Ran out of the cornmeal to make polenta
So I made couscous instead…Delish too!!!

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This was last night’s dinner
tomatoes, roasted garlic tossed with pasta and some fresh mozzarella cubes
I was talking about making this a work…so ladies this is what I made…simple and quick 🙂

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Oh and here is the kale and I made some kale chips…very good with a
sprinkle of kosher salt and garlic powder 🙂

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Here are couple of links of 2 more of my blogs that I used tomatoes in the past
First up is my Tomato Cobbler – this turned out really really good so if you
want something a little different try this recipe.

 Second is Orzo Salad with Basil, Tomato & Feta – I made this at one
of my outdoor cooking classes last year.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!!!

What’s next here hopefully sooner than later
my trip to Bourbon Country 🙂
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Italian Roasted Shrimp!!

8 Comments

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This dish is so easy and quick and its great over polenta, pasta or would be great just served as an appetizer with crostini’s.

We have this great “Red Argentine Shrimp” and it is simply delicious, I have cooked with it several times and its always a big hit 🙂

Ingredients

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in skillet add a little oil and shallots

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then add garlic & oregano

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then tomatoes (sorry the picture is blurry)

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top with the shrimp

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Mix panko, cheese and parsley together

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add oil

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mix again

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sprinkle over top shrimp and bake

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you can serve over polenta

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or over pasta

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Italian Roasted Shrimp

  • Difficulty: easy
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Red Argentine Shrimp (about 4-5 per person)

1 large can diced tomatoes with garlic & onion (about 4 cups)
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. agave or honey

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil

In a large skillet add a little oil and shallots over medium heat, cook for 5 minutes, add garlic & oregano, stir to combine and add tomatoes, continue to cook for 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

Mix in a small bowl panko, cheese and parsley, add oil and thoroughly mix, add salt and pepper to taste.  Place shrimp on top of the tomato mixture and sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over top, and bake for about 10 minutes or until shrimp is done and breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Meanwhile make your pasta or polenta and serve shrimp right over top.

Which ever way you serve it Enjoy!!!

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Key Lime Margarita Bars!!!

10 Comments

I just love Key Lime!!!

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Give me anything Key Lime…cake, cookies, Ice cream, yogurt, pie, candy, I think you get the picture 🙂

So I thought I would make a little something for the “taste tasters” in  out office 🙂

I was going to do something with chocolate or Key Lime and the word in the office was Key Lime since it was the summer.

So by using the pretzels in the crust I thought, oh salt…lime…okay Margarita!!!  Of course minus the Tequila 😦

But if you wanted to add tequila you could, what I would do is cut the lime juice in half adding the tequila as the other half (1/4 cup lime juice & 1/4 cup tequila).  But then add the zest of 3-4 limes instead of one, this will bring out the lime flavor, but I guess if you love tequila you could add all tequila and then just more lime zest.

I think if I was going to use Tequila, I would make the batter with out the juice, mix together, then add some Tequila and taste it, so you don’t over power it with Tequila 😛

Ingredients

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Crush your pretzels, I did not crush them finely because I wanted to
make the texture like coarsely chopped nuts
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Add pretzels and sugar to a bowl

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add melted butter and mix together

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mixed

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Press mixture into a 9×13 sprayed pan and bake

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Meanwhile whisk eggs, milk, lime zest and juice together

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Baked crust, let cool about 15 minutes

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pour mixture over top of crust

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Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes

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baked

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Slice add lime zest for a garnish

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Eat and enjoy

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Key Lime Margarita Bars

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Crust

1 1/2 cups pretzels, crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Mix all together in a bowl, then press into a 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make batter

2 can 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, at room temp
1/2 cup Key Lime or lime juice (see note above if you want to add Tequila)
zest of 2 limes and extra for garnish

Whisk together in a medium bowl, then pour over top the baked crust, spread evenly and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Center will not jiggle and edges will be light brown.

Let cool completely on counter, then refrigerate till cold, over night if you can.  You can garnish the top with lime zest or if you serve pieces individually you can add strips of lime zest on top of each piece.

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“CHEF” El Jefe!!

11 Comments

“the Chief” or “the Boss”

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When I first heard about this movie and saw the trailer I thought this looks like a really cute funny movie.

Here is the wiki if you want to read about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chef_(film)

As I sat in the movie theater as the credits rolled, my mind was reeling, I was like what did I just see!!

The trailer

 

Feeling of inspiration  was so overwhelming, I just wanted to leave the theater and go and COOK!!!

There was so much about this movie that I could relate too, the passion in cooking  and sharing it with other people!!

Whether you are a Chef or Foodie you will love and understand this Movie, you will walk away with the same feeling of joy and inspiration that I did…if you are not…you will walk away and say oh that was a cute and funny movie.

There were so many scenes that I just loved…I think the big one (well all food scenes really) was the making “Grilled Cheese” scene, really the part when he starts to eat it 😛

The crunch…the CRUNCH!! was out of control, the sound of that Crunchy bread and the gooey cheese hanging from the bread, it was like I was there eating it myself.  I could smell it, I could feel the crunch and I could taste it!!!

Here is that scene

 

The food scenes have been described as ‘Food Porn”  and have all been “designed” just like the set is designed, the food cooking scenes were designed by Chef Roy Choi, he worked as an technical adviser.  Chef Roy Choi is a Genius in my mind!!

He also sent actor Jon Favreau who directed, co-produced, written and starred in, to French culinary school and then had him train in several of Choi’s kitchens.
Here is a behind the scenes clip with Chef Choi and Jon Favreau

 

I just loved every minute of this film and have already gone back and to see it again with my best foodie friend Danny, he got the movie just like I did 🙂

I have made my takes on some of the food that was made in the movie here are couple, of course the “Grilled Cheese” and the “Pasta” scene.

For the “The Cuban” sandwich, I search the Cincinnati area for the best, some good some not so good, but I found a place “Paula’s Cafe” downtown.  I heard that the owner Paula was from Miami and the sandwich was pretty authentic, so I finally got down there and had it…it was the best i had yet.  Pork could have been a little more and spread out on the bun, but everything else was perfect!!!   If you are in the area I recommend the Cafe, it is only open M-F 10:30 am to 2:30 pm and its crowded!!!  Its small so getting it to go is popular if there are no seats, I went at 1:15 pm and it was starting to clear out, by 1:30 pm only a few people.  But the “To Go” line was really non-stop, soup of the day (cream of chicken with wild rice) and the Tuna Salad seemed to be the most popular for the “To Go” customers.  Also the friendliest  waitresses around town!!!!!  I will be going back for sure!!

Enjoy my pictures and it the Movie “Chef” is playing still near you go see it!!

Grilled Cheese

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Pasta 🙂

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The Cuban from Paula’s Cafe

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So if have a passion for food, then please go see this movie, you will not be disappointed, I can’t wait till I can get it on DVD 🙂

Apple Cake

8 Comments

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This recipe I first made because I was teaching a cooking class and I was using different beers and Redd’s Apple Ale had just came out.

Which if you never tried it, it really is a great light beer, its very refreshing, when I first tasted it my first thought was this beer would be fantastic on an extremely HOT!! day 🙂 
It just gave me that refreshing feeling…I thought it was great, so I paired it with this Apple Cake.

(I was doubling the cake in these pictures, I used a 11×15 pan)

Ingredients (missing in photo, butter and brown sugar)

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Peel, core and slice apples

 

 

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add flour, cinnamon and baking powder, whisk together

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Add softened butter and brown sugar

 

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Cream together

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add eggs and vanilla

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when mixed

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add 3rd of flour, mix, then half applesauce, mix
another 3rd flour, mix, rest of the applesauce, mix
add rest of flour, mix

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fold in the flour on the sides

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spread mixture in sprayed baking dish

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layer you apples over top and bake

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Meanwhile in a sauce pan add cider, beer & brown sugar

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reduce down and let cool slightly

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Baked

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pour over cake using a pastry brush to spread around

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Then let cool down, then slice and serve

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Recipe – Apple Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 cups brown sugar, packed, divided
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 cup Redd’s Apple Ale

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, spray a 9 inch square pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In a large bowl beat with a mixer butter and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar for 3 minutes.  Add vanilla and eggs, beat until combined, reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of applesauce and beat until just combined, scrap the sides and fold in by hand.

Pour batter into pan and smooth out, arrange apple slices in rows on top, if you like more apples you certainly use more, and overlap them more closely.

Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Set on wire rack to cool about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium sauce pan add cider, beer and remaining brown sugar cook over medium-high heat until reduced to about 1 cup and let cool slightly.  With a pastry brush brush mixture all over the top of the cake, letting drip down the sides.  Let cool, then serve.

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If you did not want to use beer you can just add more cider.

This cake is super most and the cider/beer reduction is so good, soaks right in 🙂

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Enjoy!!!

Brown Bread!!

12 Comments

No I don’t mean like Whole Wheat bread…I mean Brown Bread, this is a sweet or quick bread and bake in a CAN!!  

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Yes I said a can…you know a can that veggies come in or soup 

I grew up having brown bread in our house my Mom would make this as well as my Grandma…I don’t think I ever thought it was odd baking it in a can…I was a kid it was a cool thing 🙂

Wikipedia says – 

New England or Boston brown bread is a type of dark, slightly sweet steamed bread (usually a quick bread) popular in New England. It is cooked by steam in a can, or cylindrical pan.
Brown bread’s color comes from a mixture of flours, usually a mix of several of the following: cornmeal, wheat, whole wheat, graham flour, or rye, and from the addition of sweeteners like molasses and maple syrup. Leavening most often comes from baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) though a few recipes use yeast. Raisins are often added. The batter is poured into a can, and steamed in a kettle. While most variations are quick breads, and can be made in less than an hour, several commercial brands are available. Brown bread is somewhat seasonal, being served mostly in fall and winter, and is frequently served with baked beans.

I really had forgotten about this Brown Bread until I read this blog “A Small Insight” http://asmallinsight.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/mammas-fruit-loaf/
Lucy call it “Mamma’s Fruit Loaf and when I read this post and saw what it was, I immediately thought of Brown Bread 🙂 

So go to her blog and check her out and her recipe for her Mamma’s Fruit Loaf 🙂

All  know is that I really was not a big fan growing up, but now this stuff if great and I like mine with butter, now my Mom likes her’s with cream cheese.  So its up to you on which way you eat it, its also good heated in the microwave 🙂

My recipe here is is made with a couple of can, I also used small paper loaf pan, easy to give as gifts and I made some today for our office and I used a Bundt pan and it just came out so nice…perfect with you were having people over for coffee or tea, it’s perfect.

Now I did compare my brown bread to the ‘Can” kind you find in the store and let me say, I thought the store bought one was very dense, dry, very little raisins compared to mine.  And the flavor well I am sorry to say it was just plan awful…sorry if you like it, I just didn’t care for it 🙂

Store bought

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Ingredients

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Raisins and water in a small sauce pan

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add flour, salt, baking soda and bran/bran buds to bowl 

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Mix together
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cream butter and sugar

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stir in egg and vanilla

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add dry mixture and stir a little

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add raisin mixture

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Fold to combine

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pour batter into your containers

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bake

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this is the can

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this looks so good

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this is store on left and mine on right

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You can see that mine has so many more raisins

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Both buttered and ready to eat

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Out come, like I said did not care for the store bought, took one bite 😦

Mine oh it looks so good!!!!

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Brown Bread Recipe

1 1/2 -2 cups raisins
2 cups water
1 cup Bran or Bran Buds Cereal
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

4 – 16oz. cans (fill 2/3 full)- bake for 35-55 minutes, small loaf pans (fill half full) – bake 30 minutes, large loaf pan (fill half full to 2/3’s) – bake 40 – 50 minutes, bundt pan (whole recipe) – bake 45 minutes.  With any of these just keep an eye on it, when you stick a toothpick or skewer in bread it should come out clean, it then is done.   Cool upside down on a cooling rack.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

In a small to med sauce pan add water and raisins, bring to a boil over med-high heat, once it boils, remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl add flour, bran/bran buds, salt and baking soda, stir to mix…set aside
In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar for 1 minute, then stir in egg and vanilla, then add dry mixture, stir it a little and raisin mixture, fold to fully combine.

Pour into your WELL greased or spray baking container, and bake.  Let cool enough to handle and then you can dig in 🙂

The Bundt pictures

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Savory Tomato Cobbler!!

11 Comments

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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