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Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

A few months ago, we travelled to Orlando, Florida to attend a tradeshow related to my husband’s business.  My brother and sister in law who live in South Florida, Mandy and Frances, met us there.  One afternoon, Frances and I took a break from the show to go shopping in Orlando’s world famous outlet malls as well as browse at upscale shops.  One of our stops was at The Mall at Millenia where we got hungry, so we went to a California Pizza Kitchen Restaurant for lunch.  We shared a white bean hummus as appetizer topped with tomatoes and flat bread and a pizza with mozzarella, fontina and gorgonzola cheeses, thinly sliced pears, caramelized onions, hazelnuts and baby greens (something to try with my bbq homemade pizza recipe with a little white truffle oil of course!).  It was delicious! I had tried white bean hummus before at other restaurants like Cien Vinos in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and often made traditional chickpea hummus at home.  This variation, is a great appetizer or light lunch. In the months following our trip, I started experimenting with recipes and quantities to make the white bean hummus at home and here is the outcome.  So far, I’ve had great reviews from family and friends!  I want to hear your comments and suggestions.

Enjoy!

Tips:  Before juicing the lemon, grate the lemon zest and use it to make Nieves’ Lemon Bread.  Also, sometimes the solids and oil in tahini (ground hulled sesame seeds) separate, so make sure they are fully incorporated to form a paste by mixing with a spoon before adding to the recipe.


Tuscan White Bean Hummus

Ingredients

white bean hummus

30 ounces canned Cannellini Beans or Alubias (drained)

1/4 cup tahini

6 cloves of garlic peeled (8 if you like it extra garlicky)

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 yellow lemon approximately)

tomato topping

2 roma tomatoes cubed

1 tbsp fresh basil coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

pepper to taste

pita bread or pita chips

Procedure

1. Place all hummus ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop ingredients roughly. Then turn on for about 2 minutes until smooth paste is formed. You may add a bit of cold water if you want to reach a smoother consistency.

2.  Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients of the tomato topping in a bowl.

3.  To serve, spoon and spread white bean hummus in a serving plate and top with tomato mixture.  Serve with pita bread, flat bread or pita chips.

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I love pasta!  Capellini is very thin spaghetti sometimes called angel hair pasta.  My favorite way to make it is short and simple; with olive oil, tomato, garlic and basil. Fresh, light and satisfying!  May be served as a side dish or as a light meal.  I also like to serve it cold from the fridge with salad. Yum!

Buon Appetito!

Capellini with tomato, garlic and basil

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound capellini (8 oz.)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

2 roma tomatoes (diced)

about 6 fresh basil leaves chopped

2 tsp kosher salt

pepper to taste

freshly grated parmesan cheese

Procedure

1.  In a medium sauce pan, bring water (about 6 cups) to a boil.  Add generous pinch of salt  and olive oil and start cooking capellini according to package instructions.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat extra virgin olive oil (medium heat) and add minced garlic.  Saute for about 2 minutes (do not  brown).

3.  Add tomato, basil and salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes.

4.  Turn off the heat. Add drained capellini to saute pan and stir until well mixed. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

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Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce is mainly used for pasta, but it can also be used as the basis or complement for many other dishes like lasagna, vodka sauce, fried calamari and veal parmigiana among others.  Since making fresh marinara sauce is so easy, you have no excuse to make it homemade every time! Many of you might think I am crazy, but give it a try.  Its so light and tasty and fresh that I haven’t bought a commercial marinara sauce in years (well… maybe once. Ja!).

Marinara derives from the italian word “marinaio”  which means from the sea or sailor. From what I have read, it was often served to sailors in Naples with pasta as a welcome back meal from fishing or travel. Of course this was after the Spaniards had introduced tomatoes to the European diet from the New World. It does not necessarily include fruits of the sea, but you can serve with sauté shrimp or add anchovies if you like.   Sometimes, I like to add a few pinches of red pepper flakes (peperoncino) to make the spicy sauce for penne all’arrabiata (my favorite!!!!).  I always keep in my pantry canned whole peeled tomatoes so that I have at hand “in case of emergency”. They are so versatile! I like the sauce to be “chunky” so I crush the tomatoes with my hands, but if you want the sauce to be more liquid and uniform you can pureé the tomatoes in a blender before adding to the sauce pan.  With “chunky” sauces like this one or bolognese, I use penne pasta, bucatini or any pasta with texture and/or holes so that the ingredients in the sauce fill them up and you get an explosion of flavor in every bite. With white or creamy sauces I like to use flat and/or long pasta or filled pasta.  These are just suggestions and what I usually do, but nothing is written on stone; you can serve as you like.

Here is my recipe for Marinara Sauce.  Enjoy!

Marinara Sauce

This recipe is for about 1 pound of pasta (4 cups of penne) and serves approximately 6 persons.

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large clove of garlic (minced)

1/4 cup of white or yellow onion (finely chopped)

1/4 cup of carrots (peeled and finely diced)

2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (14.5 oz each)

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp of kosher salt

pepper to taste (for cooking the sauce and when serving)

4 or 5 fresh basil leaves (chopped)

Procedure


1.  In a medium saucepan, head extra virgin olive oil (med-low) and add onions and carrots. Sauté for about 5 minutes.

2.  Add garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes.

3.  Add hand crushed tomatoes (or puree tomatoes in a blender if you want the sauce more liquid than chunky), oregano, salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

4.  Add basil and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes or until desired consistency has been reached.  Add to pasta. Mix well and serve immediately with fresh grated parmesan cheese. (If preparing as a complement for another recipe, store in refrigerator until ready to use.)

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One of my favorites snacks is homemade Mexican Salsa (Pico de Gallo) with chips. It is colorful, refreshing, savory and crispy. Also, it is very easy to make.  Coming from a family that never cooked or ate spicy (hot) food while I was growing up, as an adult I have become a spicy food lover wether it is in Mexican, Japanese, Peruvian, Thai or Indian food among others. My husband and kids love it too!  This salsa is a great complement to avocado salad, “cielito lindo”, tacos, burritos and nachos. Please, be very careful when handling hot peppers. Try not to touch with your fingers, use a paper towel to hold them, and if you do touch them, wash hands thoroughly. Do not touch your eyes or nose in a few hours after you have been in contact with them. The seeds of these peppers are very strong so remove and discard carefully at the beginning. Do not put your nose or eyes anywhere near them!!!!!!  Remember, this is my version of mexican salsa, let me know about your comments and ideas

Enjoy!

Mexican Salsa

Ingredients

3 medium sized tomatoes seeded and chopped

juice of 1/2 lime

2 tbsp of finely chopped red onion

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp chopped cilantro (tightly packed)

1 finely chopped habanero or jalapeño pepper (optional) CAREFULLY REMOVE SEEDS!

Procedure

1.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to allow flavors settle or until ready to serve.  Serve with good quality “totopos” or nacho chips.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

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