Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What The Veg?: Tomatoes

Okay, so the tomato is technically a fruit, but I couldn't help posting about this wonderful food, especially with the beautiful varieties blooming this time of year.  I am fortunate to have a family friend who grows his own and has been delivering bounties to me often.  I thought I would be overwhelmed by tomatoes, but instead I am using them in delicious recipes - and running out!  They are so sweet right of the vine.  I just love tomatoes!  Here are a few ways I have been cooking them up this summer.

Chop Them:

Hand Pies
I first learned how to make these from a class I took with Spork Foods.  Here's how I prepared my last batch.






Ingredients:
1/2 package of vegan puff pastry (I use Aussie Brand at Whole Foods)
1/3 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2-3 medium tomatoes, diced
4-5 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (could use red wine vinegar too)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
1. Thaw puff pastry sheet (keep the other sheet in the freezer.)
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Combine all ingredients (except puff pastry) in a bowl.
4. Slice the sheet into 4 squares.  In the center of each puff pastry, add a big tablespoon of the tomato mixture and fold corner to corner, making a triangle.  Pinch edges to seal.  Make 2 small cuts in top.
5. Place pies on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until pies are golden.  Serve warm.

Salsa
This recipe is so simple, yet so delicious.  







Ingredients:
4 tomatoes, finely diced
3/4 white onion, finely diced
Juice of 2-3 limes (depending on how you like it)
Bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
JalapeƱo, seeded and finely diced (I use a half, but add for as much heat as you like!)
Salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and taste for lime and salt.
2. Serve with tortilla chips!
Note: You can change this recipe up easily by mixing in mango or avocado.

Puree them:

Gazpacho
This is my favorite soup to make and it is so refreshing during the warm summer months.  Since you prepare it all in a blender, prep and clean up are quick and easy.  This recipe is from Cooking with Trader Joe's.




Ingredients:

4 tomatoes
1 large cucumber (peeled if not organic)
1/4 red onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper (or green)
4 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Hot sauce to taste
Avocado chunks for garnish

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth and chill for about an hour to let flavors marry.
2. Top individual bowls with hot sauce and avocado.


Toss them: 

Tabbouleh
This is the recipe I use for my Greek Salad with Tabbouleh and Falafel.







Ingredients:

1 bag of 10-minute bulgur (from Trader Joe's)
1 tomato (small diced)
1/2 organic seedless cucumber (small diced)
1/4 yellow onion (small diced)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 package of parsley, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Directions:
1. Prepare bulgur as directed on package.  Spoon 1/2 into a mixing bowl and store the rest (I freeze it in a ziploc.)
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients with the bulgur.

Do you have any wonderful tomato recipes to share?  I would love to read them.  Please share in the comments section below.