Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

One of my resolutions this year is to eat healthier (of course).  It always comes after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s- we eat like the year is going to end (pun intended), and punish ourselves later by limiting everything we like, right?  Well, I’m hoping it’s not a punishment, but more of an unhealthy “flush”, if you will.  So my challenge is to find healthy alternatives that are still great, just less greasy with more overall nutrition.  So yesterday our very loved San Franisisco 49ers played in the NFC Championship Playoffs, and sadly lost to the New York Giants.  My husband is from the Bay area, and this was an extremely somber occasion as we hoped for them to make it to the Super Bowl.  None-the-less, at least our stomachs didn’t suffer a loss from the poor game food that is accustumed.  And seeing as the Super Bowl is not just for football fans, but has become more american culture, I thought perhaps an amazing Super Bowl salsa would be useful for anyone who wants an amazingly flavorful  and fresh snack with the added bonus of it being healthy.

SuperBowl Salsa

4-5 plum tomatoes, small dice
1/2 of a large red onion, small dice
1 avocado (i used a zutano, but hass will work fine as well) diced.
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of corn kernels (i use the “no added salt” kind) drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1/2 cup of lime juice (about 4-5 limes)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


In this recipe technique is the most important from an okay salsa, to a spectacular one.  You want to make sure your onions are evenly diced and small enough to not be pungent. 

Keep most of your vegetables evenly diced and your results will be impeccable.  In a large bowl mix together all of your ingredients except your avocado, adding enough lime juice to wet and dress all your vegetables. 

Add salt and pepper to flavor as you like, and at the very end gently toss your avocado, coating with the lime juice to prevent from browning.  Serve with corn tortilla chips.  You can even spoon this over salads or top grilled meats with it for a tropical twist.   Beware:  I’ve been told this salsa is very addicting–and I have to agree!  Enjoy without the guilt!


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The weather in Florida is finally getting cooler.  I love cooler weather.  Our family can finally enjoy opening the windows and turning off the air conditioning for a while (hopefully).  I have been craving a good tomato-basil soup for a while now, so as soon as I woke up yesterday I decided that it would be the perfect soup along my other craving: grilled cheese.  You see my parents-in-law went out to California for Thanksgiving, that’s where they used to live for 20+ years, and spent some time with my sister-in-law, Keely.  As I was bidding them farewell I just casually slipped them a hint.  That if they wanted to bring me back anything, a loaf of San Fransisco sourdough bread is all I wanted.  Well, if they aren’t the best in-laws, I don’t know who is.  Guess what they brought me back? 

Of course you can make your grilled cheese with any bread, but I recommend finding a good sourdough loaf to take it to that next level 🙂

Fresh Tomato-Basil Soup 

4 lbs of tomatoes (I used 2 pints of grape tomatoes, 1 pint of heirloom tomatoes, and 1 big ugly tomato)
2 onions, approximately 2 1/2 cups
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 shallot, diced (or can substitue garlic)
1/4 cup basil, julienned, + more for garnish
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salt + more to taste
2 tsp fresh ground pepper + more to taste
1 quart chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste (helps to develop flavor quicker)
3 tsp sugar
1/4 cup 2% milk
optional: croutons or parmesan shavings for garnish

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot at medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, salt and pepper to the pot and allow them to become soft and translucent, about 10 minutes; stirring periodically.







Now add the shallots, stir and continue to cook until you can press a carrot piece with the back of your spoon and it easily falls apart.







Next add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, stock, and finally the basil.







Allow your soup to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the tomtoes are soft and cooked down.  Now check for seasonings, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Now use your immersion blended (or in 2 batches in blender) and puree the soup down. If you don’t like bits of tomato skin you can strain your soup, but I personally love the bits and pieces of texture in this soup. You can also use a food mill if you have one.









Now I add the milk and give it a stir. Serve in a mug or bowl and top with your favorite garnishes- I used parmesan shavings and basil. Really great flavor, super fresh, hence the name 😉 and really nice thicker consistency.








Next the grilled cheese to eat along side your soup. 

sourdough loaf of bread cut into whatever thickness you prefer (i like medium thick slices 🙂 )
sharp yellow or white cheddar cheese, about 2 slices per sandwich
muenster cheese, 2 slices per sandwich
swiss cheese, 1 slice per sandwich
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp dijon mustard
3-4 tbsp of butter


Combine your mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl.  Spread this sauce on both insides of bread.  Next, arrange your cheddar slices on one sourdough slice of bread.  Place your swiss cheese in the middle and your muenster slices on the other side.  Top with your already mayo’d slice of bread.  You can either spread your butter lightly over both top and bottom of your sandwich bread-or if you want a little less butter, like me, I just used a brush to spread  it directly on my George Foreman grill..(I don’t have a panini grill yet, and this was a gift).  If you don’t have a panini press you can use a skilled and place a plate or heavy lid on top of you sandwiches, flipping halfway through.  Total time is about 4 minutes.  You can try your own combination of cheeses, let me know what the results are!

So there you have it, the perfect combination on a cool Florida evening:  fresh and hot tomato-basil soup with a crunchy crust on the outside, melty and cheesy on the inside with a slight tanginess from the sourdough and dijon, but a slight sweetness from your swiss cheese- sandwich.  And if you dip one into the other, some say fireworks go off…  a bit exagerated?  I don’t know 😉  Some really have seen said fireworks 🙂  I hope you enjoy this one!

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Ecuadorian Corvina is hard to come by, so when I found it a few months ago at my local Costco-we made sure to buy double, and froze one away.  This is an amazing, very non-fishy fish.. haha.. I always have to laugh when a fish is described as “unfishy” yet it actually fits this time 🙂  This recipe was actually born out of things I had in my fridge that I needed to use, so please know that you can use any vegetables you have, as long as the flavors don’t contradict each other.  Take it more as a guideline, and less like a strict recipe- you’ll have more fun with it!

Corvina (if hard to find, try Mahi Mahi) 4-6 fillets
16 oz can of garbanzo/chickpeas
half of a large sweet or yellow onion- diced
2-3 tsp herbs de provence (or mix in good dry herbs like oregano & thyme)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 lb cubed butternut squash
1 lb of new potatoes
1 cup of sliced yellow squash
1 cup of grape tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
olive oil
2 tbsp of white wine or sherry
1/2 cup of beef or chicken broth
1 cup of flour
2 cups of fresh greens like baby spinach, arugula, or swiss chard


Begin buy heating a large with olive oil to med-high heat.  Sautee onions, add salt, pepper, and herbs until onions have softened and look translucent. 


Next, add the drained garbanzo beans. 







Next stir in the garlic and let it heat until its aroma releases.

Stir well, now add the potatoes and the butternut squash.  Allow some time to brown these a little, then add a 1/2 cup of beef broth and 1-2 tbsp of sherry or white wine.  Now cover the pot and let this simmer for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork.







Midway through the potatoes, add the tomatoes and yellow squash.







In the meantime heat another skillet with vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  I seasoned my fish with Lime-Pepper seasoning (a variation on lemon pepper that I really like, but use lemon-pepper if you have that) kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  I sliced my fillet into 3 portions, and dredged each of the pieces in the flour mixed with a tsp of salt, shaking off the excess.


These filets were about an 1.5 inches thick, so I pan fried them at med-high for about 5-6 minutes of each side, plus allowing them to brown on their actual “sides” for a minute or so as well.  So all 4 sides in my case.  If your fillets are thinner you may not have to do that.

Taste your vegetables and add any salt and pepper to taste. 

To Plate:

Take your greens (I used a mixture of baby spinach, arugula, and swiss chard) and toss with a squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.  Place about a cup full of your sauteed vegetables over the bed of greens, and lightly place your fish on top.  Before serving squeeze fresh lime juice over your fish, and serve with a wedge of lime.  My husband and son cleaned their plate!

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