Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Zucchini and Tomato Gratin

You still need recipes for those tomatoes from your garden or the zucchini and tomatoes people are giving you?  Here is one.

Zucchini and Tomato Gratin 

2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (4 zucchini)
4 large sliced tomatoes
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs. butter
Seasoning salt recipe below

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Begin by making a pesto of:

2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 cups loosely packed basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Place garlic in food processor; pulse until chopped. Crush your pistachios first a little.  Add pistachios, basil, lemon juice and salt; pulse until nuts are finely chopped.  Add your favorite olive oil gradually through food chute and process until well combined. Add cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times.

Set aside.

Spray a 9 X 9 baking dish.  Slice your zucchini about ¼ of an inch thin.  Slice your tomatoes about ¼ of an inch thin.  Fill the bottom of the baking dish with the zucchini and then a layer of sliced tomatoes.

Seasoning Salt
Make a seasoning salt with teaspoon of Kosher salt, ½  tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. of garlic powder, 1 tsp. of onion powder and ¼ tsp. of nutmeg.  Mix in a small bowl and sprinkle some of it on top of the tomatoes. 

Sprinkle a little pesto on top of the tomatoes.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and begin another layer. 

Top with your favorite bread crumbs (Italian seasoned would bring extra flavor or make your own) and more Parmesan cheese. Dot with 2 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

Variation -  Add chopped pistachios on top to show you are using them in the pesto.  You can also chopped Kalamata olives on top for more color and flavor.  It can be an entire meal by itself or a great side dish.

You can also serve it as a side with pasta with your left over pesto.  Make a simple angel hair pasta.

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil for the pasta.  You can use any pasta but angel hair cooks quickly so is simple and quick.  Cook the pasta in the boiling, salted water until al dente, about 3 minutes. While you are cooking your pasta cut some cherry tomatoes in half and set aside. 

In a large frying pan that will hold the pasta, take a small ladle of pasta water and add a ladle of pesto to thin the pesto down.  Add your chopped tomatoes.  Drain your pasta and to the pesto sauce and toss. Taste for salt and pepper, and drizzle a little of your favorite olive oil and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. 

Variation – Don’t add the tomatoes.  Add shrimp instead and you get a whole new meal. 

More rain today and the grass is turning green again.  Can't believe what difference a little rain can make.  I don't have to water those tomato plant now.  

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.   

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Miss Lucile’s Tomato Sandwich

Got tomatoes?  How about a tomato sandwich?  This is the perfect tomato sandwich that was made famous in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  It is a sandwich created by Lucile Wright a caterer in Savannah, Georgia who has passed away.  She was made famous not only from her catering but also by the book and movie.  Miss Lucile’s delicate tomato sandwich is perfect.  If you follow the recipe you will not have a soggy sandwich.  I’m sharing it the way it the way she made it.

Use thin slices, whole wheat on the top and white on the bottom. Cut the bread into circles with a biscuit cutter or other shapes with cookie cutters that just fits your freshly picked tomato. I like to use a rim from a mason large mouth mason jar.

Mix a little finely grated sweet onion (too much makes it bitter).  You really just want a little juice from the onion so use the smallest grate on your grater. Add a teaspoon and then taste and slowly add what you like to taste. Add black pepper and Accent to your Hellmann's mayonnaise.  No other mayo will work or it is not her recipe.  No measurements here... make it to taste. Spread the bread a day ahead, cover and refrigerate.  Don’t skimp on the Hellmann’s. 

Pick your tomatoes and clean them the same day you are going to make the sandwich.  Pick a nice round ripe tomato that has ripened on the vine.

Carefully drop tomatoes in a big pot of boiling water for 20 seconds. Immediately transfer to a big bowl or sink of cold water.

Peel, slice as thin as the bread and drain thoroughly between layers of paper towels. Soggy tomatoes make soggy sandwiches. Sprinkle the tomatoes with Lawry's Seasoned Salt before assembling the sandwiches.

See if you don’t agree that this is the tastiest tomato sandwich you have ever eaten.  I like to use a good heirloom tomato with a lot of flavor to make it even better. 

It's a great day to play in the kitchen with it raining outside.  The rain is making me very happy.  Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.