Monday, March 30, 2009

Tomato-a-holic


I think that I may be one. Is there such a thing? I think after the past summers, Chris and I have started to become Tomato snobs - is there such a thing? For the past 4 summers I have planted a bunch of tomato plants in my side garden - and each year they turn out better than the summer before (except 2 summers ago, I grew Heirloom tomatoes - HELLO - the best) and they are always in abundance. This past summer I bought a hanging cherry tomato basket from my local 'tomato dealer' who cures my weekly 'fix' - and that basket was the best! It was always a treat to walk out to the deck and just pick off a tomato and have the sweet, natural goodness burst into my mouth. 

Now that we have had the pure goodness of tomatoes fresh from the earth, it's hard to buy them in the store. But lately, I can't help it. I am somewhat addicted to putting them in almost everything that I cook. I love them bursting open in my mouth and tasting all the delicious flavours. 

Tonight's dinner was dedicated to tomatoes. I did two different recipes - spaghetti squash with tomatoes and green onions. And a baked tomato and bocconcini pie. I visited the Root Cellar - MacKenzie and Blenkeinsop (sp?) for the first time yesterday. That place is fabulous. So much of the produce is locally grown, organic and so fresh. I picked up so many treats - squashes, tomatoes, baby bok choy, peppers and a lot more. 

I loved how red the tomatoes looked when they were cooking - couldn't resist
Spaghetti squash Sims Style
I actually had this dish, years ago at Jocelyn's for dinner. It was really one of the best dishes. I make it often throughout 'squash season'. I often mix it up a bit - tonight I added ground chicken - but normally I don't.

1 large spaghetti squash - cut lengthwise and scoop out the seeds
2 large tomatoes chopped - or 2 cups of grape tomatoes
3-4 green onions - chopped
2 cloves of garlic
Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook the spaghetti squash (cut side down) in a 400 oven for about 30 minutes - or until tender. When squash is almost cooked, saute green onions, tomatoes and garlic in a large pan - with olive oil. When the squash is cooked, use a fork to take out the squash - it will come out just like spaghetti. Add it to the tomatoes and green onion, and mix it all up. Just before serving, grate some fresh parmesan over top and voila. 

Tomato and Bocconcini Pie with fresh basil
1 square of puff pastry - it comes in a box of two - the other square was used last night for the Chicken Pot Pie
20 cherry tomatoes
Bocconcini cheese - the 'appetizer' size - sliced in half - probably about 10 
1/4 cup fresh basil - chopped
Drizzle of olive oil

Roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface. Place the pastry into a pie plate. Then place the tomatoes and bocconcini in the pie plate, add the basil, drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Fold the edges in of the pie crust, so that there are four folds, leaving an opening in the middle. Gently beat an egg and brush on top of the crust. Place in 400 oven for about 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. 
This is seriously the easiest dish. It would be a great appetizer. It's also very delicious if you add sauteed zucchini. A lovely summer treat. 

This weekend I hooked my iPod up when I was cooking so that I could blast the tunes and sing along. I listened to my fav Bruce Springsteen and one of the songs that I love is "Terry's song" (you can find it on YouTube - seriously, take a listen). The first time I heard it, I bawled and listened to it over and over. The song is about one of his best friends, who has passed away. The song describes his friend as being one of a kind, and when 'they' built him they broke the mold. The song reminds me of my dad so much. How this amazing man, who I was so blessed to have had 26 years with - not long enough - but he was such an incredible man, dad, husband, friend, grandad, who touched so many people's lives - and is missed so much to this day. I love it when a song, helps you remember something. I also listened to Snow Patrol's 'Chocolate' and it reminded me of dear friend Courtenay - I miss her so. 

My love is home - Chris - haha, just in case you were wondering. We are going to hang out - enjoy our evening. He has mentioned that he hasn't been mentioned on the blog lately - so we will have a day dedicated to him soon. 

Remember tomato love. It's worth it.

Enjoy!  

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