Posts Tagged ‘ Tomato ’


This is the first time I’ve ever made Panzanella and I was really pleased with the results.  The combination of fresh tomato, cucumber, onion, and bread, combined with the dressing works very well together.  The quantity I made was for 2 main course servings or approximately 4 side salads.

I really wish I had some leftover grilled asparagus to toss in it.  While not a traditional ingredient I think it would have added an excellent complimentary flavor.  Another possible toss in would be some fresh mozzarella if you don’t mind dairy.  I kept to a basic recipe for my first time but will try variations in the future.

When making this I used only 1/2 a loaf of bread.  The other half I made a small bread pudding with.  I’ll post that later.  I’m trying to cook appropriate amounts of food with the hopes of having less waste.  It seems like a simple concept yet is proving to be quite difficult.  On one hand I enjoy leftovers on the other I always end guessing wrong and still making too much.  Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it soon.


  • 3+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
  • 10+ large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic sliced in half


  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste


Place oil and garlic in a pan and heat on medium heat for a few minutes, remove garlic and add bread, saute the bread until lightly browned adding more oil if needed

Toss all sliced veggies, bread and basil leaves in a bowl and season

Toss all ingredients for dressing in blender and blend until smooth and pour over salad, gently toss salad until evenly coated

Serve immediately or let sit for up to 1 hour


Greek Tomato & Cucumber Salad

It’s Labor Day in the US which means I’m having the family over.  I’m sticking to a basic barbecue with some simple sides.  Since coming home from Europe my son has been eating a lot of cucumber and tomato.  I’m pretty sure it’s the Mediterranean influence.  So today I’m going to make him a Greek version of a cucumber salad.

I’m pretty excited because I’ll have almost a full house.  My daughter and her boyfriend will join us, my son of course, and my niece who will be moving in with us today.  To round out the generations my parents will be joining us.  I enjoy preparing meals for my loved ones.

My one upset is that I thought Ghirardelli’s brownie mix was vegan and was going to follow the directions on the box except using banana in place of the egg.  I didn’t read the box until I got home and discovered that the variety I bought is not vegan.  Now, it doesn’t really matter since my dinner itself won’t be vegan but I think it’s cool to slip a vegan dessert by everybody without their realizing.  I decided to try the banana anyway considering the entire egg recall fiasco.  They look yummy!

Back to my salad, I prepared it hours in advance to let the flavors soak together.  Personally I’m not a fan of olives so I omitted them.  That’s probably pretty selfish of me since others like olives but at this point I don’t have them in the house and I’m making it the cook’s prerogative.  Also, I went pretty traditional and stuck with red wine vinegar but I see no reason not go get creative and try a different variety.


1 really large English hothouse cucumber (0r 2 standard)
• 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4-5 medium tomatoes,
• 1 medium red onion
• a few sprigs fresh basil
• 1 tablespoon parsley & 1 clove of garlic
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Optional Ingredients: Kalamata Olives and or Feta Cheese


Halve cucumbers and remove seeds, then slice thin

Halve the tomato’s remove the seeds quarter and halve the quarters, slice even thinner for larger tomatoes

Halve the onion and slice thin, toss in a bowl with cucumber and tomato,

Add optional ingredients such as olives or feta

Toss the remaining ingredients into a blender and pulse until well blended, then pour over salad and gently hand mix  until blended

Set on counter or refrigerate before serving

Peace, love, & greens, Lin

Greek Frittata

If you’ve never had a frittata before it is  kind of a cross between an omelette and a quiche.  Ultimately, it’s flatter than a quiche and lacks the fatty crust.  It’s also super easy to make.  This morning I realized that I am lacking many basic ingredients to do anything to creative but did not want a boring bowl of cereal.  Thankfully I always have some frozen spinach on hand so I used that as my starting point.

The unique thing about a frittata is that it’s cooked both on top of the stove and in the oven.  You pretty much let the bottom set while cooking on top of the stove and then you place it under the broiler until the top is cooked and lightly browned.  It’s much quicker to put together and cook than a quiche and stores just as well in the fridge for several days.  I’ll be taking a piece of it to work for breakfast tomorrow.


8 large eggs or 2 cups egg substitute (or a mixture of each totaling 2 cups)

1/4 cup half and half (milk will do)

1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach drained very well

1/4 cup grated mozzarella

1/4 cup feta

1 medium onion chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic minced

1 roma tomato chopped

Salt pepper to taste

Oil for pan


Pre-heat a pan that can be used both on stove top and inside oven on medium high heat and lightly oil it

Add onion to pan and saute until translucent about 5 minutes, then add in tomato and garlic for 1 minute

In a bowl whisk together, egg product, spinach, cheeses, and half and half, season with salt and pepper, stir in onion and tomato mixture

Add more oil to pan if needed and pour mixture into pan, do not heat above medium high or the bottom will burn!!

Do not stir while cooking but as it starts to set pull away from the edge of the pan so that the liquid gets closer to the bottom

Once it seems about 1/2 way set place in oven under the broiler and check every couple of minutes, I more the pan a bit to make sure all parts of the frittata get directly under the heat

When the top is nicely browned remove from the heat, let sit for a couple of minutes and then slice and serve

Peace, love, & greens, Lin
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Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

When speaking to my son yesterday he mentioned that he is enjoying cooking at the various hostels he’s been staying in while travelling through Europe.  I’m not surprised since he earned the funds for this trip by working in a pizzeria.  He’s actually a very good cook but we rarely get to taste his food at home.

Most recently he cooked a grilled eggplant parmesan which of course got me in the mood for it.  I love eggpant parm but am fussy about it.  I don’t like when it’s greasy or heavily breaded.  When I asked him  for the recipe, it almost sounded too effortless to be called a recipe.  I simplified his version even more by using sliced farm fresh tomato’s instead of a tomato sauce. I also have plenty of fresh basil from my garden which I used.

This recipe is gluten free and can easily be adapted to a vegan diet by simply using a vegan cheese.  This and a salad made a delicious main course for myself.  My husband enjoyed it with a chicken breast marinaded in Italian dressing and grilled.  I enjoyed mine with a side of quinoa pasta.  We use one side of the grill for meat only and the other for veggies.  I also have color coordinated cutting boards so that my veggie board never touches meat.


2 small to medium sized eggplant

2-4 large fresh tomato’s

1 lb fresh mozzarella (or vegan cheese)

1-2 cloves of garlic either halved or crushed

several sprigs of fresh basil whole pieces or julienned

Olive oil

Salt, pepper and italian seasoning to taste


Preheat the grill to a medium high heat

Slice the eggplant, tomato and cheese into 1/4″ slices, rub the garlic on 1 side of the eggplant slices, lightly brush a little olive oil on each side of eggplant and season each section

Grill each piece of eggplant until just starting to brown and turn to the other side, about 5 minutes per side

When eggplant is done, layer veggies in a greased baking pan or cookie sheet with the eggplant on the bottom, a slice of tomato, the fresh basil and top with a slice of cheese, season the top of each if you’d like,

You can either do this as individual sections on a baking sheet or layer them 2 deep in a shallow baking pan.  I lower the heat down to a medium low and place the pan right on the grill and cook up to 10 minutes when the cheese is nicely melted.

Fresh French Bread Pizza

Thursday was the last day I was able to cook anything due to my crazy work schedule.  Usually I cook food that will last a few days providing me with at least 2 meals of leftovers to bring to work for dinner.  However, this past Thursday I wanted some simple comfort food.

This past Thursday I had an inexplicable craving for some home made French Bread Pizza, something I haven’t craved in years.  I had rented the movie It’s Complicated (not so complicated or good) and decided to give into my craving as it seemed like a great movie dinner.

This is a really simple recipe using fresh bread, fresh mozzerella, fresh tomato’s and fresh basil.  You get the picture.  It took about 15 minutes to prepare another 10 minutes to cook and was the perfect way to satisfy my craving.  It would also work great as a party food cut into 1-2 inch slices.


1 fresh loaf of French bread (Italian will do)

2-3 large beefsteak tomato’s sliced

1 lb fresh mozzarella sliced thin

1/2 stick butter

several sprigs of fresh basil julienned

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning (I use Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder ) parsley


Melt butter in a small saucepan and add garlic and seasonings to your preference, saute for 1-2 minutes.

Slice bread lengthwise and paint bread with the melted butter mixture spreading seasoning somewhat evenly over bread.

Top with sliced tomato’s seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired

Then add julienned basil and top with cheese

Personally, I think these flavors work perfectly together so I prefer no additional toppings.  Feel free to top with any of your favorite pizza toppings.

Summer Quinoa Salad

Today we have been invited to an impromptu barbeque and as always it is up to me to bring my own main course.  This is fine, actually preferred.  However, today I am not in the mood for a veggie burger or hot dog.  In reality  I could go for a hot dog but I only like Morningstar Farms brand and I can’t seem to find them lately.  I will have to find out if they’ve been discontinued or not.  Does anyone know?

Back to tonights dinner.  I decided to throw (literally) together a quinoa salad for my main course but made enough to share. This way others can try it as a side dish and see that eating veg isn’t some kind of self punishment.  The only time requirement for this recipe is the 20 or so minutes it takes to cook the quinoa and corn on the cobb.


1 Cup uncooked Quinoa

2 Ears of corn boiled or grilled (or similar amount frozen and thawed)

3 Plum tomato’s chopped

1 Small onion diced

1 Can black beans rinsed and drained

1 Lemon zested and juiced

Approximately 1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, pepper, cumin to taste

A few sprigs of thyme, fresh basil and 2 lemon balm leaves if available


Place quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes

Cut corn from husks and add to cooked quinoa

Add diced tomato and onion as well and black beans

Add olive oil, lemon juice and zest

Chop fresh herbs and add, then salt and pepper to taste

Chill in fridge for a couple of hours prior to serving

Fresh Tomato Sauce

We arrived home from vacation after a ridiculously long drive.  It’s good to be home but there is quite a bit of post vacation work to be done.  A day of relaxation was not to be had, at least today anyway.  There was the usual laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping as well as helping my son finish his preparations for his trip to Europe.  He’s leaving Monday and I was really happy to help him complete his shopping and just enjoyed time spent with him.  We had lunch at Acropolis, a favorite of ours.  I had a grape salad that I believe is my new favorite salad.  It has spinach leaves, grapes (of course!) gorgonzola, walnuts and other veggies with a delicious home made dressing.  After a week of eating poorly I really enjoyed it.

With such a busy day, dinner needed to be quick and easy.  My husband suggested an old standby Fresh Tomato Sauce which is a chopped fresh tomato sauce served raw.  My husband likes this topped with some grilled or boiled shrimp and I like it plain or possibly with some grilled corn or chick peas mixed in.  I make it a couple of hours prior to eating and let it just sit on the counter until dinner.  The flavors get a chance to meld together which is all it needs.  There have been times when I’ve added it to a saute pan for just a few minutes to slightly warm it on a cool evening.  The recipe itself has no exact measurements and is based upon an average appetite.  Feel free to add or subtract any ingredient to your personal liking.


3 average sized roma tomato’s per person chopped

Chopped vidalia or red onion

Garlic- less if raw, more if roasted, either way to your taste

Fresh herbs such as thyme and basil just a little rosemary

Salt and pepper

Olive oil- enough to come to the top of the chopped tomato’s in a bowl but not to drown them

A little red or white wine vinegar, again to taste

Any choice of pasta, I prefer think spaghetti with this

Bread crumbs or parmesan cheese to top if desired

possible add ins: roasted corn, walnuts, pine nuts, chickpeas, white beans


Chop tomato’s place in bowl, finely chop onion and garlic add to tomato.  Chop fresh herbs and add to bowl with seasoning and liquid ingredients.  Stir well and sit on counter for a couple of hours stirring occasionally.  Cook pasta according to directions, drain and serve topped with sauce