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Friday, August 6, 2010

Tomato Cooking Tips

Tomato Cooking Tips
Enjoy these sweet, juicy veggies at their best

Gardens, grocery stores, and farmers' markets overflow during the all-too-short peak (August and September). Enjoy the juicy tomato goodness, with a bonus of powerful antioxidants that may help fight cancer and cardiovascular disease. Vine-ripened have the best flavor and the most nutrients.

Shop, Slice Peel Like a Pro

1 CHOOSE a homely tomato. It will often be a good one because it's usually either a tasty heirloom variety or organically grown.

2 CUT tomatoes with a serrated bread knife to make neat slices and avoid squeezing out the juices.

3 PEEL easily by cutting an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomato, dipping it 30 seconds in boiling water, and then plunging it into ice water.

4 PULL off the skin with your fingers, starting at the cut. The peel will slip right off.

31% The daily requirement for vitamin C found in 1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes

Toss a Tomato Salad!

Chopped Salad with Pita Croutons

Toast 1 pita in a 350°F oven until crisp, about 10 minutes. Tear into pieces. In a large bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add 4 chopped tomatoes; 1 peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber; 5 sliced scallions; and 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley. Toss to combine, add the pita croutons, and toss again.

Tomato-Mozzarella Salad

Toss 4 cups halved cherry tomatoes with 8 ounces bocconcini (mini balls of fresh mozzarella), halved; 12 fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips; 2 tablespoons olive oil; and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Tomato Watermelon Salad

Combine 4 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) and 2 cups coarsely chopped seedless watermelon in a serving bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint. Top with 1/4 cup chopped pistachios.

Linguine with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Make this delicious sauce in the time it takes to boil water and cook your pasta. We boil the linguine a couple of minutes less than needed and finish cooking it right in the sauce so it soaks up all the amazing flavor.

WORK TIME: 15 Minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 Minutes

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 sm onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 6 tomatoes or 3 c chopped)

1 1/4 tsp salt

12 oz linguine

16 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

1/4 c grated Parmesan

1. HEAT 2 tablespoons of the oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.

2. PREPARE pasta per package directions while sauce cooks, undercooking slightly. drain pasta well and add to simmering sauce. Cook until sauce has thickened and pasta is done, about 2 minutes. Add basil and remaining 1 tablespoon oil and toss to combine. Serve topped with cheese.


NUTRITION (per serving) 468 cal, 16 g pro, 74 g carb, 6 g fiber, 13 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 819 mg sodium

8 Sassy Ideas for Sauce

COMBINE with sliced and sauteed sausages, onions, and peppers. Serve over polenta or stuffed into a hero roll.

SIMMER fresh blanched green beans in the sauce until tender.

ADD a pinch of redpepper flakes to the sauce and serve over sliced grilled steak.

USE a dollop on top of a cheeseburger in place of ketchup.

TOP roasted or grilled salmon with the sauce.

LET cool and use as a topping for bruschetta.

FLAKE canned tuna into the sauce and serve over rice.

SUB tarragon for the basil and serve on grilled, sauteed, or roasted chicken.

How to Keep Tomatoes Tasty

COOKING Use any type of pan except aluminum or cast iron. They react with the acidity in the tomatoes, affecting the flavor and damaging the surface.

STORING Keep tomatoes at room temperature for the best taste and texture. Refrigerating can dull their flavor and make them mealy. They'll continue to ripen, so just buy the number you can use in a week or so. Many heirloom tomatoes have thin skins. Don't pile them on top of each other.

Use up a ripe batch!
Never let a bounty go to waste. Discover hundreds of ways to enjoy them at

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