Baked potatoes and tomatoes recipe

I wanted something crunchy, but I did not want something fried, so I started thinking: potatoes. And then playing with the idea of oven baked potatoes, I decided to add something bright and Mediterranean and added in some tomatoes. Here is what I did.

Baked potatoes and tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 large potatoes
  • 1 or 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • EVOO

Directions

  1. First slice the potatoes and put them in water so that they can loose part of the starch (you’d be surprise at how much baked potato improve if you let them in cold water for about 5-10 minutes before cooking). Now slice a tomato and an onion. It works best if potatoes, onion and tomato slices are more or less of the same size. Put the sliced vegetables in an oven dish, arranging them more or less artistically in concentric circles: I do one circle of potatoes and one of alternating onion and tomato. When you have filled the whole dish, sprinkle with oregano, pepper, salt and olive oil. Place the dish in a 375F oven for about 3/4 hours to an hour. Ready to serve.
  2. I like this dish because it is simple and bright. The tomato add something summery and light to the dish and makes it a very nice side for something like oven roasted or steamed fish.

Back… with gratitude & vanilla rosemary cherry tomatoes

So there’s this French saying. It was the title of a comedy. La vie n’est pas un long fleuve tranquille. Life is not a long tranquil river.

Indeed.

Sometimes, we are grateful for life’s non linear, unexpected turns. Sometimes we tell ourselves they happen for a reason. Sometimes hindsight shows us the good that came out of the bad. And sometimes, we feel sorrow and mourn that long tranquil river of a life we might have imagined when we were children.

“Life is never as good, or as bad, as we thought.” Une Vie. Guy de Maupassant.

I will spare you the nitty gritty details, but there was a separation, a move, a terrible illness, a hospitalization and hours and days in critical condition, just waiting. For the body and soul to make a move. For the better or for the worse. Crisis mode. Everything else in life fades away to deal with the chaos.

And then, there’s slow improvement. Things are still difficult, still unresolved, and uncertain. The illness is still here. But life and healing are no longer hanging on by a thread. And remains the dire need for life to continue on its course, whatever that may be.

And in the midst of this past month of chaos, sanity had to be maintained. Ways to cope, to be grounded for my sake, for my son’s sake. Life is never one thing. Days have been nerve-wracking, chaotic, driven, juggling. But also joyful, through minutes spent in the present moment with Pablo. Through meals we shared in the midst of boxes, and slowly, in what has begun to feel like our new home. Through seconds of taking in the beauty surrounding us, the San Gabriel mountains, the wild parrots in our tree, the cool morning air.

How beauty and connection matter. How they heal and nourish.

So this feels like such a homecoming. I’m a little nervous. To write here, to come back to this blogging community I had to desert for a month. Resurfacing has been hard. I have been so grateful for all your messages of encouragement and comfort and support. I am so grateful for your patience, that you’re still here to read these words.

I’ve been nervous, I’ve felt stuck and afraid to have too much to express. But I’m starting to write again. To cook again. Some dust has settled on my camera. Soon.

In the meantime, I am sharing this lovely simple recipe I had cooked up before all this whirlwind of a month. A little something to quench that summer nostalgia October might bring.



Cherry tomatoes braised with vanilla & rosemary

4 servings (appetizer, or a fantastic topping for a Spanish tortilla!)

Prep time : 10 min
Cook time : 10-12 min

Age for babies:  8-10 months (peeling the tomato skins might be necessary)


1 lb cherry tomatoes
1 sprig of rosemary
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 vanilla bean
2 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper

Wash the tomatoes, wash the rosemary and take it off the sprig. Mince the rosemary leaves.

Over medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil.

Make a lengthwise incision along the vanilla bean, and with a small spoon, grate the seeds off on each side. Scrape them into the coconut oil.

Add the tomatoes and rosemary. Sprinkle the sugar on top, and let cook for about 10 minutes over medium, rolling the tomatoes around every so often by gently tilting and shaking the pan (using a spatula might make mush out of the tomatoes as they cook.)

Enjoy just like that as an appetizer or side dish with some bread. Or place on top of a quiche or Spanish tortilla.

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Friselle with tomatoes

It is time for the recipe swap again and this time we are dealing with tomato pudding.  How can this little book chose by Christianna be so full of wacky recipes is a mystery to me, but I guess that is life, so I’ll deal with it… And I will come out winning! Or at least I will try.

Anyway, after the first moment of despair, I thought I should do something with bread and tomatoes and friselle immediately came to mind. Friselle are a typical dish from Southern Italy, Puglia to be more specific. It is a simple dish, consisting of toasted bread and tomatoes.

The bread is toasted to death, until it basically turns into a brick. While this doesn’t sound very appealing, it is a very convenient way of storing bread for long periods of time. I read that friselle were a common food for sailors, that would just take them on their trip and soak them in sea water to soften and flavor them up before eating. Not sure if that is the best way of eating friselle, but I can see it working.

On land, friselle are usually seasoned up by topping them with tomatoes and letting the friselle absorb all the nice juices from the tomatoes. As all the flavor comes from the tomatoes, it is key to choose the most flavorful tomatoes you can find. If you do that, friselle will taste awesome.

On a side note, to make friselle you are basically making bread rolls and then toasting them dry. The bread rolls are awesome before toasting. So you might want to bake a bigger batch and toast some of the bread and eat the rest fresh out of the oven. Those seriously are among the best bread rolls I ever baked and a very close match to the pull apart mayo bread rolls I baked for Chef Dennis!

Check out what everyone else did!

Recipe swap: friselle with tomatoes

Recipe swap: friselle with tomatoes

Ingredients

Friselle:

    • 1/2 lb (about 2 cups) all purpose flour
    • 1/2 lb (about 2 cups) whole wheat flour
    • 1 and 1/2 cup water
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1/2 tsp activated dry yeast

Topping (for 4 friselle)

  • 2 cups flavorful tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • basil (optional)

Directions

Friselle

    1. Mix the two flours with 1 cup of water in which you dissolved the yeast. Add the salt and knead into a soft, non sticky ball adding the rest of the water as you knead. You might need to add a little less or a little more water depending on the flour, so add a bit at a time.
    2. When your dough is well kneaded, form into a ball and put in a large bowl. Cover in plastic and let proof until it doubles. It should take about 6 hours.
    3. Divide the dough into 8 parts weighting approximately 4oz. each and roll in balls the size of a baseball ball. Let rise for about 1 hour.
    4. Roll the balls out into a log and form into 8 bagels of sorts. Stretch out to get a rather wide hole, it will fill up as the bread raises. Cover again and let rise for another hour.
    5. Cook in the oven at 400F for about 10 minutes. They should still be soft and shouldn’t brown up.
    6. Take the rolls rolls out of the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool down.
    7. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and place back in the oven at 250F cut side up to dry out. Cook for about 1 hour or until toasted throughout.
    8. Get the toasted friselle out of the oven and let them cool down on a cooling rack.
    9. The friselle are ready and will last months if stored in a dry place.

Topping

  1. Wash the tomatoes and dice them saving all their liquid.
  2. Place the diced tomatoes and their liquid in a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper, basil and olive oil. Mix everything up and let rest for a couple of minutes.
  3. If you are using the garlic, rub the clove onto the friselle to season them up.
  4. Top the friselle with the tomatoes and their juices and let them rest for a couple of hours so that the tomato juices can soften them up.
  5. Serve as an appetizer or a snack or even a light lunch.
  6. To speed up the softening process, you can soak the friselle in warm water before topping them with the tomatoes.
  7. You can make the topping more substantial by adding canned tuna to the tomatoes.

3.1

Stuffed tomatoes recipe

I have been absent. I was first in Chicago doing interviews (hope they went well I am still waiting to hear back on most) and now am in puerto rico enjoying a bit of R&R. But today is time for world on a plate and I am happy to post stuffed tomatoes.

The theme for this month was stuffed vegetables and I decided to go with a super easy recipe that used to be one of my sister’s favorite recipe as a child.

I love this recipe because it comes with a lot of memories and because it combines the sweetness of tomatoes with the saltiness of the capers. The result is delicious!

As I said the recipe is simple. So simple that I don’t even have doses. Just go by taste adding a bit of this and a pinch of that until you get the “right” flavor. Here right is what taste good to you so be brave and experiment. The only thing you should be careful about is not to add too much garlic so that you don’t overpower the other ingredients.

Oh remember to check out the other stuffed vegetables from around the world at the bottom of this post!

#WorldOnAPlate: stuffed tomatoes

#WorldOnAPlate: stuffed tomatoes

Ingredients

  • tomatoes
  • bread crumbs
  • capers
  • parsley
  • olive oil
  • garlic

Directions

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and de-seed them.
  2. Salt the tomatoes and place them upside down on a board so they can loose part of the water.
  3. Chop the capers, garlic and parsley and mix with the breadcrumbs and olive oil.
  4. Stuff the tomatoes with the mixture.
  5. Drizzle with oil and bake in a 400F oven until the stuffing is golden brown and the tomatoes are cooked (about 15 minutes).

Mediterranean sea bass with tomatoes and potatoes

Today is a fish recipe. I don’t eat fish much, but when I walked into WF and found Mediterranean sea bass on offer, I just had to get some.

I cooked it very simply with tomatoes, potatoes and a bit of olives, capers and anchovies to kick up the flavor.

Oh, for the careful reader that was brave enough to look at the eye of the fish in the picture: you are right, that fish is not cooked, but sun was setting and I figured I’d take the picture with natural light and uncooked than cooked and with no light

Mediterranean sea bass with tomatoes and potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Mediterranean sea bass (~1 to 1.5 lb)
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes (I used 1 can cherry tomatoes and 1/2 pint fresh yellow cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/2 lb potatoes
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 cup oven roasted black olives
  • 10 anchovies filet
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano or other favorite dry herb

Directions

  1. Roughly chop the olives, caper and anchovies to a very coarse paste. Use half of it to fill the cavity of your sea bass.
  2. Place the sea bass in an oven dish with the whole tomatoes, diced potatoes and the rest of the olive and anchovies paste. Add 1/4 water if using fresh tomatoes, otherwise the juice of the canned tomatoes should be enough.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and your favorite herb and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes or until the fin pulls away easily and the potatoes are tender.