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Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer Tomatoes Two Ways

We have had close to two dozen almost perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes on the plant growing outside the kitchen window. A couple of times Dylan has spontaneously picked an orange one and taken a bite but other than that we've been patiently waiting for ripe, perfectly red, summer tomatoes. And then it happens - time after time. The new turkey mom in the neighborhood and her three little ones come and eat breakfast. They show up every morning and pick away until we bang on the windows or run chasing them from the yard.  They can jump, climb, and move fast. This morning they took about twelve tomatoes and left a huge turkey feather behind. There are still bunches of green ones but I have a feeling all of our summer tomatoes will be coming from the Farmer's markets and stands - not our own backyard.

Tomatoes have been a part of many meals these past few weeks but these two dishes - Lemon Pasta with Arugula & Tomatoes and Roasted Tomato Salad with Mint have been the favorites.

Lemon Pasta with Arugula & Tomatoes
Slightly adapted from Ina Garten

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound dried pasta (I used spinach fettuccine)
1/2 pound baby arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds, then add the cream, the zest and juice of the lemons, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, and cook al dente according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

3. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl and add the arugula, Parmesan, and tomatoes.

4. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add a few slices to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Roasted Tomato Salad with Mint
From The Nourished Kitchen

2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
1 small red onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely ground sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I used my cast iron skillet in place of a lined baking sheet and loved the results!).

2. Toss the tomatoes and onions with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt then arrange them in a single layer in the pan.

3. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken to the consistency of maple syrup and the tomatoes wrinkle. Spoon the roasted tomatoes and onions into a mixing bowl, toss in the mint, and serve immediately before the mint wilts in the residual heat of the tomatoes.

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