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Picnic

Posted by tinako on September 13, 2009

Today I tried some more new recipes from the the “Totally Vegetarian” TV show, the July 20th 2009 episode.  Cathi Dicocco was guesting.

I made Oven-dried Tomatoes.  You take a bunch of Roma tomatoes, trim the tops where the stem was, cut them in half and then scoop out the seeds.  Put them cut-side up on a baking sheet, salt and pepper them, put on a smidegeon of sugar.  You can also use halved cherry tomatoes (don’t scoop them out) or yellow tomatoes.  You can add herbs like basil or garlic before cooking, but Cathi said she prefers to keep them plain so she can season them as needed later.  You bake them at 200 a couple of hours. Higher temps will cook them, which you don’t want.  If they overdry and get papery, they will puff right up in olive oil, so don’t worry.  You want them leathery.  They didn’t talk about how to store them, but I used mine up right away.

So while those were in the oven I made her Garlic Confit.  You take a whole garlic head and cut it in half so that you are cutting all the cloves in half.  Put them cut side down in a glass or ceramic covered dish, not metal.  Add olive oil (a good 1/4″ – 1/2″), peppercorns, fresh herbs: she used lemon thyme; I used regular thyme.   No need to chop them since you can strain them out later.  Cover and bake at 300 for hours.  I just put them in with the tomatoes.  The oven smelled SO good.  You can use the roasted garlic for lots of things; just squeeze it out of the skin.  But you also strain the oil and use that for dressings, etc.  (not cooking).

So next I made her Oven-dried Tomato Pesto.  In a food processor Cathi put what looked like:

  • about 3/4 c oven dried tomatoes
  • half a head of the roasted garlic
  • one clove of fresh garlic
  • 1/2 c of fresh basil
  • roasted garlic oil (enough to desired consistency)

Use this sparingly as a pasta sauce, spread or flat bread, or use as a base for salad dressings.  I made less than she did and didn’t have any basil, but it was still good.

Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta

At this point I struck out on my own.  I toasted about 1/4 c of pine nuts, which just takes a minute.  I didn’t use any oil in my cast iron pan.  I started it on medium and then turned it down as I saw that the pine nuts were toasting.  They were lightly crispy when they cooled.

Next, in the same empty pan I put some olive oil and sauted some diced patty pan squash.  I boiled some whole wheat fusili, and tossed it with the pine nuts, the squash, and the pesto.  I had this cold at a picnic.  The pesto was subtle, the rest of it was simple, and it was very good.

With this we had Whole Wheat Zucchini Herb Bread.  I started it in my bread machine but then realized I didn’t have enough time.  The machine insists it takes 3 hours to make bread, but I decided to take a short cut.  I let it rise an hour, then took it out and put it on a baking sheet.  I let it rise another 2o min or so under a towel and then popped it in the oven at 350.  I allowed 45 min until we had to leave, but being such a small loaf, it had reached 200 degrees internal temperature after only about 30 min.  It was perfect.  I sliced it and brought it along hot in a basket covered by a cloth.

Salad

Salad

We also had a very ordinary salad.  I was getting weary about now, so lettuce and tomato with croutons in a bag was all I could muster.  I had leftover Maple-Balsamic Dressing on it, and others had store-bought.

I made a batch of Biscotti for the picnic bake sale, but the first batch burned on the second baking.  Making that second batch of biscotti was a real chore, let me tell you.  And now I am getting pretty sick of eating overcooked biscotti.  It might be a while before I make them again.

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