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Posts Tagged ‘tomato’


During the warm months it’s difficult to oven-roast anything and everything or plop a dutch oven on the stove for a heart-warming stew. It’s just too damn hot, right?! But what if you need something comforting? Like comfort food without the house-warming properties. It’s practically summer. This is no time to be warming the house via oven or stove. Well…unless you’re baking something…like cookies!

Ok, back to comfort food.

Have you heard of “June Gloom?” Well, it’s a strange phenomenon Southern California experiences only in June. Gloomy mornings, a thick marine layer in the afternoon and maybe 2 to 3 hours of sunshine. This gloom evoked in me a desire for something comforting, but not something that would monopolize my oven for a lengthy period. I wasn’t in the mood to warm my house any more than it had to be. But low and behold I found a recipe for ragout! A ragout in less than one hour. I’m a fan!

I loosely adapted it from Shape Magazine. Rather than pairing the ragout with polenta, I paired it with pearled barley for the additional fiber and reduced the amount of olive oil used. Moreover, I decided to add more flavor with red wine, in place of vegetable broth. Let me tell you, the red wine addition? Bonus! Tasty!

Nutritional perks –

    Tomato – Contains an antioxidant called Lycopene, which is known to help flush out free radicals from the body and aid in the fight against cancer cell formation.
    Red wine – The antioxidant in red wine called Resveratrol, is known to reduce the risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis, estrogen depletion and cardiovascular disease.
    Pearl barley – A heart-smart choice! Full of dietary fiber, contains Vitamin B3 and B1 as well as iron, magnesium and zinc. It’s pretty much a nutritional super hero.

Antioxidant Packed Ragout with Pearl Barley
Inspired from this recipe

Print Recipe

– 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
– 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
– 1 shallot, thinly sliced
– 1 tsp tomato paste
– 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced. Any type of mushroom can work in the dish.
– 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
– 1/2 cup red wine
– 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
– Sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook pearl barley according to package. You may want to use vegetable broth rather than water. The choice is yours. I used water in my barley preparation for this recipe. When barley is finished cooking, season it with the dried rosemary and sea salt and pepper to taste.

In a pot or skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and shallot. Cook for about two minutes. Add the tomato paste and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the red wine, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the grape tomatoes and cook until sauce thickens. This took about 5 to 10 minutes for me. Remove from heat.

Combine the pearl barley and tomato and mushroom ragout and enjoy it’s comforting and healthy properties!

Guess what?! You’ve got comfort food without your house feeling 15 degrees hotter.

The original recipe suggests topping the dish with shaved parmesan, but I completely forgot to add on mine. Woopps!

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Mama Mia! Va Bene! Salute! Ti Amo!

caprese loaf

I don’t speak Italian, but for some reason, when I made this loaf and tasted it the Italian in me sprouted. If you know me, you know that I don’t have an ounce of Italian in my lineage, but this loaf makes me feel like a resident of Rome. Italian speaking and all! Oh mama mia.

Not only does this loaf beam with the fresh flavors of Roma, Italy, it’s also not something to feel guilty about eating. You heard right! I used whole wheat flour, part-skim mozzarella, fresh tomato and basil, skim milk and extra virgin olive oil. I added white mushroom for flavor and texture; glad I did because it’s adds a layer of flavor that rounds out the whole loaf. Mmmm!

Nutritional perks –

    Tomato – good source of Vitamin E and B6, magnesium and copper. a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, C and K.
    Fresh basil – good source of protein, Vitamin E and riboflavin. a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, C, K, and B6, folate, calcium and iron. Damn! Basil, you rule!
    Mozzarella – good source of protein and Vitamin B12. a very good source of calcium.
    White mushroom – good source of dietary fiber, protein, Vitamin C and iron. a very good source of Vitamin D and B6, and riboflavin.

There aren’t many savory quick breads out there. We’re used to seeing quick breads like banana-nut bread, pumpkin bread, apple spice bread and others. So, when I stumbled upon a recipe for a roasted vegetable cake by Chef Wanabe, I took the method and added the flavors I like and created a quick bread. Sliceable, shareable, aromatic and enjoyable!

You can take this recipe and add your favorite roasted vegetables to make it your own. Guaranteed, you’ll make something delish!

Italian Caprese Loaf
– 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
– 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
– 3 1/2 slices of part-skim low moisture mozzarella cheese
– 1 1/2 Tbls fresh basil, chopped
– 3 eggs
– 6 Tbls skim milk
– 4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
– 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
– 1 Tbls shredded parmesan cheese
– 1 Tbls baking soda
– Sea salt and pepper to taste

Making the oven roasted tomatoes and mushrooms for the loaf
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the tomatoes and mushroom on a baking sheet and toss in a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

cherry tomatoes cut in half, ready for roasting!

Making the loaf
Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and olive oil and beat combine.

Add the roasted mushrooms (save a few for garnish), flour, Parmesan cheese, baking soda and salt and pepper. Fold in the chopped basil.

fresh chopped basil

Pour half the batter into the loaf pan. Layer the mozzarella slices onto the batter. Add a layer of the roasted tomato (save a few for garnish) on top of the mozzarella slices. This is going to add a decadent layer of melty cheese when the loaf is finished being baked. You will enjoy, I promise!

sliced mozzarella


middle layer of mozzarella & roasted tomatoes

Add the last half of the batter on top of the mozzarella and roasted tomato layer. Top the loaf with the remaining roasted tomatoes and mushrooms.

Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the loaf on a wire rack. When you can touch the pan without oven-mits, remove the loaf from the pan.

Slice and savor!

want seconds?

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