Roasted tomatoes and blue cheese crostini

 

This is an easy crostini or Bruschetta, I’m using the terms loosely of course, this is a great dish for the summer if you have lots of cherry tomatoes in your garden. You can also buy a pint at the store to make this dish.  What is great about this recipe is that you can roast the tomatoes a day ahead, and assemble the dish up to one hour prior to guests arriving.  To read the original post where this recipe came from click here.

 

Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.

1 pint of tomatoes cut in half

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

5 tablespoons of chopped chives

4 oz of blue cheese

1 loaf of french bread cut into 1/2 inch slices

Place the french bread slices on a sheet pan and bake them for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is toasted but still soft in the center.  Remove and set aside.

Toss all the ingredients on a sheet pan except the blue cheese, french bread and chives.  Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the tomatoes are turning brown and are caramelized.  Remove the tomatoes from the oven and when they have cooled add the blue cheese and toss together. Serve on the French bread and season with kosher salt and pepper to your taste, then sprinkle some green chives.

What you can do with summer tomatoes?

 

Each spring I head out to my fields at my farm and I plant lots of things I enjoy growing like tomatoes.  Heirloom varieties to hybrid tomatoes.  The fact is that when it is winter, it’s pretty groovy to go into the pantry and pull out a tomato bisque or roasted tomatoes that I have canned earlier that year, that I can use in my dishes.  This past week I was at our farm and I had to harvest lots of the tomatoes that were almost falling off their vines because they were ripe.

Marty decided that he would make something out of the small cherry tomatoes that he collected. I was glad because even though I am a chef, it was nice to know that he was going to put together a great appetizer since he is a great cook.

I enjoy Mart’s creations since they are simple and true to is style of cooking.  He put all the tomatoes onto a sheet pan drizzled them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and sugar and roasted them for about 40 minutes.  Then after they cooled he added some blue cheese and served it with some toasted french bread.  I think  it was perfection for a cool summer night at our farm and it helped me use the almost 4 bushels of tomatoes I had in my kitchen.  Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

For the recipe click here.

 

 

 

 

Harvesting summer corn

 

During the summer at my farm, I get excited when August and September arrive because I have the opportunity to harvest the corn I planted in the spring.  There is nothing like going out into your back yard or garden and pulling a corn off its stalk that is still warm from the day’s sun and having it for dinner.  It’s a beautiful experience that I look forward to each year.

 

For a simple grilled corn click here.

Kittens from our farm find a home

 

Last Thanksgiving I was at my farm and my sister, mom and dad came to spend the holiday with us.

At the farm during the fall, shrew mice like to come into the house and create havoc.  Being a chef, I am not happy when mice come into my house and decide to eat through plastic containers or chew through wires.  The shrews are relatively harmless but are a nuisance.  I have thought a lot about having some cats live in the pole barn at our farm.  The cats would send out a clear message to the shrew mice that they are not welcome in our farm house.

On the Tuesday before thanksgiving, my sister and I went to the corner store to get flour, yeast and eggs.  While I was paying for my items, my sister pointed out that there was a sign that said, “free kittens.”

She was trying to convince me to get the kittens now because she knew how infrequent it was to get free kittens. She also mentioned that I already had all the stuff for them to live in the pole barn including the automatic feeder.

I told her that I just couldn’t take the kittens because I would have to take care of them for months in order for them to  get their shots and get “fixed”.

She continued making several good points about how good they would be at preventing the shrews from getting into the house.  After several quick conversations,  she convinced me to get the kittens.

I called the number on the advertisement and went and picked them up.  They were so tiny and being an animal lover I fell in love with them immediately.  During the long process of waiting for them to be old enough to get their shots, my dogs Titi and Janie also fell in love with them.  Janie and Titi had their favorite kitty that they would play with when I let them out of their room in the evening.  They would take baths once a week and at first they did not like it but they endured the baths.

After several months, they had their shots and I already had spade and neutered them.  One weekend I was at the local feed store and I found a device that you plug into an outlet and it releases a high frequency sound that shrews do not like.  I bought the device and started the process of finding  the kittens new homes.

After many pictures sent via Facebook and countless emails with pictures attached we managed to find all of the kittens homes.  One went to my niece in Indiana, one to my chiropractor’s assistant and my sister in law’s neighbor took one as well.  What I learned from this is that the next time I am with my sister and I see a sign for free animals of any type, I will make sure not to let her convince me to bring a horse, cow, giraffe or any other animal that is being given away for free.

 

Figueira Rubaiyat in San Saulo Brazil

 

This past year I went to San Paulo and enjoyed a dinner at Figueria Rubaiyat.  The restaurant loosely translated,”Fig Tree” has a 125-year-old tree growing in the center of the restaurant with limbs reaching throughout the restaurant and stretching up towards the glass ceiling.

The one thing to remember is that you need to make reservations and remember that in San Paulo, it takes a long time to get anywhere because of the traffic, so you need to leave with plenty of time.

The specialty of Figueria Rubaiyat is beef which comes from the owners private cattle ranch.  The chefs weave together both Italian, Brazilian, Argentinian and Spanish influences in their food and in their techniques to create what will arrive your table. Housing several kitchens and many cooks, they cook their meats over wood fired ovens and grills.  A favorite of Brazilians is a dish called Picanha- a slow roasted pork belly which is on the menu almost daily and the desserts and salads will not disappoint.  They also have wi-fi which you can use to make phone calls for free to anywhere.

 

 

Figueira Rubaiyat

Rua Haddock Lobo 1738, Sao Paulo, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Easy tips to cook your salmon perfecly every time

 

Salmon is a difficult fish to cook if you don’t know a couple of tricks.  I remember as a young cook reading recipes for salmon and the recipe never really came out the way it was intended.   I want to offer  you my tips that I have learned. When I get home from work and I am cooking salmon, I get my salmon ( skin on or off), I add a little soy sauce, olive oil, and oregano.  I let is sit in the refrigerator for a half hour or more.  When I am ready to eat, I pull it out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes then I grill in on a non-stick pan.

Here are my tips:

1.  Add  soy sauce to your salmon, it adds amino acids and almost brines the salmon giving it a little moisture and making it forgiving if you over cook it a little bit.

2.  The oregano or any other dried herb lends a little flavor to the salmon.

3. The olive oil helps distribute the flavors that are in the soy sauce and oregano through the fish.

4.  Start with a non-stick pan so that you don’t have a problem with the fish sticking to your pan.

5.  If you like your salmon medium rare pull it out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes then begin cooking.

6.  If you like your salmon well done, let it sit at room temperature for 25-30 minutes prior to cooking.

7.  This is one of the important things I learned about cooking salmon.  If you cook your salmon and you see white film coming out of the salmon, you have over cooked it.  This accounts for the “fishy” smell that people don’t like when they cook salmon.  The white film is the great oil that makes the salmon moist and silky.

 

For the quick and easy salmon recipe click here.