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  1. Friday, February 1

    Easy, Fresh-Tasting, No-Cook Pizza Sauce

    Yesterday I promised you pizza sauce, so today I give you pizza sauce.

    I’ll admit, when I make homemade pizza, I usually just grab a jar of pasta sauce from the pantry. Because I’m lazy like that. But the pizza sauce I made this week was so easy and so good that even my lazy bones could handle it. It’s homemade pizza sauce from here on out!

    America’s Test Kitchen has an episode about homemade pizza, trying to replicate New York-style thin crust at home. Now that I have my food processor, I finally gave the recipe a try. The recipe promised a no-bounce-back dough, no air bubbles and lots of flavor. I ended up getting a sort of bouncy dough, more air bubbles than I’ve ever had in any pizza crust I’ve ever made, and lots of flavor. That’s two strikes…at least it wasn’t an out, but it was definitely only a single! I obviously did something wrong along the way (ATK’s recipes are usually so fool-proof!), but the process was super involved, so I probably won’t try that crust recipe again. I’m sticking with my pizza crust recipe. It’s easier and turns out great every time.

    But not all was lost on this experiment! In the episode, ATK shared a quick and easy pizza sauce recipe that also utilized the food processor (I’m sure you could use a blender if you are food processor-less). People, this sauce is wonderful. It tasted awesome. It was so easy to make. It doesn’t cook until it is actually cooking on the pizza, so the flavor is super fresh. And I loved the texture – a small, uniform chunkiness that is perfect for pizza. I am super excited about this recipe and can see using it with pasta dishes as well!

    Easy, Fresh-Tasting, No-Cook Pizza Sauce
     
    From America’s Test Kitchen, with my notes
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Sauce
    Ingredients
    • - 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (when I took notes watching the episode I swore they said undrained tomatoes, so that is what I've always done. but one commenter says it was drained. I've always liked the texture of the sauce, but when I freeze and defrost it is a tad watery, so I am going to try drained next time...so, take your pick. drained may work better in the end!)
    • - 1 Tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cloves minced garlic (I used my garlic press)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (Jane note: I actually did ½ teaspoon dried basil and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning instead and it was delicioso)
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
    Instructions
    1. Add all ingredients to your food processor then process for 20-30 seconds. Refrigerate ½ hour before using on pizza.

     


  2. Thursday, July 21

    Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber

    Last Friday night I did something I haven’t done in a while…I actually picked up a magazine (in this case Martha Stewart Living) and read it cover to cover. And I’ve decided I should do that more often because I was inspired to make a fabulous dinner on Sunday night. Of course, by the end of preparing all the food my sciatic nerve was literally screaming at me and I hobbled around the rest of the night (yes, I’m officially a hobbling pregnant woman…no more heels for me, boo-hoo!), but our dinner was worth the pain.

    One of Sunday night’s creations was a Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber. There was a recipe for this salad featured in the magazine that involved making a fancy basil oil. I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I simplified things a bit in my preparation. I loved the salad – super easy to prepare and the oh-so-summery flavors all blended so nicely together. I wasn’t entirely sure what the girls would think. They love watermelon, and this savory twist on a favorite fruit seemed a bit risky. But I’ll tell you what…every person in the family happily gobbled down the salad! It was a great success! Will definitely be adding this salad to the rotation, at least during the summer when all of these lovely ingredients are fresh and in season!

    Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber
     
    Adapted from a recipe in the August 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish
    Ingredients
    • Half a watermelon, cubed (I know, so exact…my watermelon was medium in size)
    • 2-3 handfuls of small tomatoes, or 2-3 larger tomatoes sliced into wedges (I used a bunch of baby tomatoes we have growing on the back porch)
    • One cucumber, chopped into bite sized pieces
    • Olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons)
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Fresh Basil, about 5-10 leaves chopped
    • Original recipe calls for 4 oz crumbled goat cheese – I left this out because we were having another cheese-based side dish, but also I just wanted straight up produce in the salad. Commenter Jennifer below mentioned using Ricotta Salata instead of goat cheese and that is what I'm going to use from now on!
    Instructions
    1. Combine the watermelon, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, just enough to cover the fruit and veggies. Sprinkle with the chopped basil, about ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat evenly and serve!


  3. Friday, June 11

    Pork Tenderloin with Heirloom Tomato Salad

    pork tenderloin with heirloom tomato salad web

    Pork Tenderloin with Heirloom Tomato Salad
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Pork
    Serves: 12-18
    Ingredients
    • Marinade:
    • 3 teaspoon coriander seed (I just tossed in some ground coriander)
    • ¾ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted (I just tossed in some ground cumin)
    • Zest and juice of 6 limes
    • 9 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 teaspoons salt
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 shallots, minced
    • 1½ cups chicken stock (which I forgot when I made this – still came out, but I recommend using it!)
    • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoon honey
    • 1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
    • Heirloom Tomato Salad:
    • 9 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (whoah – I didn’t use that many…would taste good, but now that I’m typing this out I realize I TOTALLY didn’t read the recipe carefully when I made it!)
    • 6 cups watercress
    • ¾ cup mint leaves
    • ¾ cup toasted almonds
    Instructions
    1. Cut pork int 1½ – 2 inch thick medallions. Whisk together coriander, cumin, lime zest and juice, olive oil, salt, garlic and shallot. Pour over pork and marinate for 2 hours (no longer).
    2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Preheat a Calphalon Unison Grill pan with Sear Nonstick over medium heat, remove pork from marinad, reserving marinade. Sear pork for 3 minutes per side. When pork is seared, transfer pan to preheated oven for 3 minutes.
    3. Remove pan from the oven and place the pork on a platter. Add marinade, stock, vinegar and honey to pan and bring to a simmer, reducing by ⅓. Whisk in 1½ C olive oil. Mix tomatoes and watercress, mint and almonds. Toss warm dressing over tomato salad and serve with the pork.
    Notes
    If you don’t have a grill pan, feel free to sear in a regular griddle. And if your griddle can’t go in the oven, just transfer to a cookie sheet to bake the meat for 3 minutes. I actually used the regular griddle so that when I reduced my sauce later it would be easy to whisk. You don’t get those grill marks, but it tastes the same.

     


  4. Grilled Crostini with Goat Cheese and ‘wichcraft Tomato Relish

    grilled crostini web

    Grilled Crostini with Goat Cheese and 'wichcraft Tomato Relish
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Appetizer
    Ingredients
    • 1 baguette, sliced int ¼-inch-thick rounds
    • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 jar (8.8 oz) ‘wichcraft Tomato Relish
    • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
    Instructions
    1. Lightly brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil. Preheat a Calphalon Unison Grill pan with Sear Nonstick over medium heat. Working in batches, place the baguette slices in the pan and cook until light golden brown and toasted on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. (If you don’t have a grill pan, you can bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, until nice and crispy.)
    2. Transfer to a serving platter. Spread about 3 teaspoons of goat cheese on each crostini and top with ‘wichcraft Tomato Relish. Sprinkle with basil and serve. Makes about 24 crostini.

     


  5. Thursday, May 20

    Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce

    Today I made a quick homemade tomato sauce. Thought I’d share my “recipe” with you. This isn’t necessarily cheaper or faster than jarred tomato sauce from the store, but it is very yummy and fresh tasting. I especially love using this sauce with homemade pizza. Tonight I’m going to add a bit of cream to the sauce and serve it over tortellini.

    homemade tomato sauce web

    The beauty of this sauce recipe is that you can change it up however you like. If you have canned tomatoes, use them. If you have a bunch of fresh tomatoes, use those instead! If you like onion, use more of it. If you like Italian spice seasoning, throw some of that in, too! There are no rules…just play around with the recipe and make it your own!

    Here is what I did today. Other days it might be a little different, but I always follow this basic plan.

    Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce
     
    Simple and delicious!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Sauce
    Cuisine: Italian
    Ingredients
    • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil (or canola oil if you’re out of olive)
    • 1 shallot OR ~1/2 onion, chopped
    • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced or use your garlic press
    • 2 14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes (I like the petite diced a lot, but you could use regular diced. also, if you have lots and lots of fresh tomatoes, dice those up and use them instead! I would guess you need 4-6 cups)
    • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 – 2 tablespoon sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 7-10 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped (probably 1-2 Tbsp or so…if you like basil, add more!)
    • If you don’t have fresh basil, feel free to use dried spices – but I would add them in before the simmering step instead of after. Oregano, Parsley and Basil are all great dried spices to add.
    Instructions
    1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots/onions. Cook until soft, a few minutes. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to the point where the sauce still simmers. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. (While it’s simmering, you can smash the sauce up a bit with a ricer or pastry blender, to break up some of the tomatoes…although I do like my sauce chunky, so I just do this a little bit. Again, just figure out how you like it best and go with it!) Add fresh basil and mangia!

    garlic press web

    A note on garlic: I love my garlic press. I’ve heard from a few chef-types that they don’t like garlic presses because it damages the oils or something. I don’t notice a difference and the press is just so quick, so I pretend I’ve never heard anything negative about the technique. 😉 Also, I don’t put the garlic in with the onions at the beginning of cooking because it can overcook the garlic…I’ve ended up with deep fried garlic before, not exactly the flavor I’m going for in sauce.


  6. Tuesday, January 5

    Tuscan Tomato Soup

    My aunt recently sent an email to my extended family inviting everyone over for “amazing tomato soup you don’t want to miss,” or something to that effect. Well, I didn’t want to miss the soup, but I had no choice since I live nowhere near any family! I knew I had to eat this soup one way or another. Thankfully she shared the recipe, saving me a few hundred dollars in airfare.

    tuscan tomato soup web

    This Tuscan Tomato Soup is very yummy.  And easy to make! Quick disclaimer before you start thanking me for sharing a healthy recipe to complement your New Years diet resolutions. Um, yeah, there’s cream in it. But cream has protein and calcium, right? Are you with me, health gurus?

    Tuscan Tomato Soup
     
    Prepared by Chef Kent Andersen from Chef’s Table in Orem, UT- modified by Jane Maynard (that’s me!)
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup
    Ingredients
    • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 1 Onion, Small dice
    • 3 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes (original recipe: 5 Cups Diced and Seeded Tomatoes)
    • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
    • 1.5 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
    • 1 Cup Basil Pesto (Auntie Barb likes Target’s pesto better than Costco’s; I used Trader Joe’s, which was 1 oz short of a cup but still tasted great; you could always make it, I suppose)
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste
    Instructions
    1. Heat oil in a medium large soup pot. Add onions and cook over moderately low heat until completely translucent. Add tomatoes and allow to warm to a simmer. Add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to allow for interchange of flavors.
    2. Add whipping cream. Add pesto.
    3. Blend to desired consistency in a food processor or blender. (Barbara reserves a little bit of the soup un-blended so there are some chunks.) Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

     


  7. Wednesday, January 31

    Margherita Pizza

    Margherita Pizza
     
    Use Trader Joe’s pizza crust or, if you’re in the mood, make your own! (Click here for crust recipe.)
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Pizza
    Cuisine: Italian
    Notes
    I do my margherita pizzas two ways:

    #1: Olive oil spread on crust, salt and papper, a bunch of fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella – cook pizza, then toss on fresh chopped basil.

    #2: Tomato sauce, a few fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella – cook pizza, then toss on fresh chopped basil.