Lament to Summer Tomatoes: A Savory, Silky Tomato Soup & Air Fryer Croutons

“Savory Tomato Soup” is a soup which I made this past summer using canned tomatoes just because I just couldn’t find juicy, fresh ones. I’m making it again this winter — what is better than hot soup on a cold winter night. My summer garden crop of tomatoes flopped; the price of tomatoes in grocery stores was extravagant. I apparently missed the market for those delicious Creole tomatoes which I love so much. To spite the situation, I decided to make tomato soup using canned tomatoes rather than fresh ones. But move over, fresh tomatoes. This soup turned out to be quite delicious and can be made any time of the year, even when tomatoes are not in season. Here’s what I did.

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Instant Pot Magic: Sirloin Steak, Tomato and Cabbage Soup

Blackeye peas and braised cabbage are two foods which are typically eaten on New Year’s Day here in Louisiana. My dear Cajun next door neighbor — who was just a little suspicious — always made sure we had these foods as they represent good luck and wealth for the new year. Most grocery stores have deep cardboard containers of cabbage for sale in late December. I found a few remaining very large heads of cabbage in January. I love cabbage; who can pass up a nine-pound cabbage for 55 cents? But they need to be cooked soon as the Vitamin C in the cabbage decreases over time. And so I made several dishes with this cabbage. My favorite was a savory soup made in my Instant Pot containing very lean top sirloin steak, beef broth, cabbage and diced tomatoes. I just love this combination of ingredients.

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Lovin’ Tomatoes: Creole Tomato Gazpacho

I love vine-ripe summer tomatoes and chilled gazpacho is a good way to use some of these tomatoes. This soup recipe brings out the best flavor of the tomatoes and also the other vegetables in the soup — cucumbers, jalapeno, red peppers, garlic and red onions. Serve with a panini sandwich on a hot summer day for a satisfying lunch. I think that the best gazpacho is one which is bursting in fresh vegetable flavors, but not with any lingering “raw” ingredient taste. This recipe, from Louisiana Cookin’ magazine, manages to accomplish that idea.

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Marinated Cherry Tomatoes & Herb Croutons

If you have a generous supply of cherry tomatoes and like croutons, this salad is for you. It is an adaptation of a dish we ate at a quaint sidewalk cafe while visiting Hamburg, Germany, two years ago in August (well before the Covid-19 virus). Recently, I found a similar recipe on a German food blog, “Mediterraner Brotsaladmit Tomate-Mozzarella,” which roughly translates to “Mediterranean bread salad with tomato mozzarella.” Who else would think of naming a salad, “bread salad”? I am renaming the salad with emphasis on the tomatoes. It is a great way to jazz up cherry tomatoes by adding in flavorful croutons (with Mediterranean-type herbs) made with New Orleans-style French bread. Here is my recipe variation.

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Easy Homemade: “Versatile Tomato Pasta, Pizza & Dipping Sauce”

I fell in love with Detroit deep dish pizzas when I lived in that city many years ago. While researching the history of those pizzas, I ran across a “copycat” recipe for the pizza sauce. I made the sauce with a few variations, and just by chance, used Cento Chef’s Cut Tomatoes. That made all the difference. The sauce is thick and flavorful. I like it so much like that It has become my “go to” tomato sauce for spaghetti and pasta, lasagna  and pizzas. And it makes a great dipping sauce for Focaccia bread. I am planning several posts which include the sauce in the recipes (such as zucchini lasagna and deep dish pizza) and decided to write a post just on the tomato sauce.

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Heirloom Tomatoes with Classic French Vinaigrette

Once again, I’m attempting to grow tomatoes in my backyard garden. I love fresh, ripe tomatoes in the summertime and am not giving up as a gardener. This time I have a few green Heirloom tomatoes on my tomato vines. Hurrah! I’ll add a few more tomatoes from the market for a grand tomato salad because I’m getting tired of waiting for my tomatoes to ripen. I’m serving the tomatoes with my favorite salad dressing, “Classic French Vinaigrette.” This vinaigrette recipe has been my “go to” dressing for years for any type of salad greens or tomatoes. My dressing is “light” in flavor, adds just enough pizzazz to dress up the tomatoes and salad and includes one “secret ingredient.”

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Easy Cook: Pico de Gallo

Let’s make “Pico de Gallo” to go along with the Shrimp Quesadilla recipe which I posted last week. Pico de Gallo is a spicy and pungent salsa which extends the flavors of summer. I love fresh, ripe tomatoes but it is difficult to find flavorful tomatoes when they are out of season. This recipe seems to make the best of tomatoes in the wintertime. Plus the recipe uses lots of cilantro — which is plentiful at this time of year — and  growing in my garden now. Continue reading

Stewed Creole Tomatoes

My favorite vegetable any time of the year is a ripe and juicy tomato. It has to be a home grown and vine ripe tomato; not the grocery store variety which has been picked early and shipped a long distance.  Here’s a savory stewed tomato recipe that I’ve made many times and perfected over the past year. I use both fresh Louisiana Creole tomatoes as well as canned tomatoes and added a few other ingredients for a savory flavor.
Stewed Tomatoes - 1 - IMG_9781_1

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Jazzed-Up Marinated Tomatoes and Cucumbers

What’s my favorite summer salad? Simply tomatoes and cucumbers marinated in red wine or balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I could eat this salad every day. The combination can easily be jazzed up, too, with a few other ingredients. Tomato and Cucumber Salad - 2 - IMG_7276_1

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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Project

This fall I feel like I’m on the television show “Chopped”. I am participating in CSA through my employer. On Monday I get a box of fresh produce from a local farmer to bring home and cook. Get ready, open basket, wait for the buzzer to go off and I’ve got a week to cook the box of food. It’s a fun challenge! And generous helping of fresh vegetables for our family.

Week One CSA - 2 - IMG_6986_1

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