Sunday Night Dinners…..
August 23, 2010

Sunday evening dinner...supper as my Mom would say...

I adore Sunday evening dinners….or suppers, as my late Mother would have called them. She rarely used the word dinner…in the south, especially on Sunday, dinner was served around 1:00 after church let out….and later that evening, you had supper. But however you refer to it….I adore the meal. It’s a lovely, informal time to have friends or family over. You can respectably and without comment,  start early…5 or six, no later. After all, people have to get up and go to work the next day(and let’s be honest…secretly want to watch Mad Men and the fabulousness of Don Draper when they get home-or after their guests leave). And my daughter is fond of trip-tropping over to hang out a little on Sunday, get some free food, and do her laundry without having to pay her weight in quarters to the machines at her apartment…you know the drill. We of course, adore seeing her, and figure good food and free laundry is a small price for her company.

Tomato risotto....cooking away....

This past Sunday evening, as promised, I made the tomato risotto, complete with roasted tomatoes and garlic, served with some sautéed shrimp on the side and roasted green beans. The risotto wasn’t difficult…or not any more than any risotto is. It does require some attention at the stove, stirring and stirring and stirring as the rice absorbs the wine and then the hot broth….but that’s about it. I don’t really measure the amount I put in…I just keep adding liquid and cooking until the rice is just cooked(not too much!).

The finished result.....dinnertime...

Shrimp sauteing...and I boiled the shells in the broth for flavor...

 One does want a little  protein, and Whole Foods had these lovely wild shrimp, which  I sauteed with some olive oil and spices…simple. Needed something green(besides sprigs of thyme)….roasted green beans filled the bill…you know how I love Roasted Veges of all varities. Loved it all.

Oh, and Saturday night, I made a Vegetable Gratin that I hadn’t prepared in a long time. Only this time I used an OXO Mandoline that my  Mom gave me a couple of years ago. It is definitely a keeper of a gadget to have around…

My OXO mandoline!!

 Here’s the terrible part….it was the first time I ever used it.  It’s shameful, really. Mother always loved buying her “girls”,  things she thought they needed or might want, and I so wish I had used it more while she was alive and told her how much I liked it, but….there it is. Some things can’t be undone. And what a shame from a cooking point of view too…because it created the nicest, most even slices of potato and zucchini I’ve ever seen…several passes and it’s done.

Let the layering begin...don't forget the tomatoes...

Layer the potatoes on the bottom of your oiled pan, drizzle with salt and pepper and olive oil….some spices if you like, then zuchini…drizzle…then sliced tomatoes…drizzle…baked at 350 for 45 minutes or so, uncovered. Simple, but delicious. Bon appetit!

ALL THOSE TOMATOES…what to do, what to do…
August 20, 2010

gorgeous, glorious heirlooms....

I can only imagine what it’s like for those of you who grow more than a couple of tomato plants….you must be knee deep in ‘maters(like my Daddy when I was growing up), and no matter how luscious they are….really, what do you do with them all(besides give me some).  OK, here’s my problem, when I go to the Farmer’s Market, I get greedy. It’s true… I see a sizeable basket full of heirloom tomato “seconds”…in other words, they have a small blemish or bruise of some sort and you can get a bunch for not much money….and I just get all… carried…away.

And seconds are usually tomatoes that need to be used pretty darn soon…if one is bruised, you now officially entering  the racing decay countdown sequence…..5…..4….3….2…..ok, it’s rotten. You catch my drift.

Anyone can roast tomatoes...

So one thing I like to do with tomatoes right off the bat(before the coundown has begun) is roast them. If you’ve never done this, get with the program.  Simple…easy…delicious. My daughter is in love with these…warm from the oven, and placed on a thin slice of  French Bread drizzled with oilive oil….it’s a little bit of heaven. 

Here’s what you do….wash and slice your tomatoes into slices, and put them on oiled piece of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet or baking pan.Drizzle with olive oil and whatever spices you like…basil, oregano, sea salt, pepper…all good. And then put them in the oven at 350 degrees for maybe 45 minutes or so(maybe longer), until they start to carmelize  and shrivel a little…this intensifies their flavor. You can keep them in a jar with more olive oil, or even freeze them until later if you like, and they can be used in countless dishes…soups, pastas, almost anything tastes better if you throw some in, and again on bread…they’re a great appetizer.

Tomato risotto...I'm gonna make it!

And I discovered another recipe that I’m gonna try this weekend that calls for roasted tomatoes….Tomato Risotto.  How good does that sounds? It’s just a basic risotto made with chicken broth and wine, garlic and onion and a little cheese thrown in, but add some roasted tomatoes during the process….and then chop some raw tomatoes, toss with basil and put on the top when you serve it….like the picture….pretty and I’ll bet it’s gonna be fabulous!! Have a great weekend everyone…play nice, don’t throw rocks and come home safe…’cause we miss you!