balsamic tomato salsa

balsamic tomato salsa

Stewed tomatoes.  I was cleaning out my pantry, and came across a can that I must have mistakenly bought.  I just stared at it.  Trying not to be wasteful, I stood there thinking of how I could use it but something in my genetic make up won’t allow it.  My mother, however, (insert the saying “bless her heart” HERE), seemed to think that they went with every skillet dinner we had growing up.  I just couldn’t get past the weirdly shaped, skinless, lifeless chunks.  They looked like someone beat the life out of them and then canned them up because no one else wanted them.  I love tomatoes any other way – sliced, diced, raw, sauced – oh wait, that’s me!  So anyway, they often got picked around at dinner.  Now, as an adult, I am laughing at myself because I still can’t open a can of stewed tomatoes.  I just can’t.  But who needs them?  Like I said, there are so many ways to eat tomatoes.  This recipe can go a few ways.  It can be a jalapeño type salsa made with lime juice or red wine vinegar, or turn it into a salad with feta and orzo.  But the number one tip is to us the best ingredients you can since everything is fresh.  I also  prefer to use grape tomatoes since they hold their shape better when mixing everything together, but use diced if you prefer.  This one was made to go with a swordfish dinner we were having.  It was so good, that I had to break it out again from the fridge a few days later, and have some as an appetizer.  Love you mom!

swordfish and tomato salsa

mixed salsa

balsamic tomato salsa

1/2  pint of organic red grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2  pint of organic golden grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2  pint of kalamata olives, sliced (or any combination of olives)
1/2  English cucumber, peeled and diced
6  scallions, sliced
2  Fresno chilis, sliced
10  basil leaves, julienned
3  TB Aged balsamic vinegar (not your run of the mill balsamic vinegar)
1  TB extra virgin olive oil
pinch crushed red pepper
kosher salt and ground black pepper

yellow grape tomatoes

diced cucumber

fresno chilis


get started on the salsa:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Add the pinch of crushed red pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix gently.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

basil leaves



tomato coulis


I had made a braised artichoke appetizer a few weeks back, and it called for it to be drizzled with a tomato coulis.  I wasn’t sure entirely what a coulis was, but decided to give it a try.  I loved the coulis better than the artichokes!  I would use this on almost anything – from fish, to crostini, to kabobs.  I might be telling you something you already know, but this was my coulis moment.  Now, as you can see, I made this in the winter, but I made sure that I bought the most flavorful tomatoes I could find.  I can’t wait to make this with heirloom varieties in the summer with all the different color tomatoes…yum.
I decided to tweak the recipe from Cooking Light, because I wanted a smoother sauce than what was produced by my food processor.   If I had used a blender like the recipe called for, I wonder if tweaking would not have been necessary.  Drizzle away…

quartered tomatoescoulis ingredients

tomato coulis (adapted Food & Wine August 2009)

4  medium fresh tomatoes
4  oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 garlic clove, minced
3  TB extra virgin olive oil
5 basil leaves
pinch of crushed red pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

strained coulistomato coulis

get started on coulis:

In a food processor, puree the fresh tomatoes with the drained sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil and crushed red pepper.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Strain mixture over a bowl, pressing solids to release all liquid.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

note:  as said earlier, you can opt to do this in a blender and not strain the mixture for a slightly thicker texture.

squash and ricotta galette

squash galette

I had this recipe on my counter to try for two weeks.  I was dying to make it for some reason, and today was the day dammit.  It was miserable outside, so getting the stove or the oven going is always a good remedy.  I don’t know if I was drawn to recipe’s simplicity, or the anticipation to devour it because of its resemblance to pizza.  Whichever it was, it doesn’t matter.  This dish is perfection.  Period.  Next time I make this, I think I will pair it with a tomato coulis.  Ok, so that sounds fancy and I’m not fancy.   I actually had made the coulis a few weeks ago for the first time, as part of an artichoke appetizer, and I couldn’t get enough of it.  I think because of the obvious ingredient marriage (tomatoes, basil, garlic), it would send this dish over the top.  Even the kids walked in from school today and wanted to know what smelled so good.  They thought I had made cookies, which makes no sense, but hey – ricotta zucchini cookies could be the next big thing…


squash and ricotta galette (adapted from Cooking Light July 2012)

1 2/3  cups all-purpose flour
1/2  tsp. salt
1/2  tsp. baking powder
1/3  cup plus 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4  cup water
1  medium zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1  large yellow squash, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick rounds
2  garlic cloves, minced
pinch crushed red pepper
3/4  cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2  cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2  tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1/2  tsp. lemon rind, grated
1  tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4  tsp. fresh ground pepper
1  large egg, lightly beaten
1/4  tsp. kosher salt
1  large egg white
1/4  cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

olive oil

get started on dough:

Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor.  Pulse two times to combine.  Combine 1/3 cup oil and 1/4 cup water in a small measuring cup.  With processor on, slowly add the oil and water mixture through the food chute.  Process until dough is crumbly but holds together.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead one minute and add additional flour if necessary in order to prevent the dough from sticking.  Gently press dough into a 5 inch disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for 30 minutes.

sliced squash

get started on the filling:

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, zucchini, squash,garlic and crushed red pepper in a large bowl.  Stir gently to coat completely.  Combine ricotta and next 7 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring to combine.

assembled galettegalette


Preheat oven to 400.  Unwrap dough, and roll into a 14 inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Place dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spread ricotta mixture over dough, leaving a 2 inch border.  Arrange zucchini and yellow squash alternately, slightly overlapping, in a circular pattern.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Fold edges of dough toward center pressing gently to seal (dough will only partially cover squash).  In a small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon of water and egg white.  Brush dough edges with egg white mixture.  Bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes and sprinkle with basil.  Cool an additional 15 minutes.  Cut into 6 wedges.

galette with basilslice

note:  serves six