Monthly Archives: July 2013

Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARoasted Heirloom Tomatoes

My little garden is a well planned garden.  It’s a lot of work but it’s completely worth it.  In comparison to other people’s gardens, my garden is small, efficient and in my opinion, for its size, it kicks some serious butt.  By the time spring rolls around, I know exactly what is getting planted and where.  What’s even worse is that I am extremely picky about the tomato plants that I grow every year.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Bruce.  I have limited space so I have to choose my plants wisely.  I make a list and I stick to it.  When it comes to tomatoes, I like a variety of shapes, colors and flavors.  This year I chose Green Zebra, Early Girl, Pineapple, Sun Gold, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Sweet 100, Lemon Boy, Japanese Black Trifele, Mortgage Lifter, Caspian Pink and Moskovich.  That’s my list and I’m sticking to it.  Until today…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATomato Plant

I prefer to do my gardening early in the cool hours in the morning.  I hand water my plants everyday and inspect every one for pests or other possible plant problems.  Everything that I grow is organic and free from pesticides or sprays.  Sometimes, the veggies that I grow are not as pretty as store bought but I don’t care.  Pretty is not everything.  What’s important is that what I grow in my garden is safe for my family to eat.

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My tomatoes are ripening and I just realized that have an alien specie in my garden.  The tomato that you see is not what I intended to plant.  This little unripe tomato completely threw my well planned orderly universe on it’s side.  This tomato was supposed to be a Green Zebra.  Green Zebras are my son’s favorite.  That is why I planted two plants.  This is no Green Zebra and frankly, I was a bit miffed.  Either someone switched tags at the nursery where I bought it or the seeds were switched at birth.    Fortunately I have a backup.  As for the alien specie, it took me about an hour of internet time to figure this one out.  This tomato is called Stupice.  Yes, Stupice.  Go figure.

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One of my favorite ways to prepare tomatoes from my garden is to oven roast them.  It’s easy to do, they taste freakingly amazing and once they are roasted, they are so versatile.  Just toss them in your favorite pasta dish or blend them up for a delicious sauce.  They also taste great on pizza, in soup or even in scrambled eggs.  The possibilities are endless!

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Just toss the tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper.

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And roast them…  Roasted tomatoes are seriously delicious.  As for the Stupice tomatoes,  I don’t know why I was having such an issue… Stupice have a wonderful sweet and tart tomato flavor.  It’s highly likely that Stupice will find a place in our little garden next year and possibly in the many years to come.

Ingredients:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut tomatoes in half or into large chunks and remove the tops.  If the tomatoes are small, then there’s no need to slice them. Gently squeeze out some of the seeds.  Toss lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper.  Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet (for easy cleanup).  Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the size or variety of tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes start to shrivel and get a bit of color or until your liking.  Remove from oven, let cool and toss in the refrigerator.  Use within a few days.  Can be frozen for later use.  Note: if you don’t like the skins on the tomatoes, just pull the skins off after cooking.  They pop off pretty easily.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Grilled Grapefruit Chicken

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Grilled Grapefruit Chicken

I finally had another well earned day off and let me tell you, it was great!  It was so amazing to spend a leisurely day at home and in my garden doing absolutely nothing.  The house was quiet most of the day until the unthinkable occurred.  While assembling some fresh fruit smoothies for Bruce and I the other morning is when it happened…  Neither Bruce or I saw it coming.    Everything appeared normal and all looked fine as I dropped in some gorgeous bright strawberries, blueberries and bright orange mango chunks into one of my most cherished kitchen appliances.  As I secured the lid, the base of my blender appeared to be tightly fastened to the glass pitcher before I pushed the start button.  Within a matter of seconds, I shredded the motorized gears and destroyed the base unit, rendering my blender completely useless.

What completely “frosted my cookies” about the incident was that I received that blender as a gift from my mother many years ago.  I loved that blender.  It was a beautiful bright red KitchenAid and it was in perfect running condition before I destroyed it… And the smoothie ingredients?  Not salvageable either.  All went straight into the garbage can.

Well.  I have to tell you.  There is a bright side to the story.  I have a new blender.  My husband Bruce felt pity for me and within a few hours he brought me down to Macy’s to pick out a replacement to help dry my tears.  Before we left our home, I did my homework, and read the blender reviews on the internet prior to purchasing the new blender. First of all, I avoided purchasing a unit with a similar design.  I wanted something with a one piece construction rather than three.  I wanted a quality blender that was sturdy, with high wattage and really easy to clean.  Surprisingly, Bruce did not even bat an eye at the price.  We simply walked into the store, I pointed at what I wanted, he lifted the box off the shelf and pulled out his credit card from his wallet.  What a sweet man! Or rather, I should say, a very sweet intelligent man.   He really likes his smoothies.

While all the fuss was going on, I had placed some chicken thighs and legs in a tangy grapefruit marinade in the refrigerator for dinner later that day.  The marinade is a wonderful combination of flavors with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, lime juice, garlic, Sazon Goya seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.  I marinated the chicken for a few hours before tossing on the grill.  My grilled grapefruit chicken is easy to make and has a wonderful Mexican inspired flavor.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Grapefruit Chicken on the grill…

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 pounds chicken thighs and legs
  • 2 grapefruit (juiced)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used more)
  • 2 packets Sazon Goya seasoning (cilantro and anchiote blend)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the grapefruit juice, olive oil, lime juice, sugar, garlic paste, cayenne pepper, Sazon Goya seasoning, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken pieces, cover with plastic wrap and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  Turn chicken at least once.  Heat up your grill and place chicken on medium high heat.  Throw away the marinade.  Cook until juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from grill, place on serving platter, garnish with cilantro and serve.  Makes about 4 servings.

Blueberry Bread

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlueberry Bread

Yesterday morning while Bruce was opening the mail he noticed that our natural gas bill was unusually low as compared to years past.  He was concerned, shouted out to me and asked me what I thought of it.  Well, the answer was easy.  Our kitchen stove uses natural gas and I have hardly cooked anything for the family over the course of the past month or two.  If it was not for fast food, roast Costco chicken, or frozen dinners the members of my family would have starved to death…

I’ve been working long hours lately and I’ve rarely spent time in my kitchen.  My refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave have been the only appliances that have been put to use.  My stove, ovens and stand mixer have been idle and collecting dust.  My camera has remained in the closet and has not been touched.  By the time I get home in the evenings all I want to do is sit on my couch in complete peace and quiet.  I stopped reading my magazines, books and favorite food blogs.  I’ve hardly checked Facebook and ignored my personal emails.  Feral Kitchen has been mothballed and a good home cooked meal has been nonexistent in our home.  On the bright side, I know that these long hours are temporary and life will be back to normal before I know it.  I look forward to getting back into the kitchen.  Cooking makes me happy.

Well, all things considered, today is a brand new day.  Today is different.  Today, I have a day off!

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This morning while out shopping for groceries for the week, I spied two pounds of fresh picked blueberries.  They were just gorgeous!  Bright blue, fat and juicy.  Without hesitation, they went straight into my shopping basket.  I knew what I wanted to do with them.  I wanted to make some blueberry bread for breakfast and maybe even share some with coworkers during the busy work week.  The rest will be packed in my lunch and the others will be made into a tangy blueberry ginger vinaigrette.  If the vinaigrette turns out the way I want it to taste, I will be sure to share the recipe with you sometime soon.

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I love blueberries!  I love the flavor and color.  What’s funny about blueberries is that I refused to eat them as a child.  How weird is that?  I find it so interesting how my palate has changed as I’ve aged.  I’m curious, has that happened to you too?

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My blueberry bread is packed with fresh plump blueberries and is not too sweet.  A slice or two is great with a cup of coffee or tea.  Any leftover loaves are perfect for sharing with friends and family or as a hostess gift.  Makes 3 delicious loaves.  It’s good to be back.  See you again soon!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, canola oil, and lemon extract.  Add blueberries to the wet ingredients.  Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix until moist and lumpy.  Don’t over mix.  Add mixture to 3 greased 4 x 8 loaf pans.  Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks before slicing.  Makes 3 fabulous loaves!