Thursday, August 16, 2012

Attack of the Cherry Tomatoes

I knew I had gone overboard on the great cherry tomato explosion of this summer when I had a dream of giant red and yellow versions stalking me through the streets of Gotham, spitting laser-precise streams of hot juice studded with sharp seeds at me the other night. You see, for the past ten days I have been staying with my sister in Santa Barbara and enjoying daily morning jaunts out to their garden alongside the house where a massive and wild cherry tomato world seemed to expound by ten square roots of itself daily. Breakfast consisted of morning, sun-kissed globes being popped directly in the mouth. And for four days straight I enjoyed creating special recipes with the beautiful and plump little fruits accompanied by various gifts of squash blossom, corn, cucumber, long beans and zucchini from the Cute Gardener’s garden alongside ingredients scoured from my sister’s cupboards. I love nothing more in life than eating what is local, in season and plentiful from the earth!


1. Pasta Dinner

We roasted a green pepper directly on the flame of the range, cut it up and tossed it over medium heat in a cast iron skillet with a dozen or so halved cherry tomatoes in multiple colors and then added the whole mess to some al dente cooked angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, leftover chicken breast diced into cubes and a sprinkling of freshly grated, parmesan cheese. This was simple and perfect for summer.

2. Clafoutis Brunch

Clafoutis is typically a dessert food from France made with berries or fruits prone to ooze and pop like cherries. I found an adapted recipe for a brunch version at StaceySnacks and tried it out. 

It was good but there were some things I would suggest to others who are trying out this recipe, which will make it better. One, definitely use goat cheese instead of the parmigiano, as the dish needs the fluid wetness more than the sharpness. The cherry tomato acidity will provide enough tang in itself. It is kind of a corn bread-y yet spongy thing so does well with more moist ingredients to counteract the flour dough aspect. Secondly, completely cover the bottom of the pan with cherry tomatoes and not just the random scattering of them called for in the recipe. It’s a beautiful thing to have them pop and run all over the place.

It tasted even better the next day as a leftover, heated up and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

3. Quick Bowl for Lunch

Thrown all together in a bowl with fresh cherry tomatoes and parmigiano-reggiano made it an overall and super low calorie delight.

A few lunches consisted of this easy, ten-minute preparation of veggies cooked directly over a hot griddle brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with pepper and salt. 

I stuffed this beauty with some cottage cheese before frying up as well.

4. Anytime Panini

I also discovered a panini maker at my sister’s house but didn’t get one single photo of any of the dozen varieties of paninis I made there.  This was due to the fact that the minute a grilled and gooey sandwich would get done, there would be a pair of hands to grab it and eat it too quickly. I enjoyed a few different versions of grilled cheeses using cherry tomato halves interspersed between the bread. This made for a delicious sandwich no matter what kind of cheese I used (gruyere, provolone, mixed shredded cheddars, brie or bleu) and as the tomatoes popped, they delivered pockets of surprises in between the already melt in your mouth specialty.

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