Friday, August 25, 2006

Lycopene is Eating My Brain

Tomatoes abound, and I am gaga for the produce. I will spare you the gory details, but I thought I would pass along a few things that have made us happy in the world of food in recent weeks.

1. Supposedly, freezing fresh corn is easy. I would not know because it was my husband who got all domestic and tried this one. If you're interested in the instructions, I'm sure you would not have to twist his arm to get him to post a "How-To" (especially since he even took pictures of the entire process). He also made tomato sauce to freeze but I've yet to taste it, so I'll withold my endorsement until then.

2. If you're having pasta without a sauce, like we've been doing a lot lately, boiling the pasta in at least equal parts water and broth (we like vegetable), or even more broth than water, along with a couple of smashed cloves of garlic really adds some punch to the pasta. You can freeze the broth and use it in soup or whatever later if you have some left. Our preferred topping for the kicked up pasta has been sauteed grape tomatoes, onion, green pepper, broccoli, hot pepper flakes, and garlic along with some paremesan cheese.

3. I'll not post a salsa recipe because I imagine everyone likes different stuff in theirs but making the salsa in the food processor is way faster than the way I used to make it. You hardly even have to cut the stuff up. Throw in the ingredients that you want, minus the tomoatoes (green pepper, onion, cilantro, etc.). Puree all of that. Then throw in the quartered tomatoes and just pulse it a few times. Then add whatever dressing you're going to put in (vinegar, oil, salt, etc), pulse a bit more. Then stir in the whole ingredients (beans, corn, etc.). Voila! Actually, the food processor is a way cooler kitchen gadget than I ever would've expected. I got one to make baby food, but I've used it for about a 1,384 other things since then.

4. If I have ever had luck with anything in the garden, it has to be hot peppers. Even I can't kill those things. And while they're great to freeze whole to cook with later, we have also really loved this recipe for pickled hot peppers. Pat puts them on a salami and cheese sandwich for BREAKFAST. Also good on a cheese and tomato sandwich.

5. Ever had a Taco Ring? I first knew of it as a Pampered Chef recipe, and its something my mom makes that Pat loves. But I'm not much of one to wrap ground beef up inside of bread for dinner, but, at Pat's request, I did do some experimentation with a vegetarian taco ring. What we ended up with will be a new regular to the menu. Instead of meat, we added a mixture of chopped tomatoes (or a can of diced tomatoes), black beans, green pepper, a hot pepper (or get a can of diced tomatoes with hot pepper already in it), onion, and garlic that you cook in the skillet then fill the crescent rolls with. Its actually a mixture we've been using in tacos and taco salads for years, but it lended itself well to the "Taco Ring" as well.

That's what we've got from our kitchen to yours. My husband will be so proud. This is almost like posting a "How-To"!

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