23 October 2010

Baked Tomato-Garlic "Sauce"

from Better Homes & Gardens, August 2010 (maybe?)
This is really delicious and super easy.

Enough beautiful similarly-sized tomatoes to cover the bottom of your 9x13 in a single layer
1/4 - 1/2 c. EVOO
7 garlic cloves, peeled, split lengthwise, and that little green shoot part removed
Coarse salt (1 - 2 tsp.) and freshly ground black pepper
Goat cheese or feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer in 9x13 baking dish (make sure it's glass or earthenware, not metal, which is reactive, whatever the heck that means). Stick the garlic halves in between the tomatoes. Pour EVOO on evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until skins split and soften, but tomatoes still retain their shape.

4. Serve hot, warm or at room temp. We smashed ours up and made it into kind of a sauce, just stirring the smashed tomatoes and garlic up with the olive oil that was floating around in the bottom of the dish. Then we tossed the baked "sauce" with some pasta (radiatore, I do believe it was) and feta cheese.

The recipe suggests spooning or mashing the tomatoes over slices of toasted bread and serving with goat cheese. Either way... yum. Roasting the tomatoes gives them this awesome sweetness that even Ken liked. And you know he hates tomatoes usually.

Mexican Chicken Soup

from Cook's Country Feb/March 2006
This makes kind of a lot - it says it serves 6-8 and I think that's really true. It tastes amazing though, so you won't be sorry if you have leftovers.

6 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken - breasts or thighs
1 onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
10 sprigs cilantro
tomato juice (I used a quart of juice that was leftover from straining homemade salsa)
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, plus 1 T. adobo sauce
1 T. vegetable oil
2 c. frozen corn kernels
2 T. lime juice
Toppings: avocado, cilantro, shredded cheddar or jack, sour cream, crunched up tortilla chips

1. Make broth and cook chicken: Bring 4 c. of the chicken broth, chicken, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in large skillet. Cover and reduce heat to low until chicken is cooked through (8-10 minutes). Transfer chicken to a plate.

2. Do the tomato part of broth: In a blender, puree tomatoes, remaining 2 onion quarters and 2 garlic cloves, chipotle and adobo sauce until smooth.

3. Get out your huge soup pot: Heat oil in large pot over high heat until shimmering. Add tomato mixture and 1/8 tsp. salt; cook until darkened in color (8-10 minutes). Strain broth directly into pot with tomato puree (discard solids). Add remaining 2 c. broth, tomato (or salsa) juice, and corn. Simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces and add to soup. Stir in lime juice and adjust S&P to taste. Serve with toppings available in small bowls.

How to Do a Roast

Here is the best way to do roast beef that I've found.

This discovery was made when I tried a recipe from good ol' Betty Crocker, and was wowed by the meat (but not by the carrots and potatoes... so now I leave those out). Side note: I am not usually wowed by meat. I usually could not really care less about meat. I'm like, give me mango salsa over roast beef any day. But we live in the Midwest and we're trying to be all things to all men OK? So we do meat and potatoes on Sunday.

Then I asked my friend at church who is an amazing cook: Um, I did a chuck roast in the crockpot, why did it turn out so good? And she said: Chuck roasts are like made for the crockpot. It is a perfect way to cook chuck roast. No more bottom rounds for us. I seriously never buy them anymore. Chuck is just awesome in the slow cooker! Why did no one tell me this before now?

Anyway, without further ado...

Beef with Rosemary
adapted from Betty Crocker's Slow Cooker Cookbook

3 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh or 1 1/2 tsp. dried chopped/crunched up rosemary leaves
1 tsp. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. finely chopped onion

Put the roast in the crock pot. In a small bowl mix mustard, rosemary, thyme, S&P. Spread over beef. Sprinkle onions over the top.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.