If you know us (and we think you do by now!), you know that August is all about tomatoes for us. There is just no better time of year than mid-August to enjoy a local tomato fresh off the vine. Unfortunately, winter tomatoes that have traveled across continents to get to us in Chicago just don't compare. We have a fabulously creative new tomato recipe for you this summer and thought a look back at tomato recipes from summers past would be fun and delicious! Take your pick of any of these three, or all, you just can't go wrong.
Roasted Tomato Cobbler
PREP TIME: 55 minutes (includes roasting time)
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes (includes roasting and baking time)
5 large tomatoes, any variety will work
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tbsp reduced balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup semolina flour*
1/4 cup buckwheat flour*
1/4 cup chickpea flour *
*Note that 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour will work to substitute if you don't have a variety of flours on hand
2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pine nuts (or nut of your choice)
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp warm water)
3 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled + 1 tsp to butter the dish
1/2 cup plain kefir
To make the roasted tomatoes, begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking pan with a non-stick silicon mat or a piece of parchment paper. Wash and slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and place in a single layer on the prepared pan. Drizzle with olive oil, reduced balsamic, and sprinkle of salt and pepper then place in the oven to roast for 45-50 minutes.
While the tomatoes are roasting, begin the cobbler dough. Place all flours in a large mixing bowl then add cane sugar, chopped herbs, baking powder, sea salt, and chopped pine nuts and stir to combine. In a separate bowl whisk together ground flax seed and water and allow to sit until it becomes gelatinous, ~3-5 minutes. Add melted butter and plain kefir to the flax egg and stir mixture well.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until a dough is formed, but avoid over stirring. Place dough in the fridge to chill while the tomatoes continue to roast.
Once the tomatoes are fully roasted, remove from the oven and spoon into a buttered 9"x9" pan. Remove cobbler dough from the fridge. Use a tablespoon to portion and drop dollops of dough over the tomatoes one at a time until you have covered the entire top of the tomatoes. Keep in mind that there can be tiny holes between the dollops of dough so that the tomato juice will peep through and bubble up while baking. Bake in a 350 degrees preheated oven for 25 minutes with the last 2 minutes under the broiler or until golden brown.
Remove cobbler from the oven and allow to sit out at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Divide cobbler into 6 servings. Can be served on top of a pro-biotic containing cheese (such as Lifeway Farmers Cheese as we did), cottage cheese, sliced fresh mozzarella, cooked beans of choice, or enjoyed on its own. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat cobbler in a 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes, in the microwave for a minute, or just eat cold right out of the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Stacked Tomato Salad
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes
1 large Black Krim tomato (or any heirloom)
1 large Beefsteak tomato (or any large, red variety)
2 medium-large Better Boy tomatoes (or any medium, red variety)
1/2 cup baby arugula
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
1/2 pint yellow cherry tomatoes (~5 ping-pong sized tomatoes, can be any variety)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp stone ground mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice Better Boy tomatoes into half inch thick slices and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for ~25 minutes or until candied. Remove tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool.
Turn oven to broil and place cherry tomatoes on a baking pan under the broiler for 10-12 minutes or until well charred with a generous amount of blacked skin. Note that while broiling the cherry tomatoes they will begin to pop open - this is expected given the high heat. Removed charred cherry tomatoes from the oven and place tomatoes and their juices in a blender or food processor along with the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, basil, salt and pepper to make the vinaigrette. Blend ingredients on high until a smooth consistency is formed and set aside.
To assemble the salad, slice the Black Krim and Beefsteak tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Layer 1 slice of Beefsteak tomato, 2 slices of roasted Better Boy, and 1 slice of Black Krim tomato on top of each other. Place baby arugula in between each tomato layer. Repeat with the remaining tomato slices and arugula. This should make 3-4 stacks about 3-4 layers thick. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle charred tomato vinaigrette over the top of each stack. Serve as is or enjoy with thick sliced bread. We chose a seeded fennel anise bread from our local farmers market. Extra dressing can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for ~1 week.
August Harvest Gazpacho
PREP TIME: 10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 15 mins
4 cups diced tomatoes (any variety)
1 large bell pepper (we used green)
1/4 sweet onion
1 large or 2 small cucumbers
2 cloves garlic
1 inch jalapeño pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 tsp cracked black pepper
Optional garnish: fresh basil
Rough chop onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, and jalapeño pepper. Start by adding the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to a food processor. Pulse until minced. Add the bell pepper and pulse until finely chopped. Next add cucumber and tomatoes and do the same. By adding each component of the soup one at a time to the food processor you are able to create a variety of textures in your finished product - if you were to add all the ingredients to the food processor at the same time you would end up with a pureed vegetable soup. For this recipe, we prefer a textured gazpacho.
Once all vegetables are chopped to preferred texture mix in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Garnish as you like and serve finished gazpacho at room temperature. It can also be stored in the fridge for up to five days but make sure to bring gazpacho to room temperature prior to serving. Also note that leftover gazpacho may thicken in the fridge, you can add a little water and extra sprinkle of salt prior to serving.
So get those local August tomatoes wherever you can, while you can. Cherish these recipes and fresh tomato memories to help get you through until next tomato season.
Jess and Cecelia
Summer produce is so inspiring. This week we had an abundance of berries that we just couldn't let go to waste. The decision to make a compote was a berry (get it?) good idea! The flavor and freshness of the mixed summer berries was maintained but the compote will last much longer than raw berries will. The compote pairs well with a variety of foods and is a great compliment to your summer picnics (cheese, crackers, and compote anyone?). The best part about this recipe, it's SO simple. Find out for yourself!
Mixed Berry Compote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (includes cooking and cooling time)
Yield: ~1.5 cups compote
3 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries (we used blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon, ~2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (honey would also work)
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp chia seeds
To make the compote combine all berries in a medium sauce pan set to medium heat and cook until the berries start to burst. Lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes stirring often. Remove compote from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, salt, and maple syrup and allow to cool to room temperature. Once compote is cooled add in 2 Tbsp chia seeds and whisk well until the chia seeds are well dispersed in the compote. Place in an air tight jar and store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
Well, that's it friends. A fresh and delicious compote that pairs amazingly with cheese and crackers, toast, yogurt, ice cream, or anything else you can dream up. We'd love to hear what you slather and spread this berry compote on - please share!
Jess and Cecelia
One of the many things we love about summer is the abundant sunshine giving us that natural vitamin D and feel good vibes. So we thought what better way to enjoy the sunshine than to use it in a recipe this week - sound crazy? Though you can't actually consume sunshine (imagine!) you can use it for brewing tea without turning on your stove burners, a definite plus on a hot summer day. Sun tea is a simple and fun favorite of ours but we obviously had to give it a special twist in our recipe this week.
Fresh lemongrass from our garden added an extra pop of flavor and excitement to this simple recipe. The lemongrass plant turned out to be surprisingly hearty and grow well in our Chicago summer climate. From our abundant crop we used a few stalks in this sun tea with great results. Lemongrass, as the name suggests, has a lemon flavor though is slightly spicier than the lemon citrus fruit. Lemongrass is considered a tropical herb and used commonly in Asian cuisine. In addition to culinary uses, lemongrass leaves and oil are used medicinally for a variety of ailments including digestive issues, pain (headache, abdominal and muscle pain), and fever/colds. It is believed that lemongrass may prevent the growth of certain bacteria and yeast and contain substances that help to relieve pain contributing to its medicinal benefits. We most enjoy lemongrass as a unique citrus/spicy flavor option in recipes and for its decorative uses - both qualities highlighted by this recipe!
Minty Green and Lemongrass Sun Tea with Ginger
Prep Time: 3 minutes + 8-12 hours brewing time
Total Time: 8-12 hours
4 mint green tea bags or 4 Tbsp loose mint green tea
4 cups room temperature water
4 stalks fresh lemongrass (base of the stalks crushed)
4 ginger ice cubes or 4 oz fresh ginger juice (recipe here)
Juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
In a large glass pitcher place tea bags, crushed lemongrass stalks, and cover with 4 cups room temperature water. Place a clean towel or cheese cloth over the top of the jar and allow the tea to steep in a sunny window for at least 8-12 hours. Remove the tea bags and lemongrass stalks from the jar after brewing. Pour tea over ice and add one ginger ice cube, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a lemongrass stir stick!
That's it friends, super simple but so refreshing. And fun to imagine that you're actually bottling that gorgeous sunshine - hey we can dream right? Sun tea is easily adaptable to any tea and fresh ingredients you have on hand as long as you have a sunny spot for brewing! This batch tastes bright and slightly tart from the green tea and ginger which are balanced perfectly by the fresh and spicy lemongrass.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.