Roasted Tomato Cheese Tart

As soon as summer tomatoes grace nearby farmer markets or our own backyard, we serve them at every meal.  This scrumptious Tomato Cheese Tart recipe, and the mouth watering pictures, are from my dear friend Lizzy at That Skinny Chick Can Bake Blog.

Lizzy and I are both ‘from scratch’ bakers.  But if time is short, using refrigerated pie crusts (from the diary section of your supermarket), will still produce a gorgeous and delicious tomato tart!

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Parmesan Salsa – A Great Topping For Pasta, Pizza and More!

parmesan salsa

Today’s recipe, Parmesan Salsa (Salsi di Parmigiano in Italian), is a great recipe to learn not only because it is so delicious (it is!!) but because it is so versatile.  As an appetizer, it’s wonderful spread on a piece of toasted baguette.  Or it’s perfect as a topping for almost any vegetable.  It’s also an incredibly easy pasta sauce that will impress any pasta lover.

The recipe, from Food Network’s Michael Chiarello, takes only minutes to make and you can easily cut the recipe in half.  Although it calls for using 1/2 each of Parmesan and Asiago cheese, I have made it several times with just Parmesan.

 

 

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Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Onions

This recipe for roasted brussel sprouts is a favorite at Thanksgiving (although I make it year round).  I usually make it the morning of  Thanksgiving, although I’ve made it a day or two in advance many a time.  And you have no idea how delighted I am when, someone who typically shuns this particular vegetable, tastes it and becomes a convert. Why?  Because roasting the brussel sprouts causes caramelization (the browned edges) which add a wonderful sweet element to them.  Add the bacon and roasted onions and it is a flavor sensation (okay – I think it is!).

The keys to success for this dish are simple: 1) Use one rimmed baking sheet to cook the brussel sprouts and another one to cook the bacon and onions.  This is because they cook at different times and it allows you to cook all portions to perfection. 2) Lay the brussel sprouts cut side down on the baking sheet.  This ensures the beautiful caramelization as shown above.

 

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This post is linked up to: Melt In Your Mouth Monday, A Southern Fairy Tale, Delightfully Dowling, and Add a Pinch.

Easy Hollandaise Sauce Recipe – Soooo good!

This easy Hollandaise Sauce recipe seems to good to be true – but it really is easy and *fabulous*.  I made it last night to serve with roasted asparagus (drizzle olive oil over asparagus, roast in a 425 F. for 10 minutes) and it took me less than 5 minutes to make it.  The result? A rich, luscious sauce that was every bit as good as any Hollandaise sauce that I’ve had in a restaurant (and better than many).
The secret to the wonderful recipe?  It’s a blender Hollandaise Sauce.  Which means the strength of the blender does a beautiful job of emulsifying the sauce.  In seconds.  Oh…and did I mention this recipe is easy:)

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Roasted Butternet Squash

If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know that I love to roast vegetables in a very hot oven.  It brings out the natural sugars in them and those caramelized edges are just packed with flavor.  Roasting is an easy way to cook too – these are hands-off aside from a quick flip about midway through cooking.

You would never know it by looking at it but butternut squash is actually relatively easy to cut through.  The way I cut it is I first chop of both ends, the cut the remaining piece in half.  I stand up each piece on one end and trim off the skin (I use a knife, some prefer a peeler).   I then cut each piece into 1/2″ slices and from there cut them into 1/2″ pieces.  (You’ll need to remove the seeds from the round end of the squash.)

I often add a teaspoon of maple syrup when tossing the squash with the olive oil for a little twist on the dish.  Just check the pan a few minutes earlier than the recipe below calls for because the sugar in the maple syrup will speed up the caramelization process, causing the pieces to brown faster.

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Roasted Green Beans with Onions

Diva Entertains Carmelized Green Beans and Onions

I probably make these roasted green beans with onions more than any other vegetable recipe.  The reason is two fold: 1) they are so darn easy to make, and 2) haven’t met anyone yet who hasn’t loved them.   Why is that?  Because the caramelization process (when the green beans and onions brown) brings out, naturally, the wonderfully sweet flavors of both.

This isn’t so much a recipe as a ‘throw together’ but I will give some basic directions below and, within a couple of times of making these, you’ll put aside the recipe too.  Another added benefit of this recipe?  Substitute most any other vegetable for the green beans (butternut squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts) and the recipe will still work beautifully.

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Ginger Carrots with Maple Glaze

gingered carrots

I wish I remembered to make this recipe for ginger carrots more often.  It’s a simple recipe that, aside from chopping carrots (although I’m sure you could skip that by using the packaged baby carrots) and mincing ginger (you can purchase bottled minced ginger), comes together on the stove-top in under 15 minutes.  And it’s the only way that I can get my husband to eat carrots! (He’s even been known to have seconds.)

 

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Broccolini – My New Favorite Vegetable

Diva Entertains Broccolini
I have to admit it.  Although I love having broccolini at a restaurant, I stayed clear of making it at home because, basically, I had no clue how to make it.  As I would pass by it in the produce section I would hesitantly linger…and then keep on walking.  However, a month ago, I decide to look at a few recipes and face my fear head on since they looked so easy. Believe me, they only looked that way.

It took four tries until I nailed it.  And I was darn close to giving up.  But I just knew that once I figured it out it would be a perfect weeknight vegetable (it takes less than 10 minutes from prep to table).  And a little something different to serve to my guests.

The first 3 times I scorched the broccolini, tinging it with brown and obviously giving it a burnt favor.  One of those times, while following one recipe’s explicit directions and salting the water with 1/2 tsp. salt, the finished dish ended up tasting like a salt lick.  I decided to go with my gut feel and salt after it cooked. It worked.

Lessons learned:  Everyone’s range (like their oven) is a little different than the next person’s.  What is medium on one range could be cooler or hotter on another.   So, err on the conservative time and remove the cover after 4 minutes.  If you have considerable water still in the pan leave the cover on one more minute, if not, leave the top off and let the water evaporate (about 30 seconds, maybe less).  But have the garlic and oil at the ready, because the moment it does evaporate you want to stir in the oil and garlic, cook until fragrant, and then take off the heat immediately.  If it doesn’t work out perfectly you’ll know what you need to adjust next time (either it scorched so you’ll take the top off the skillet sooner or it was a tad waterlogged and you’ll leave it on a bitter longer).  And do give it one more try.   It’s worth it.

Broccolini

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 package broccolini* (1 to 2 bunches depending on size)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 T. olive oil

Bring water to boil in a large skillet.  Add broccolini, turn heat to medium low, and cover with lid.  Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, remove lid and let the remaining water evaporate.  The second it does, add the garlic and oil and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring or turning with tongs (my preference).  Immediately remove from heat and lightly salt.  Plate and serve.

* I am only able to buy it pre-packaged in my immediate area. (Nope – not a metropolitan city by a long shot)

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Little Touches: Slow Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

Diva Entertains Tomatoes
It’s hard to believe something this delicious started its life in a can.  But aside from a bit of butter, sugar and salt that’s all there is to this dish.  Put in the oven and 90 minutes later you have the most delicious side dish possible.  Slightly sweet tomatoes rich with flavor.  Can be made a couple of days ahead and rewarmed.  Perfect for weeknights and for company when pulling out all the stops!

This recipe is a house favorite at the Watershed restaurant, in Decatur, Georgia.  Slow roasting concentrates the flavors – it’s great as a side dish or as a ‘tomato jam’ added to sandwiches, burgers, etc.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes (from Gourmet Magazine, 2008)

Servings: Makes 8 servings

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in juice, drained
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter an 8-inch shallow baking dish.
  2. Stir together sugar, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a cup.
  3. Put tomatoes in baking dish and sprinkle all over with sugar mixture. Dot tomatoes with butter, then bake until tomatoes are partially collapsed and deeply caramelized in places, 1 to 2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Diva Entertains Tomato PrepDiva Entertains Tomatoes Baked

Cauliflower Popcorn (Seriously…that’s what it tastes like)

Diva Entertains Cauliflower Popcorn

The name of the recipe is absolutely perfect because once baked and salted that’s what it tastes like.  I’m not kidding!  See for yourself if it’s not addictive:)

It’s super easy to make and quite healthy, utilizing a little olive oil and high heat to brown the florets and bring out wonderful flavor.  I like to make 2 heads of cauliflower when serving it to company – you won’t believe how quickly it will be eaten.

Cauliflower Popcorn (recipe adapted from Eat.at recipe forum)

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425F.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Put the cauliflower florets in a plastic bag*.   Add the olive oil and shake the bag so that the olive oil is evenly distributed.  Spread the florets on the baking sheet and put in the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes turn the florets over (the side that touched the oven should be browned like in the photo above) and bake another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with kosher salt.  Serve.

Easier Way: Don’t turn the florets over, simply cook another 10 minutes.  (The purpose of turning them over is to brown both sides – it’s the browning that contributes to this recipe’s fantastic flavor.)

*I reuse the plastic bags that I put my fruits and vegetables in at the grocery store.

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