Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Provencal Tomatoes Recipe

With the last of the Summer tomato harvest upon us, I wanted to do something very special.  I have all of Ina Garten’s cook books {yes, I am a huge fan}, so I went to them for inspiration and a delicious recipe that would show off the brilliant red tomatoes from our local CSA farm. 

This tomato recipe has it all; fresh herbs, garlic, bread crumbs and cheese.  Everything is so much more amazing when there is Gruyere cheese involved!  The bread crumb stuffing absorbs the amazing tomato juice that is drawn out through the cooking process, plus the melted cheese on top is the icing on the cake...or tomato. You won’t be disappointed with this delicious side dish.   

Recipe By Ina Gartin
Serves 6-8

6 ripe tomatoes (2 1/2 to 3-inches in diameter)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400oF.

Cut the cores from the tomatoes, removing as little as possible. Cut them in half crosswise and, with your fingers, remove the seeds and juice. Place the tomato halves in a baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, scallions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the tomato halves generously with salt and pepper. With your hands, fill the cavities and cover the tops of the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture.

Bake the tomatoes for 15 minutes, or until they're tender. Sprinkle with the cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 seconds more.


1)      Ina Garten’s original recipe suggests using fresh bread crumbs from 5 slices of white bread.  I just had panko on hand, so substituted the panko into the recipe. 
2)      If you don’t have or can’t find Gruyere cheese, substitute with Asiago, mozzarella or your favorite cheese.
3)      I used large tomatoes, but if you just have cherry or grape tomatoes, I think those would work fine too.  Just cut them in half and place them on the bottom of the casserole dish, then sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over top and sprinkle cheese. 

Provencal Tomatoes Recipe

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ground Cherry Muffins Recipe

Joining the CSA this Summer is a decision I am so happy with.  It presented so many different fruits and vegetables to us that I would have never purchased at the market on my own.  Some weeks it was a challenge sorting through our basket and trying to plan out the meals for the rest of the week, but looking back, it allowed us to explore numerous foods and try new recipes.   Plus, it was fun to share many of them with all of you!

Have you ever heard of or seen ground cherries?  These aren’t the typical red cherries that we are all familiar with ground into a paste.  They are a beautiful little yellow-orange round fruit, similar to a small tomato, but covered by a papery husk like a tomatillo.  They are sweet little berries, and have a pineapple-like flavor with a hint of tomato.  Sounds like a strange combo, I know, but they are surprisingly delicious! 

So, what to do with these ground cherries you ask?  Add them into a basic muffin recipe for a new twist.  These muffins are a fun way to start your day as a delicious breakfast treat.

Ground Cherry Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins

1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup ground cherries, halved

Preheat oven to 400o.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, combine egg, milk and oil.  Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Stir everything together until well incorporated.  Add in the ground cherries. 

Line a muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease with a cooking spray. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full with the batter and back in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Recipe

Whoopie pies are a fun dessert.  The cake-like cookies sandwiching a creamy filling makes everyone feel like a kid again.  Chocolate whoopie pies are a favorite for many, but it is always fun to take a classic and use seasonal flavors to create a new indulgence. 

My mother found this recipe a few years ago in a magazine and we all fell in love with them.  The little pumpkin cakes with a touch of cinnamon, surrounding the smooth cream cheese frosting are my kind of sandwich!  I recently made these for the Patriots tailgate and they were the perfect way to end our BBQ before heading into the stadium. 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Recipe
Makes about 2 dozen assembled whoopie pies (Depending on how large you make them)

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1-2/3 cups flour
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.

Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Try to make them all the same size.  Bake until springy to the touch, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Spread the flat side of half cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

1)      To ensure that the cookies are all the same, I used my 1 tablespoon cookie scooper.  This was a time saver, plus it created these adorable mini whoopie pies that were all the perfect size.
2)      I doubled my filling recipe.  I wanted there to be a thick layer of cream cheese frosting in each of the pies.  The frosting filling is my favorite part!  (1 stick of butter, 8 ounces of cream cheese, 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, 4 pinches of salt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla)
3)      These cakes sometimes get sticky.  So when I pack them up, I divide each layer with wax paper.

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