|Fresh grape tomatoes, tossed with garlic, pesto and herbs, ready to roast|
There are recipes and there are Recipes. As I page through my ever-burgeoning cookbook collection, most recipes I scan are one-offs, calling for specific ingredients and directions. Fun to make? Yes, on occasion, but in the scheme of my busy life, they aren't always practical. I prefer malleable recipes that can be pushed, pulled and stretched in many different directions, depending on my mood, the contents of my cupboard and what's in season or inexpensive. This is one reason that I respect Mark Bittman as a food writer. His reputation is built, in part at least, on his incredibly ability to spew out endless variations on any given recipe theme. Case in point: just about every recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian includes several versions and inspiration for culinary improvisation.
|Pooped tomatoes, after roasting|
I thought about this as I roasted some of the season's first grape tomatoes along with some pesto, olives and herbs from the second CSA share of the spring. This Meditarranean-inspired recipe [see below] only takes about 5 minutes of hands-on time. Here are just a few ideas on how you can eat/modify it:
- Toss with orzo, as I did, or over penne, orchiette or spaghetti.
- Enjoy it as-is, as a side dish, warm or at room temperature.
- Toss with cooked kamut, wheatberries or couscous. Finish with extra-virgin olive oil or a flavored oil.
- Before roasting, pour uncooked tomato mixture over pressed, sliced tofu or steamed tempeh, then continue with roasting as directed.
- Before roasting, add one can of your favorite beans, drained and rinsed, to the uncooked tomato mixture. Continue with roasting as directed.
- After roasting, transform into a soup by pureeing along with a small amount of soy or coconut milk.
- Puree in a food processor, with enough best-quality extra-virgin olive oil to make into a spreadable consistency. Use it as a dip or sandwich spread.
EASY ROASTED TOMATOES
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 T fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 T pesto
- 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/3 cup green olives, pitted and chopped (Canned are fine here)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 4 or more, depending on what you do with it
Preheat oven to 400. Pour everything into a shallow baking dish and stir well to ensure everything is coated with the oil/pesto. Cover with foil and roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft. Eat as is, with your favorite veggie protein, or over your favorite pasta, grain or bread.
Signs of Spring
|Basil seeds, sprouting on my windowsill|
|My blurry-furry produce inspectors, checking out the second organic CSA share of the season. This week I got beets, oregano, mint, cilantro, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, spring onions and collard greens.|