Appetizers, Salads

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Bites

The first official weekend of summer is finally upon us. Take a deep breath and let the beauty of that first sentence sink in … aahhhhh.

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Now, cube watermelon, crumble feta cheese, tear mint leaves, and assemble this lovely and straightforward gem of a summer dish. Wonderful as an appetizer or a salad. If you’re making this into a salad, place all of the ingredients into a bowl and toss together.

These three ingredients blend perfectly. Summer. Easy. Beautiful. Simple. Delicious.

You can’t mess this up … unless you use pre crumbled feta cheese … NEVER use pre crumbled feta. (Emily Always Cooks PSA announcement.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 watermelon, rind discarded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 oz block feta cheese
  • Fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Place watermelon pieces onto a plate or platter.
  2. Sprinkle/top with feta cheese.
  3. Top with fresh mint.

 

 

 

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Sauces, Marinades, and Dressings, Vegetarian Recipes

Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce

Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce

 

This is the perfect time of the year to share my fresh homemade tomato sauce.   Tomatoes are in abundance at the farmers markets, and they’re at their peak of freshness.  This is definitely a summer tomato sauce.  Light, extremely flavorful, and oh so fresh tasting.  This sauce will ruin all other tomato sauces for you (sorry).

My favorite way to serve this sauce is over warm pasta with grated parmesan cheese and plenty of fresh basil.  If you prefer meat sauce, add to browned Italian sausage or pancetta.  If you want to up your vegetable intake, combine sauce with roasted zucchini, mushrooms, and red peppers.  Use in any recipe that calls for your favorite marinara sauce, or simply tear off a piece of fresh bread, dip, eat, and repeat.  The opportunities are endless.

Make it soon, before tomatoes say goodbye to us for the winter!

Summer Tomato Sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 large ripe tomatoes (2-3 lbs) – you can use any type of tomato, many swear by romas for making sauce, I just use whatever tomatoes look ripe at the market or are on hand
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes, more if you like it spicy, leave out if you like no heat
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh basil, to finish

Directions:

First, you need to blanche and peel your tomatoes.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl (just like it sounds…add ice and water in a bowl large enough to hold all of your tomatoes).  Cut a small x into the bottom of each tomato.  Place the tomatoes in boiling water and blanche for 15-30 seconds.  Immediately place blanched tomatoes into your prepared ice water bath to stop the cooking process.  Your tomatoes are now ready to peel.  The skins should easily come off, but if you are having a hard time, just add the trouble tomato back into the boiling water for 10 seconds.  Discard the skins.

Next, you will need to remove the tomato seeds.  Cut tomatoes into quarters or in half.  Squeeze tomatoes over a strainer placed over a bowl to catch the juices.  Discard the seeds and reserve the tomato juice.

Note: If you live in a region where fresh tomatoes are not prevalent, use canned whole tomatoes in their juice (2 28oz cans should do the trick).  Just disregard the first 2 steps and skip straight below.

Place prepared tomatoes into a food processor or blender and pulse until a puree is formed.  If you prefer a chunkier tomato sauce, mash tomatoes with a potato masher.  Add reserved tomato juice to tomato puree and reserve.

To prepare your sauce, add olive oil to a pot over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until translucent.  Add reserved tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf.  Let sauce come to a boil, then reduce heat and allow sauce to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove and discard bay leaf, and add fresh basil.  Adjust seasoning to suit your taste and enjoy!  This will result in a light, fresh, summer tomato sauce.  If you prefer a more caramelized sauce, allow to cook for an additional 30-45 minutes.

Yields: 3 1/2 – 4 cups.  This recipe is ideal for canning or freezing.