Baked tomatoes

Various heirloom tomato cultivars
Various heirloom tomato cultivars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle...
Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle Stuttgart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Small tomatoes in Korea
Small tomatoes in Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is such a simple dish.  They are not stuffed or cut in half.  They are just simple baked tomatoes at 350 F for 30 mins then 375 F for 20 more minutes.  I love this dish.  I started making it over the summer when tomatoes were in season.  I just cut the tops off the tomatoes, enough to sprinkle salt, pepper and whatever herbs I have along with a good dose of extra virgin olive oil.  Sometimes I add chopped garlic, too.  At the last part of cooking, grated parmesan cheese is great on this, too.

The great thing about this dish is it makes a great accompanyment to just about anything.  It can be used as a sauce  as well.  Serve it on a big bowl of rice or pasta and it’s simple and delicious.  I could eat this everyday.  The tomatoes really make a difference, but it’s still good if you jazz up bland tomatoes with a bunch of garlic, basil, oregano, cheese… whatever.  Enjoy!

July's Tomato Haul
July’s Tomato Haul (Photo credit: statelyenglishmanor)
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Cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic and black truffle sea salt

I didn’t have much time to prepare anything fancy, but somehow my simple dish made it to the “I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen” category in my husbands eyes, even though it took all of 10 minutes to prepare, if that.  I searched for something interesting to make for a side dish.  We are staying away from so many starches and cauliflower just has that satisfying taste that not all veggies have.  I chopped up, trying to keep the “flowers” in tack, 1/2 a cauliflower, sliced about 8 nice white mushrooms that I bought from the local farmer’s stand and then added a few sliced garlic cloves.  Voila, just a few drizzles of my herb infused extra virgin olive oil and a few sprinkles of my black truffle sea salt, it was ready to go into the oven.  I put it at 375 for about 30 minutes covered with foil and then 5 minutes uncovered.  In the meantime I grilled up my usual grilled chicken, but this time I played around with the flavors a bit, using more salt and rosemary, from my friends salt concoction she calls, Herbs de PV.  She blended sea salts with natural growing herbs from Palos Verdes.  I think our meal was great and it was definitely healthy.

A smoked salmon dinner

This is so easy, yet so delicious.  I love simple dishes.  I bought some wild caught smoked salmon at the local market.  I made myself the easiest and not to mention healthiest dinner.  I wasn’t in the mood to cook, but I wanted something good.  I added some heirloom cherry tomatoes and some organic persian cucumbers on the side for some crunch appeal.  I cut up lots of lemon slices for my salmon.  There is nothing better than simple flavors with salt, I of course used Sel de Cali, for the taste and beauty appeal.  This is now one of my favorite, easy meals to prepare that can also transform into a great appetizer or  hors d’oeuvre platter.  I would however dress it up a bit more when serving it to guests.  I would add a few capers on the side, maybe some red onions, little crackers, blinis, or just simple pieces of  bagels or some type of vehicle to place the salmon and veggies on it.  A great cheese that goes with this is of course, cream cheese, but also a marscapone, ricotta, boursin or even goat cheese.  There are many possibilities.  And for those who are staying away from carbs, a great way to serve this is with Belgian endive leaves, they are a perfect little vehicles to serve the salmon.  You can also make it in advance by placing a bit of cheese, a piece of salmon and a few capers with an onion on a piece of endive… or play with the combinations.  I personally wouldn’t mix the lemon with the cheese, however.  If you don’t have time to prepare it,  in a rush, just add all the elements to a plate as nicely as possible and call it the deconstructed hors d’oeuvre.  Smoked salmon is something I always have in my fridge, you just never know when you will have an impromptu guest over.  Enjoy.  

Pork wrapped in red onion and sage and red wine salt-Dunkan Diet day 6

Tonight was a protein and veggie dinner.  I am followin the Dukan diet, as you may know.  It’s not so far away from the way we normally eat.  We are huge meat/protein eaters and love veggies.  I started a low carb regimen last year and found it made a big difference. I’m not huge on diets, but found that taking out the extra carbs helped a lot.  Mainly helping my waisteline as well as hunger. I found if I eat larger portions of proteins and veggies, I’m satisfied and feel more full.  Carbs just ended up making me more hungry a few hours after eating.  I used to always make one veggie, one protein and one startch- that was my thing.  Now I do 2 veggies and one protein.  Anyway, I’ve been succesful on the Dukan diet. I had gained 8 extra pounds from the holiday treats and managed to loose more than that, almost 10 lbs.  My Dukan diet was not intense as I put in my numbers and discovered my recomended weight loss would be 7 lbs.  So I lost that plus more.  I’m in the 3rd phase of the plan where i”m aloud cheese, bread, 2 starch meals and 2 splurge meals.  I am cheating and having wine here and there, more like here!  But it’s all working.  I continue to do our protein days and protein and veggie days.  So we had pork wrapped in red onion.  I think this is much, much better with thin slices of Veal.  But pork is ok, too.  Just wrap each piece with a few pieces of sage, a few pieces of red onions, add salt and pepper, and herbs de provence.  I squired it and put it on the grill.  I think the grill has made our healthy living work!  I also used my cali salt. It’s a red wine infused salt made from California wine and Sonoma salt.  It’s gorgeous and the flavors pop.  I grilled this for about 10 minutes.  It was quite good, but the veal was 10 times better!