Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eat! #3 Tomatoes

This is the third in our Conscious Eating Series for the month of May, the time when Moms delight in the prerogatives of Mother's Day, and families get the nudge (or kick in the butt as the case may be!) to create opportunities to appreciate each other and home values. 

For me this includes more eating together - more picnics and outings - and more awareness of the relationship we have with the green Earth and new things growing. 

May reminds me of the blessing of all this.

All through my 20's I was fortunate enough to have a food mentor - Vincenza Scarcelli - who let me watch, and help, and simply absorb what she knew about food...and she knew plenty.  

Particularly memorable was the time we went out on the lawn (the LAWN mind you)  and picked dandelions, then went out back and scooped a net through the water of the Long Island Sound catching bunches of lowly minnows for what was to become a simple and delicious fried pattie of sorts made from stuff I thought I'd never even go near much less EAT! 

I was fortunate to have an authentic role model from the "old country" when the place I came from was Brooklyn.

I hope you've had a food mentor somewhere along the line - and if not, it's never too late to find one.  Food and love, once connected, can make a huge impression.  We all respond to that.

Use this blog to know you are loved through the connection to foods I offer you here.

For details on cooking exactly what's in this post, you may want to reference the first post in the series and review either the lentil stew or the chicken in simmer sauce, but if you don't need specifics and merely want a mind-bending recognition of gourmet simplicity from leftover goodness, then here it is raw and uncensored...

So imagine you're hungry for something fabulous.  Long, loping strands of pasta sounds good and you've got some tomatoes on hand, and bits of the dishes you cooked from the past couple of days.

ok, super. Here's what you do...we are going to make your leftovers (ingredients, remember??) look like a king's ransom in 10 minutes...

Main Meal
  1. cook up a box of linguine
  2. cut up two or three fresh tomatoes into chunks and put them into a saucepan.  Add 1 cup of lentil soup and 1/2 cup or more of the simmer sauce gravy from the chicken dish of the day before (shred and add some of the chicken too if you'd like).
  3. cook and blend everything together for 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes soften ever so slightly.
  4. pour over the linguine - and sprinkle liberally with some of that fine grated locatelli romano you bought the other day. Top with some pricey pignolis, or the more routine but still delightful toasted pumpkin seeds, and fresh basil if you have it.
  5. salt and pepper to taste, or add a dash more hot sauce (like sriracha) for some bite.

Toss a small amount of the greens from your salad in with the tomatoes when you start the sauce until just wilted.

Add peas right from the bag - run through a strainer under hot water for a minute. No cooking required, and peas go with everything. My brother told me that.

Sage advise for the day

A word on tomatoes - always get the best of the season.  Good looks does not always = best.  Some of the sweetest tomatoes are plain ugly.  Be brave and taste the bounty.

Farmers Markets rock :) 

In a fancy restaurant, this dish would be on the special menu due to all the prep time for the lentils to cook...and the simmer sauce to absorb the flavors from the chicken and fruit...and the presence of awesome freshness like vine ripened tomato and the fine grated cheese.

You can do it all yourself by being open minded and creative in pulling things together from leftovers you've already prepared.


What's on your plate??

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