Posted (Lori) in News

Some of my favorite recipes in the world feature fresh tomatoes. Here are a few of them. Next week: gazpachos.


From Michael Romano, Union Square Restaurant

Makes  8 servings

1 pound sourdough or whole wheat peasant bread

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 bell peppers

4 ripe tomatoes, split crosswise, squeezed to remove seeds and juice, and diced

1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced celery

1/2 cup trimmed and thinly sliced fennel

1 cup peeled, split, and thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup pitted Gaeta or Nicoise olives, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup washed, dried and sliced basil leaves

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Italian red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

–Cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes.  Sauté the bread cubes in 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium high heat until evenly golden and crispy. Drain and set aside.            

–Preheat the broiler. Cook the peppers under the broiler, turning them from side to side, until their skins blacken. Place the charred peppers in a covered container or paper bag until cool. Remove the skins by rubbing the peppers with a paper towel or by peeling them with a small knife.  Discard the seeds. (To avoid losing flavor, never peel roasted peppers under running water!)  Cut the flesh into 3/4-inch dice and set aside.

–Combine the toasted bread cubes with the peppers, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onion, olives, basil, and pine nuts.  Season with the remaining olive oil, balsamic and red wine vinegars, salt and pepper, and continue to mix well.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving so that the bread can absorb some of the oil and vinegar. Serve.


I just finished a book about Jewish cooking and spent a lot of time talking about Sephardic food (with Spanish and North African influences) with my Sephardi relatives. They all seemed to think that everyone knew about Matbucha, but I had never heard of it. It’s a winner—easy, low-calorie, spicy, and packed with garlic and tomato flavor

Makes 1 cup

–¼ cup olive oil

–6 large garlic cloves, minced

1 small hot pepper, diced (remove all or most of the seeds depending on how hot you want the final product to be)

–1 small bell pepper, diced (optional)

–2 pounds tomatoes, peeled (if you wish), seeded and diced

–Salt to taste

–Cayenne pepper (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and hot pepper and sauté over medium heat until they are very soft. Add the minced bell pepper (if you are using) and the tomatoes and sauté until they begin to lose their shape. Reduce to low heat, add ¼ teaspoon salt, and simmer until thickened; watch it carefully and stir frequently if not constantly. Cook for at least 15 minutes, more if you have patience. Taste, adjust salt, and if it not spicy enough, add cayenne pepper. Serve hot or cold with bread, vegetables, over anything, or on its own.


I got this recipe from a chef in Texas for a book I was working on years ago. I thought it was a silly recipe when I first saw it—why add cream to perfectly good goat cheese? But the final product is astonishingly creamy and delicious. It’s what I make when I want to impress people but have no time to cook right before the meal. It requires 10 minutes of prep time the night before, 15 minutes right before it’s served—a perfect first course.

For the Panna Cotta

Oil for coating molds

1 tablespoon cold water

1 teaspoon powdered unflavored gelatin

8 ounces heavy cream

4 ounces goat cheese

½ teaspoon salt

For the Tomato Salad

About 1 pound tomatoes—all sizes, shapes, colors

½ cup chopped basil; reserve 6 perfect leaves or sprigs

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup toasted almonds

edible flowers (nasturtiums, pansies, marigolds)—optional, but very pretty

–-Prepare molds for the panna cotta; 3-ounce bowls or ramekins work well, as do espresso cups. I use silicone cupcake holders—they make a decorative fluted edge and release the panna cotta without any trouble. Oil them well, with your misto or by rubbing oil on the bottom and sides.

–-Put the water in a very small dish; sprinkle in the gelatin and mix well. Set aside to allow the gelatin to soften.

–-Heat the cream in a small pot until just below boiling; it takes only a couple of minutes. Turn heat to low. Add the softened gelatin and whisk until fully dissolved and smooth—you don’t want undissolved gelatin. Crumble in the goat cheese and keep stirring for a few minutes until everything is perfectly smooth.

-–Divide the mixture among your prepared molds; you have 12 ounces of mixture here, so use about 2 ounces per mold. Cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

–About 15 minutes before serving, remove the molds from the refrigerator.

–Dice the tomatoes. Put the basil, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small jar with a lid and shake well. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and toss.

-–Divide the nuts on six small plates

–-Unmold the panna cotta. Carefully run a knife around the edge—you want to keep the edges intact for a smooth look, but let’s not get crazy about it. Invert the mold over the almonds on each plate; with any luck, it will release easily. If not, fill a shallow bowl with hot water; put the molds in the bowl so that the sides get warm, without letting water touch the panna cotta. Invert again. Sooner or later, they will come out, though you may have to use the knife again and ruin the smooth edges just a little. (The silicone cupcake holders avoid all this.)

-–Spoon the tomato salad over and around the panna cotta. Garnish with a sprig of basil, and edible flowers if you have them.



Joanne was a member a few years ago; her food blog has lots of great recipes, especially this one. It uses lots of butter and cream—not for every day, but really spectacular.

Yield: 1 10-inch quiche

For the pie crust

2 cups all purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp kosher salt

1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

¼ cup cold water

For the quiche

4 tbsp olive oil

1¼ cups fresh corn

1½ tsp kosher salt

1 garlic clove

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 pinch red pepper flakes

3 large eggs

¾ cup + 2 tbsp creme fraiche

¾ cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream

¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2-3 tbsp parmesan cheese


–In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to blend. add the butter and pulse 3 times or until pea-size pieces form. Pour the water into the bowl and pulse another three times until the dough just starts to come together.

–Dump the dough onto a clean work surface and gather it together by hand, kneading slightly until just starting to hold together. Press the dough into a ¾-inch thick disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

–Roll the dough into a 15-inch square. Gently transfer to a greased 10-inch tart pan, allowing the edges to drape over the sides. Gently press into the pan, making sure to get it into all the corners. Trim any excess dough. Freeze for at least 1 hour.

–Heat oven to 350F.

–Line the inside of the frozen shell with parchment paper and then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 35 minutes, until the outer edge starts to brown. Remove the parchment and pie weights and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

–Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn and ¼ tsp salt. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

–Add the remaining olive oil, then saute the garlic for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, ½ tsp salt, and the chile flakes. Raise the heat to high and cook, covered, for 3 minutes or until the tomatoes start to burst. Remove the lid and continue cooking, allowing to thicken for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate.

–Increase the oven to 450F.

–In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche, cream, remaining ¾ tsp salt, and the black pepper.

–Sprinkle the corn over the bottom of the cooked shell. Top with the cooked tomatoes. Pour the egg mixture over the top, making sure it doesn’t spill over the edge. Top with the parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until set and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Adapted slightly from Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From Our Kitchen



“This is my family’s recipe for Vegetable Korma, a vegetarian Indian dish that’s endlessly adaptable. Enjoy!’


1/4 cup cashew halves or almond slices

1/4 cup boiling water

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch peeled ginger root, minced

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 bay leaves

1 large onion, diced

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric powder

1/4-1 tsp chili powder (optional)

1 tsp garam masala (optional)

chopped vegetables (any kind you want, just make sure they’re all chopped to roughly the same size)

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup vegetable broth

1/2 cup heavy cream (I’ve also used coconut milk or almond milk)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (soy yogurt works well too)

Korma Directions

1) place nuts in a small bowl, pour boiling water over them, set aside

2) heat oil in a large pan over medium heat, crumble the bay leaves into the oil and sauté for 30 seconds

3) stir in the onion- cook til soft

4) stir in the garlic and ginger and all the spices, sauté for 30 seconds

5) add in all the vegetables and stir til they’re all coated with the spice blend and have softened a bit (about 5 minutes)

6) add in the tomato paste and broth, cover, reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes (stirring occasionally)

7) while the mix is simmering, add the heavy cream and yogurt to the nut/water mix, mix til smooth

8. Stir the nut/cream mixture into the pot, simmer an additional 15 minutes or until the whole dish thickens a bit.



In Israel, and throughout the Middle East, this recipe is as common as mac ‘n’ cheese is in America. No one shops for the ingredients—you use what’s in the refrigerator. Tomatoes and eggs are the only constants. Lately, I’ve seen this dish popping up in recipe columns and restaurants, usually with complicated ingredient lists and instructions. But it can be made simply and with whatever you happen to have.

1. Heat oil in a large skillet (for a 4-serving recipe, an 11-inch skillet; for one or two servings, an 8 or 9-inch skillet is enough). Add chopped garlic, onion/leek/shallot/scallion and herbs/spices (cumin is often recommended) to flavor the oil. I’m not going to give quantities—use whatever feels right or whatever you happen to have). Saute for a minute or two.

2. Chop whatever vegetables you have and add to the mix; eggplant, summer squash, mushrooms, peppers, greens. If you’re using firmer vegetables, such as carrots, put them in first and give them more time. Eggplant also needs more time to lose its sponginess. The greens can be added in the last minute or two. Cook the vegetables, stirring every minute or so, until they are all soft. Add 1/4-½ cup of vegetable stock or water if it starts to stick.

3. Add two large tomatoes, chopped (about a pound for two servings, 2 pounds for 4 servings). Stir until the tomatoes lose their shape and the whole things because sauce-y. It needs to be fairly loose—add some broth/water if it’s too thick to hold the eggs that will be added in the last step.

Or, instead of adding fresh tomatoes, you can add about 3-4 cups of fresh or canned tomato sauce or tomatoes. It’s easier that way, but with all the fresh tomatoes we have, I would just use the fresh ones.

4. Add salt, pepper, and other herbs and spices to taste. Stir and adjust liquid. You might also add grated cheese at this point.

5. Crack one or two eggs for each serving into the hot mixture. The eggs will begin to set right away. It will take about 4-5 minutes until they are fully poached. By this time, the vegetable mixture will be firm as well. Cut into wedges with at least one egg in each and transfer to plates. Serve over couscous, rice, or another grain for a full meal.

You could also move the skillet into a pre-heated oven after adding the eggs, but I find that they poach just as well on top of the stove.

If you prefer to follow a more exact recipe, here is one from Melissa Clark, NYT:

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