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Tomato Salsa Salad with Capers and Mint


Tomatoes are starting to come into season, and this salad — or salsa — is a great way to showcase the brightest summer flavors.

“What’s the different between a fresh tomato salsa and a tomato salad?”  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall writes in “River Cottage Every Day” (Ten Speed Press, $32.50). “Not much really, but for me, a tomato salsa should always include some kind of raw allium — shallot, onion, green onion — to give it an edge. And if you chopped the tomatoes more finely for this recipe, you’d have a definite salsa, I’d say — perfect for eating with burgers or spicy chicken.”

Tomato Salsa Salad with Capers and Mint

1 pound ripe tomatoes
1 shallot or 1/2 small red onion, very finely chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons tiny capers, rinsed
A small squeeze of lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A tiny pinch of sugar
A few torn fresh mint leaves

Cut the tomatoes into quarters, then halve each quarter crosswise. place in a bowl and lightly stir in the shallot or onion and caper.

Put the lemon juice and oil in a small pitcher, season well, and add the sugar. Whisk together, then drizzle over the tomatoes. Scatter the torn mint leaves over the top and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

From “River Cottage Every Day” by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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Mango, Tomato, Avocado Chop Bowl


Mango, Tomato, Avocado Chop Bowl

Nomi Shannon, aka the Raw Gourmet, created this easy yet bold salad using ingredients you’re like to have around your kitchen. Don’t have something? Try a variation. As Shannon says, “This is just wicked simple — and there’s pretty much endless variations of the chop bowl.”

You could add celery or any color bell pepper for crunch. Use peaches or nectarines instead of mango. Spritz some lime juice on instead of the vinegar. Add serrano pepper for heat.

Mango, Tomato, Avocado Chop Bowl

1 medium ripe tomato, chopped into ½-inch cubes
1 medium Ataulfo mango, chopped into ½-inch cubes
1 medium avocado, chopped into ½-inch cubes
6-10 fresh mint leaves, torn up
Pinch of sea salt
¼- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar, optional

Gently stir together tomato, mango, avocado, mint, salt, cinnamon and vinegar, if using. Allow flavors to mingle for 15-30 minutes.

Makes 4 side dish servings or 1 main course serving.

From Nomi Shannon, the Raw Gourmet

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Christmas Salad a Year-round Favorite


ChristmasSaladIn Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen Christmas,” the Fredericksburg author offers a salad recipe inspired by a friend of hers, Austin writer Lucinda Hutson. “Lucinda knows how to throw a great party, with plenty of fabulous food and drink,” Rather writes. “This simple, refreshing salad will enhance any holiday buffet table.” The red and green colors are certainly welcome at Christmas, but you’ll find the flavors so welcome that you’ll make it year-round.

Cherry Tomatoes with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 to 4 tablespoons tequila
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh flat leaf parsley (see note)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (see note)

[amazon-product]1580085628[/amazon-product]In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime, salt, tequila, vinegar, parsley and olive oil. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat. Let the tomatoes stand at room temperature for about 2 hours before serving.

Note: Use more parsley, if desired. Use grape tomatoes or any other miniature tomatoes, if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From “The Pastry Queen Christmas” by Rebecca Rather.

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Upgrade Your Grilled Cheese Sandwich


GrilledCheeseGrilled Cheese With Tomato, Basil and Garlic

“Turn a grilled cheese sandwich into a gourmet delight with this Italian combination of flavors,” writes Nancy Mair, author of “The Intimate Vegetarian.” “You can also vary the sandwich in a number of ways: Leave out the onion or tomato, spread pesto on the bread instead of basil, or use fresh mozzarella and marinated sun-dried tomatoes.”

4 slices sourdough, French or whole-wheat bread
About 3 1/2 ounces sharp cheddar, sliced
2 to 4 thin slices red or yellow onion
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
5 large basil leaves, torn into 1/2-inch pieces or generous pinch dried basil, crumbled
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons butter

Place cheese on one slice of bread, covering the bread to the edges. Top with onion and tomato. Add basil and finish off with garlic. Spread the second slice of bread with butter and place it buttered side up on top of sandwich.

GrilledCheese2Preheat grill  to 340 degrees or heat a frying pan on medium heat. Place sandwich buttered side down onto the hot surface. Cover sandwich or pan with a lid to speed the melting of the cheese. Check bottom of bread after a few minutes to measure how quickly it’s browning, and cook until it becomes a rich golden brown. Butter the top side of upper piece of bread, then flip sandwich over. Cook on second side, uncovered, until nicely toasted. Cut in half and serve piping hot.

[amazon-product]1580631673[/amazon-product]

Notes to the cook:

  • Grilled sandwiches are buttered on the outer sides of the bread rather than the inner sides, so you don’t need to butter the pan – the sandwich does it for you.
  • The amount of cheese will vary according to the size of the bread slices.

Makes 2 sandwiches.

From “The Intimate Vegetarian” by Nancy Mair

This article is part of the series:  World Vegetarian Day Brings Some Meat-free Surprises

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Raw Tomato Lasagna Makes for a Colorful Centerpiece


VegLasagnaZucchini and Tomato Lasagna

The authors of “Raw Food, Real World” like the vibrant color and tart flavor of green zebra tomatoes for this dish. “Of course, you can use any tomatoes, preferably heirloom,” write Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis. “Use the best quality sun-dried tomatoes you can find (but not the kind packed in olive oil). … The brighter ones make for a redder sauce, which will add good, Italian-flag contrast to the dish.”

Pignoli “ricotta”:
2 cups raw pignoli or pine nuts, soaked in water, preferably filtered, for 1 hour or more
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (see note)
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons water, preferably filtered

Tomato sauce:
2 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), soaked in water, preferably filtered, for 2 hours or more
1 small to medium red tomato, diced
1/4 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons sea salt
Pinch of hot pepper flakes

Basil-pistachio pesto:
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Assembly:
3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3 medium green zebra tomatoes (or other heirloom variety), cut in half and then sliced
Whole basil leaves, for garnish

For the pignoli “ricotta”: Place the nuts, lemon juice, yeast and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times, until thoroughly combined. Gradually add the water and process until the texture becomes fluffy like ricotta.

For the tomato sauce: Squeeze and drain as much of the water out of the soaked sun-dried tomatoes as you can. Add the drained tomatoes to a high-speed blender with the tomato, onion, lemon juice, oil, agave nectar, salt and hot pepper flakes. Blend until smooth. Add a tablespoon or two of water if the sauce is too thick.

For the basil-pistachio pesto: Place the basil, pistachios, oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until well combined but still slightly chunky.

There are two ways to assemble this dish:

Both start with cutting the zucchini crosswise in half, or into 3-inch lengths. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices; in a medium bowl, toss the zucchini slices with the olive oil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.

For one preparation: Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a layer of zucchini slices, each one slightly overlapping another. Spread about one-third of the tomato sauce over it and top with small dollops of “ricotta” and pesto, then one-third, using about one-third of each. Layer on fresh tomato slices. Add another layer of zucchini slices and repeat twice more with the tomato sauce, “ricotta,” pesto and tomato slices. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for a few hours. Garnish with basil leaves.

[amazon-product]0060793554[/amazon-product]For the second preparation: Place about 3 zucchini slices next to each other and slightly overlapping in the center of each serving plate, to make a square shape. Spread tomato sauce over the zucchini, top with small dollops of “ricotta” and pesto and a few tomato small tomato slices. Repeat twice more. Garnish with basil leaves.

Any leftover lasagna, whether made in a tray or individually will taste great if kept in the refrigerator for at least a day or more, but it won’t look as good (which doesn’t matter if you’re standing by yourself and eating it directly from the refrigerator, as we’ve been known to do at home).

Note: Nutritional yeast is sold in bulk bins at health food stores.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Raw Food, Real World” by Matthew Kenny and Sarma Melgnailis

This article is part of the series:  World Vegetarian Day Brings Some Meat-free Surprises

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