The varieties of tomatoes available this time of year makes me want to add them to every dish that I make. And here in the Northwest with the sun actually shining this summer, local gardens should be teaming with vine ripe tomatoes.
A quick and super easy appetizer from my book “Sips and Apps” is my Caprese Picks – just skewer up some cherry tomatoes, baby mozzarella balls and fresh basil leaves and serve with my Quick Basil Aioli for dipping.
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – Angie Norwood Browne.
Looking for a twist on a traditional salsa? Try my Orange Ginger Salsa. Combine some orange segments and fresh ginger with diced tomatoes then stir in some Thai sweet chili sauce, a squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro – zing! It’s perfect to serve over grilled chicken or salmon.
Have you ever tried a savory tomato jam? It is SO good to serve alongside roasted meats, prosciutto and cheeses like gorgonzola or aged gouda! If you have lots of tomatoes in your garden, try putting up my savory Tomato Basil Jam.
So get your tomato on and cook up some vine ripen recipes! – Kathy
Piccolo Caprese Picks with Quick Basil Aioli
The beloved Italian salad goes mini-on-a-pick. Be sure to purchase ciliegine mozzarella balls—these are the tiny cherry-sized ones.
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup high-quality mayonnaise, such as Best Foods or Hellmann’s
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
24 cherry tomatoes (about 1 pint)
24 small fresh basil leaves
24 ciliegine mozzarella balls (these are the tiny 1/3-ounce balls), drained well
Freshly ground black pepper
24 short bamboo or other fun picks
To make the aioli: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, and basil. Whisk in the mayonnaise until smooth. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Cover and refrigerate until needed. The aioli can be made up to 3 days in advance.
To assemble the caprese: With a paring knife, halve each cherry tomato horizontally, being careful to keep the halves together. Then thread onto a pick in this order: a tomato top, a basil leaf, a mozzarella ball, and the tomato bottom. Be sure the cut sides of the tomato face toward the cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place on a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with the aioli in a bowl for dipping or drizzling.
Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books
Orange Ginger Salsa
Great over grilled seafood, chicken or pork, I especially love it with Alaska salmon.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
3/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced orange (peeled and seeded)
3/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced ripe tomato (seeds lightly squeezed out)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons 1/4-inch-diced Walla Walla or other sweet white onion
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
Mix all ingredients together well. Let flavors marry for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.
Tomato Basil Jam
Try making this savory tomato jam to serve with sexy cheeses or for breakfast or brunch on toasted rustic bread with whipped cream cheese or soft goat cheese.
Makes 4 half-pint jars
3 cups peeled (see Chef’s Notes) and chopped tomatoes, about 1 1/2 lb.
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. finely minced lemon zest
2 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 shallots, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
1 tsp. salt
1 box MCP pectin
3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
Place tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallots, chili flakes and salt in a 6- to 8-quart, heavy-bottom saucepot. Add the pectin and stir in.
Place over high heat and bring to a FULL ROLLING BOIL (a boil you can’t stir down), stirring constantly to prevent scorching. (If mixture starts to scorch, turn down heat a bit.) Stir in the sugar and, as soon as the full rolling boil takes place again, start timing and cook jam for 7 minutes.
Then remove from heat, skim the jam, stir in basil and fill jars per manufacturer’s instructions. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (with this method, the jam will keep for up to 1 year stored at room temperature).
Or, to make a refrigerated jam – fill jars with hot jam, cool , then cover and keep refrigerate for up to 3 months.
Chef’s Notes: Wash tomatoes in cool running water. Remove skins by dipping in boiling water for 30 – 60 seconds, or until skins split. Dip in ice water, then slip off skins and remove cores.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.