Tomato Head’s Marinated Zucchini and Mint Pasta

The redeeming grace of summers in the South boils into just a few fine points that prove enough to justify intensely hot summer days. For me, these points can be counted on one hand. Largely, this period of late spring summer multiplies our vegetation options, meaning we have so many delicious options to choose from!

Via the farmer’s market or your own garden, fresh vegetables and herbs are easily available. Fresh ingredients change a dish entirely for the better. Take Saturday’s recipe for Tomato Head’s pasta with marinated zucchini and mint for example; almost all of these ingredients can be found fresh at the farmer’s market.

The ingredients for this recipe include:

2 Large Zucchini, washed and diced to fill 8 cups

⅓ cup Oil

1 tsp Salt

½ tsp Black Pepper

¼ cup Olive Oil

⅛ cup Cider Vinegar

½ tsp Salt

¼ – ⅓ cup Fresh Mint, chopped

½ cup Spinach, chopped

Toss the zucchini with oil, salt, and pepper, then place on a large cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400⁰. Remove the tray and allow the zucchini to cool.

Toss cooled zucchini with olive oil, cider vinegar, salt, and mint. Allow the mixture to marinate for 2-4 hours.

Cook a ½ lb of your favorite shape of pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss with 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach and marinated zucchini. Top with parmesan cheese, and this dish is ready to serve.

This recipe for Tomato Head’s marinated zucchini and mint pasta will serve 4-6 people of your choosing, and will pair well with a Bordeaux or a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. For beer lovers, the pasta will pair nicely with a Belgian-style Saison. Come see us when you visit the farmer’s market.

Click on the photo below to watch Mahasti’s recent cooking segment WBIR Channel 10.

Tomato Head's Summer Vegetable Pasta

Tomato Head’s Pasta with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Roasted Cauliflower

When I listen closely, I can hear it. Maybe you can too. It sounds like a small crack, then a shuffle of a shelf. It sounds like water dripping steadily from the roof onto the speckled ground outside of my bedroom window.

It is the sound of freedom from the ice storm that has encased us since the tail end of Valentine’s Day madness.

As you thaw, perhaps still feeling somewhat lethargic from the snow days and freezing temperatures, you can quickly make this simple sundried tomato pesto pasta before returning to Netflix and a cozy bed. Of course, Tomato Head’s sundried tomato pesto pasta is a versatile meal that can be used on several occasions such as cooking for friends or family, or especially for a date.

The important thing is that this dish is delicious to eat and fun to make because there is room for creativity.

Pesto will keep well for approximately two weeks, and making it in advance means that it is ready on hand for an even quicker meal. Plus pesto goes well with many other dishes or snacks as well, so having a batch on hand can be really helpful. Mahasti likes to add cauliflower and spinach to this recipe, but it can be eaten plain with just the bread crumbs. It would serve well as a side dish for chicken, fish, or steak. You can even substitute kale for the spinach and leave off the cauliflower. Really, the possibilities are endless!

Here’s what you’ll need for the pesto:

1 cup of sundried tomatoes in oil

⅓ cup of slivered almonds

½ cup of olive oil

2 small cloves of garlic

1¼ cups of water

2½ Tbl of fresh lemon juice

¾ tsp of salt

Place all of the ingredients into the jar of your blender and blend until smooth. Please note that this pesto is vegan. If you don’t have a blender, that’s okay. You can stop by either of the Tomato Head locations and pick up an 8 oz container of vegan or non-vegan pesto, then be well on your way with the rest of the dish.

Now it’s time for the roasted cauliflower. You’ll need:

2 cups of sliced cauliflower

1 Tbl of olive oil

¼ tsp of salt

¼ tsp of black pepper

Toss the cauliflower with your oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the cauliflower flat onto a cookie sheet and place under the broiler until golden. Remove from the oven, flip the cauliflower, and broil until the other side is golden as well. This usually takes about 4-5 minutes per side, but timing depends on your oven.

Now, for the bread crumbs. You’ll need:

½ cup of Panko bread crumbs

2 Tbl of butter

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and stir until the breadcrumbs are completely coated and begin to brown slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now it is time for the pasta. To assemble the pasta, you will need:

Spaghetti Noodles

1 cup of chopped fresh spinach

Roasted Cauliflower (see above)

Panko bread crumbs (see above)

Measure out enough dry spaghetti noodles to reach the approximate diameter of a quarter. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Before draining the pasta, remove ½ cup of the paste water and set it aside.

While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet on the stove. Just before draining the pasta turn the eye under the skillet to medium. Now drain the pasta. Next, add the drained pasta, ½ cup of sundried tomato pesto, and the ½ cup of reserved pasta water. Toss the noodles with the pesto until the noodles are completely coated with pesto.

Turn off the heat and add 1 cup of chopped spinach. Toss well until the spinach is evenly distributed. Divide the pasta between two bowls and top with breadcrumbs and roasted cauliflower.

Choosing the right wine for a dish with pesto can be tricky. Ultimately, you want a white wine bold enough to cut through the taste of the pesto. I would suggest pairing Tomato Head’s sundried tomato pesto pasta with a crisp, fruity Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry white from the region of Genoa in Italy, depending on your preference for fruity or dry wine. Wines from this region of Italy tend to be quite bold for the purpose of pairing with sauces such as pesto.

Now the best part, enjoy your pasta.

Flour Head Bakery’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake: a story of unlikely friends in the cupboard.

You might find yourself asking, “Who would think of mixing chocolate and mayonnaise together?” Truth is, we didn’t invent this odd pairing. Recipes for chocolate mayonnaise cakes dates back to the World War I, a time when ingredients such as eggs, butter, and milk were scarce. Bakers discovered that mayonnaise served as a suitable substitute, as the oils kept cakes moist and created a brownie-like texture. This trend continued into the Great Depression and has lasted to this day.

Today, mayonnaise is replacing butter in our recipe for Chocolate Mayonnaise cake to create a velvety-smooth texture that will keep well for days. Don’t let the name scare you off. Think of this as a chance to broaden your knowledge of the cake world—plus there is still chocolate.

Before this you can experience this tasteful enlightenment, you’ll need to pick up ingredients for both the cake and the frosting. The list of ingredients for the cake looks like this:

2 oz bittersweet chocolate

⅔ cup cocoa powder

1 ¾ cup boiling water

2 ¾ cups all purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 ¼ cup mayonnaise

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

Once you’ve gathered these, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and greasing the sides. Break or chop the bittersweet chocolate into small pieces, then place in a bowl along with the cocoa powder. Add the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts. Set the bowl aside.

Fill in a medium sized bowl with the baking soda, flour, and baking powder. Whisk until mixture is lump-free.

In yet another bowl, mix the two sugars with the mayonnaise. Whisk until all of the ingredients have blended together well.

Next, add 1/3 of the flour mix to the sugar mixture. Whisk together until the flour is incorporated, add 1/2 of the cocoa mixture, and whisk again until well mixed. Repeat this step, adding another 1/3 of flour with 1/2 (the rest) of the cocoa mixture. Then add the remaining flour. Whisk until the batter is smooth, then distribute the batter evenly between the two cake pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. You can test the center of the cake by poking it with a toothpick; if it comes out clean then the cake is ready. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans. Once cooled, flip them so that the side that had been on the bottom of the pan is now facing up, and remove the parchment paper. Keep in mind that the end result is going to be something like a double-decker cake. Place the first layer on a large platter and cover with 1-1 ½ cups of frosting. Spread and smooth the frosting, then add the second layer on top of the first and continue icing. Serve this timeless recipe at room temperature.

It’s not a finished cake without the perfect frosting, and it’s not a finished recipe without the notes for the perfect frosting to pair.  Here are the ingredients:

10 oz bittersweet chocolate

2 oz white chocolate

3 sticks of butter (at room temperature)

3 cups of confectioner’s sugar

1 Tbl vanilla

Place a pot of water on the stove over medium heat. Fill a small bowl with the bittersweet chocolate, then place the bowl over the pot of boiling water so that the bottom of the chocolate bowl is not touching the boiling water. Keep the chocolate there until it melts completely. Next, remove the bowl and add the white chocolate. Whisk the chocolates together until the white chocolate has melted. Try to resist eating this delicious mix of warm chocolate during this step.

If you own a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment for the next step. If not, a hand mixer will do. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add one cup of the confectioner’s sugar at a time and beat well after each addition. Throw in the vanilla, and while the mixer is running, steadily add the melted chocolate. Beat well until the mix is smooth. Scrape down at least once to make sure the butter is completely mixed with the chocolate.

Finally, the best step: enjoy your cake.

Click the photo to watch Mahasti’s WBIR cooking segment from last weekend.

Flour Head Bakery Chocolate Mayonnaise

Flour Head Bakery’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Cranberry Pie

For the Crust:

20 Oreo cookies

1 Tbl melted butter

Or 1 prepared chocolate crust

Place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the cookies until fine. Add the melted butter and process until the cookie crumbs are evenly coated.

Press the cookie crumbs evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan. Refrigerate the crust while making the filling.

For the Filling:

2 (8 oz ) packs of Cream Cheese

2/3 cup Sugar

2 Large Eggs

½ cup Heavy Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat well until smooth and creamy, scraping down the bowl a few times. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add heavy cream and mix until smooth and creamy.

Pour mixture into prepared crust and bake at 350 degrees 45- 50 minutes or until the cream cheese mixture puffs up and the center no longer jiggles (you will see some cracks in the cream cheese). Remove from oven and allow the pie to come to room temperature.

For the Cranberry Topping:

3 cups Fresh Cranberries

½ cup Water

½ cup Sugar

Look through cranberries for stems and bad pieces. Rinse Cranberries. Place cranberries, water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, and cook stirring occasionally until cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened slightly. Puree cranberries with an immersion blender or for a chunkier sauce, mash with a potato masher. Allow mixture to come to room temperature. Spread mixture over the pie.

Refrigerate pie overnight. Serve Chilled.

WBIR Chocolate Cream Cheese Cranberry Pie

Tomato Head’s Spinach Salad with Fennel, Candied Walnuts and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

For Candied Walnuts:

1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed

¼ cup water

2 Tbl butter

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp allspice

1 ½ cups Walnuts

Place brown sugar, water, butter, salt and spices in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to boil and boil for 1 minute. Add walnuts, and reduce heat to medium. Cook the walnuts in the syrup, stirring, for about 3 minutes until the walnuts are heavily coated. Pour the walnut mixture onto a greased paper lined cookie sheet. Divide the walnuts up with a fork and allow to cool.

For the Dressing:

2 cups Pomegranate Juice

1 cup Cranberry Juice – preferably Knudsen Just Cranberry

1/3 cup Sugar

1 cup Balsamic Vinegar

2 Cups Oil

1 Tbl Dijon Mustard

1 tsp salt

Place the Pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, sugar and balsamic vinegar in a stainless saucepan. Bring the mixture to boil and boil until the liquid has reduced by ½ . Remove from heat, pour juice mixture into a small bowl, add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Dressing can be kept refrigerated for 7  – 10 days.

For Salad:

fresh spinach

fennel bulb, thinly sliced

granny smith apples, cored and thinly sliced

candied walnuts

onion, thinly sliced

dried cranberry

blue cheese crumbles

Place the spinach, fennel, apples, and onion in a large bowl. Pour dressing, according to your taste, over the spinach and toss well. Divide the salad up between bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with blue cheese crumbles and dried cranberries.

If you missed Mahasti’s cooking segment, click the photo below to watch her appearance on WBIR.

WBIR Fennel Recipe

 

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design