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 Buttermilk Biscuit with Benton’s Bacon, Avocado, and Rhubarb Marmalade

Who said breakfast had to be confined to downing hydrogenated breakfast bars or cereal and milk while juggling house keys, your bag, and trying to find your matching shoe? I often find that enjoying my mornings with a flavorful breakfast and warm coffee or tea can later make even the worst parts of my day much more bearable.

Furthermore, cooking up breakfast myself starts me off with a happy feeling of accomplishment and puts me in a much better mood. This recipe for buttermilk biscuits with Benton’s bacon, avocado, and rhubarb marmalade will be sure to set your day off in a positive direction.

For the rhubarb marmalade, you’ll need:

2 cups onion, sliced

¼ cup oil

4 cups Rhubarb, sliced

4 Tbl sugar

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

½ tsp salt

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, then reduce the heat to low and sauté gently for 5 minutes. Add the rhubarb and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the sugar, vinegar, and salt. Cook the marmalade gently, stirring occasionally for another 5-8 minutes.

To make the biscuits:

We suggest using the award-winning biscuit recipe from last year’s International Biscuit Festival.

Split a freshly baked biscuit in half. Place cooked Benton’s bacon on the bottom half of the biscuit. Top the bacon with ¼ of an Avocado. Spread a generous amount of rhubarb marmalade on the top of the biscuit. Place the top back on the biscuit and serve.

This seasonal treat is great for making any spring morning a time to enjoy yourself or company.

Click the photo below to watch Mahasti make this delicious recipe on her WBIR cooking segment.

biscuit with marmalade

Tomato Head’s chorizo and onion quesadilla with guacamole

Today’s recipe for Tomato Head’s chorizo and onion quesadilla with guacamole can be an easy meal or snack, especially when the guacamole is prepped. More importantly we’re sharing a delicious recipe for guacamole, which really should speak for itself.

But for those of you who don’t know, guacamole is a perfect snack or addition to any meal in the summer time, especially by the water with a beer….I’ll stop dreaming now and get back to work. While this is a Mexican inspired dish, there is certainly room to be creative and bring in different elements.

Begin by making the guacamole, which will keep for a few days as long as you cover it directly with saran wrap, meaning no air between the wrap and the guacamole. This will slow down oxidation. This recipe for guacamole serves 4-6 people. For this part of the recipe, you’ll need:

4 ripe avacados

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup tomato, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 Tbl cilantro

¾ tsp salt

2 Tbl onion, chopped

2 tsp jalapeno, chopped

Cut the avocados in half, removing the seed and scooping the flesh into a medium sized bowl. This is easier done with a spoon (click the photo below to see video of Mahasti using this life hack). Mash the avocados with a potato masher or pastry cutter, then squeeze lime juice over the avocados. This will add to the taste and help the dish keep. Next, add tomato, garlic, cilantro, salt, onion, and jalapeno. Mix well and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, cover with saran wrap as previously directed.

The quesadillas are the next step of the recipe. For these you’ll need:

12 inch tortillas

½ cup cooked chorizo

½-¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese

sliced onion

Place tortillas on a work surface. Cover the half closest to you with chorizo, cheese, and onion. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the bottom and place the tortilla on a heated griddle or a large cast iron skillet. When the quesadilla has browned on one side, flip it over and brown the other side while allowing the cheese to melt. Serve with the guacamole, and enjoy!

Video of Mahasti's WBIR cooking segment

Video of Mahasti’s WBIR cooking segment

Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo Mole

Do you ever wonder what chefs who actually know how to cook throw together for a last minute dinner?

Here’s an idea of what Mahasti does when she doesn’t have time to cook. This recipe for chicken enchiladas in tomatillo mole has quite a few perks. Once you’ve made the mole, you can keep it in stock, which makes this recipe, and many more, quick and easy. Mole can be thrown on top of a long list of things. Many of the ingredients for this tomatillo mole, such as the peppers, onion, and maybe even tomatillos if under the proper conditions, can be grown in your own garden which makes the mole the freshest it can be, and thusly taste even better. Also this recipe is easy, delicious, and fairly more interesting than making lasagna for the third week in a row.

To make the mole, you’ll need:

8 cups husked tomatillos (about 16-17 tomatillos)

1 large poblano pepper, destemmed and deseeded

1 large onion, peeled and quartered

½ cup cilantro

½ cup sour cream

1½ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 400°. Place the tomatillos, poblano, jalapeno, and onion in a large baking dish and bake for 50 minutes. Look for the tomatillos to have black spots on them, then take them out and allow to cool. Place the mixture into the bowl of your blender, then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

The mole is really the bulk of the recipe in terms of time commitment. It is easy to store and keeps well, so keep it in stock.

To assemble the enchiladas, you’ll need:

One corn tortilla

1-1½ Tbl Mole

Scant ¼ cup chicken

Scant ¼ cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Shaved cabbage

Keep your oven at 400°. Place the corn tortillas in one layer on your work surface. Spread each tortilla with Mole, covering the tortilla almost entirely.  Place chicken and cheese on top of tortilla and roll the tortilla up into a tube.  Place tortillas seam side down in a baking dish or cast iron skillet.  Cover the tortillas entirely with more Mole; about 1/4 cup per enchilada.  Sprinkle tops with a little more cheese.  Place the dish in the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately with corn chips or beans and rice.

Tomatillo Mole

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.

Tomato Head’s Cauliflower Soup

¼ cup Oil

1 cup Onion

2 Celery Stalks, about 2 cups

1 Cauliflower

3.5 cups Water

2 tsp Salt

¼ tsp Black Pepper

Chopped spinach

To prepare the Cauliflower: Remove the leaves, and rinse under cold water. Cut Cauliflower in ½ and cut small florets off one half, and set aside. Cut the remaining cauliflower into medium chunks and set aside.

For the Soup:

Heat the oil in a medium pot, over high heat. Add the onions and saute for 1 -2 minutes. Add Celery, medium chunk Cauliflower, Water, Salt and Pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer soup covered for 40 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.

Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender, or allow soup to cool if using a standard blender (see note), and puree for 2 minutes or until soup is very smooth. Add Cauliflower florets, return the pot to low heat and simmer until florets are soft, about 10 minutes or longer depending on your taste.

Serve immediately topped with chopped spinach.

Serves 4

Note: be very careful – hot liquids will splash out of a standard blender

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

 

Tomato Head’s Apple Chutney and Cheddar Grilled Cheese on Flour Head Bakery Cranberry Almond Bread

For Apple Chutney:

½ cup Oil

1 cup onion, diced

3 medium Granny Smith Apples (about 4 cups), sliced

1 Tbl Jalapeno, minced

2 Tbl cilantro, chopped

¼ cup sugar

2 cup Orange Juice

1 cup Raisins

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Cumin, ground

2 tsp Curry Powder

½ tsp Ginger, ground

½ tsp Coriander, ground

1/8 tsp cinnamon, ground

¼ cup vinegar

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add apples, jalapeno, and cilantro and saute 1-2 minutes longer. Add orange juice. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat to medium low.

Add remaining ingredients.  drop heat to low and stir frequently for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until mixture thickens.

To Assemble Grilled Cheese:

Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium heat.

Generously butter an even number of slices of bread. Place the slices butter down on a parchment lined baking pan. Top ½ of the slices of bread with a generous portion of chutney, some thinly sliced green apples, one slice of Monterey Jack cheese, and one slice or a generous sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese. Place a piece of buttered bread, butter side up (facing you) on top of each of the assembled pieces of bread.

Grill the sandwiches in the preheated cast iron skillet. 1 or 2 at a time until lightly browned, flipping as necessary, on both sides until cheese has melted.

Tomato Head’s Summer Zucchini and Poblano Soup

If you’ve spent anytime at the Market Square Farmers’ Market over the past few weekends, you’ve noticed an abundance of summer squash. This simple recipe for Mahasti’s Summer Zucchini & Poblano Soup is a great alternative to preparing zucchini the traditional summer way – standing over a hot grill.

Incorporating poblano peppers adds a slightly sweet and earthy flavorful without overwhelming your taste buds with lots of heat. In case you missed her cooking segment on WBIR last Saturday, we’ve shared Mahasti’s on our blog so grab some local homegrown squash on your next shopping trip and give this recipe a spin in the comfort of your kitchen.

Enjoy!

¼ cup olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

2 large garlic cloves

1 large poblano pepper, cored, seeded and sliced

5 medium zucchini, ends removed

4 cups water

1 bunch cilantro

2 tsp salt

Peel and dice onion and set aside. Peel garlic, roughly chop and set aside. Rinse pepper, cut down the middle, remove stem and seeds, and cut into 1inch strips and set aside. Remove the ends off all of the zucchini. Cut 4 of the zucchini into 1inch rounds and set aside. Shred the remaining zucchini and set aside separately.

Remove about 1/2 inch off the bottom of the cilantro stems. Place the cilantro in a large bowl of cold water, swish around, and then lift the cilantro out of the water. Repeat the wash process with fresh water until there is no dirt left in the bottom of your bowl when you remove the cilantro. Roughly chop the cilantro and set aside.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Add zucchini, pepper and water. Bring the soup to boil, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cilantro and salt and blend with an immersion blender until soup is smooth. If using an upright blender, wait for soup to come to room temperature before blending to avoid burning yourself.

After soup is blended add the shredded zucchini. If you used an immersion blender soup will be ready to serve immediately. If you cooled your soup in order to use an upright blender, the soup can be re-heated after you add the shredded zucchini.

Serve with Flour Head Bakery bread and enjoy.

Serves 8- 10

WBIR Tomato Head Summer Zucchini Pablano Soup Recipe

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design