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Tomato basil sauce with polenta

16 Sep

I’m always looking for a recipe that will change my mind about polenta, so when I found this one on epicurious with rave reviews I was hopeful!

The sauce is a mix of cherry tomatoes, shallot (I subbed red onion), garlic (I doubled the amount), basil, olive oil, and S&P that gets baked in a little parchment packet.  I was out of parchment so I just used a ceramic dish.

Before:

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After:

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The polenta (I used the pre-made stuff from Trader Joe’s) is browned in the oven next to the sauce.   I thought the sauce was really nice and fresh and I liked the crispy polenta, but I still don’t see the appeal, taste-wise.  What are your favorite polenta recipes?

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Midnight snack

9 Sep

Just a quick post today. I’ve got all these tomatoes to use up (what a problem to have, right?) so I started eating them as a late night snack.  Just a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar (I’ve got this bottle of aged balsamic that’s great for drizzling!), salt, pepper, and some ripped up basil leaves. If I were smart I’d have also made some of the mozzarella from Artisan Vegan Cheese for a caprese salad! These tomatoes are so good they can hold their own though, so NBD.

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Cherry tomatoes!

14 Sep

My first post is about cherry tomatoes!  After 3 years of failure, I finally grew tomatoes on our north-facing, shade-loving apartment balcony! The tricks seemed to be:

1) Planting early (February)
2) Blasting those seedlings with a grow light the first few months
3) Our super awesome planter, which holds water much better than a tiny pot and lets the roots grow deep
4)  Cherry tomatoes!  Those babies are prolific and don’t need as much sun as other tomato varieties

Our cherry tomato plant responded really well this year, growing up about 3 feet, hanging over the balcony rail, and then growing down 4 feet.  The thing is tall!  The two early girls did ok, but I think I only got about 10 mealy fruits from them.

Since I’m not the biggest fan of cherry tomatoes, I decided to cook them down to make bruschetta.  It turned out great!  I didn’t really follow a recipe, I just tossed the tomatoes in a little olive oil and roasted them at 400 degrees for 45 min.  After they cooled down I mixed them with a splash of red wine vinegar, a few cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh basil.  The mix was spread on toasted french bread and topped with more fresh basil and pine nuts.  That’s it!  The roasting really concentrated the tomato flavor so it was super sweet and tangy.  A perfect summer treat that brings back childhood memories of growing a summer garden with my family.