Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and a Tasty Salad

I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes. I like them on things and in things, but not really on their own. I will occasionally buy a small container of cherry or grape tomatoes, but they usually end up getting wrinkly and/or rotten before I finish them.

When I found this recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes, I was intrigued, and thought that maybe, just maybe, slow-roasting them would make them so yummy that I wouldn’t be able to resist eating them. And it kinda worked. I’m not in love with these tomatoes (I think the flavor of the skin is kind of weird), but I do like them. And they’re AMAZING with a bit of toasted baguette.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

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Tomato

Ingredients

  • Roma tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Ground coriander ( or grind your own)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
  2. Wash tomatoes, cut off stem end, and slice in half lengthwise.
  3. Place skin side down on a baking sheet and use a spoon or brush to spread olive oil on tomatoes.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and coriander.
  5. Bake for 4 to 6 hours.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Tomatoes can be stored in air tight container in the refrigerator.

I had some leftover avocado in the fridge and my dad was grilling some sweet corn, so I decided to throw together a fresh, tasty salad using the tomatoes.

Slow-Roasted Tomato, Corn, and Avocado Salad

Salad 2

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 slow roasted tomato halves, chopped
  • 1ear of sweet corn, cooked (steamed, grilled, etc)
  • Half an avocado, chopped
  • A few drops of lime juice
  • One small basil leaf, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a sharp knife, shear corn kernels from cob into a bowl.
  2. Add tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, basil leaf and salt, and stir to combine.

Source: Slow-roasted tomato recipe slightly adapted from Orangette; salad is my own culinary genius.

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Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

As I’ve written before, I often find myself using leftover ingredients – things that I’ve used in other recipes that sit around for a while in my fridge – when I cook. This works especially well with things like fresh herbs and certain types of produce, that tend to have shorter shelf lives.

The other day I cut up some zucchini to take as part of my lunch and realized that I don’t really like zucchini, especially when raw.  I was looking through some recipes last night and found one that would use most of the leftover zucchini. It also called for cocoa powder, which meant that I would get to eat a chocolatey baked good, which doesn’t happen often when one is on a mostly dairy-free diet (unless I bake said chocolatey baked goods myself).

Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins 2

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 to 1 c raw sugar (depending on sweetness level you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup lactose-free milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease/spray muffin pan or paper liners, depending on what you plan to use. I use paper liners because they look nice and keep the muffin together.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, mix mashed banana with oil and sugar, then add in the milk, vanilla and zucchini.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients little by little, stirring until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin cups until about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring muffins to a wire cooling rack.

You can sub out the milk for a non-dairy version to make this recipe vegan.

Source: Adapted from The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon

Oatmeal Bars

After a couple of weeks of orientation/training, I am set to begin in my role as tutoring coordinator on Monday. The first few weeks will be pretty low-key, as teachers don’t have to return to school until the 26th, but I will have the opportunity to get to know my site supervisor, the principal, and the building/neighborhood. I am both excited and anxious about getting started.

Being at the school site and living on a VISTA budget means I will be bringing my own food – lunch and snacks – most days. I’ve enjoyed eating granola bars as a snack, but many of them contain dairy and/or lots of sugar or corn syrup. I was thrilled to find this recipe for oatmeal bars a few weeks ago, and am looking forward to playing around with it to create some really good stuff.

Oatmeal Bars

Oatmeal bars

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole oats
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil a cookie sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine honey, oil, egg, orange juice, and vanilla. When using the same amounts of oil and a sticky ingredient like honey I pour the oil in first and then use the same measuring cup for the honey so it doesn’t stick as badly.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Using greased spatula or hands, press mixture firmly onto the cookie sheet, forming one large rectangle. Smooth the edges.
  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The bottom of my giant bar was still kind of soft at the 15 minute mark, so be sure to check that before turning the oven off.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting into smaller bars.

You can add goodies like dried cranberries or chocolate chips to the mix as well. And these do well in the freezer, so you can make a whole bunch of ’em.

Source: Adapted from The Laptop Lunch User’s Guide by Amy Hemmert and Tammy Pelstring

Vinaigrettes

I usually post on a weekly basis, but was out for most of last week at Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) for my VISTA position (that starts tomorrow!!). PSO was pretty exhausting, so I was looking to make something quick and simple, that I could whip up with little or no time spent cooking.

Since going dairy free I’ve found that I can no longer eat some of my favorite salad dressings, which is probably a good thing because they’re not all that healthy. I’ve tried a few good vinaigrettes here and there, but nothing really beats the taste of homemade.

Herbed Vinaigrette

Herb Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fresh packed fresh herbs
  • 1/4 cup plus one tsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 cloves gralic
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. Put everything into a food processor or blender and blend well.

I used basil, thyme, parsley, and a few leaves of rosemary in this recipe, and it turned out wonderful. I love this viniagrette on spinach or romaine, and am betting it would make a great dip for bread as well.

Source: Adapted from Kitchen Explorers at PBS.org

Red Wine-Mustard Vinaigrette

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the olive oil.
  2. Add olive oil slowly, adding about one tablespoon at a time, while whisking mixture continuously.

Source: Orangette