Pittsburgh food bloggers -- several of whom we work with and list on our blog roll on the Post-Gazette's pgplate.com site, where our The Forks blog lives -- also have been tomato-ing. Here's a sampling.
GOAT CHEESE-STUFFED TOMATOES
Recipe from Dana Cizmas of Simply Romaneso
Tomatoes play an important role in Romanian cuisine. They often constitute the cozy, saucy, piping-hot pool for stuffed cabbage, pork goulash and stuffed peppers stew, or they are found amid many other chopped ingredients in rich sour soups. But, on occasion, we love to thoroughly stuff them! Everything from bread to baba ganoush; rice, meat, mushrooms, meat and mushrooms, liver, pork scraps, fish, and of course cheese. Anything known to man, just shove it down inside the beautiful and mostly unmolested fresh tomatoes! And just like that, tomatoes are the centerpiece!
In this wonderful recipe, tomatoes are splendid when partnered with smooth and tangy goat cheese speckled with delicate dill. In Romania, cheese-stuffed tomatoes are more often than not a quintessential component on cold appetizer platters next to a diverse array of cold cuts, meatballs, olives and cheeses. But they could easily represent a dazzling and delicious appetizer on their own, a light snack or a quick lunch. Suffice it to say -- they are beautiful and very, very tasty!
Recipe from Leah Lizarondo of Brazen Kitchen
(From 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 12, at Marty's Market in the Strip District, she'll be doing a "Raw Food 101" class with Farm to Table Pittsburgh; register at 412-563-8800.)
I'm getting the first tomatoes from my CSA and my garden. How exciting!
Here a favorite recipe for an insalata caprese with a Japanese twist.
- For the salad
Fresh tomatoes, sliced thin
Soft or silken tofu, sliced thin
Baby spinach leaves
Layer the tomatoes, tofu and spinach napoleon-style or lay slices and leaves alternately on a large plate if serving a crowd.
Pour Umeboshi Vinaigrette (recipe follows) over the salad. Serve.
If you have never had umeboshi vinegar, I command you now to go to your nearest food co-op, Japanese store or Whole Foods and get a bottle. It will change your life. The super-tangy and uber-salty vinegar is made from fermented ume plums and tastes like no other vinegar you've ever had!
This makes about 1/2 cup and becomes decidedly "brothier" as it mixes with the fresh tomato juices. I love this dressing on cukes, fresh or blanched green beans and even a rice salad. I guess I love this dressing. Period.
Start with a 1:1 ratio then work the oil up to what's comfortable for you. I typically end up with somewhere like 1.5:1 (in favor of the oil)
1/4 cup sesame oil (or a combination of toasted sesame oil and olive oil)
1/4 cup umeboshi vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Mix together with a whisk to form an emulsion.
Caprese quinoa-stuffed tomatoes
Recipe from Katy Zeglen of BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini
This is a recipe I created very recently and have made a few times since then. It's a healthy and light entree that not only takes advantage of summer's ripe tomatoes but also basil. They transport well for picnics and even in containers for lunch at work the next day. It's nice to have something fresh when one is stuck indoors, right?
I could eat caprese anything and, with my husband, Matt's basil and tomato plants flourishing, you best prepare yourselves for lots of caprese recipes this summer.
When the basil plants are more robust later in the season, I plan to substitute homemade pesto for the mozzarella cheese for a fresh twist. This is also a way to make this dish vegan and just plain delicious. Pesto makes everything better!
Coach Tomlin Tomato Cheese Pie
Recipe from Liz Boyd of Stiller Snacks
This is one of the tomato recipes I've been hard at work on (another is Black and Gold Caprese Salad).
Recipe from Nicole and Greg of Yum Yum
We love tomatoes and this year, for the first time, we are growing our own!
For this recipe -- I'm not sure it's really a recipe -- we slice the tomatoes, place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, season them with salt and pepper, sprinkle them with chopped fresh thyme and rosemary (sometimes just thyme), drizzle with olive oil, and roast at 350 until done (until tomatoes are moisture-free), usually one and a half to two hours. Let the tomatoes cool a bit.
Take one sheet of puff pastry and roll to 14-by-12-inches, cut in half, place halves on parchment paper. Prick both pieces with a fork and bake at 425 degrees until golden. Remove from oven and press down any bubbles in the middle of the pastry. Top with as many tomatoes as you like, return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes. Brush the edges with olive oil (sometimes we don't) and top the tarts with as much/little crumbled feta or goat cheese as you want. The first time we made it, we followed the recipe in "Puff" by Martha Holmberg (Chronicle, 2008), but now we use whatever tomatoes we have on hand and whatever herbs we feel like, and often we don't roll the puff pastry out to a full 14-by-12 inches.