Monday, August 10, 2015

Ode to the Tomato: Tomato Baguette with Basil Mayonnaise

Location Today:  Pittsburgh, PA - although we just returned from Knoxville, TN
What I am cooking:  Jalapeno Poppers, Stuffed Pepper Soup, Mexican Black Bean and Corn Salad
Upcoming Recipe on Thursday:  Spanish Gazpacho (to carry on with the tomato theme)

     Ever since we visited Seville, Spain last summer, we cannot get enough of tapas.  The one important trait that we learned was that tapas did not have to be some elaborate set of delicacies.  Some of our favorites included no cook items such as Iberico jamon or a simple mozzarella and tomato salad.  Other favorites were more complicated:  Pan seared tuna or braised pork cheeks.  Each portion is just enough to give our family of three just a bite or two.  Our strategy is to order just two tapas at a time.  Eat a little, drink a little, talk a lot and then decide what is next.  "Do we stay here for another round or do we walk up the street to the next spot?"  We all participate in the meal, discuss the outcome and thoroughly enjoy ourselves.
     Needless to say, we have adopted this same mentality at home.  Every two weeks or so, we have our own version of tapas.  Always served two at a time, it is a mixture of the easy and the more complicated.  One such night included Salmon Tartare with an Avocado Wasabi Cream, Apple Stilton Welsh Rarebit, Crab and Cream Cheese Wontons and Roasted Figs.   We eat a little, drink a little and talk a lot...then the next round.  We might finish with a plate of various Belgian chocolates.  It works for us.  I have been known to go a bit over the top and call "leftover night" our "tapas night".  That doesn't sit too well with the group.
     With the peak of the summer vegetable season, we centered Sunday night's tapas on the tomato.  Like many people, I LOVE really good tomatoes.  What is so hard is that how many times during the year do you get a really good tomato?  Luckily with our CSA shipments this summer, we are receiving some good ones and that puts a smile on all of our faces.
     With a mistaken delivery of buttermilk on Friday instead of cream, we made another batch of fried green tomatoes.  Everyone had at least one slice, which paired nicely with cool Spanish Gazpacho.    The heirlooms that I received on Friday were dressed with fresh basil pesto and burrata cheese.  Finally, I had to have a tomato sandwich but mine was served on a baguette and garnished with a basil, garlic mayo.  I have to say, it was the hit of our "Ode to the Tomato" Tapas.

     We were in Tennessee last week and while there, I was able to visit Benton's Bacon and I have to tell you, it was a wonderful experience.  I took lots of notes and lots of pictures and will be sharing this adventure with you in the near future.  I also dined at the Foothills Milling Company in Maryville, TN and the food was out-of-this-world!

This weeks' CSA shipment contained:  Carrots, Yellow Beans, Green Peppers, Red Onion, Watermelon, Heirloom Tomatoes
This weeks' CSA Plan:
Carrots:  Easy - Put into Dear Husband's daily lunch
Yellow Beans:  A wonderful accompaniment to left over salmon
Green Peppers:  Knowing that school will be starting soon and our schedules will be a bit crazy, I am going to make a Stuffed Pepper Soup that I can freeze.
Red Onion:  Grilled them last night with T-Bone Steaks!
Watermelon:  No plan...just eat
Heirloom Tomatoes:  Ode to Tomato

Tomato Baguette with Basil Mayonnaise
Mayo adapted from Ina Garten

Tomato Baguette with Basil Mayo

Sliced ripe tomatoes
Salt and pepper
A really good baguette, slightly warm
Basil Mayonnaise

Assemble the sandwich and slice into individual servings.  Serve with lots of napkins to clean up all of juices that run down your hands - that is the most fun!

Basil Mayo - Mix altogether
1 cup of good quality mayo
15 leaves of basil, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1T olive oil

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