What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tomatoes and Basil

My food blogging friend and neighbor in Durham, Jmom of In Our Kitchen told me about a wonderful way to get lots of ideas for gardening cooking eaters called Weekend Herb Gardening and it is right up my alley! I love seeing what everyone is growing and cooking in season around the world. This is my first post to it, this week which is hosted by Anthony's Kitchen.

We have about 1/4 acre garden. Right now we are picking the last of the blueberries and the first of the figs. We have green beans, butter beans and pick eyed purple hulls, corn, cucumbers, okra, and cantelope. That's in addition to the herbs that are in the garden year 'round (rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives, garlic chives, burnett and tarragon (some years).

We, like many others am being inundated with tomatoes and basil. We have about a dozen varieties of tomatoes and 4 varieties of basil.
We haved canned some of them and will can more and make salsa. We eat them fresh at every meal and regularly have caprese salads with fresh mozerella and basil. We have had fresh tomato sauce for pasta, grilled eggplant, fresh tomato and mozerella pizza with fresh basil, loads of pesto and roasted tomato soup a swank recipe link and gazpacho. It is hard NOT to focus on tomatoes when you have them by the bushel.

What next, you ask? We'll give you a few nifty ideas that you may not have thought of. Donna, a friend of mine, used to work for a caterer in Cleveland, years ago. One of the favorite appetizers was baby tomatoes stuffed with a piece of lettuce, crumbled bacon and a dollop of mayo. A BLT without the bread! We like to do it with a leaf of basil instead of lettuce, a BBT. It is very cute and yummy.

Another friend, Kathy, gave us her recipe years ago for Hungarian tomato pie. We have modified over the years. We use whole wheat pie crust (this recipe is on our website too), but you can use your own favorite pie crust; you just need 1/2 for the bottom or even buy those rolled up Pillsbury pie crusts to make it really easy. Chop 4 large tomatoes and saute in 3 Tab. butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Cool. Saute 2 large sliced onions in 5 Tab butter until soft. Stir in 2 Tab chopped parsley and 3 Tab chopped basil (we really like it with more basil). Mix 1 1/2 cups gruyere with 1 T flour. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Line bottom of pie crust with cheese and flour mixture. Spread sauted onions on top then the cooked tomatoes. Cut the last uncooked tomato into identical sized wedges and place decoratively on top. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.

Serve warm. Serves 4 big servings.

Not your everyday tomato sandwich (although there's nothing like a BBT or a BLT). Enjoy the fruits of your labor! Eat well and laugh often!


  • At 2:27 AM, Anonymous coffeepot said…

    Your canning and tomato recipes look wonderful.

    It is my first post for WHB also and it is a really fun way to learn and get some great ideas.

    Happy Blogging there in NC.

  • At 4:42 PM, Anonymous coffeepot said…

    Hey Pookah,
    I answered you on my own site and then thought I better come here cause you might not see it.

    I have grown Mr Stripey, Brandywine Pinks, Beefsteaks and the Lemon Boys with success.

    The Lemon Boys are outdoing them all this year.

    Not that I haven’t had some that I plowed under in years past.

    Yes I live in VA. Your in NC aren’t you?

    I found you through a search for weekend herb blogging hon.

    I do love your site.


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