Tag Archives: food

“Sun-Dried” Cherry Tomatoes

Little morsels bursting with flavor…..that’s what they are! Sun dried tomatoes, even though they are not dried by the sun per say, but by my oven, are such a a treat.  They are great on sandwiches, salads, pizza or just by the handful.  I’ve had an abundant cherry tomato harvest this summer, and what better way to preserve these juicy globes of goodness than preparing them as follows:

Sun-Dried Cherry Tomatoes (makes about 2 cups)

  • 3 lbs cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

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Halve all the tomatoes and spread evenly on the baking sheet.  In a small bowl, mix the  olive oil with the minced garlic and drizzle evenly over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle them with generous amounts of salt and pepper (taste them to make sure they are to your liking.) Place baking sheet in the oven and roast for 30 mins, after which you turn down the temperature to 200F and continue roasting for 3-4 more hours, or until desired dryness.  Cool completely, see if you can help yourself from eating them all, and place in a clean jar or airtight container.  I’m not sure how long they keep in the fridge for because  mine didn’t last past day 2 since we ate them all.  If you have better self control than me, leave  a comment with the amount of time yours lasted in the fridge. Enjoy!

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From the Garden-Caprese Salad

One of my favorite produce from the garden are the tomatoes.  So sweet and juicy right off the vine, we eat them like candy.  The weather has been so hot here that I’ve had no desire to turn on the oven, so for dinner  the kids picked a bowl of tomatoes and we turned them into this delicious caprese salad.  Try it with this smoky eggplant dip.

Makes about 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella
  • 3 Tbsp fresh basil
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves and add them to a medium bowl followed by the oil, salt, pepper and vinegar.  Toss gently and taste, adjust the seasoning if needed.  To the tomatoes add the mozzarella and top with the basil.  Toss again gently before serving. Enjoy the taste of summer in this simple salad!

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Portland eats- Forktown Food Tour

If you’ve ever done a food tour you know they can be pretty tasty and informative. If you’ve never done one let me explain what it is. A food tour is a walking tour around a part of a certain city where different restaurants or food venues are incorporated into it, along with some type of history about the town all this led by a guide. While in Portland, we went on a food tour called Forktown Tours. We stopped by a few different restaurants and the farmers market where we sampled a mix of cheese, charcuterie, cherries, and Oregon hazelnuts. 

 The first restaurant we sampled at was called Nel Centro. Here we had a beautiful beet salad, local grown beets, arugula and hazelnuts of course, with house made ricotta cheese. Very fresh and beautiful.


Next, we made our way to a local food truck called Wolf and Bears which serves up Middle Eastern food and it’s special is falafel. 

Portland has many food carts that specialize in every cuisine imaginable. Grilled Cheese Grill is a popular one that serves up grilled cheese sandwiches, some with hamburger patty inside called ” The Cheesus.”

Grass was next on our tour. This restaurant serves up homemade pasta which they continuously make behind a counter (fun to watch) serves up with tasty sauces. I’m not a big fan of pasta but this was pretty good.


We had two sweet stops along the way. First up was Cacao and as you can guess it offers chocolate made from cacao beans from different parts of the world. They also offer different drinking chocolates which tasted heavenly, we ended up buying a bottle of it.


Last but not least was Saint Cupcake, an adorable,sweet smelling shop that serves cupcakes of course. With mini and regular sizes, they have a flavor to please everyone.

The Donut War- Voodoo Vs. Blue Star Donuts

I’m personally not a fan of American donuts. The fried smell and aftertaste, the soft dough with super sweet glaze. No thanks. That is why the last time I was in Portland I didn’t want to wait in a long line to try the ever so popular Voodoo Doughnuts.

Well this year the kids had to try them, and the line wasn’t so long and went pretty fast. It’s a quirky rock punk doughnut shop with doughnut names like”cock n balls” and “triple chocolate penetration.” Even counter guy couldn’t stifle a giggle when I ordered it. They are loaded with sugary glaze, different cereals and differed powdered sugars.


You can even gift your loved one a coffin filled with these fried dough wonders for $130.


Now, of course I had to compare these to another very popular doughnut shop in Portland called Blue Star Donuts.  Apparently there’s a doughnut war happening between these two and each has their die hard fans. Blue Star is an upscale donut shop with flavors like Blueberry Burbon Basil and Cointreau Creme Brûlée amongst others. Blue Star has a few more locations in places like Los Angeles, Tokyo and of course Portland.


Having tried them both onto the judgement part. Voodoo’s doughnuts is the taste you would expect from your everyday doughnut shop. Very sweet and doughnuts were not the freshest tasting, slightly dried out. Blue Star were truly more upscale. The doughnuts were fresh and moist, they make them from brioche dough. They use very good chocolate like Valrhona, ingredients like vanilla bean, pure raspberry purée and herbs like basil and rosemary. Sounds strange for a doughnut, but they taste really nice, not overpowering at all.  My favorite were the Lemon Poppyseed and the Valrhona Chocolate Crunch.  I can say that in my opinion Blue Star Donuts are far more superior in taste and appearance than Voodoo Doughnuts. Have you tried the two? Let me know your opinion!

Smoky Eggplant Dip

eggplant dip

Growing up, this was one of my favorite dishes, and still is.  My mom would usually make it in the summer to early fall months, when eggplants were in season.  Simple to make, yet so full of flavor.  Make it as an appetizer with crusty french bread for dipping or spreading, pita chips, or use as topping for chicken or steak.  It can be adjusted  to become a vegan dish if you omit the mayo.  I use sunflower oil, but if you don’t have any on hand you can substitute your favorite oil instead, I recommend something mild in flavor , you want the eggplant to shine.

        Smoky Eggplant Dip  (makes approx. 2 cups)

  • 3 medium to large eggplants (pick the ones that are darker with shiny skin)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower oil
  • 1 Tsp Mayonnaise
  • Salt to taste

Turn on your grill until hot.  Pierce the eggplants 2-3 times with a fork in the thickest part.  This will prevent them from exploding on the grill.  When grill is very hot, place eggplants on it and close lid.  Grill 15-20 mins on each side until charred and softened.  This will give the dip the smoky flavor.  Remove eggplants from grill and place in a colander to cool and drain.

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While eggplant is cooling, place the finely chopped onions in a small bowl and add a few generous pinches of salt to it and rub with your fingers.  This will release most of the juice from the onions and will prevent the dip from having strong onion flavor/spice.  Leave onions in salt mixture until you finish cleaning the eggplant.

When eggplant is cool enough to handle, remove the skins with your fingers, rinsing your hands under water if necessary to clean char off.  Place flesh in a bowl while removing skins from eggplant, we will then add them back to colander when peeled to finish the draining process which should take about 5 mins. Place eggplant into a medium bowl, squeeze the diced onions until most of the juice is out and they feel dry.  Add them to the eggplant along with the sunflower oil,  salt to taste ( start with 1 tsp and adjust from there depending on taste.)  With handheld mixer turned to high, mix all the ingredients together until homogenized for approx. 2 mins.  Taste and adjust salt as needed.  Mix the mayonnaise into the dip, and chill it for at least one hour.  The longer the dip sits in fridge, the more the flavor develops. Serve with bread, pita chips or fresh veggies.  This also makes a great spread for sandwiches.

Serve with the marinated roasted peppers.

 

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Enjoy and please let me know how you liked it!

 

 

 

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