Category: tomatoes

Frittata Frittata

Is there anything prettier than a frittata? When done right, this easy meal makes for a stellar sunday brunch centrepiece. The awesome thing about these that the variation possibilities are endless. Veggies, meats, cheeses… Mix and match your favourite combo, arrange it in the dish, pour your egg mixture over it, bake, and voila! Frittata magic.

Some of my favourite variations:

Smoked gouda & figs
Olives, arugula & feta
Pears & brie
Bell peppers, cheddar & mushrooms
Cheddar & apple
Chard & chile

So go ahead, impress your guests & get your frittata on!

Spinach, Goat Cheese & Tomato Frittata
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients
6 large eggs
1/4 cup cream (15% or higher)
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 log goat cheese, crumbled
salt, pepper & fresh thyme
oil or butter, for greasing

method
Whisk cornstarch into cream. Whisk eggs with cream mixture until frothy. Mix in goat cheese, spinach and spices. Pour into greased 9″ or 10″ shallow round baking dish. Arrange cherry tomatoes on top. Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes, until eggs are set and no longer runny. Serve hot.

Vegan "Meat" Sauce with Lentils

I got 99 posts, but a meat sauce ain’t one! (Well, until now!)

You guys! This is my 99th post! Are you as excited as I am? Well, you should be. Because this is by far the best of the best. I mean, this is some real stick-to-your-ribs, blow-your-socks-off, even-ravenous-carnivores-will-love-it saucy sauce. Even my boyfriend, the lover of all things meat, declared this sauce to be “so meaty!”

Do you need any more reasons to make this right now? Really? Alright. Here are 10 reasons you should make this sauce: It’s hearty. It’s tasty. It’s spicy. It’s easy. It’s healthy. It’s vegan. Low sodium. Soy-free. Gluten-free. No added sugar. And, for all of those worried about protein intake, it’s an excellent source of the good stuff!

Serious winning all around.

One of my favourite things about this sauce is how quick and easy the process is. Chop up your ingredients, toss ’em into your slow cooker, set it, and forget it! Let your kitchen, and your house, smell like you’ve been slaving over the stove all day (when really, you’ve just been doing other important things, like catching up on some Netflix.)

Ok, ok. I’ll spare you more blab and just get right to the recipe – so that you can get right to it and cook!

Hearty Vegan Slow Cooked “Meat” Sauce
with lentils, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes
a.k.a AWESOME SAUCE
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients
1 medium red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup brown or green lentils (dried)
1 large can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with liquid
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped pitted mammoth green olives
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small green chile peppers (or more, if you like a spicy sauce!)
1 tbsp Jamaican jerk seasoning mix (or a mix 1/2 tbsp paprika (not smoked), and 1/2 tbsp herbes de province)

method
Mix all ingredients together in slow cooker. Set on high for 3 hours. Remove lid, stir. If you notice it is starting to become too dry, add a few tbsp of water until desired consistency is reached. Return lid to pot and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 hours. Lentils will be tender and sauce will darken in colour.

Ways to serve it

  • On top of pasta
  • Mixed in with rice
  • On bread (as bruschetta)
  • With a spoon




Move Over, Minnestrone (Vegetable Soup)

I am generally not a soup person. The idea of having something that’s both liquidy and chunky at the same time on my spoon just doesn’t jive in my head, nor does it feel right in my mouth. That being said, there have always been a few exceptions: matzah ball soup, for one. And, well, who can resist clam chowdah (…in a bread bowl, in San Francisco, at that?) Otherwise, soup is rarely a headliner, neither a sidekick on my table.

However, today, while staring blankly into my fridge as I often do, I found myself staring at my box of vegetable stock and slightly craving a warm cup of broth to soothe my sore throat. Known to some as Jewish Penicillin, chicken soup has been widely known as the go-to meal for generations of cold and flu sufferers. However, my lack of wanting to eat chicken, combined with the medley of vegetables in my refrigerator that have decided to wilt in unison, inspired me to stir up a vegetable-based bouillon.
Chop. Pour. Simmer. Who knew three simple steps could release the most magical aroma into the air? 
Soon after, I sat on the couch, sipping the magical masterpiece with my roommate while discussing possible names for my most fantastic creation. His favorite part was the sweetness provided by the corn, whereas I thoroughly enjoyed the colourful combination. 
I suggested “Rainbow Soup.” 
He said, “That’s corny.”
I laughed. Hard. 

Corny Rainbow Soup
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
1 box vegetable broth (I used Campbells)
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
1 can sweet corn
1 can San Marzano plum tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp red pepper (chilli) flakes (Optional)
how to do it
Toss diced vegetables into pot. Cover with broth.  Heat on medium. Once soup comes to a boil, add corn & red pepper flakes & stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. 
Serve garnished with shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese, if desired. 

A Summer Toast (Tomato Basil Canapes)

Hats off (or, if you’re fair skinned like me, hats on) to my very favorite friend, Summertime. This summer, I’ve got my health in mind more than ever. So far, I’ve begun the season on a good foot. I’m on my way to achieving some fitness goals (I’m now able to run almost 2k without stopping!) Also, seeing as the (typical Montreal) bipolar weather hasn’t allowed me to obtain much of a tan, I’ve decided to embrace my paleness and accept that it’s healthier, and that I’m avoiding skin cancer. I say that as I type this in the sunshine. With SPF… 8… Moving on!

Most importantly, I’ve been cooking and eating healthier (minus the almost nightly trips to the ice cream shop… what? It’s summer, I’m allowed. Stop judging. You’re jealous.)  I’ve always found that eating light in the summer is easy, because of the abundance of fresh produce, and the absence of the desire to cook anything that involves a hot oven. Goodbye are the days of heavy potato stews, creamy casseroles and hefty roasts. Hello to the days of garden salads, fresh corn and fruit parfaits.

Now that I’ve embraced cooking for one, I actually enjoy making myself something fancy looking from time to time. For instance, on this lovely sunny afternoon, I was inspired by the basil plant growing wildly in my garden. Today is the perfect day for a basil toast, I thought to myself. While at first I had the intention of chopping the fresh basil and sprinkling it over some cold tomato sauce, I decided it would be even more ‘summery’ of me to chop up some fresh cherry tomatoes.
And well, toast just isn’t toast without a little bit of cheese now is it?

3 minutes later, I had this masterpiece.
20 minutes later, I ate it. (Taking pictures is a process!)

Tomato Basil Toasts with Cheese 
& Grenadine Lemonade  
an original recipe by allison sklar 

what you’ll need 
note: multiply quantities by the number of people you’ll be serving.

toasts:
1 medium slice rye bread
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 slice Jarlsberg (or swiss) cheese
(would also work nicely with goat’s cheese
1 large basil leaf, chopped
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp light olive oil

lemonade:
1 cup club soda or sparkling water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grenadine
ice cubes

how to do it

Toasts: Place cheese on bread, top with tomatoes. Place in toaster oven for 3 minutes, or until cheese melts and tomatoes begin to wilt. Remove, and sprinkle basil leaves on top. Drizzle with oil & vinegar. Would also work well in conventional oven, on broiler setting for 1 to 2 minutes.
Note: this recipe is not intended for use in the microwave.

Lemonade: Mix all ingredients and enjoy immediately. Preferably under the sun.

Rockin’ the Roquette

Nothing says summer like a fresh, hot corn on the cob. Sitting around with friends at a cookout, rolling the cobs in butter, burning the tips of my fingers. Chomping down, sucking out each and every kernel until it’s filled up all of the gaps in my teeth. Sweet sweet corn, how I’ve missed thee.
Though tonight, there is no cookout, there is no sunshine, and there is no BBQ. No. Tonight, I find myself alone in the kitchen, eating cereal out of a box, staring at a package of baby arugula. I reluctantly open the finnicky plastic cover, pull out a leaf, and chew on it… within 5 seconds,  I’m reaching for a glass of water, and shoveling more Shreddies into my mouth to mask the peppery bitter taste.
Why did I buy arugula? 
I’ve never enjoyed “spring mix” salad, and now I know why. But I have a whole conatiner of it! And I hate for good food to go to waste. I see so many blogs with roquette salads, roquette garnishes on filet mignons, arugula topped sandwiches. If I want to be a real foodie, I think, I must find a way to eat this cute little leaf.
And then it dawns on me – warm it up! I think back to the time that I ate a handful of raw rapini and thought that I had been poisoned. “IT TASTES LIKE BURNING!” I screamed. “QUICK! LOOK UP IF IT’S EDIBLE!” Oh, Dr. Google, what would I do without you?
I eventually learned that the trick to quelling the bitterness of these veggies is to cook them. (Nevertheless, I dared not touch rapini again, for fear of re-living that awful afternoon.)
That’s it! I’ll cook the arugula! And I’ll do it in the microwave. Because, well, I’m alone, and nobody is watching. Go ahead, judge. Then try it for yourself, and apologize for judging.
Done and done.

Warm Roquette Salad with Fresh Corn & Goat Cheese
what you’ll need
•    1 ½ cups baby arugula (also known as roquette or rocket)
•    ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
•    1 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
•    1 cob fresh corn
how to do it
Cook corn in microwave, wrapped in a paper towel, on high for about 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, toss roquette and cherry tomatoes into a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds on high, or until tomatoes start to wilt. Carefully cut kernels off corncob and toss into bowl. Add cheese, tossing until coated. Note: This salad needs no dressing, as the cheese does the trick, but if you’re an oil fanatic, you could drizzle a tiny bit of light olive oil on top. Eat and enjoy!

Good For The Heart

Many of you might recall a little jingle from childhood, you know, the one that relates beans with flatulence a certain bodily function that shall remain nameless. Well, that little ditty also suggested that beans are good for your heart – and that was smack on! While it is widely known that beans are chock full of fibre, making them your digestive track’s most powerful alli, a lesser known fact is that beans are also loaded with unique phytochemicals that protect against certain cancers as well as heart disesase. Oh, and they’re yummy. Especially when you make them into this deliciously refreshing salad!

Before you go on and read the recipe, I must let you know – it really is the cilantro that gives it a the perfect little kick of Mexicana, and makes it reminiscent of an authentic salsa.  So for all of you cilantro haters out there? I sympathize. I really do. I used to be one of you. Then, something changed inside of me. It began one faithful evening, while I was out with a few of my girls, dining at a local mexican resto that I’d been wanting to try.  I requested that they omit the cilantro on my dish, however, to my horror, the dish came to me brimming with the evil green leaf. The little piles seemed like mountains, mountains of cilantro that I would never be able to conquer. But, being a pushover extremely polite, I will very rarely send anything back at a restaurant. I decided at that moment that I was just going to have to bite the bullet and eat it. I told myself, hey, it’s meant to be prepared this way, right? And I came here for the experience of authentic cooking afterall, right? So I’ll eat it this exactly how it’s supposed to be eaten! Right.

And then something really weird happened. I. Liked. Cilantro.

So go ahead, be brave, try it for yourself, because it really does make this dish what it is. Replace it with flat leaf parsely if you must, or omit it alltogether, but definitely do make this bean salad.
Your heart will thank you.

Black Bean Salsa Salad
an original recipe by Allison Sklar

what you’ll need
1 cup of canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small italian tomato, diced
½ an avocado, cut into cubes
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
1 tsp lime juice
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cumin

how to do it
Combine salad ingredients. Toss with hot sauce, lime juice and seasonings, just until coated. Serve immediately. Keeps well in the fridge for two days. Serves 1, adjust quantities depending on the number of servings you desire.

CooCoo for Coconut

Last week started off on quite a poor note for me: on top of having to deal with a broken bed and a wintery slap in the face in the form of an ice storm,  I had to deal with some less-than-pleasant stomach issues which landed me in the dreaded waiting room of a health clinic. The cherry on top of it all: I was instructed by my new doctor to stay away from both gluten AND dairy for “a couple of weeks.”

Is he aware that gluten and dairy are the basis of my comfort-food diet every winter?
Is he aware that the temperatures dipped below freezing this week?
Is he aware that denying me of bagels and cream cheese is not good for my mental health?

Attempting to keep my mental health in check – for the good of everyone around me – I decided to make the best of things and turn this into a cooking challenge! (While grinding my teeth and forcing a smile!) At first, it was tough to think up ideas. (On that note, it’s also been tough trying to ignore the brand new chocolate milk container and the three containers of yogourt in my fridge. But I digress). I began to get quite creative in the kitchen.

And that my friends, is where my fabulous coconut shrimp stir-fry was born.
I must admit, I had some inspiration from my good friend Lisa, so thank you!
The boy and I both reached for seconds. And then thirds. We then had to restrain ourselves, because I was insistent on getting a photograph in before it was all devoured…


Coconut Shrimp Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

what you’ll need

•    2 eggs
•    ½ Spanish or Vidalia onion, finely sliced
•    1 cup sliced mushrooms
•    4 shallots, cut into long pieces
•   1 yellow pepper, sliced
•    ¾ cup sugar snap peas
•    ⅓ cup frozen peas
•    ½ cup cooked, peeled de-veined frozen shrimp
•    ⅓ cup water

•    ¾ small can tomato paste
•    ½ cup coconut milk
•    3 tbsp lime juice
•    3 tsp fenugreek
•    3 tsp sea salt (or more, to taste)
•    2 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)

•    2 cups broad rice noodles, cooked according to package directions

how to do it

Cook rice noodles according to package directions, ensuring that they are slightly al-dente (otherwise, they will fall apart later on – you’ll see).
Scramble the egg in non-stick fry pan (or in 1 tbsp of oil / cooking spray). Set egg aside.
In same pan, cook onions and mushrooms in water over medium-high heat until reduced.
While you are waiting for the mixture to reduce, in a small bowl, combine coconut milk, tomato paste, hot sauce, lime juice and spices. Set aside.
Once the water in the pan is completely evaporated, add yellow pepper and cook until slightly softened. Add shallots, peas, shrimp and egg to the mixture.
Pour sauce into the pan and mix well.
Cook until shrimp are completely defrosted.
Once the mixture is ready, empty it all into a bowl with the rice noodles and toss to coat.

Serve immediately, garnished with lime slices, shallots and toasted coconut if desired.