Category Archives: Tomatoes

Nacho Chicken and Pineapple Salsa

I haven’t posted much in recent days – because we’ve been eating out.   Tonight is different.   We’re having a recently invented favorite: Nacho Chicken.

A while back, I bought a *big* bag of plain nacho chips at Costco.   All good – except that I’m left with many crumbs.   We’re pretty fond of chicken nachos so I thought I’d turn that around.    At the moment, I still have plenty of tomatoes left from last week’s shop so I’ll use that to inspire dinner.

Put the crumbs in the zizzer (aka the food processor) so that they are true crumbs, not just broken chips.

In a bowl, whisk an egg until frothy and set aside.   On one side of the bowl, place a plate with some seasoned flour (I use a combination of cumin, vegetable bouillon powder, cayenne pepper, and a dash of cinnamon).  On the other side, lay out a plate with the crumbs.

Dredge a piece of chicken (I tend to favour chicken breasts, but anything will do) through the egg, then the flour, then the egg again and finally through the crumbs, making sure it’s fully coated.   Place in an oven proof dish.

In the food processor, put one tomato, a clove of garlic, an onion, the juice of a lime, and some cayenne pepper and salt (to taste). Liquify.

In a large bowl, put one can of finely chopped (or crushed) unsweetened pineapple.   Add a half dozen finely chopped tomatoes.   Pour the liquid from the food processor and mix thoroughly.   Finally, add a generous handful of chopped fresh coriander.

Allow to sit on the counter while the chicken is cooking.    Serve together.

I’m pretty adamant that raw tomatoes are ruined by going in the fridge so I only ever make enough for one meal.

Fresh pineapple salsa

 

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Fresh and tasty dinner

So Des has been away in London for a few days now.   He’ll be back tomorrow night, so this is my last chance to have the kind of dinners he doesn’t like.

I’m having an enormous salad.

It’s got:

  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • An orange
  • Half a dozen strawberries
  • A handful of cooked and peeled prawns
  • And some fresh buffalo mozzarella.

The dressing is very simple too.   I skipped the mustard because I really just want to enjoy the flavours of the the various ingredients.  So all I’ve done is mix:

  • Strawberry balsamic vinegar (that I picked up recently and is just gorgeous!)
  • Vegetable bouillon powder (instead of salt)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • a drizzle of my finest Spanish olive oil.

It’s a perfect meal for one – in as much as I wouldn’t want to share 🙂

Quick lunch

I’m working from home today and tomorrow so I need a quick light lunch that won’t keep me in the kitchen long enough to be inspired (I don’t have time!).

This is where the weekend cooking pays off big dividends.   Today’s lunch is a 2 minute prep that’s bursting with flavour and nutrients.

I cut a whole wheat pita in half and toasted it.

Allowed it to cool (I want the crunch, not the heat of toasting).

Spread about a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese on each half and then topped one with some of the gorgeous dried tomatoes I made on Saturday and the other with the mushrooms I made last night.    Delicious!

All served with a nice cold glass of cranberry juice.

Notes:

  • Mascarpone is a lower fat choice than butter, mayo, or oil.   I try to always have a tub of it in the fridge as a base for sandwiches and the like.

Saffron risotto with prawns and scallops

(For the bouillon, I used an infusion of a bouquet garni for fish – which has some fennel in it.   You could use fish or vegetable stock as well).

Heat a pan and add:

a knob of butter,

the juice of a 1/2  lemon

a generous pinch of saffron

Once the butter is melted, add the scallops (and prawns if using raw) and cook until slightly under done.  Set aside.

Add the rice to the pan and stir until translucent.

Add some dried tomatoes and a single red chili.

Gradually add the bouillon, 1/4 cup at a time, adding only as it is absorbed.

With the last 1/4 cup of bouillon, add a generous tablespoon of creme fraiche and a large portion of chopped fresh baby spinach.

Mix the scallops and prawns back in, stir and allow everything to warm through.

You can also grate a bit of Parmesan in at this point (I didn’t have any handy but used a lovely Pecorino Tartufo which worked a treat!)

Add freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve immediately.

“Sun-dried” tomatoes

The first thing I’ve done is take out a big roasting dish.

Tomatoes - prep for drying

Tomatoes ready for drying

I quartered enough tomatoes to cover the bottom.

Then I added a bit of salt to really pull out the water.

They’ve gone into the oven at the lowest setting (50C)  at a low setting (100c) for for an hour or an hour and half.   I’ll check on them later and take them out when they look right.

Once they’ve cooled, I’ll chop up some herbs from the garden (I have loads of lovely looking thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary but use your favourites.) and add some of the garlic I roasted at the same time as the tomatoes.  The cheat here is to use dried herbs (like an Italian herb mix) and powdered garlic.

I’ve packed it all in a single jar and then topped up with some good olive oil.

If I have too many for the jar I’ve picked, I’ll just make tomato pesto with what’s left over.   I might still make some pesto… but I only got this one small jar out of the tray.  (except for maybe 4 pieces that went into last night’s scallop and prawn risotto)

By the way, that olive oil will be gorgeous once the tomatoes and herbs have flavoured it.   Don’t just throw it away once you’ve used the tomatoes, if you don’t add it to dishes.    It’ll make a great addition to a vinaigrette dressing.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are in season.

Even though there’s just the two of us, I went out and (not for the first time this summer!) bought a 6 kg box of tomatoes.

I have big plans for them:

“Sun dried” tomatoes

– Tomato sauce

– Tomato pesto

– Stuffed tomatoes

Of course, I’ll reserve a few for a simple classic tomato salad.