Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Lauren: Summer Break is Over and We’re Officially One Year Old

Hello, and welcome back to Cooking with Copy. Our blog baby is celebrating its first birthday, so please help us blow out its imaginary birthday candle!

It has been a whirlwind/tornado of a summer and I’m glad to be back here with you. There were birthdays, and birthdays, and oh, did I mention birthdays? There were big family dinners upon big family dinners. There were holidays, anniversaries, baby showers, births, bridal showers, retirement concerts, parties, weddings, Blogshop, Ravinia concerts, trips to Portland, OR,  New York, NY, St. Louis, MO, Holland, MI, Madison, WI, and several trips to South Bend, IN, there were conventions (the National Stationery Show and the American Library Association Annual Conference), internships, and interviews, there were visits from friends and sisters and nephews and brothers-in-law, from my brother’s Argentine mothers-in-law and even from California cousins, and, most recently, there were weeks upon weeks (upon weeks, we’re still going) of packing and moving my grandparents into their new condo.

With only two weekends without plans, visitors, or travel from May until now, it’s no wonder my room looks like I’m the one moving. In between all of the plans this summer I found way too many pockets of time during which I made way too much food. This actually worked out for the best as there was almost always a guest, a workman, a party, or a special event that benefited from the food, but let’s just say I’ve met my butter/sugar/chocolate/carb quota for the year.

So, now that summer is coming to a close, are you ready to get this show back on the road with an epic 5-month-in-the-making recipe roundup? Great, let’s go!

Note: I didn’t take a photo of everything, but all of the recipes here link back to their original posts which do include beautiful photos.

Birthday baking:

  • Confetti Waffles
Simply make the batter according to the box directions and throw sprinkles in right before pouring batter into the iron.

Make the batter according to the directions on the box and throw sprinkles in right before pouring the batter into the iron.

Cupcake Puppy Chow (sans powdered sugar) comes together in 10 minutes.

Cupcake Puppy Chow (pre-powdered sugar coat) comes together in 10 minutes.

Notes: Omit butter, and add 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla extract to the melted almond bark/extract/heavy cream mixture

Grandma’s visits:

IMG_1715

Notes: This is just an ENORMOUS chocolate bar and would be better with twice the coconut and 1/3 the chocolate.

Father’s Day:

Baby shower:

Basic sangria is perfect for just about any summer event.

Things I learned this summer: Nothing makes women as thirsty as a baby shower. We had to refill the container twice.

Family dinners:

Make sure the buckle is THOROUGHLY cooked when you remove it from the oven. You may need to bake it longer than Tracy specifies. This one was totally raw in the middle.

Make sure the buckle is THOROUGHLY cooked when you remove it from the oven. You may need to bake it longer than Tracy specifies. The first one had to be thrown out because it was totally raw, adding baking time saved the second one though.

I CANNOT STOP EATING THESE AND IT'S A PROBLEM BECAUSE THEY TAKE FIVE MINUTES TO MAKE!!!

I CANNOT STOP EATING THESE AND IT’S A PROBLEM BECAUSE THEY ONLY TAKE FIVE MINUTES TO MAKE

Note: Make sure to freeze the chips until the last possible second so they don’t melt. Major, major bonus points if you use Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips. Can’t say enough good things about Guittard, every chip I’ve tried has been fantastic. I am totally willing to be a brand ambassador. Guittard, get at me.

Momofuku Milk Bar's birthday cake elevates your typical confetti to new heights.

Momofuku Milk Bar’s birthday cake elevates the typical confetti cake to new heights with a richer and more complex flavor than boxed versions.

This is crack. Do not make this if you don't want to risk eating the entire contents of the pan.

THIS IS CRACK. Consider yourself warned.

Notes: I bet a combo of confetti crumb and the confetti cake above would make kick-ass mix-ins in a homemade cake batter or vanilla ice cream…just saying.

Thai beef (sans fried egg) that every single person I've made it for, has loved.

Thai beef (here without the fried egg) has yet to meet a hater.

Notes: This recipe is easy, fast, and unique. It’s my fallback for nights when I don’t want to think about what to make.

These were just an excuse to injest a LOT of mini m&ms.

Let’s face it, these were just an excuse to ingest a LOT of mini M&Ms. Don’t look at me like that.

I used Marionberry jam because my sister brought us some as a gift, but you can use any kind of jam you'd like.

My sister brought us a jar of marionberry jam from Oregon which I was dying to use for these, but you can use any kind of jam/jelly you’d like.

  1. Sautee the kale until slightly soft and brighter green.
  2. Finish cooking and scrambling your eggs (or in my case, egg whites) and put into a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle cheese (I like mozzarella) on top.
  4. Get Excited.
  5. Eat.
Shortbread with peaches.

Butter with peaches, what’s not to like? Plus I’m a sucker for this red/orange/yellow color combo.

Peanut butter chip and chocolate chip granola bars.

A little too sweet, but worth a try with brown rice syrup instead of butter. They’re also perfect for shipping across the country.

Very poppy seed-y

Very poppy seed-y, kinda too sweet.

It's 93 degrees outside but this week I pretended it was fall with these frosted pumpkin cookies/cakes. They're really muffies, not cookies, and the frosting is too sweet, but they received recipe requests from people at my dad's office so here you go.

It might be 93 degrees outside but I pretended it was fall with these frosted pumpkin cookies/cakes. They’re really just glorified muffies, not cookies, and the frosting is too sweet and doesn’t fully set, but they received recipe requests from people at my dad’s office so here you go.

Happy September and welcome back.

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Caro: Breakfast Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and White Cheddar

Let me preface this post by saying that if you are currently faced with a problem, the solution is probably breakfast pizza. Don’t believe me? Fine. I’ll prove it.

breakfast pizza with cherry tomatoes and white cheddar

See? Don’t you feel better already?! Alright. Onward.

Ok. Lately, I have been all. over. the. place. I drove up to Tampa this past Saturday and started the process of moving into a lovely little studio apartment that I get to call home for the next 6 months. In these past few days, I have realized that there exists a considerable disparity between my dream life (how things would happen in my most ideal of situations) and my real life (how things actually play out… ideal situations be damned). Let me illustrate.

Dream life: Drive up to Tampa on Saturday, buy furniture on Saturday, build it on Sunday morning (with Dad’s help), put stuff away Sunday evening/night after parents are gone, wake up on Monday morning all nice and refreshed and accomplished.
Real life: Drive up to Tampa on Saturday, buy some furniture, crash, wake up on Sunday, exchange some furniture and buy some more, run errands into the night, build furniture until 2 a.m., pass out. Wake up at 8 a.m. to greet the internet/cable guy.

Dream life: Spend Monday-Friday walking around Tampa, lounging by the pool, and making use of the fitness center in my apartment complex, since everything is purchased, organized, and in its rightful place.
Real life: Spend all of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday running the errands and buying the things I forgot about over the weekend. Status as of Wednesday afternoon: Everything I brought from Miami or bought here is still on the floor.

Dream life: Spend the time in my apartment marveling at how very clean and new and nice it is.
Real life: Take a nap and wake up to the tickles of a family of ants crawling up my arm. Run to the bathroom to wash those suckers down the sink, only to find a dead cockroach on the floor.

Yep. It’s been a long few days over here. Given that, I was so excited to make something for my tomato week post. I figured it’d take my mind off everything left to be done and just let me focus on eating some delicious food.

Now, I’m really not a big fan of raw tomatoes… I do not understand those people who claim the little red guys are nature’s most perfect creations and insist that there is nothing better than biting into a ripe, juicy tomato. To be honest, the idea of doing that kind of makes me cringe. Cooked tomatoes, on the other hand, I love. I wanted a tomato-centric recipe for this post for obvious reasons. Enter roasted tomato soup as adapted from Bon Appetit by Deb of Smitten Kitchen. Unfortunately, the dream life/real life disparity crept right into my Tuesday evening. See here:

Dream life: Cook for the blog, since cooking relieves stress and is super fun. It’s tomato week, so I’ll make roasted tomato soup! So yum. I’ll eat the leftovers for days. Perfect.
Real life: 1. Set off the smoke alarm by preheating the oven to 400 degrees for tomato-roasting purposes. 2. Spill half my bottle of olive oil over the tomatoes in the lamest-ever attempt to drizzle. 3. Find that, despite my following the recipe to the letter, my “tomato soup” is really just a pot of chicken stock with an awkwardly separated mass of pureed roasted tomatoes on top. No, thank you.

Fail. I turned off the stove and just left the so-called soup there. I didn’t even wash dishes or anything. Super sad. I just went to sleep. Whatever.

Then I woke up today, Wednesday morning, with no food for the blog and no tomato soup for breakfast 😦 . And I realized I had a ball of Trader Joe’s pizza dough in the fridge with a sell-by date of… today. And tomatoes go on pizza! SO I MADE PIZZA!

I know tomatoes are not the key ingredient here. Sorry not sorry. It’s PIZZA, you guys. Don’t complain.

Pizza is, like, my favorite food ever. Even bad pizza is still bread, cheese, (cooked) tomato, and toppings. HELLO. You cannot mess this up. AND, since it was before 11 a.m., I made BREAKFAST pizza. If you don’t think pizza can get any better, put an egg on it. Just. do. it.

breakfast pizza with cherry tomatoes and white cheddar

And, just so you know, real life was totally in action here, too. As in, I forgot to pack my rolling pin… so instead of being the very picture of domestic-ness, I got to roll out my pizza dough with an empty bottle of cava. Yes. I really did that.

Real life. It is always going to happen. But… if the worst of your problems amount to a messy apartment, annoying insects, and kitchen-tool-related improvisation… life is pretty darn good.

So, take deep breaths, think happy thoughts, shrug off them worries, eat pizza. Repeat.

breakfast pizza with cherry tomatoes and white cheddar

Today was a good day.

Click here for the recipe!

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Lauren: (Heirloom) Tomato Stacks with Bocconcini and Kale Pesto

I arrived home from a trip to St. Louis last night and immediately began scouring cookbooks for something delicious to do with this week’s item—tomatoes (yay!). Some time around midnight, while snug in my bed, I came across this recipe for tomatoes with mozzarella and a kale pesto and could hardly wait for lunch today. The dish involved so many of my favorite things: pesto, kale, garlic, Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, that I naively assumed there was no way it could go wrong. While it didn’t go wrong per se, in the end it just wasn’t really my kind of thing.

Yes, I did tweak the recipe, which came from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook, but only ever so slightly. First, I used some tomatoes sold on the vine instead of heirlooms because I couldn’t find them. Next, I added roughly an 1/8 of teaspoon more salt and an additional 1/8 cup of parmesan to the pesto. Yet, when I finished this whole process and tried it, I found the taste of walnuts overwhelming (but, I’m never really one for nuts in my pesto), while my mother was upset that she couldn’t taste the nuts at all and was instead overwhelmed by garlic. Neither of us loved it, but it was a fine lunch. Fine being the operative word.

Keep in mind that my dissatisfaction might be influenced by my recent influx of allergies. After the first few bites of this dish, I could think of nothing but my apparently walnut-aggravated allergies and now-stuffy nose.

Some ways to improve this salad of sorts may be to replace the walnuts with pine nuts to make it more of a classic pesto, to use smaller garlic cloves, or to forget this recipe all together and make my favorite lunchtime standby: the tomato and fresh mozzarella salad.

For my salad there are no measurements, and for that matter, unlike a typical caprese, no basil. Just cut up a few really red tomatoes and some balls of mozzarella into bite-sized pieces, then douse the whole thing with unmeasured amounts of apple cider vinegar and olive oil, topped with a sprinkle of salt. Yum.

In case you’d like to try the namesake recipe of this post and tweak it your own way, behold:

Sprouted Kitchen‘s heirloom tomato stacks with bocconcini and kale pesto (with Lauren’s notes added in)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 small bunch lacinato (Tuscan) kale, stemmed and chopped (about 4 cups)

2 cloves garlic

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus another handful if you like cheese)

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts

2 tablespoons water

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes (about 4 large tomatoes)—or, if you’re me, a bunch of smaller tomatoes a little larger than a golf ball

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon (or you know, if you aren’t in the business of eating artisanal salt (i.e. me), whatever you have on hand will be just fine)

1 cup small mozzarella balls (baby bocconcini or pearline), drained

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Recipe:

Wash, de-stem, and roughly chop your kale. Boil a pot of salted water, then quickly blanch the kale leaves until they turn bright green, which is about 30 seconds to a minute, then drain the leaves and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. After that, squeeze all the water out. I first pressed the leaves into the bottom of the colander, then removed the solid block of kale leaves and squeezed them between paper towels until they were pretty dry. You should end up with about 1 and 1/2 cups of kale.

In a food processor combine the garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and walnuts and pulse them. Then add the kale, water, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and pulse again to combine. Then turn the processor on and drizzle in the olive oil until you have the desired consistency. Sprouted Kitchen says to avoid making the pesto too thick since you’ll have to sort of marinade the mozzarella in it, but I like a thicker sauce so I added just slightly less than 1/4 cup of olive oil to mine. Then combine them all by pulsing.

Next, slice the tomatoes and place the slices in a bowl. Drizzle the tablespoon of olive oil on top and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt flakes. I massaged the tomatoes to ensure full coverage in olive oil.

In a separate bowl, toss the balls of mozzarella with 1/2 cup of pesto.

To assemble the whole thing, put a dollop of pesto in the middle of a dish, then layer about three tomato slices (I took some liberties here as you can see in the photo) on top of the pesto, interspersed by a few pieces of mozzarella and repeat with remaining ingredients. Sprinkle each plate with a bit of Parmesan and serve at room temperature.

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