Very Easy Tomato Sauce

I just quarter the tomatoes (any that don’t get eaten within four or five days), cherry and sungold tomatoes I leave whole, quarter an onion or two and place these in a baking dish. Then I peel and add four or five garlic cloves, fresh basil, rosemary, etc. and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil all over everything. Then I roast it all in allow oven – 300 to 325 degrees, for three or four hours or until everything is mushy. Once it’s cooled, I dump it all in the food processor and voila! thick rich roasted tomato sauce. The most recent batch included a smallish fennel bulb and a coarsely chopped eggplant. The roasting seems to bring out the natural sweetness of those delicious tomatoes.

Vegetarian Baeckoffe

Translated from the Germanic Alsatian dialect, baeckeoffe means “baker’s oven,” as it was traditionally a dish that was brought to the local baker to cook in his oven. Classic versions are loaded with meat, but our vegetarian riff is equally hearty and rich.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound sliced mushroom caps
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large thyme sprig
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups vertically sliced onion (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 (8-ounce) Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 (6-ounce) turnip, peeled and cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to pan, and sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 2 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 6 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat; discard thyme. Add cream cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Remove mushroom mixture from pan. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.  Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for 15 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside.  Coat a 6-cup baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in dish, and top with spinach. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over spinach. Spoon the mushroom mixture over black pepper, and arrange turnip slices over mushroom mixture. Top with caramelized onions; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and tarragon. Pour whipping cream over tarragon, and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cheese begins to brown.

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

Tuscan White Bean and Cabbage Soup

  • 1 ½ tsp. olive oil
  • 4 c. finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 2 14-oz. cans chicken broth
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15-oz. can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 c. orzo or other tiny pasta
  • salt, pepper and spices to taste
  • ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add cabbage and garlic and cook, stirring, until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 3 minutes.  Add chicken broth, tomatoes and beans.  Bring the soup to a simmer and stir in the pasta.  Cover the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and spices.  Serve each bowl topped with 1 Tbs. of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 dinner servings.

Tomato Chutney

  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 ½ T oil
  • 1 green chili (serrano)
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup Gur* (aka Jagari)

Heat oil, add mustard seeds and heat until they pop.  Add ginger and chilies, cook for a minute.  Add chopped tomatoes, cooking until soft.  Add tamarind paste and salt.  Cook, reducing it by half (1 hour or more?).  Add gur, cook for several more minutes.  Taste and adjust for desired sweet/tart/salty/hot flavor.

*Gur can be purchased at India Direct, as a solid “brick”.  I break into large pieces, place in pan with a little water and heat to melt.  When it reaches desired consistency, strain through cheesecloth to remove impurities.  This can be stored in the refrigerator for many months.


  • 3/4 c. cracked wheat (bulgur)
  • 1 1/2 c. snipped fresh parsley
  • 3 med. tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 c. chopped green onions with tops
  • 1 cucumber, seeded & chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh mint, cut
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Boil water and cover bulgur with it.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Drain thoroughly.  Mix bulgur, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, green onions and mint in a bowl.  Mix remaining ingredients and pour over bulgur mix.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Swiss Chard with Peanuts and Chiles

  • 10 leaves Swiss chard, thick stems removed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped

Boil chard in a large pot of water for 10 minutes.  Drain, press out excess water and pat dry.  Puree in food processor.  Add oil to skillet and sauté onion, tomatoes, garlic, chile, salt and pepper for ten minutes over medium heat.  Add pureed chard and chopped peanuts and stir to blend, continue cooking for two minutes then serve.  From Foodday.  Makes 4 servings.

Summer Corn Chowder

  • 6 ears sweet corn
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cloves of garlic, bruised
  • 1 russet potato cut in ½ inch cubes
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices of bacon diced
  • 4 medium tomatoes cubed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Strip corn from ears and set aside.  Simmer the cobs and garlic in the broth for 10 minutes.  Remove the cobs and garlic, stir in the potatoes and half of the corn kernels and simmer for 10-12 minutes.  Puree and set aside in a bowl after stirring in the milk, salt and pepper.  Cook the bacon in the original pot until fully cooked (approx 6 minutes).  Add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes.  Add the reserved pureed soup and the remaining corn then simmer for 8 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and basil and serve.


Sukomo Wiki

  • 1 – 1 ½ Lbs greens
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 – 2 lbs tomatoes
  • 2- 3 Tbs. Olive oil

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.  Add diced tomatoes and cook until they have released their moisture.  Add chopped greens and continue cooking until the greens are fully wilted and tender.  Serve over polenta.

Spiced Broccoli and Tomatoes

  • 1 lb fresh broccoli
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs fresh shredded ginger
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper powder
  • salt & pepper

Chop broccoli into 1 inch lengths.  Cut tomatoes into chunks.  Heat oil in a wok or skillet.  Add ginger and fry, stirring for a few seconds.  Add broccoli, red pepper powder, and tomatoes.  Stir fry until broccoli turns dark green (cover for a few minutes if necessary).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

SUGGESTIONS:  If you have kids and/or donít want a spicy dish, you can substitute paprika for the red pepper.  You can also add cumin and coriander for additional flavor.

Adapted from Indian Light Cooking by Ruth Law.

Smoky Greens Sauté

  • 1 ¾ lb. greens
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup drained canned diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
  • Pinch of fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Chop greens, dicing stems and chopping leaves coarsely.  In a large, deep skillet, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add leaves and stems of greens an cook over high heat until just tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain in a colander, pressing to extract extra liquid.  Wipe out skillet.  Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.  Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just beginning to color.  Add the tomatoes and paprika and cook until slightly thickened, a few minutes.  Add cooked greens, fennel seeds and a couple of tablespoons of water, if needed.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.  Stir in white wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. From Food and Wine February 2005.   NOTE:  I didn’t have smoked paprika, so I started the sauté by cooking ¼ lb. of bacon, cut into small pieces.  I added the garlic after that and continued with the recipe, using regular paprika in place of smoked.