Sautéed Cherry Tomato Sauced Spaghetti

I’ve been waiting for this since the first tomato turned ripe – enough to do the sauce thing for a delicious summer treat.Cook them down in a little olive oil over medium high heat, using a potato masher to help them along.  Cook the pasta while the sauce is making, reserving some of the pasta water in case the sauce is too dry.  Stir in a couple pats of butter and a tablespoon or two of tomato paste to finish the sauce.  Add the spaghetti and fresh basil to the pan, toss with tongs, or flip it in the pan chef style if you’ve got the chops – this amount was a little too much for me.  I did try and didn’t embarrass myself by spilling any but I will admit to a certain timidity.   Garnish with more grated cheese and basil.

Pizza Pr0n

I picked the first batch of cherry tomatoes, probably about a pint and a half.  Mrs J looked at the bowl and thought they would go good on a pizza.  She was right.

These are more of those naan loaves we bought at the International grocery.  They are about 8 inches in diameter and make great little individual pies.  I brushed them with garlic infused olive oil, added pieces of sliced provolone, and the sliced tomatoes.  They went into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Add the fresh basil after they come out.  Shredded parmesan works well.  I use a microplane grater on a small block of hard cheese.

A Nice Couscous Side Dish

DSC_0997 (1600x1060)I had the pork chops cooking before I had settled on a side dish.  Mashed potatoes or rice would have usually been my choice but I spied some couscous in the back of the cabinet.  The basic package directions would have worked just fine but I did a search just to see what was out there and saw this one that called for cherry tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan.  I still have one cherry tomato bush in the back garden that is pretty well grown up with grass and weeds but it yielded enough for the recipe.  I’ve let my basil go to seed but there are still plenty of young, tender leaves on it.  It worked just fine as a side, although it was a shame to waste all that good gravy!IMG_20150916_122343052 (1600x1200)Bonus critter shot!  Katie and Homer taking time for a little shut eye.  Homer stays out in the garage all night because he doesn’t get along with Toby.  Mrs J lets Toby out in the morning and Homer comes in.  He must spend all night awake because he sleeps pretty much all day long.  Tired kitteh.

Vodka Sauce

Living as we do in the remote wilderness of Southern Illinois the latest food fad filters down to us a few years behind most everyone else.  Not sure how long this sauce has been a thing but I’ve been seeing it here and there lately and gave it a try tonight.  Most recipes use peeled tomatoes but I had a bunch more of those little cherry toms and there is no way I’m peeling them.  I went looking for an easy recipe.DSC_8936 [1600x1060]I have a bunch of fresh thyme leaves in this, and a good bit of fresh basil.  Not sure why the directions call for cooking down the vodka with just the onions and garlic in the pan, most of the recipes I looked at mention using the alcohol to bring out flavors from the tomatoes that water and oil can’t touch.  I cooked the cherries down a bit and then added the vodka.  As the sauce thickened I added some white wine, too.  This recipe didn’t mention cheese but I mixed in a cup of grated Romano right before the cream.  I wish I could say this stuff was really delicious and I can’t wait to do it again but it was just OK.  I sure won’t be using unpeeled tomatoes in any more of it. DSC_8943 (1600x1060)The salad was nice. This has blue cheese dressing and some crumbled blue cheese.

Tidbits

DSC_8743 (1600x1060)Cherry tomatoes!  More than we can eat so I’ve got most of these dehydrating.  Kept enough of them back for a nice pizza Margherita.DSC_8744 (1600x1060)This one is a thin-ish crust, painted with garlic infused olive oil and sauced with sauteed cherry tomatoes with more garlic and fresh herbs.  It gave us a chance to use some of the latest batch of homemade mozzarella.DSC_8750 (1600x1060)Fresh oregano and thyme in with the sauce and fresh basil added after it came out of the oven.  A pretty good pie!DSC_8733 (1600x1060)Yellow melon for dessert.  These are super sweet and I think they are the best melons ever.  I really should get back over there for another one.PICT4135 (1600x1060)Random wildlife!  This young whitetail still has prominent spots.  They slowly fade over the summer.  Momma isn’t far away.DSC_8739 (1600x1060)I’ll wrap with a couple of sammiches.  Here’s  pulled garlic pork on a bolillo roll with slaw and a drizzle of a locally bottled bbq sauce.  I grabbed a bottle last time through the store because I knew I was running low and it’s a lot like the stuff I make myself.DSC_8718 (1600x1060)Last is another classic Reuben with our own corned beef and sauerkraut.  This one has provolone and thousand island dressing.

Tidbits

DSC_4734 (1600x1060)Our cherry tomatoes are doing great.  I’ll have to start freezing or drying some soon.  I didn’t make a dent in them with this pasta dish:DSC_8721 (1600x1060)This is an easy dish and it tastes great but we can’t eat it every day.  Unlike the BLTs:DSC_8717 (1600x1060)Mrs J has named these her all time favorite sammiches.  This one is a BELT, it’s topped with an egg.

Our Vitex nearly didn’t survive the winter, it did die back to the root but it is coming back.  They are late bloomers and are just now producing something to catch the eye of a hummingbird.DSC_4752 (1600x1060)This is a Ruby Throated Hummingbird – the gorget really catches the light when the angle is right.DSC_4753 (1600x1060)The little peppers are coming along, plenty of red ones, a few orange, not seeing any yellow one so far.  Of course they all start out green.  DSC_4737 (1600x1060)The dill in the background is pretty with the yellow flowers looking like bursting fireworks.  This is the first time we have had luck growing dill.  Aphids and caterpillars usually make short work of it.  I’ll try to collect the seeds for baking rye bread.

Mmm… sauteed cherry tomatoes

DSC_8616 (1600x1060)This is one of my favorite quick pasta dinners.  Afew years ago we were looking for something to do with all the cherry tomatoes that our two patio vines were producing and came across several recipes for a sauce made from them.  I don’t need to look at recipes any longer, just start your tomatoes cooking in some olive oil and let them cook down.  All the recipes say they will burst on their own but I always have to mash them a bit.  Add minced garlic and salt and pepper, give them a splash of pasta water if they get too thick.  A tablespoon of tomato paste works well as you stir the sauce, and a pat or two of butter won’t be a bad thing.  Toss your drained pasta with the sauce and a handful of thin sliced basil leaves.  I added some of my freshly made mozzarella to this one.DSC_8615 (1600x1060)I complained about the quality of the mozzarella available at the local market when I made the caprese salad yesterday so I gave making my own a shot.  We ran down some junket rennet at the store today so I bought a couple of gallons of milk.  Turned out pretty well for our first time.  I ordered some liquid rennet that seemed to be recommended over the junket rennet tablets we used today and I’ll save the second gallon of milk for when that shows up.

Tidbits

Not much going on around here.  The gardens grow and the rain comes and goes.  I’ve managed to keep up with the mowing and I am ahead on the roasting of coffee.PICT3755 (1600x1060)You may not be able to herd cats but they will follow a leader.  When they feel like it. DSC_4602 (1600x1060)Bitsy likes to hang out with the herbs.  These are on a bench on the patio out front.  I suspect it’s the bench that is the attraction rather than the rosemary.DSC_8380 (1600x1060)We left the Memorial Day picnic laden with leftovers.  The beans were a big hit but the broccoli salad wasn’t.  I chopped the two big chicken breasts the host sent us away with and made chicken salad from one and combined the other with bbq sauce.  This is a leftovers lunch I made the next day with some of the chicken salad.IMG_5020 (1600x1060)This post needs mozr kittehs!  Here are three that have recently come in to the shelter.  I know next to nothing about them.  Mrs J is doing her shift at the shelter today and will probably come home with more pictures.DSC_4618 (1600x1060) The first jalapeno!  My pepper garden on the patio is finally producing actual peppers.  The Anaheims are doing well:DSC_4617 (1600x1060)I have a tiny cayenne, and the serranos are coming on fast.  I have a couple pots of those petit sweet peppers that come in several colors but so far only flowers.DSC_4620 (1600x1060)The cherry tomatoes are vigorously producing flowers and there are quite a few marble sized green tomatoes but only at the bottom.