Thursday, August 27, 2009

End of summer bounty

By now, if you are growing tomatoes, you are (hopefully) starting to have them come in in droves (or, if you are like me, the squirrels ate all 10 of yours that were coming in so beautifully so now you have to wait for the tiny green ones to do something, anything!). If you aren't growing your own this summer, head to the local farmers market to pick some up because I have an amazing recipe for you to try! I served these on Saturday night when friends came to dinner, and they were a perfect accompaniment to a grilled meat. They're so fresh, not too heavy, and, honestly, not too tomato-y (if you are a picky tomato person like B).

Provencal Tomatoes
(From the Barefoot Contessa Family Style)

6 ripe tomatoes (2 1/2 to 3-inches in diameter)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the cores from the tomatoes, removing as little as possible. Cut them in half crosswise and, with your fingers, remove the seeds and juice. Place the tomato halves in a baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, scallions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the tomato halves generously with salt and pepper. With your hands, fill the cavities and cover the tops of the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture. Bake the tomatoes for 15 minutes, or until they're tender. Sprinkle with the cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 seconds more. Serve hot or at room temperature (I recommend serving them warm).

These aren't the best as leftovers, so just make as many as you need for dinner that night. It's an easy recipe to halve or quarter if necessary. I would say that most people will eat one half, though some might eat two.

The part of the meal that got the most raves was the Cheddar and Black Pepper Biscuits from my King Arthur Flour Cookbook. These were perfect with the tomatoes, a salad, and the grilled pork tenderloin we did, though they'd go well with any grilled summer meat or a warm hearty soup in the fall. I can also imagine they would be perfect the next morning split with a fried or scrambled egg, a bit of ham, and a touch more cheese. YUM. B has already requested that we make these again.

Cheddar and Black Pepper Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 to 2 1/2 tsps coarsley ground black pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk (I ended up using 1 1/4 cup to get the right consistency)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter and cheese (you can use the food processor for this). Stir in the black pepper (I used the maximum amount). Refrigerate the dough for 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Gently stir the buttermilk into the chilled dough. Gather the mixture into a ball with your hands, and, on a well floured surface, roll or pat the dough into a 12x8 inch rectangle approximately 3/4 of an inch thick. (If you overknead the dough, you risk the butter melting too much and the biscuits becoming less light and fluffy. Try to knead/roll out as minimally as possible as needed to get everything to stick together).

Grease a baking sheet. Using a large spatula (or two) transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Use a a dough scraper or a sharp knife to cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares (these will be bite size) or larger depending on your needs. Separate the squares slightly on the baking sheet. Brush each square with buttermilk. Bake the biscuits for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Both of these recipes are quite delish, and I'm sure your loved ones will thank you for making these for your next weekend family dinner!!


  1. the provencal tomatoes sound amazing- love htis time of the year- tomatoes aplenty!


  2. Sounds delicious! And best of all is the veggies are so cheap right now!

  3. Those Tomatoes sound delicious! We are on our second crop of tomatoes this year, they haven't started producing, but I'm looking forward to eating tomatoes from the garden while everyone else watches the leaves change color.... I'd rather have leaves that change color and fall weather, but when life gives you two growing seasons, grow more tomatoes... :)

  4. I love the Barefoot Contessa! Thank you for these great recipes!

  5. that recipe looks amazing! Must give it a try... as soon as the next set of tomatoes are ripe!


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