Archive for the ‘Tomatoes’ Category

Recipes from the Farmers’ Market: Mushroom and Asparagus Toss

A couple of weeks ago I bought some mushrooms (from the regular grocery, I’ll admit) and asparagus (from the Market).  But I bought too much food in general that week, and they sat longer than they should have.  By this last weekend, the asparagus was dried out and the mushrooms were ALLLLLMOST yucky.  But I’m trying really hard not to waste food.  So!  I roasted them!  I wasn’t sure what I would do with them afterward, but knew that roasting would buy me a few more days before the vegetables died completely.  As it turned out, I tossed them with some pasta, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella tonight, but I could also have mixed them into some eggs for a frittata.  So I have two recipes tonight: the mushrooms and asparagus, and the pasta toss.  You can cook them at different times or all together, and it will work just fine. 


20 oz sliced mushrooms
2 small bunches of asparagus, broken into smallish pieces
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

The Recipe:
Preheat the oven to 375F.  Toss all the ingredients together and cook uncovered, stirring once, until the mushrooms are brown and the asparagus look dried out, about 45 minutes.

On to the next!  Now, had I known I was going to put those in the pasta, I would have also tossed in some garlic.  I ended up adding garlic powder to the pasta after it was all said and done, but that’s really not the same.

1 batch Mushroom and Asparagus Roast
8 oz dried whole-wheat pasta, long-cut (I used spaghetti, but any long-cut pasta will do.)
4 oz Mozzarella, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped (or buy one of those little jars that are already julienned)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

The Recipe:
If you’re making it all at once, start with the Roast recipe above, but add 2 cloves minced garlic.  After that’s been in the oven about 20 minutes, heat the water for pasta and bring it to a boil.  Add a generous amount of salt (don’t skip this step; it really DOES make a huge difference, especially with whole-wheat noodles) and the pasta.  When it’s done, grab 1/4 cup of the cooking water out of the pan with a glass measuring cup, and dump the pasta into a colander.  Don’t rinse it; put it right back into the pan, and toss the cheese, tomatoes and Roast in there.  Toss it all together, and taste.  Add salt and pepper (and garlic powder, if you didn’t add the garlic to the Roast).  Add some olive oil, a couple of tablespoons at a time, and a little cooking water until you get a consistency and flavor you like. 

If you like, you can top it with a little Parmesan cheese and some red pepper flakes.  YUM. 

How Did it Go?
Better than I expected, actually.  Not as good as the chard pasta, but still good.  I think if I had leftover mushrooms and asparagus again, I might also try putting them in some eggs and milk and baking them up like a quiche.  In that case a mild white cheddar (and maybe a little Dijon mustard) would be amazing mixed in.  You could also just serve the roasted veggies alongside a piece of steak, chicken or fish, with a little cheese sprinkled on top.  Served warm, they might also be good spooned over some salad greens, with the pan juices as a dressing (although that one might need a little salt), and a glass of white wine.  Lots of options on this one!


Recipes from the Farmers’ Market: Chard and Tomato Skillet Toss

Sometimes I start dinner by figuring out what the heck I have in my cupboard.  (Usually I’m a decent planner, but sometimes . . . )  So the other night I knew I had to use that giant bunch of chard I’d bought, before it went bad.  I’d had various plans for it, but hadn’t settled on anything, part of the problem being that I didn’t really know how it would taste, plus most of the recipes started out by BLANCHING the stuff.  I’m of the opinion that I don’t generally want to cook my food before I, you know, COOK MY FOOD.  (I don’t blanch spinach for the same reason.)

But I had some onions from the Market (as always – my kitchen is not complete without 5 or 7 onions lurking somewhere), and canned tomatoes (not so much local, but at least they were organic).  So I went to town.  Note below that I did NOT throw away my chard stems.  I found a couple of recipes that used them, so I stuck them in the fridge for the weekend.  I’ll let you know what happens.  🙂

2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, any color, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained*
Salt and pepper, to taste
a TINY TINY TINY sprinkle of nutmeg

The Recipe:
In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and get to work chopping chard while they cook.  Give them a shove around the pan once in a while to keep them from burning.  (If they look a little unhappy, just lower the heat.)

When the onions are soft, but not brown, add the chard.  Toss it around until it’s all well mixed, and the chard starts to wilt a little.  Now (this is KEY), lower the heat to medium-low and put a lid on the pan.  Let it sit there for about 2 minutes – you just want the chard to cook without losing all the moisture in the pan.

Take the lid off and give it all another stir.  Add the canned tomatoes and mix together.  Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.  Add the nutmeg (don’t forget: TINY TINY TINY sprinkle) and heat the whole thing until it’s nice and hot. 

If you like, you can serve this over polenta, or mix in some protein.   You could double the recipe for 4 serving-size portions.  You could also add some chicken broth and maybe another can of tomatoes to make soup.  Or you could do what I did and toss in about 8 oz of cooked whole-wheat pasta. 

*If you use pasta, don’t drain the tomatoes.  You’ll want the extra juice to coat the pasta when you toss it.

How did it go?
Man, sometimes you hit the jackpot.  This was AMAZING!  I figured it would be ok, but it definitely became more than the sum of its parts.  And if you use pasta, definitely go with whole-wheat.  Not because I’m a health nut (HAHAHAHAHA), but because the toothsome-ness of the chard and tomatoes cries out for something equally substantial to stand up to them.  White pasta just isn’t going to cut it here.

The chard was a little fiddly to chop, but you can buy it pre-chopped at most grocery stores now.  You’ll need a fairly large package (though not a warehouse-store-sized one) to get enough vegetables, just FYI.  But even if you decide to chop your own, it’s TOTALLY worth it.  Seriously.