Archive for the ‘Dips and Dressings’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Sun dried tomatoes and dressing recipe

I have four tomato plants growing, two are in a tiny little garden and two are planted in pots around the outside of the house.  The kids and I tend to pick and eat the cherry tomatoes as they ripen and the roma tomatoes we keep for salads, sandwiches or other meals.  The tomato plants have been yielding a good supply lately and the kids and I are about as filled up on then as we can be, so it was time to look for ways to preserve or use them before they went bad.  I thought of making a pot of tomato sauce for pizza and pasta, but there were not enough tomatoes for that so I made sun dried tomatoes instead.

This was my first time and I liked the way they came out.  Instead of the basic sun dried tomatoes that requires no additional ingredients brushed them with a little garlic oil and dried basil to give it extra flavor.  I loved the result so much that I had to make a dressing immediately to eat on my salad.  It was wonderful!  I have posted both the sun dried tomato recipe and the dressing below.

Sun dried tomato recipe (no one really dries them in the sun right?)
Tomatoes (Roma work well)
Garlic oil
Dried or fresh herbs (I used basil)

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Start by cutting the tomatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the fleshy part and it should look like the picture below.
I mixed the Oregano and oil together and brushed the tomatoes with the oil a little goes a long way, do not make them soggy, they just need to have a sheen.  Then, placed them in the dehydrator over night.

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Here is the final result.  Since this was my first time I did not want to make a big batch in case they did not work well, but they came out great.  I already have 5-6 halves soaking in garlic oil for my dressing in the above picture.  I make the garlic oil by peeling fresh garlic cloves and placing them in olive oil.  I use both the oil and the cloves as I need them.  The remaining tomatoes I will store in an airtight container to use on my pizza next Friday and I was thinking of making a sun dried tomato and herb loaf and sun dried tomato and basil omelet.

Sun dried tomato dressing:
5-6 sun dried tomatoes soaked in 1/4 cup olive oil for a few hours (the tomatoes and oil both go in the dressing)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (you could start with less if you prefer)
1/4 -1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove
3 fresh basil leaves (use dried herbs if you prefer)

Directions:
Mix the ingredients together in a blender until finely blended.

Verdict:
This was really very good.  I had the dressing on a salad with lettuce, spinach, olives and croutons.  I wish I had feta or farmer’s cheese to put in the salad as well, but we finished that last week so it is time to make cheese soon.

Emily, my 5 year old just wanted croutons and olives and poured the dressing on and ate that as part of her lunch today.

Note:
If you do not have a dehydrator you can make this in your oven, by placing the tomatoes on a cookie sheet or even better on a metal cooling rack on a cookie sheet.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven at 200′F for about 6-12 hours.

PostHeaderIcon Hummus with homemade crackers

Crackers
There are many recipes for making your own crackers.  Some require a pasta maker (sadly I don’t have one yet) to get the dough a uniform thickness and it also makes it easier to cut them into your desired shapes.  Some recipes are full of extra things that add cost and extra work.  I prefer simple, a cracker is only a mode of transportation for something yummier to get to your mouth.  It is kind of like an edible spoon.  Although it has to taste good, it is what is on it that counts.  The less ingredients the happier I am and the less I have to do, well happier I am.  If it is to be a staple in my home it has to be simple and easy to make.  I found a great recipe on recipetips.com, it did take me a few tries to get it perfect, but it turned out really well on my third try.  The thing that I like the most is that there is no cutting and struggling to make the crackers look the same.  You basically make one large cracker and break it into as big or small pieces as you prefer.  The ingredients are also staples in your pantry and it takes pennies to make.  How can you go wrong with that?

The verdict:
This is both tasty and easy to make.  I did have to make it 3 times, firstly because the recipe does not make much at one time and secondly because I did not roll out the dough thin enough the first time.  The second time I did it too thin and the third time it was perfect.  The kids loved it, James loved it and even the neighbors liked it.  This one is a keeper.  I served it with chicken liver pate and hummus.
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Hummus
The kids and I are snackers, we start snacking early morning and continue until after lunch.  Then, we try to take a break until dinner time when we eat a hearty cooked meal.  However, meals throughout the day are normally raw fruit, veggies, salads, dairy or crackers and dip.  I like hummus, but I do not like tahini.  It is not that I do not like the taste, it is lovely, but I do not like to buy something that I only use in one recipe.  I have no desire to put tahini in anything else so I refuse to buy it.  Instead I came up with my own hummus recipe made from things that I always have in the party or fridge.

Hummus Recipe:
1 clove of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of artichokes in oil (I use this instead of tahini, Trader Joe’s makes an artichoke antipasto that works well)
1 can chickpeas (Garbonzo beans)
3 tablespoons yogurt
Mint leaves
Salt
Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Hummus is all about what suits your taste buds.  If you like garlic put in more, if you don’t like mint leave it out and try something else.  This is my basic recipe, but I don’t even keep to it.  As the picture above shows my hummus is red because I added a roasted red pepper that I had left over from another meal. Some people like it thicker and some prefer it thinner, so add amounts slowly so that you can make adjustments that suite you.

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