Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grilled Tomatoes

As the summer approaches down here in the land of Oz, you may notice something about this food blog. What may you notice, pray tell? You just might notice a lot of recipes using tomatoes.

Why tomatoes? Well, we have 9 tomato(e) plants growing in pots on the bricked patio overlooking the pool. It gets nice and roasty toasty warm there, loads of daylight too, and I give 'em plenty of water and fertilizer (cow poop; in fact they started growing in a mix of half potting soil and half cow manure --makes the plants smell really good).

One of the plants is a truss tomato(e) and that sucker's first flush is gonna be 20 to 30 tomatoes! Mmmmmmmmmm... Last year we got over 100 from just 3 plants (no trusses) so this year I'd be expecting over 300.

That's a lot of tomatoes.




I still have a few jars of semi-sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil and fresh basil from last season. I also still have a jar of the end of season green tomatoes that I pickled.

I think we'll be eating a lot of tomatoes over the next 8 months :)

OT 95 F in the shade Friday... A little bit warm for middle of spring...

The sauce for this is the same as I use for my fish recipe that everyone down here loves, or at least those who've tried it.

The sauce is basically half olive oil and half lemon juice (or lime juice), a bit of salt, some ground white pepper, and some tarragon. Whisk the heck out of it and a nice emulsion forms.

The other day I was grilling up some basa with the above marinade, and I realised I had made too much marinade. I then noticed that we had 3 big, fresh, juicy tomatoes just sitting there on the kitchen table begging to be eaten.

Hmmmmm, thought I... perhaps I can thick slice them and grill them and drizzle the excess marinade on them? Oh, wait a sec! How's abouts I cut em in half and let the sauce soak into them before grilling? Yeah, that'll work!

They were a HIT! I mean a huge hit! The cool thing is that they kinda make there own little bowls of tomatoey goodness. Gobble, smack, slurp!

Here the recipe:

Whut Yoo Knead:
3 tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (or half lemon/half lime juice)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper (or black, no worries)
1 to 2 tsp dried tarragon leaves

Whut Yoo Doo:

Toss everything except the tomatoes in a bowl. Then whisk like crazy. The sauce will form an emulsion. Very very very tasty.

Slice each tomato(e) in half. Latitudinally, not longitudinally (that means if the stem is the north pole, then slice along the equator). Put the halved tomatoes on a plate with the cut side UP. Spoon the sauce over each half (that'd be six halves) and let them sit for an hour (while you go prepare whatever else you are having for dinner).

Crank up your grill (I have a six burner gas barbie) to high. Let the grill get really hot, then turn off the gas. Place the tomato(e) halves on the grill with the cut side DOWN. Close the lid.

In about 10 to 15 mins, open the lid, and plate them suckers up! Serve them with the cut side UP, and they'll each become their own little bowl of tomatoey goodness.


I'm sure you can do the same thing under a broiler (on the lowest temp possible) in the kitchen. I wouldn't suggest making them in an oven cus I think they'd soften up way too much. But hey, you can always try! But if you have a gas grill, it's easily done. Charcoal, no worries; just move the coals to one side after getting the part of the grill where you are putting the tomatoes nice and really hot.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cheesy Steamed Cauliflower

This is a main dish. Yes, that's right. It'll feed 3 hungry adults --provided they all like cauliflower, of course. It's dead easy to make and is quick. Heck, I'll bet even Ishmael could make it (but I doubt he'd eat it).

Here's what u knead:

one big ole cauliflower
1 litre full cream milk
1/2 cup cream
1 cup white wine
ground white pepper
2 to 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup minced onion
corn flour (corn starch for you yanks)

What to due:

Cut the cauliflower up into large sized chunks --depends on the size of your steamer, the chunks should be as big as you can make them and still fit into the steamer. Don't forget to steam the greens too, very tasty and nutritious!

They'll need to steam for a good 30 mins and the sauce only takes 10 mins. That'll give you an idea of when to start the sauce. The sauce really makes this dish, yum!

Put the milk, cream, and white wine in a large saucepan heat it slowly. Keep the flame low as you don't want to scald the cream, but you should be able to get it bubbling without burning it. Add 1/2 tsp sea salt, and a few good shakes to white pepper --this is to YOUR taste.

Once the sauce in simmering, start sprinkling in the corn starch (corn flour for you Aussies) while whisking like crazy. Once the sauce is as thick as you like it (it should be fairly thin for this so that it soaks into the cauliflower) then add the minced onion and the CHEESE. Mmmmmmmm, cheese... drooooo-al...

Turn the heat off the sauce and let it sit for a few mins while you plate up the big cauliflower chunks. Liberally ladle the sauce over the cauliflower and use some process to get the food from your plate into your stomach.

Use a beer instead of the white wine
Use some cayenne powder
Use some garlic
Use some bleu cheese along with the cheddar
Parmesan along with the cheddar works well too
Serve with piping hot, soft, fresh, homemade bread (with lots of butter)


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sweet And Spicy Cabbage

Whoa, hold on a minute. Just cus I can hear the groans from way down in Oz doesn't mean it's not good! In fact, it's very good. Well, at least to me it is.

As many of you are aware, I tend to experiment a bit. Sometimes in the kitchen even! Most of the kitchen experiments are pretty successful, once in a while something bombs totally, and once in a while something is awesome (like the special meat balls last night).

This one is one of the awesome ones. Provided, of course, that you like cabbage and spicy food. Otherwise, I don't think you'll enjoy this.

But if you're brave and like spicy food and cabbage, then read on.

This whole thing started when I noticed that I had some leftover cabbage the other day (just steamed a bunch, it was very mad) and I didn't want it to go to waste. Hmmmm, I'll just thin slice it (shred) and marinate it in *something* to have on the side tonight with the fish stir-fry.

6 hours go by while the shredded cabbage marinates...

Well, that sure didn't "take" the flavors well. Let me add some more sugar and then simmer the mess.




Ah, ready to have as a side dish!

Not ultra yummy, but tasty.

*The next morning*

*picture dave staggering down the stairs in his robe*

*to feed the birds*

*and the cat*

*dave is hungry*

What's this? Some leftover cabbage! Well, the spices will help clear the sinuses.



*Eat some more*

WOW!!!! That's great! Now I just need to remember how I made it...

Which brings us to:

Dingo Dave's Sweet and Spicy Cabbage

Please note that this is a very ad hoc recipe...

What you need:

1/8 (or so) of a cabbage head, shredded
1/4 cup very thin sliced red onion
1/2 cup fermented white vinegar (never use distilled, I took organic chem and I know where the distilled garbage comes from)
1 cup white wine vinegar
3 or 4 cups haitch-too-o (water)
2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves crushed garlic (or 2 tbsp of the jarred stuff)
1 to 4 tsp chil(l)i flakes (just how hot do you like it?)
1 cup raw sugar

What you do:

This is so easy. Even you blokes or blokettes that can't cook can do this!

Put everything EXCEPT THE CABBAGE AND THE ONION in a saucepan. Whisk the heck out of it so the sugar is dissolved. Crank on the burner and simmer for 15 mins (stir it once in a while, eh) and then let take it off the heat. Toss in the cabbage and onion, cover, and let it sit for a few hours.

A few hours later, turn the heat back on. Boil it till there's almost no liquid left. Strain off the liquid. Let the cabbage and onion cool, then cover and toss that puppy in the fridge till the next day (or even two).

If you like spicy and if you like cabbage, then this is awesomely good!