Tag Archives: tomato

Savory Tarlets: Fig Jam and Brie and Roasted Tomato Basil

With the holiday season upon us, I thought I would post an oldie, but a goodie. If you’ve never used puff pastry sheets before, you are definitely missing out. It is by far my favorite trick when entertaining .

You can purchase the lovely dough in the frozen food aisle of any grocery store. Simply thaw it, then bake it off to make a fancy breadstick or a topping for a pot pie, or in this case savory tartlets. Top these buttery little rounds with whatever is in season and suits your taste.

Puff pastry makes something simple become decadent. So next time you sign up for a potluck, you might just find yourself using this delicate dough.

Shopping List:

1 box puff pastry sheets (2 sheets per box)

1/3 cup fig jam

4 ounces brie

1/4 cup of sliced almonds

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded


1. Thaw the puff pastry sheets, then them roll out to 10 inches x 12 inches. Use a 3-inch round glass or cookie cutter to cut out  approximately 16 tartlets. You can roll out the scraps of the dough once to make remaining tartlets.

2. Lay out the circles of dough on two parchment lined baking sheets. Then, top one tray of circles with 1 teaspoon of fig jam and a thick slice of brie. Top the other tray with a teaspoon of cherry tomatoes, a teaspoon of parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of basil. Drizzle the tomato pizzettes with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Top the fig and brie ones with a pinch of sea salt only.

3.  Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown at edges. Top the fig and brie tartlets with almond slivers.

Makes: 24  tarlets


A Party? In a Bowl? Why yes, thank you! (A Super Bowl Party Appetizer Wrap-Up)

As many of you know I love to entertain, mostly because I love to make mini-foods. But really because I enjoy hanging out with friends while celebrating something special. So, it’s been a pretty long tradition–ok so it’s only been 4 or 5 years, but what ‘evs–of hosting a small group of friends for a Super Bowl Viewing Party.

Normally, I will make a couple of heartier dishes and ask the other families to lighten the load by bringing a dish to share. Here are some of my favorite Super Bowl Go To Party Faves!

Nothing like a hot dip to get the party started, yeah? P1050450Baked Green Chile Artichoke Dip
Simply fresh flavors make this one pop.

P1050799Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
You’ve got to have something for the kiddos, too.

Pizza Pop 'ems
Pizza Pop ’ems

Pizza Pop ’ems
And, who doesn’t love bacon? P1040448

Bacon Carmelized Onion Pinwheels
Ok, maybe the vegetarian doesn’t love bacon? Real men do eat quiche.P1030196

Spinach and Feta Quiches

I really don’t care who wins, FYI.

Five Favorite Soups for a Chilly Week

IMG_3824I rarely meet a soup that I don’t like. They are a bit like people, you know. Some are smooth and refined, while others are rough around the edges, and yet others are just too darn spicy for me. To me soup is always just a bowl of comfort, really. And, it’s such a non-threatening way to introduce an unfamiliar veggie to kids that I made it my Fall/Winter Mission to get my kids to eat a small bowl of soup at dinner time. Continue reading Five Favorite Soups for a Chilly Week

A Welcome Back Recipe: An Ode to Mom and Dad, Meatballs with Marinara

i_2013010312371990Hi there. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, huh?  That doesn’t mean that I’ve gone off the grid or anything. In fact, I’ve been doing just what my blog is about: helping family. Continue reading A Welcome Back Recipe: An Ode to Mom and Dad, Meatballs with Marinara

Simple Technique: Marinara Sauce

My first memories of cooking are with my Grandma.

We would walk into her home on Sunday, and the smell of garlic would fill your nostrils; it would make your mouth water the moment you entered the door. We would find her rolling out dough to make the Sicilian style pizza, and she would enlist my help.

It is only fitting that I post this recipe today since her 96th birthday would have been tomorrow. As I been delving into this adventure in food blogging I think of those recipes that remind me of her often. Thanks Grandma for tempting my palate.

The basics of any Italian, family meal is in the marinara sauce. There’s no need to buy that jarred stuff. Sauce is not a complex thing. It’s pretty simple, in fact. When you make your own you can control the flavor and the quality. And of course, when you make a batch it smells like love.

Shopping List:

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

2 smashed garlic cloves

28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes in puree

29 oz. can of tomato puree

1 tablespoon Italian herbs

½ tsp. kosher salt


1. Place all ingredients in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer covered on low heat for 20-30 minutes for flavors to develop.

Makes 8 cups. Store in 2 cup portions in freezer safe zippered bags.

Spicy and Tipsy Tomato Soup

Spicy and Tipsy Tomato Soup

One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is tomato soup, next to mac and cheese and fried chicken of course. Give me a bowl of tomato soup on a day where I’m feeling under the weather, and it perks me right up. No matter the variation I shovel it in!

About a month ago, I was playing around with trying to make a tomato soup version that I could convince my kids to eat along with me when I developed this recipe. It was so super easy and fast it will definitely stay in the repertoire for the cold season this year. See below for how you can satisfy kid tastes with this soup too.

Shopping List:

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup Chardonnay

1/2 a small jalapeno diced

1 can diced tomatoes in juice


1. In a saucepan on medium-high heat warm all of the ingredients until the sun-dried tomatoes are softened. This takes about 5-7 minutes once it all comes to a simmer.

2. Stick your immersion blender into the pot and puree away, and then soup is on! Or pour it into a blender and use the highest setting for 1 minute, or until it is to your desired consistency.

3. Spoon on some greek yogurt, cilantro and crusty bread. For a heartier meal top it with some poached shrimp.

For a kids version that I call Pizza Soup simply leave the jalapeno out of the mix; add 1 teaspoon Italian herb mix; and replace the wine with broth. Serve with Grilled Ham and Cheese Toasts Voila!

Pollo Saltado: Peruvian Stir-Fry

Classic Peruvian Stir-Fry: Pollo Saltado

When the dinner rush is in my face stir-fries are an easy way to satisfy the family fast. Most people are pretty familiar with Asian stir-fries, but the Peruvian version is a little different. It’s still pretty simple; some chicken, some soy sauce and spices, then pile it all on top of some white rice and call it a day. With Peru being the home to more than 300 varieties of potatoes, it’s no surprise that they serve this classic dish with papas fritas, french fries, a sure-fire way into any kid’s heart.

Machu Picchu July 2011

After sampling both chicken and beef versions over the last 10 days, I prefer the beef. Here I’ve included the recipe for chicken. If you want to do lomo it turns out nicely with sirloin steak sliced thin.

Shopping List:

1 1/2 pounds thin-sliced chicken breast, or you can pound yours thin, but at my market they sell for the same price

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup Worchestire sauce

1/2 a red onion, sliced thin

1 red pepper sliced thin

2 Roma tomatoes, quartered

4 cloves garlic

1/2 a bag of frozen french fries

1 cup uncooked rice


1. Heat the oven to the appropriate temp for the fries– my bag reads 375. Pop the fries in the oven when it is hot. Set your timer according to the directions. 

2. While the oven is heating, start the rice according to the instructions.

3. In a non-stick pan, heat on low-medium 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil with the 4 cloves of garlic smashed.

4. Meanwhile, dice the chicken into evenly sized pieces.

5. Once the garlic starts to turn golden, toss in the chicken and crank up the heat to medium -high. Don’t stir it for the first couple of minutes so the chicken also starts to get a nice carmelized look on it.

6.Once the chicken starts to brown, after about 4-5 minutes, add the stock, soy sauce and Worchestire along with the onions, peppers and tomatoes. Cook this an additional 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes and onions are fork tender. At this point taste for salt, and add a pinch or two to suit your taste. Done!

7. Pour this all over a bowl of steaming rice and top with the french fries.

Serves 4.