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Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

  1. Salmon Patties

    May 10, 2012 by The Yum Yum


    The best way to eat a salmon patty is with a slice of tomato on top of it.



    Of course, you can also make ketchup smiley faces for the kids, but I think the single slice of tomato really brings out the true flavor of the salmon patty.



    I wonder if it’s possible to also salmon patties with diced tomatoes and squash already mixed in. This is something I will speak to Gigi about.



    Few things in life make the world instantly a better place than a mug of hot tea and a plate full of salmon patties. Better still, topping the patty with tomato is like putting a little hat on Jesus or something; it just makes everything so friendly and happy.



    That is all.



    Get your nosh on!










  2. Dinner with Friends: My Only Real Free Night in Holy Week

    April 3, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    Well, now that Holy Week’s underway, my schedule has doubled in being busy!


    Chris had mentioned something about coming over for dinner last night several days ago, and when I reminded him, he seemed to have forgotten about it, then accused me of totally not responding.


    I should also point out that in his invitation to have dinner with him and Jim last night, he mentioned that Jim had sunburn, and I was more concerned with telling Chris to tell Jim to put vinegar on his skin to rid himself of the sunburn as opposed to worrying about having dinner.


    But dinner we did have: spaghetti, garlic bread, and, get this: strawberry mint muffins.


    And guess what? As usual, I took a number of pictures of all the great food!

    In the midst of Jim’s preparing the sauce, he also messed around with some kind of German juicer that literally reduced the pieces of fruit to nothing more than pulp.

    I also noticed that their garbage disposal turns on by a mere button on the top of the cabinet counter. Talk about sleek looking. I should’ve taken a picture of that as well.

    Instead, I focused on the large pieces of garlic bread. I even said that the half of garlic bread was entirely my piece.

    The sauce, as you can see, turned out to be orange. Jim said that most of the time, homemade sauces will have an orange color instead of a red color. Go figure.


    Jim made the sauce basically by tossing together a lot of the standard vegetables (mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, garlic) and then pressure cooking those bad boys until they were just a goopy mess of delight.

    Then he added the tomatoes and things started to get really serious.


    Chris said the sauce tasted identical to something called “Roasted Red Pepper Soup.” He also commented that we could’ve eaten just the sauce as a soup along with the bread and been just as happy. I was happy with the noodles and the sauce, too, but I am really more of a sauce person than I am a noddle person. I do, however, still adore pasta, as long as it’s sufficiently coated in sauce.


    I heard on The Chew that it’s a crime about how much sauce Americans put on their pasta- and I wanted to slap the chef right in the jaws because I think it’s the other way around.


    Stay tuned for the next blog in which I talk about horror movies and Strawberry Mint Muffins!


    Also, remember to get your nosh on!





  3. 2012 is on the Horizon! Pizza, Omelets, and More

    December 30, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    2012’s apocalypse seems to be arriving a little early for Hickory Shade. We’ve had the most trouble with appliances this year.

    Our latest adventure involves a plastic piece of our brand new refrigerator breaking. This is not good; I happen to adore our new fridge. In fact, I should probably do a video about it one day soon.


    Anyway, Gigi told me not to open the fridge…after I had already opened it…and then she re-opened it to show me what had broken.

    Also, please keep Gigi in your prayers; now she’s turned around and fallen ill again.

    I had actually planned to cook something tonight, perhaps an omelet; I don’t know if I told you guys, but I attempted a French omelet last week and managed to fail miserably at it.

    But on the positive note, my French omelet, which was filled with cheese, became cheesy scrambled eggs, and they were my best scrambled eggs ever!!!

    Instead of making an omelet, though, I opted for a Totino’s pizza. I did my normal ritual of chopping up tomatoes, onions, and adding garlic salt, red pepper flakes, and cheese to it. Oh, yeah, and I tossed in a bit of basil with the tomatoes. I had to cook the pizza longer than the package said, but it turned out amazing. My entire career as a foodie should be based around taking not-so-great food and making it taste amazing.


    Also, I’m randomly craving Chinese donuts…oy…


    Everyone, have an egg-cellent day!




  4. The Spooktacular Event at Kelly’s House Tonight Plus Last Night’s Gefilte Fish

    October 22, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Well, somehow I’ve been coerced to dress up for the Halloween party tonight. I’m also curious as to why we’re doing the party a week early, but I won’t analyze that too much and plan to just enjoy myself. 

    I’m not really one for dressing up for Halloween. In fact, I actually think of buying Halloween costumes the same way I think of buying a wedding dress- something one stresses over way too much only to have the costume to wear a total one time, then never use it again. Except in this case, the wedding repeats on a yearly basis, which doesn’t make much sense to me.

    I actually do like Halloween; I’ve had better Halloweens, on average, than Christmases or Thanksgiving. (Or birthdays, ugh.) The one detriment of Halloween is the lack of actual food, since most food comes down to various snacks and sweets. Even the pumpkins don’t really get used for food until Thanksgiving and Christmas!

    In other news, as I posted yesterday, I finally got gefilte fish, and let me tell you something, Sister Christian, I ate the entire jar- broth and all- by myself. Gefilte fish isn’t something that’s necessarily popular with the other folks, and in that, I can immediately claim “more for me.” In fact, I don’t want other people to like gefilte fish as much as I, because then I might have to share, and then I would have to do battle and remove the person from this mortal coil.

    Let me tell you, the fish was delicious. Absolutely delicious. I poured the broth and the fish into a saucepan and added minced garlic. Earle and Swifti were shocked by how much garlic I added, but as I put it, there’s no such thing as “too much” garlic. Ever.

    The wraps we made were also great- Publix had tomato flavored wraps and garlic pesto wraps on sale for half the price of the smaller, thicker spinach wraps, so we went with the former instead of the latter. Earle got some sliced moo cow- I mean, roast beef- and asiago cheese, and then we proceeded to make the wraps at his house. Toothpicks help if your wrap isn’t tight enough; I tend to enjoy splitting the wrap right down the center so that one has two pieces. They’re much better that way, in my opinion. 

    I made my own wrap which featured pesto sauce, tomatoes, spinach, and asiago cheese. No moo cow for Beaux, please!

    What’s everyone going to do for Halloween?

    Have an egg-cellent day!



  5. Leftover Macaroni Cheese and “The Spice is Right”

    August 24, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Maybe something’s slightly wrong with the proportions I gave yesterday, and honestly, you probably want more sauce than not, especially if you want the creamy variety of macaroni and cheese. I had a good deal of leftover cheese sauce and then some of the leftover macaroni cheese, so I decided to follow my culinary intuition and spice things up a bit today.

    First, you can turn leftover baked macaroni cheese into stovetop macaroni cheese easily by adding more cheese sauce and putting the leftovers in. I also added more of the crab boil, which I think turned out to not be crab boil but some kind of seafood seasoning. Oh, well, the flavoring is about the same when it all comes down to it.

    I also added Bac’N Bits, which are made from soy and not real bacon.

    Then a voice whispered to me, “Add basil.”




    So I did, and that was a really, really good idea. Basil is a great friend of tomatoes, but apparently, it’s also a great friend to macaroni cheese, because the concoction totally sparkled after that…in a highly metaphorical way.

    A bit of a friendly tip when dealing with leftover cheese sauce- make sure you add water to thin out the sauce before really heating anything up. Really thick sauces may burn if you don’t stir quickly enough, so adding water and allowing the bit of water to cook out is probably your best option. This also makes stirring easier.

    My only regret in my two-day macaroni cheese adventure is having not had fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers to add to the recipe, but I’m not complaining too terribly much; this was a definite improvement to what I’ve made in the past, and any bit of cooking improvement makes me a happy panda. I think we did have some onion, and without any energy to cut said onion, I pressed forth to make the macaroni cheese.

    The stove top version did turn out creamier. One thing you always have to remember is that any kind of sauce will thicken upon standing, especially sauce that has flour or corn starch in it. Corn starch is a good thickener to use as it won’t lump up, whereas flour has the tendency to lump up if the heat is too high.

    Also, for those of you who don’t know, DO NOT ADD FLOUR OR CORN STARCH DIRECTLY TO THE MIXTURE, or it will lump up and you’ll have macaroni and cheese dumplings, which will not be a pleasant adventure.

    Did I tell everyone about my new fortune-telling cards? I’ve taken a new interest in them these past few months; I’ve had Tarot cards for years that I’ve never really sat down to study, but being the person I am, I attempt to figure out the best way to learn something before actually attempting to learn it. So far, so good, mnemonics and the so-called “memory palace” are the best way to learn things. With things like cooking, I don’t have the same issues; ideas just randomly arrange themselves and pop out coherently for me as often as not. The gist, the abstraction of things, is there; all I have to do is fill in specifics, and voila, we have things like macaroni cheese that tastes just magnificent.

    Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that the Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards are a bit of a strange set, as you have 25 cards, and each card has half of one picture. A total of 50 pictures can be formed. Number 50 is the Bread, which represents Happiness, and in fact, Bread is my favorite card of all! Naturally, the carboholic would be partial to a card representing bread, good grief!

    I also learned how to shuffle cards recently (though you can’t shuffle the Gypsy Cards because of their size and delicacy), and by shuffle, I mean really shuffle, where the cards fly into each other. It’s SO much fun to do that, and I learned by continuously trying over and over and over again until I got it. No one showed me how, so that makes me double proud of myself.

    I have an idea to actually make a set of cards that aren’t for fortune-telling but are used to create meals. In other words, you have any number of ingredients written down on cards, then you shuffle the cards, and you draw however many you feel like drawing. Whatever ingredients are listed are what you can use to make a meal. In fact, the Onyx Plate, Veggie Table, and I should make this into a game show and be hosts. It’s like Iron Chef but with a constant wild card thrown in.

    And then we could name it, “The Spice is Right.”

    And we would have never-ending Plinko.

    The Spice Girls could do the theme song (that would give us a multicultural edge by bringing over the Brits), and we could have guest hosts from the Food Network, like Paula Deen and Rachael Ray.

    But not Sandra Lee. EVER. Though we could have her build life-sized, labyrinthine table-scapes, and then Veggie Table and I could go on another new show called, “Escape the Table-scape!”





  6. Some Thoughts on Our Friendly Neighborhood Food, Tomatoes

    August 5, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Tomatoes are the local cash crop of my small town. This entry, while coming a bit later than the Tomato Festival proper, has its merits none the less.

    First, let’s talk about classifications: you hear often the issue about whether a tomato is a fruit or vegetable, and this is something that can spark arguments. The actual solution to this equation isn’t difficult, requiring only a little clarification (as most things do in life!)

    Tomatoes are classified botanically as fruits because they contain seeds and come from the flower of a plant. This is the general means by which “fruits” are classified scientifically speaking. Tomatoes, though, are renowned for not really being sweet like an orange or a peach.

    This brings us to the next point. In terms of culinary classification, tomatoes would be considered a vegetable, as most often we eat tomatoes with other vegetables and not as a dessert.

    While cooking has its own scientific sort of scheme, it isn’t an exact science, and cooking certainly isn’t botany. Thus, we foodies, chefs, and cooks of all sorts can go right ahead referring to tomatoes as “vegetables” and get away with it!

    The big topics I want to discuss with tomatoes tonight is the process of cooking them. Raw tomatoes, of course, are delicious in their own right. They do have a certain kind of weak sweetness to them, though they aren’t sweet in the way a plum or banana would be sweet. Tomatoes also have a tanginess to them that’s quite nice.

    Cooking with tomatoes will have you walking a fine line between the tomatoes being too acidic and too tangy OR the tomatoes being too sweet and mellow. This can be seen best when trying to make a sauce with tomatoes. The more acidic the sauce, the tangier it will taste. The “sweeter” the sauce, the more it will taste like raw tomatoes pureed. Neither are what you want when trying to make a sauce; the whole point of cooking is to combine and create new flavors from older ones.

    A good tomato sauce of any sort should strike the balance between the tanginess and sweetness; they should both be present, they should work together, and the flavor should be instantly and universally recognizable on the basic level. Obviously, variations will exist within any given sauce, even if it’s made by the same person twice. God Almighty is aware of the many strange things that have happened to my sauces over the years.

    So, the point is, you want the tomato sauce to be there, to say “Present!”, but you don’t want it to be dressed up like Lady Gaga (whom I happen to adore) and warbling with a ukelele, nor do you want it to be some Bland Nancy sitting around and dusting the room. Your tomatoes don’t have to become a Straight-A student who’s involved in 13 clubs and volunteers for 14 organizations in the classroom of cooking; your tomatoes can be an average to bright student that’s passionate about something in life.

    Again, just some thoughts about the local cash crop.



  7. Carb-less Mini-Pizzas

    July 17, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    This entry goes out to both the Onyx Plate and Sharpshooter, since I’m sure they’ll both get a kick out of it.

    Now, I can’t claim to have wholly invented this recipe, as I’ve seen others do it before, or at least some variation on it. But you know me- I like to break things down to their basic level of abstraction and work from there.

    First, let’s consider: what’s in a name? What qualifies something AS something? This question may seem ridiculous and trifling at first glance, as after all, most of us have no trouble labeling this or that thing.

    But the reality is that philosophers have long struggled throughout history to understand what qualifies something as something. Do real categories exist, or are they arbitrary inventions of the human mind based on similarities?

    Language affects us heavily. What I mean to say is that the human mind can be “primed” by putting forth certain ideas and concepts. You’ll almost always automatically respond with something for which you’ve been “primed.”

    So this recipe I’m about to give could easily be called “baked tomatoes.” But “baked tomatoes” doesn’t sound nearly as much fun as “Carb-less Mini-Pizzas,” does it? And here’s the problem: are these really simply a modified version of baked tomatoes, or are they really a mini-pizza that has no crust? Further still, do they perhaps represent a hybrid between the two, a meeting ground of common ingredients that produces something that isn’t quite this or that?

    The kind of debate and argument this could create is the sort that can destroy both friendships and marriages.

    None the less, the intellectual exercises prove that humans cannot agree on anything, and so the practical person’s only true response is to simply make the recipe and eat it without trying to categorize it.

    Because if you think about it, some things we might call “pizza” may be very far from the idea of pizza as we have it anyway. What happens when you use Tandoori Naan bread as the crust with pesto instead of tomato sauce and top it with spinach and feta cheese? That’s not traditionally what we think of when we say “pizza,” is it? Yet every day, many people make very un-traditional forms of pizza that are still categorized as pizza.

    Maybe it’s all in the eye of the beholder (or the mouth of the eater.) Maybe it’s all in the mind of the thinker.

    Whatever it is, if you change what it’s called, people will actually understand it differently- they will understand the role of it differently, they will perceive it differently. As so many say, perception is reality.

    What you need:

    • four or five medium to large tomatoes
    • shredded parmesan
    • oregano

    What you do:

    1. Slice the tomatoes as evenly as possible.
    2. Sprinkle on oregano and parmesan.
    3. Bake at 450º for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    This is the so-called “basic” form of the recipe. If you do this and only this, you will end up with a bunch of mini-pizzas without any carbs, and yes, it will taste like pizza.

    But to alter this recipe, you can also add any or all of these:

    • extra virgin olive oil
    • salt
    • pepper
    • basil
    • parsley
    • garlic
    • onions
    • bell peppers
    • sausage
    • pepperoni
    • bacon

    Do you see what I mean here? The possibilities are endless. You’re going to be having a healthy pizza here without it being full of carbs. And you can have several of the healthy pizzas. This is a great and fun recipe, it’s super-easy, and it’s in season for the summer.

    Carpe Diem!



  8. Sinfully Delicious: Shrimp and Noodles

    July 13, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    There’s an inside joke about why I call this recipe “sinfully delicious,” but I won’t expose myself here.

    What you need:

    • half a pack of your choice of noodles. I used a kind of short egg noodle.
    • a half pound of shrimp; frozen salad shrimp work well.
    • a medium-sized tomato
    • a quarter to a half of a medium-sized onion
    • a clove of garlic
    • 2 teaspoons of oregano
    • 2 teaspoons of basil
    • feta cheese or parmesan cheese
    • 3 teaspoons of pepper
    • salt and any other spices to taste

    What you do:

    1. Bring water to boil and prepare the noodles.
    2. While the noodles are boiling, heat 3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a skillet.
    3. Slice the tomato, onion, and garlic and add them to the skillet; heat on low.
    4. Add the basil, oregano, and pepper.
    5. Add frozen shrimp to the skillet and increase heat.
    6. When noodles are done, drain and add to the veggie-shrimp mixture.
    7. Cook on medium to low-medium for five to ten minutes or until most of the juices have evaporated.
    8. Remove from heat.
    9. Add cheese, stir well, and serve immediately.

    This recipe is quite similar to on that my friend Kelly made recently. Also, today, I added a squirt of lemon for extra flavor and seemed to have a problem getting the food salty enough. I’m not quite sure what happened.

    In addition, always remember that you can flavor your noodles by boiling them in a seasoned water. You can add crab boil, for instance, to the pot to season them before adding them to the main recipe. This is in fact the only real time you can add flavor to your noodles. After they’re cooked, the show’s over.

    Carpe Diem!


  9. Cooking, Sharing, and More Philosophy from Poppy’s Lazy Susan Table

    June 20, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    The Onyx Plate and I alike have pointed out that cooking for other people is one of the major joyful points of cooking. In fact, I would go so far as to say that cooking isn’t nearly as much fun if you aren’t preparing something that someone else can enjoy. Knowing that other people are enjoying delicious food that you yourself prepared for them is part of the fullness of cooking.

    Poppy always prepared a great deal of food at his house on Sundays. Anyone who wanted to eat was welcome to his table. This taught me a very valuable lesson at a very early age: sharing of one’s abundance is important.

    The psychologist C.G. Jung would say that one of the main aspects of a person’s spiritual development is to draw from the unconscious mind into consciousness various aspects about themselves that otherwise they live unconsciously. Sharing, then, is something I have for years done unconsciously, ready to give what I have to others for them to enjoy, and now I realize that I absorbed this value from a very early age around my grandfather’s table.

    The value of sharing is of even greater importance in this day and age with the state of the economy and the state of the culture. We cannot afford to be greedy any longer, neither personally nor collectively. The time has come to give of ourselves to others. Sharing food, cooking for others, and enjoying it with them is a very basic way to live this out, to understand that we are not man against man; rather, we are all in this world, in this life, in this story together and must live accordingly, no matter our apparent differences.

    In other news, does anyone have any ideas for healthy, cold treats that can be eaten on a hot summer’s day? Gigi and Bapaw have been eating ice cream that’s rather unhealthy and sugary, and I’m sure it doesn’t do them any favors. My thoughts have been about freezing pieces of fruit or something and eating those. I’m open to suggestions!

    Coming soon:

    • A review of Bapaw’s tiny yellow tomatoes!
    • An interview with Kelly about the Slocomb Tomato Festival!
    • Kelly’s neat contraption and zucchini-tomato-carrot salad!

    What are you waiting for? Go cook something!


  10. Cheddar Bay…Cheese Toast? A Culinary Experimentation by Yours Truly, or, Eat Your Heart Out, Red Lobster!

    January 27, 2011 by The Yum Yum

    Sometimes the failures we have yield the greatest experiences and discoveries.

    The most amazing thing to ever happen to me: to be in a chaotic state of mind, having no idea what I’m going to do, and then to take a deep breath, jump in, and succeed without even trying.

    I present you Cheddar Bay Cheese Toast.

    What you need:

    • 6 slices of bread. (I actually used processed bread in this case; forgive me.)
    • 3 teaspoons of garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon of cumin
    • 1 cup of grated cheese of your choice
    • parsley to taste
    • 1/2 of a small tomato, chopped
    • 3/4 of a medium-sized onion, diced
    • a dollop of the sour cream of your choice for garnish (optional)

    What you do:

    • Grate the cheese. You can also opt to just slice it.
    • Grease a cookie sheet. I use Baker’s Joy for this.
    • Lay out the 6 slices of bread.
    • Sprinkle garlic powder on each slice.
    • Sprinkle cumin on the cheese.
    • Sprinkle parsley on the cheese.
    • Add more garlic powder, if desired.
    • Bake in at 400º for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy.

    I personally set the items around the onions and tomatoes so as to allow each person to dip onto the cheese toast how much they wanted; the dollop of sour cream came on the top of these, as you can see from the photo.

    This recipe is quite, easy, mimics the taste of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay biscuits, and was all around delight to make. I encourage everyone to go for it!

    My original intent was to make the Cheddar Bay biscuits. The last several times I baked them, they came out wrong, and I’m not sure what I did wrong.

    Incorporating the veggies was a last-minute decision. I realize that a lot of my recipes recently have been largely dealing with creams and cheeses, and I know they’re rich and fattening (but delicious), so I’m trying to mix in the healthy food deliberately.

    Go ye forth and make cheese toast!