Tomato Carpaccio

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By Freya Bellin

As the days of summer near their end, I think most of us wish we had just one more weekend at the beach, or one more week before schools starts.  But, almost as a reward for going back to reality, we do get something wonderful this time of year: tomatoes. And they never disappoint.  Plump, juicy, multi-colored, and funny-shaped, early-September tomatoes are a sweet way to say goodbye to summer.

The simpler, the better, when it comes to using ultra-fresh tomatoes in cooking. I love this tomato carpaccio because it sounds so basic, but the flavors come together in a bright, zesty way. I went for the mozzarella variation, which takes a classic combination like tomato and mozzarella and adds a surprise element of peppery arugula, rather than the standard basil. The simple salt, pepper, and olive oil seasoning complements this salad perfectly. Just proof that when you have amazing produce, it speaks for itself. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

Tomato Carpaccio

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Posted in Italian, Produce

7 Ways to Make Lentil Soup

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Makes: 4 servings

Time: About 45 minutes

Lentils make soup making easy—they cook quickly and are incredibly tasty. And unlike many lentil soups, which are so thick they put people off completely, this one is nicely balanced with some simple vegetables. The lentils break down a bit during the cooking to give the soup a hearty consistency, but you can purée it if you prefer. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes

Tomato-Bulgur Soup

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By Freya Bellin

Ripe, fresh tomatoes are elusive this time of year, but good quality canned tomatoes do the trick in this hearty winter-time soup. They can be just as sweet as the ones you find in the middle of August, and you get to skip over the washing and chopping step. Plus, they break down a little faster than the fresh kind.

I used half stock and half water for the liquid, but the broth was still quite flavorful from the onions, celery, and garlic cooked at the beginning. I especially liked the celery, which was subtle, but noticeable and appreciated. With the addition of bulgur the soup becomes heartier and more of a standalone meal. As mentioned below, the starch lends a surprising creaminess, making this soup seem much richer than it is. Unlike most soups, I found that I really preferred this one on day 1, so try to serve it all at once if possible. It shouldn’t be too hard to find willing eaters. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Produce

Sunday Supper: Chicken Cutlets and Tomatoes in Packages

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Chicken Cutlets and Tomatoes in Packages

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 1 hour

You can steam chicken directly over water, but better, in my opinion, is to steam the chicken, along with the flavorful juices of wine, tomato, oil, or stock, in a wrapped package in the oven. This method—traditionally called cooking en papillote—is simple and foolproof. It’s also impressive to serve individual packages at the table, using either parchment paper or aluminum foil to wrap the chicken and its seasonings. Easier still, if not quite as attractive, is to combine everything in a covered glass or ceramic baking dish.

Other protein you can use in this recipe: any cutlets—pork, veal, or turkey.

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Posted in Recipes