Marinated Tomatoes

I’m always happy to eat a tomato adorned with only a little salt.  However, the family is likely to grumble a little if all that shows up on the dinner table are sliced tomatoes and a salt!  Here’s a quick little recipe that dresses them up enough to be served as a meal.  Marinated tomatoes are great over simple grilled chicken or a slice of cheese toast!  Toss in some small fresh mozzarella balls or diced mozzarella for a delicious salad, or serve them over a scrambled or fried egg.  Plus I’ve included a little French trick to make it all look a little fancier!  IMG_0458

Marinated Tomatoes

2 cups sliced and/or cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp delicious olive oil (you really want a flavorful oil here)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
5 large basil leaves, cut chiffonade (read on for instructions!)
1-2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
A drizzle of balsamic vinegar, optional (at our house we add this at the table allowing those who don’t want it to go without)

Combine all ingredients and gently toss.  Allow to marinate while you prepare whatever you’re serving them with.

How-to cut a chiffonade:

First, start with 5 or so leaves of basil:
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Stack them with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on top:
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Roll it up:
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Then using a sharp knife (this one is my favorite for small tasks), slice the roll thinly:
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The perfect way to dress up the dish:
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Beginning with Basil

Welcome to Modern Day Ma!  I’m glad you’re here!  I hope you find what you’re looking for among the recipes, ideas, and gardening tips, or just some good reading material for your day!

Summer’s bounty is upon us, and it seems a terrible time to start a blog, but it’s also the perfect time!  There is produce in every corner of the yard, farmer’s market and refrigerator and it’s either got to be eaten up, preserved, or tossed in the compost bin.  So, let’s get started with pesto!

basil boquet

Basil is my favorite herb.  When I was beheading my plants (hey, they’ve got to be convinced to keep growing) I ended up grabbing this gorgeous handful into a bouquet and then snapping this shot.  As I did so, I thought to myself that it made a perfect little decorative bouquet for someone like me!  The garden is, hands-down, my favorite place to spend time and nothing beats a delightful, fragrant handful of basil!  It can spice up tomato sauces, sandwiches, soups, eggs, salads, pizzas, meats, and even lunchboxes!

Pesto is the best way to preserve that fresh basil flavor for the long winter. I always make pesto in huge batches when I have basil and then freeze it into “hockey pucks” in my silicone muffin pans.  Just fill the muffin cups (even partially full, if you’d like smaller portions), lay them on a tray and freeze.  After the pesto is frozen, simply pop them out into a storage container or zip top bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.  Pest will defrost at room temperature in about 20 minutes.

Pesto

1 cup fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
½ to 1 cup good quality, yummy tasting olive oil (Spectrum or B.R. Cohn are my favorites)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese (or use more Parmesan)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste-about 1 tsp each pepper and Kosher salt
Optional 1/2 – 1 cup toasted nuts (pine nuts, pecans, almonds)

Combine basil, garlic, nuts, cheese, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and roughly chop.  Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream with the motor running.

Don’t add too much oil. When the motor is stopped, the oil shouldn’t puddle. A good way to check is to turn off the food processor, let it sit for a minute and then check it. If there is a little olive oil that is separating out from the mix, then it’s probably enough. If it still seems really thick, add a little more oil.

Be careful not to leave the food processor on for too long, or it will turn your pesto into more of a peanut butter texture. It shouldn’t be that smooth. You should still see small chunks of nuts and/or cheese when it’s all done.

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