Tiny Tomatoes: Big Taste

Even though it’s not tomato season in my area yet I can always find those sweet little grape tomatoes along with Campari tomatoes on the vine, and just recently I’ve been buying the mini heirlooms packaged as Gourmet Medley, all of them have such great flavor in every bite.

Recently I went a little overboard in the tomato department and had to find ways to use all that I had, besides I can’t bare to waste them! Great in salads but also great to cook with, which I often do. Here are a couple of ways I like to enjoy them.

Zucchini Boats


Just cut a zucchini in half lengthwise and trim a little off the bottom so it sit still in a baking dish*** Scoop out the center where the seeds are with a spoon*** Brush the surface with a mixture of crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper*** Arrange halved grape tomatoes into the grooves, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes*** Remove and place diced fontina or mozzarella in between the tomatoes, place them back in, but now under the broiler til golden and bubbling***Remove and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan. You will love this as a side dish!

Caprese Tart


This comes together so quickly, I even used a store bought pie dough. I love the flavor of the tiny heirlooms which makes this tart taste spectacular!


Place your pie dough on a removable bottomed tart pan, I used a 9 inch one here*** Prebake your pie crust in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes*** Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees*** Drizzle olive oil on top of the crust along with fresh snipped basil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese*** Layer the bottom of your crust with slices of fresh mozzarella, and since I had some fontina left from my zucchini boats, I mixed that in as well*** Arrange your halved tomatoes all around the tart right on top of the cheese*** Add more snipped basil and another drizzle of olive oil*** Bake for about 25 minutes*** Let it cool down before you cut into it. This, with a nice tossed salad is perfect for dinner!
Enjoy and Buon Appetito!

I’m Not Afraid of Phyllo Anymore!

I’ve been out the kitchen for a while enjoying the birth of my sweet new baby granddaughter. Her name is Analena, and she’s just as beautiful as her name! I could hold her for hours ( and I have) and never tire. We just can’t get enough of her!

But now I’m back in the kitchen enjoying the bounty of summer with all the apricots and peaches that are in the markets, and thinking of different ways to use up all my tomatoes!
I’ve always had a fear of phyllo, because every time I worked with it disaster struck, it would tear and be a big mess. But I wanted to conquer it once and for all because phyllo can be a great alternative to a pastry crust. Its light, flaky and crispy and as long as you don’t drench it in melted butter or olive oil it can be a perfect low fat choice for the crust of a tart. I thawed mine in the frig for 24 hours, I think that was key.

I roasted my apricots in the oven at 400F with just a sprinkling of brown sugar until soft, about 20 minutes. Mixed 1 lb of ricotta with 2 eggs, orange zest, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of cornstarch,1/4 cup of sugar ( or Splenda), and a heaping TBL of apricot preserves. Sprayed my tart pan with butter spray, which will cut down big time on the calories along with butter spraying each of my 7 layers of phyllo which I placed one by one in the tart pan. Spread my ricotta on the phyllo dough and positioned the apricots on top. Baked it for about 1/2 hour in a 375F oven, you want it golden brown and crispy, so just keep checking. While still warm, glaze the top with thinned out apricot preserves. Drizzle some honey on your slice!
For the tomato tart I used my red and yellow heirlooms that I cut into a 1/4″ slice. I let them drain out a little on paper towel because they were super juicy.
Mixed 1 lb of ricotta with 1 egg, grated romano cheese, grated asiago, and fresh chopped basil, salt and pepper. This time I sprayed my tart pan with olive oil spray, along with each sheet of phyllo, I used 7 sheets. Layered the tomatoes around the top, and baked until golden and crispy, about the same time and temperature as above. Depending on how juicy your tomatoes are you might have to cook it longer, I did.

These tarts are best if eaten the same day, but if you have leftovers like I did, don’t worry if your phyllo becomes soggy. I just put my leftover pieces on a baking sheet in a 400F oven and it all became nice and crispy again!
Phyllo is now my friend and I can’t wait to use it again!

Enjoy your weekend, and Buon Appetito!