Tomato Love – Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

Grilled Portobello with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Do you love fresh garden tomatoes and are you looking for a great new recipe to use them?  You’ve found the right recipe.  This is one of my favorite ways to prepare grilled portobello mushrooms.  It reminds me of a caprese salad on top of a grilled portobello; the flavors are fresh and compliment the grilled portobello.  I think next time I will even try a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing grill pan
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (about 5 inches in diameter), stemmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small to medium sized vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions

Prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat).

Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over both sides of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil on grill pan to prevent mushrooms from sticking. Grill until the mushrooms are heated through and tender, about 5 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Add the tomatoes, cheese, and basil and toss to coat. Season the tomato salad, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Place 1 hot grilled mushroom gill side up on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato salad atop the mushrooms, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to finish, about 1 tablespoon and serve.

Source:  Foodnetwork.com  – Recipe Courtesy of Giada De Laurentis

Grilled Portobello with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Advertisement

If I Plant It, It Will Grow – Growing Tomatoes From Seed and Building More Square Foot Gardens!

Tomato Seedlings“If I Plant it, it will grow”.

This year I am doing something I’ve never done before – start tomatoes from seeds inside!  I saved seeds from my heirloom tomatoes last year and I also purchased several different heirloom varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (their catalog is breathtaking!).  I disinfected my containers with a solution of water and bleach, moistened my seed starting mix and planted 20 tomato plants.  All went well, except for one mistake!  It is always a good idea to read through all instructions first instead of going step by step.  I only wanted 20 tomato plants in my garden.  I followed the instructions to plant 2-3 seeds per container thinking I would just cut away the tomatoes that looked to be the weaker seedling.  Well, that is not what followed in the instructions … it told me that once the “true leaves” of the tomato appear to transplant each of the tomatoes into a 4 inch pot!  Yikes!!  That would mean I’d have 60+ tomato plants (all my seeds germinated)!  I will transplant more than 20 and give some away to friends and plant less next year.  

Tim built me shelves for my plants and I bought double light fluorescent light fixtures for my plants.  The tomatoes germinated in 7 days, with my seeds that I saved germinating first!  They are thriving under the light which I leave on approximately 16 hours per day. It is fun to watch them grow and now will be ready to transplant as the first true leaves have emerged.

Tomato Plants

Tomatoes transplanted after first true leaves

I’m hoping for tomatoes like I had last year!  Grow baby grow!

Rainbow Carrots and Heirloom Tomatoes

It has been almost 1 month since I planted the tomato seeds and they are thriving!

Tomato Plants

Tomatoes not quite a month old!

Tomatoes not quite a month old!

This weekend I purchased two more square foot cedar bed kits at Home Depot (they were on sale) and added them to the existing 4×4 bed and look what we came up with!  Now I will have plenty of gardening room to plant everything I love.

IMG_5083

Spring is really taking its time here in NE Ohio.  I looked at pictures at the same time last year (check it out here and learn more about square foot gardening) and all the leaves on the bushes and trees were out fully  by now!  I can hardly wait to start planting outside … but I think I’ll have to patient and wait a few more weeks.

Happy gardening!

Grilled Polenta with Tomato Relish

It is still February and cold here in NE Ohio but already I’m starting to get spring fever!  I can hardly wait to start my garden and taste fresh hand-picked tomatoes.  This is a summer inspired side, but it is still good in the winter, especially when you’re feeling a case of spring fever coming on.  Go ahead ….pretend it’s summer.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 small red tomatoes, cut into wedges and seeded
  • 3 small green tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tequila or orange juice
  • 1 – 3 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1teaspoon chili powder
  • Olive oil

Preparation:

1.Line a 9-inch round baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges. Grease foil; set aside. In a medium saucepan bring the 1-2/3 cups water, butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling.

2. Meanwhile, in small bowl stir together cornmeal, 1 cup cold water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slowly add moistened cornmeal mixture to boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook and stir just until mixture returns to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is very thick, stirring occasionally. Evenly spread the cornmeal mixture in prepared pan. Cool; refrigerate, covered, for 3 to 24 hours.

3. For the Tomato Relish: In a large bowl combine the red tomatoes, green tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, tequila, 1 to 3 teaspoons brown sugar, and chili powder. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

4. Using foil lift cornmeal mixture from pan and gently cut into 8 wedges. Generously brush wedges with additional olive oil and grill directly over medium-hot coals for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden, turning as needed to brown evenly. (To prepare indoors, in a 12-inch skillet heat wedges in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden, turning occasionally.)

5. To serve, layer 2 grilled polenta wedges with tomato mixture on each plate. Spoon any of the Tomato Relish mixture over all. Makes 4 side-dish servings.

Source:  BHG.com

Garden Fresh Salsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes from the garden besides Caprese Salad is to  make fresh salsa.  There is nothing better than tomatoes from the garden and when combined with garlic and cilantro …  well, it’s impossible to resist!  I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and the only change I made was the addition of garlic.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 slices pickled jalapeno peppers, or to taste
  • 6 fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic finely Chopped

Directions

  1. Place onion, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno peppers into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add tomatoes, and pulse just a few times until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, and salt.
  3. Pour dressing over tomatoes, and stir well. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

*I usually take the seeds out of my tomatoes, chop by hand and let sit in a colander to drain the liquid for about an hour.

Garden Update – If I Plant it, it Will Grow – Nourish Your Body … Nourish Your Soul

My last garden update was on June 2nd.  The garden is thriving and soaking up sunshine and daily water.  Pictured above is a basketful of kale and lettuce.  I am loving my garden lettuce salads.

I just took a look at last garden update and I can hardly believe the difference!  I am so happy with the progress of my first vegetable garden – it would seem I have inherited my father’s green thumb for gardening!  Woooo whooooo!!

Take a look.  The picture below was taken at the first of June.

The picture below was taken the first of July!  Amazing … this gardening thing is awesome!  I was curious yesterday and went out to measure my purple potato plants.  They measured 3 feet, 4 inches tall!  Wow … and the information that came with them said they are supposed to grow 2 feet tall.  I hope this means I will have loads of purple potatoes to dig up!  I also measured my tallest tomato plant and it measured 5 feet 7 inches already and has over 10 tomatoes on it.

With 15 tomato plants I have a feeling I’m going to be very busy making tomato sauce, salsa and canning tomatoes.  How great will that be to have in the winter months … so much better than canned from the store!

The bush beans are doing fantastic and will be ready to pick soon.

My smaller raised bed is also doing well.  I’m curious to see how my cauliflower will develop.  So far, it is just a plant with huge leaves.  If you see the holes on the leaves you’ll see that I share my vegetables with the insects!  Organic all the way!

The peas are finished – they don’t tolerate heat well and we’ve been in the midst of a heat wave.  Next year I plan on planting more snap peas – they were the best snap peas I’ve ever tasted.

Just like the Energizer Bunny my gourmet salad mix and lettuce keeps going and going and going.  Next year I’m planning to start some lettuce inside from seed.  The gourmet salad mix I planted outside from seed has done amazingly well.

Once potato plants flower you can dig up the “new” small potatoes.  I decided to let them go undisturbed and will wait until they are larger.  It’s actually surprising that I waited.  Patience seems to be my biggest challenge right now.  I keep looking at my carrots and beets and can hardly wait to pull them.  I did pull one of each and they weren’t ready yet, so I’ll need to be patient for a while longer.

Flower Gardening is also good for the soul!  In addition to my gardens, I have a lot of perennial flower beds.  Flowers were my first love, they are good for the soul, they are beautiful and brilliant, and they make me happy.

I have many different colors and varieties of Lilies.

Pink Phlox in bloom.  One of my favorite Phlox is the candy cane – the pink and white flower.

Like a burst of sunshine …

And at the end of the day, you can walk up the path, sit down and enjoy the bounty of your garden, relax and take in the beauty of the flowers and listen to the soothing sounds of the fountain nearby.

I cannot at the moment, think of a better way to nourish the soul and the body!