Archive for October, 2009


Seeding Tomatoes

Tomatoes Seeded & Chopped

Not a seed to be found.

  Many times you’ll run across a recipe that calls for seeded tomatoes.  If you are new to cooking, you might not know that there are things you can do to make this process easier.  It will also save you time in the long run.

Seeding Tomatoes

  First, if there is a trick to seeding a tomato it’s in the slicing.  Make sure you cut the tomato in half across its  “equator.”  If you cut from top to bottom only a few of the seed containing chambers will be exposed.

  Next, you scoop the seeds out of each individual chamber.  A spoon or small melon baller can be used, but I find the easiest and most effective tool is a clean finger.

  Another way to remove the seeds is to squeeze the tomato cut side down over a trash bin.  While squeezing is a little faster, it will sometimes leave a few seeds behind and crush the tomato.  If there are many tomatoes to be seeded and appearance isn’t important, (like for a sauce) this method may be preferrable.



  Originally a French sauce, mayonnaise has been adopted as the preeminent sandwich spread.  Sadly, due to fear of raw eggs and the convenience of bottled options, homemade mayo is becoming a thing of the past.  Not only is this mayonnaise light and vibrant, it lifts any recipe that calls for it to a new level.


Mayo mixed with capers, chopped gherkins and fresh dill makes tartar sauce.

  Though the recipe is modified, I found that Alton Brown’s method was the easiest way to get a good emulsion going.  If there are any concerns about using raw eggs, pasteurized eggs can be substituted.  All ingredients should be at room temperature.

•  ½ tsp. white pepper

•  ½ tsp. salt (not Kosher)

•  2 pinches sugar

•  ½ tsp. dry mustard

•  1 tsp. English or Dijon mustard

•  2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

•  1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

•  1 cup corn oil

•  1 egg yolk

In a glass bowl, whisk together the yolk and the dry ingredients.

Combine lemon juice, vinegar and English mustard in a separate bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the yolk mixture.

Whisking quickly, slowly add oil until the liquid thickens and lightens.

Stream oil in until half is left, then add the rest of the lemon juice mixture.

Whisk in the rest of the oil.

Refrigerate for up to one week.

  If the mayonnaise separates, place a fresh egg yolk in a bowl and slowly whisk in the broken mixture.


Bloody Martini

  Just in time for Halloween, this drink is bound to be a hit at your party.  This cocktail takes the best elements of a martini and a bloody mary and combines them into one drink that is more suitable for the evening.  The finishing touch is the skewered olives that resemble two goulish eyes.

A bloody mary with sophistication.

A Bloody Mary with sophistication.

2 oz. lemon vodka (Absolut Citron)

1 oz. dry vermouth

2 oz. tomato juice

2 cocktail olives

In a mixing glass half-filled with ice cubes, combine the vodka, vermouth and tomato juice.  Stir well.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with the olives.


Bloody Mary

  Believed to be invented in the early 1900’s in Paris, the Bloody Mary is a popular hangover cure and often consumed at breakfast or brunch.  The most accepted story of the origins of its name is that it was dedicated to Mary I of England.  She was a sixteenth-century queen who was nicknamed “Bloody Mary” because of how many people she had put to death.  Variations on this cocktail are many and it can be tailored to suit almost anyone’s tastes.

Garnishes for the Bloody Mary can include carrots, olives, cheeses or even shrimp.

Garnishes for the Bloody Mary can include carrots, olives, cheeses or even shrimp.

2½ ounces vodka (Three Olives®  Tomato Vodka works extremely well here.)
5 ounces tomato juice
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon minced fresh dill or a dash of dried
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 celery rib
1 lime slice

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, salt, pepper, celery seed, dill, Worcestershire, and Tabasco.  Shake well.  Strain into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes.  Garnish with the celery and the lime slice.



  (Pronounced: broo-SKEH-tah or broo-SHEH-tah)  This dish was first created to sample the freshly pressed olive oil that was produced in Rome at the end of  fall.  Originally this recipe was nothing more than bread toasted over a fire and soaked in oil.  There were no herbs or garlic and tomatoes were also absent, probably due to Romas being woefully out of season by the time olive oil is pressed.  As it spread across central Italy, and eventually the world, it picked up its additional ingredients that make it the delicious appetizer that it is today.

"Bruschetta" comes from the Latin verb "bruscare" which means to toast or roast.

"Bruschetta" comes from the Latin verb "bruscare" which means to toast or roast.

4 pieces of good, crusty bread, sliced ¾ of an inch thick

4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

4 large basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and halved

Extra virgin olive oil (of the best quality available)

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


•  Toast the bread under a broiler to a golden brown on both sides and remove.

•  While the bread is still hot, rub one side of each slice with a garlic half.

•  Put the bread on a plate, garlic-rubbed side up, and top with the chopped tomatoes.

•  Tear the basil into small pieces with your fingers and sprinkle over the tomato.

•  Season with the salt and pepper.

•  Drizzle each slice lightly with the olive oil and serve while still warm.


Basic Vinaigrette

  This recipe is very versatile and helpful to have.  Not just limited to salads, this vinaigrette is great on grilled chicken or fish (especially if using the lemon juice) and also makes  a delicious dip for crusty breads.  Tossing some steamed vegetables with it like green beans or broccoli creates a delicious side.  Besides being an excellent standalone dressing, it is also the base for many vinaigrette variations.  Any of your favorite dried herbs or even a tablespoon of drained horseradish can be added to this recipe for an extra kick.  Since this vinaigrette is made with olive oil, it might solidify in the refrigerator.  If this happens, all you have to do is let the bottle sit in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes and shake well.

Vinaigrette should always be mixed or shaken immediately before use.

Vinaigrette should always be mixed or shaken immediately before use.

2 oz. red wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

¼ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil


• Whisk red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper together in a bowl.

• Whisk briskly and stream in the olive oil until thoroughly combined.

• Let the dressing sit at room temperature for an hour before removing the garlic and serving.


Hot Toddy

  Being that I have been sick this week, I can think of no better time to introduce you to my favorite cold remedy.  Originally created to make the taste of scotch more appealing to the masses, the hot toddy has become a symbol of the holidays.  If you use scotch I would suggest a blended scotch as diluting a pure scotch is punishable by death in some circles.  I avoid this whole argument by using brandy or bourbon whiskey.

The funnest cure for the common cold.

A more fun cure for the common cold.

2 ounces brandy or blended scotch
6 ounces hot herbal tea
1 tbsp. honey
1 lemon wedge
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch ground cloves or nutmeg (optional)

Put the lemon wedge in the bottom of a coffee mug or heat safe glass.  Add the brandy, honey, hot tea and optional ground cloves or nutmeg.  Stir with the cinnamon stick and leave in.


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