Amazingly Sweet Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

These don’t look like they are going to taste as amazing as they do, and I know it might be asking a lot to have the oven on for 2 hours on a hot summer day. But it’s on low and the end result will be worth it. Lean over the plate when you bite into the tomatoes, as the juice may squirt. You can eat these as a snack or a side dish, or put them through a food mill for an incredibly sweet sauce.

1 pound small plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

Coarse salt to taste

A tiny amount of sugar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Put the halved tomatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Oil a rack that will fit on top of a baking sheet. Place foil on the baking sheet and oil the foil, and place the rack on top. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the rack. Sprinkle with coarse salt and a tiny amount of sugar. Place in the oven and roast for 2 hours. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. The tomatoes will look a little dry on the surfaces and the skin will be tough. But when you bite into the tomatoes you’ll experience a rush of incredibly sweet juice and pulp. If you want to use these for a sauce, put through the fine blade of a food mill.

Yield: Serves 4 as a snack, side dish or sauce.

Advance preparation: I keep these out at room temperature for a day, and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. The sauce freezes well.

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Tomatillo, Tomato and Avocado Gazpacho

I wanted to make this with tomatillos only, but found that what makes a great salsa doesn’t necessarily make a great gazpacho. So I added tomatoes to the creamy mixture. I don’t like the color as much, but I love the taste. If you can find green zebra tomatoes, use them for the nice green color. Make sure to strain this because the tomatillo seeds won’t blend.

1 pound tomatillos, papery shells removed, rinsed

2 slices red or white onion

2 to 3 garlic cloves, to taste

2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (to taste)

1 large ripe avocado

1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional cilantro for garnish

1 teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground

Salt to taste

Few drops of vinegar

1 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably green zebras

Freshly squeezed lime juice for serving

1. Place the tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until olive green and softened. Drain and transfer to a blender.

2. Meanwhile put the onion slices in a bowl, cover with cold water and add a few drops of vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut in half or into smaller pieces.

3. Add the onions and remaining ingredients plus a cup of cold water and blend until smooth. You will probably have to do this in two batches. Strain through a medium strainer, taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for two hours or longer. Garnish each bowl with chopped cilantro and a few drops of lime juice.

Yield: Serves 6

Advance preparation: You should make this a couple of hours before serving so that it has plenty of time to chill. You can make it up to a day ahead. Whisk before serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 152 calories; 12 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 8 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 12 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 9 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 2 grams protein

Avocado and Shrimp Salsa

a little more lime in the salsa

Mama Canales-Garcia’s Avocado and Shrimp Salsa

I didn’t get a chance to make this with Danny directing me (on their wedding china, against their giant loft windows, sigh), so I made a couple bloopers. One, Danny doesn’t use jalalpeños, because he finds them unreliable (some are so mild they taste like bell peppers, some are so hot they’ll ruin the dish). Instead, he leaves the heat on the side in the form of Tapatio hot sauce. Always Tapatio, don’t even ask. Danny also shares my view that finely chopped white onions are vastly superior to red ones in salsas and guacamoles. Alas, three different stores failed to produce one, and red it was. I hope Mama Canales-Garcia forgives us. 🙂

Please, adjust everything here to taste. Maybe you want more tomatoes or shrimp or lime. You might want extra heat and no onions. This recipe is intended for your kitchen, you plate, your belly, so make it the way you’d like it.

Makes about 6 cups salsa

1 pound small shrimp, shelled and deveined or pre-cooked and defrosted
2 firm-ripe avocados, halved, scored into a small dice
2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered or 2 cups chopped tomatoes, drained a little
1/2 small white onion, very finely chopped (use red if you can’t find white)
1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
Drizzle of olive oil
Juice of 1 to 2 limes
Salt
Handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Hot sauce, on the side
Tortilla chips, to serve

To cook the shrimp: Bring salted water* to a boil and turn off heat. Add shrimp, cover pot and let stand until firm and pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain shrimp, pat dry and chill.

Make salsa: Chop shrimp into small bites and put in medium bowl. Scoop avocados into bowl. Add tomatoes, white onion, jalapeño (if using, to taste) and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the juice of one lime, and a second one, if needed. Add salt to taste, then cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

* If you have more time, you can first make a shrimp stock with about 3 cups water, 1 cup beer or wine, the reserved shrimp shells, additional lime juice or the peels from the lime juice you’ll use in the salad and some peppercorns or red pepper flakes. Boil these together for 20 minutes, then strain the mixture. Cook the shrimp in this stock instead.

Strawberry Avocado Tequila Popsicles

Ingredients:

– 2 cups diced avocados (about 4 small avocados)
– 1 cup sliced strawberries
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup water
– 4 ounces tequila
– 1 ounce lime juice

Tools:
– popsicle molds
– blender

Instructions:

1. Start by making a simple syrup. Mix one cup sugar and one cup water in a pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from heat and set aside.

2. Dice avocados.

3. Thinly slice strawberries.

4. In a blender, puree diced avocados, simple syrup, tequila and lime juice. .

5. Combine avocado puree and sliced strawberries in popsicle molds.

6. Freeze for four hours or until completely solid.