Our Monsterous Tomato Plant

I have to post about this cherry tomato plant we have! When I planted
it in May, it was perhaps half a foot tall. Since then, it has grown
to seven feet by two feet. It grabs people when they go in and out
from our patio, and it continually grows so big that it collapses on
itself and I have to beat away the branches until it can hold upright
again. The tomatoes are delicous though! So sweet!

Unfortunately, this plant proves to me that my initial gardening
problems are as I had thought – I seem to have great success with
vegetable plants but I can barely keep flowers alive. I dont know why
… I’ve killed a rose, a gardenia, and a few other danty colorful
flowers this summer. Yet, the tomato plant seems to be more prolific
than I could ever had imagine …

The “Figgy Piggy” Remake

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I immediately had to try this when I saw Jessie post it on Bites.
Growing up, in Capitola, we would always go to Pizza My Heart by the
beach. One of their award winning pizzas is the “Figgy Piggy” – a
delicious combo of figs, feta, and bacon. Today, Pizza My Heart has
taken off and is all over the bay area, including one I can
practically see from my kitchen window. This recipe is similar to the
Figgy Piggy and I would almost say, more yummy! The fig spread is
sweet and compliments the bitter argula. At the end, I tossed on some
feta and fresh sage, mimicking the Pizza My Heart creation. Thanks
Bites for posting about this!

FOR THE PIZZA:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Fig Spread Or Jam
Kosher Salt To Taste
12 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Thin
6 ounces, weight Thinly Sliced Prosciutto (Jessie suggests crisping
your proscuitto first before this step and I agree, much better
texture)
1 bunch Washed And Rinsed Arugula
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Shaved Parmesan

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Roll out the pizza dough as thinly as possible. Place on a large baking sheet.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
Spread fig spread (or jam) all over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle
lightly with salt.
Lay sliced of mozzarella all over the surface. Sprinkle lightly with
salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until
crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
Remove from oven and immediately lay prosciutto over hot pizza. Just
before serving, sprinkle on arugula and Parmesan shavings.
Cut into wedges or squares and serve immediately!

Michelle’s Garlic Cheese Roll Up

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One day, when Andrew was out of town and Timmy was but a wee one, our
dear neighbors brought me dinner. And included was this delicious
cheesey garlicly bread that Michelle made. I couldn’t stop eating it
– nor could I stop thinking about it. Since then, I’ve had Michelle’s
help to try to recreate this delicious masterpiece. Now she lives far
away, but after a few tries, I think I’ve got it! This is a great
bread to go along with soup and pasta!

Start with the American Sandwich Bread dough. After the first rise,
roll the dough out as thin as possible in a square shape. Lather the
surface with room temperature butter and then any combination of salt with
garlic powder, garlic salt, or fresh garlic. Cover with a generous
amount of grated fresh parmesean cheese. Roll up the dough, into a
cylinder shape and place on a baking sheet. Flatten out the roll with
your hands and cover with plastic wrap for 45 minutes to rise again.
Brush with more butter, dust with salt, and more cheese. Bake at 350
for about 30-45 minutes, until golden brown and hollow sounding when
tapped.

Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce

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We’ve made this recipe now twice, once with chicken and once with
salmon. Both were great! Great way to use your summer blackberries –
also super easy!

 

Salmon with Blackberry Brandy Sauce

 

4 salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick and 6 ounces each
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons seedless blackberry preserves
3 tablespoons brandy
1 pint fresh blackberries
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Lightly season the salmon with a pinch of salt and pepper on each
side. In a frying pan over high heat, add the cooking oil. When the
oil is very hot, add the salmon fillets, not touching. Fry for 2
minutes, flip the salmon, turn the heat to medium, cover and let cook
for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the salmon is just slightly
rare in the middle. Cook an additional minute if you like your salmon
cooked all the way through. Remember the residual heat will continue
to cook the salmon further after you remove from heat. With a spatula,
remove the salmon to a plate and tent loosely with tin foil to keep
warm while you make the sauce.

 

Return the same frying pan on medium heat (you should have some juicy
bits and oil still clinging to the pan) whisk together the mustard,
chili powder, water, vinegar and blackberry preserves. When the sauce
is bubbling nicely, pour in the brandy and whisk. Simmer for 3 minutes
until the sauce thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the
blackberries and the butter. Stir to melt and incorporate the butter.
Taste the sauce, you may want to season with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt
if you are using unsalted butter. You can also an additional 1/2
teaspoon blackberry preserves if the blackberries are puckery tart.
Too sweet? Add another 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Pour over the
salmon and serve.

 

Serves 4