Totally Amazing Tomatoes – GF, SF, DF, NF, and V of course

Once you’ve had fresh tomatoes from the garden that have been grown with love and tender loving care, then there’s just no comparison to the taste of mass-produced tomatoes that can be found at your go-to grocery store chain. The taste, the flavor, the color and even the texture are different between the home-grown or farmer’s market tomatoes and store-bought tomatoes. Don’t you agree? I adore tomatoes. Really truly. Sun-dried tomatoes are a must-have in my pantry at all times. I cannot run low on sun-dried tomatoes. Speaking of which….have you seen the ingredient list on the back of a sun-dried tomato jar? Brace yourself. Vegetable oil to top the list and too many other crazy things in there that shouldn’t be in there to be honest. So I took matters into my own hands. I bought a dehydrator and set out to dry my own tomatoes! The result?! Incredibly tasty tomato chips if you like crunchy things without preservatives and artificial ingredients. They are absolutely delicious. I’ve also made dehydrated tomatoes and am preserving them in olive oil. They are waiting to be consumed with other Italian delicacies one day soon. This is not a new idea, many people have dehydrated tomatoes, but I’m here to share with you how easy and amazing they really are and urge you to get a dehydrator!  photo 3photo 1

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Dehydrated Tomatoes by Allison

Tools: 

sharp knife

dehydrator

delicious tomatoes from a farmer’s market

cutting board

Method:

Rinse tomatoes, you may also need to de-stem and de-core your tomatoes depending on the variety to prepare them for dehydrating. Cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch slices and place on the dehydrator trays. Leave space in-between slices so the warm air can circulate around and between the tomato slices. I dehydrate mine at 55 degrees Celsius for 20-24 hours depending on the variety of tomato I used. You can sprinkle with salt, oregano, basil if you’d like. They are finished when they are dry and leathery. Sometimes I dehydrate them for 24 hours until they are brittle and eat them like chips or crisps. Either way they are delicious! Store in a sealed jar or freeze. Enjoy!

 

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Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto by Allison

Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto

Red peppers are one of my favorite vegetables most definitely and for the price of 34 crowns per kilo, why I think I love red peppers even a little bit more than before. When the price per red pepper can be $1.39  back in the U.S., I think to myself, well I’ll just grab a few more! I ended up with several bags of red peppers on Saturday and decided to make red pepper pesto while I was at the Holesovice market.

I scooped up approximately 2 cups some walnuts from a vendor and tucked them inside my bag as I hunted around for some other items on my list.

Later in the day, I went to the “River Farmers’ Market” and grabbed a jar of these gorgeous sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil and carried it home as I walked along the river.

Where did I find fresh basil at this time of year? I’ll tell you my secret not to worry. The potraviny near the Ujezd tram stop (if you’re going in the direction from Narodni Divaldo to Ujezd it is right there on the same side of the street as you exit and it is long and narrow shop with wonderful produce.

This roasted red pepper pesto is insanely good. Get creative and use it as a veggie dip, a sandwich spread, a pizza sauce, over gluten-free pasta, on GF crackers, add a little cheese and spread over an omelette. Did I mention this freezes well? I made two batches and I just might make more soon it is that good!

Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto

Ingredients

  • 6 – 8 red bell peppers
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 3 tablespoon chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or, more or less as desired)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut (washed & patted dry) peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes and arrange them in a single layer on a foil lined baking tray. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes or more depending on whether you like a blackened red pepper. When you pull the red peppers out of the oven,  wrap in foil and set aside. Using a food processor, pulse garlic and walnuts until finely chopped and add roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, and process. Add in the olive oil gradually and  then add crushed pepper flakes and process until all the ingredients are well combined, make it as smooth or as coarse as you want it. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Enjoy!

recipe from elsbro.com

Fresh Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes By Nikki

Fresh pasta + sun-dried tomatoes + garlic + olive oil = yummy!

This week I moved apartments. Moving is not fun because moving is always a lot of work. My new apartment is in the same neighborhood- thankfully I am only 3 blocks further from local Farmer’s Market. On Wednesday, despite the mountain of boxes looming and needing to be unpacked, I found myself procrastinating with a stroll to the market.

That is me paying for my fresh pasta!

I usually go straight for the dried fruit and nut vendor, but today I decided to roam the market, and I found fresh pasta! My purchase was Linguine- a wider noodle that is flatter that spaghetti! I already began thinking about how I would make something light and summery with this pasta as the base…

After picking up some of my favorite veggies, I made my way over to the fruit and nut vendor. They had sun-dried tomatoes, and I knew my past dish was complete! Because Wednesday was the Fourth of July (Independence Day), in the USA, I went out for burgers and beers that evening with friends.  It was our expat way of paying tribute and celebrating what would be a day of BBQ’s, beers and fireworks had we Americans been in the US with our friends and family this summer.

Today, despite the need to unpack and organize everything from the move, I needed only four things: a knife, a cutting board, a frying pan and a boiling pot! I searched through my boxes, found my tools, and whipped up a pasta dish that gave me the energy to finally make my new apartment start to look like a home!

Sun-Dried Tomato/Olive Oil Pasta

Bring water to a boil. If using fresh pasta, wait to cook until the saute is 2-3 minutes from finished…

Mince 1 clove of garlic

Slice 5 dried tomatoes into long strips

Chop the green part of one green onion

Heat frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and tomatoes and saute for 5-8 minutes or until garlic begins to change color.

Cook pasta for 2-3 minutes, strain and rinse lightly. Add pasta to the frying pan with 1 tablespoon more of olive oil.

Toss pasta and saute together for 2 minutes… serve with green onion sprinkled on top and enjoy warm!