Monday, July 21, 2008

Tomato Time

My name is Linda. I’m 48 years old and I’m still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. My love and passion is food. I am a foodie , long before it was cool! I love food. I love to cook it. I love to read about it, eat it, and watch TV about it. Now I’m blogging about it.

But my passion goes even deeper. I have been trying to complete a cookbook that I started years ago. I have updated the recipes, added new ones, deleted some, and now I need your help. I want people who love to cook (and even those that don’t) to try my recipes. I would love your feedback, both good and bad and even suggestions for taking the recipe to a new level.

Each week I will post a new recipe that I have written. Some of these have been entered into cooking contests (some have even won) and some have been published (in national magazines and local papers). I hope you will try the recipe and ask fellow cooking friends to try it, and comment back on the blog with your thoughts. I will then re-do the recipe and re-post. I will include pics of the cooking process and the final outcome.

I also want to share my favorite blogsites with you and have you share yours with me. And since we all live in various regions of the country, I would like to know what produce is currently available in your farmers markets and what you like to cook with it.

It’s tomato time in Alabama and they are everywhere. I plant 8-10 heirloom tomato plants each year. They go in the ground early April (we pray for frostfree nights) and begin to produce in mid-June. I usually lose 1-3 each year from disease or lack of water, or unknown reasons. This year I have 6 producing plants that are full of tomatoes, buds and flowers. I love it. I have cherry tomatoes, Aunt Gerdie Golds, red plums, Mr. Stripey, Mortgage Busters, black cherries and another red variety.

If you have not planted heirlooms before, you must pick them while they are almost ready to turn color and leave them on a sunny windowsill to ripen. If you leave them on the vines too long, our little garden friends will eat them. And we work too hard to have that happen. So, at any give time throughout the summer, I have a bowl of ripe tomatoes on my counter, a windowsill full of tomatoes turning, and plants ready to pop. Not to mention a tomato tart or too lingering in the frig.

So, I thought it would be appropriate to share my Tuscan Tomato bread pudding recipe with you.

Tuscan Tomato Bread Pudding

6 english muffins, halved and toasted
1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup onions, diced
2 cups tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon oregano, dried
2 tablespoons basil, fresh, chopped
4 eggs
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces mozzarella, cubed

Cut each toasted English muffin half into 6 pieces and arrange them on the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

Roast the garlic. Cut off the upper 1/3 of the garlic head (leave paper skin on garlic head) Sprinkle the cut side of the garlic head with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in foil and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. It should be soft and tender when it’s finished. Allow it to cool for a couple of minutes, and then squeeze each clove into a small bowl, set aside.

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute’ for 5-10 minutes, until the onions are transulent. Do not let them turn brown. Stir or shake pan a few times. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Add onion mixture and stir to combine. Layer this on top of the toasted English muffin pieces. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and cream. Pour mixture over the tomatoes and place cubed mozzarella tucked into the top. Let stand at least 10 minutes before baking.

Allow the bread to absorb most of the liquid. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread pudding until brown and puffed, about 35-45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*If you can not find fresh basil, substitute ¼ teaspoon dried basil. **If fresh tomatoes are not available, substitute 2 cups of canned tomatoes, drained


linda said...

just checking to make sure you can leave comments....thanks for visiting my blog. Please register and you will be updated every time I post a new recipe.

auburnman84 said...

I loved your blog, and the recipe. I will have my new wife try thr TBP, and I will let you know how it turns out.