This salad is the perfect dose of summer. I’ve always had a thing for roasted tomatoes, and being able to do it with heirlooms is even better. And fried halloumi? Oh man, it’s like feta but even better.  …And really, thinking about this more, this could also be a great grilled cheese. 

The best thing I can recommend for this herb wise is to use whatever you have either in your garden, or whatever’s cheapest at the farmer’s market that week. I used oregano, basil, and mint from my garden.

Roasted Tomato and Halloumi Salad
Lasts 3 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • olive oil, sea salt, and pepper
  • 1 block halloumi cheese
  • 1/3 c fresh herbs of choice (I used oregano, basil, and mint)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. Place your tomato slices on the sheet, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.  Roast for twenty minutes, until wrinkly (see pic 2). 

Place a small amount of olive oil in a pan, and heat over medium high heat. Slice your block of halloumi into about six even slices, and add to the pan, frying until golden brown on each side (about three to five minutes). 

Combine the roasted tomatoes and halloumi, toss with the herbs, and enjoy the mouthgasm.

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As my tomatoes are finally ripening on the vine and getting ready for harvest, I’m starting to find a lot of uses for the tomatoes I’ve been able to bring to full maturity (I lost at least half my plant due to the storms we encountered back in June). In addition, the less I have to heat stuff up when eating it, the better. So, this recipe from the Japanese Soul Cooking cookbook for cold udon noodles with tomatoes was pretty much exactly what I needed.

To bring out the tomato flavors even more, I ended up deciding to roast my tomatoes for about two hours; this, combined with the soy sauce in the recipe, made it even more delicious. Again, you can make your own udon noodles if you have at least a day or so to devote to it, or you can get the Shirayuki Jumbo Udon Noodles like I did, and only have to boil them for three minutes to get them ready.

Cold Udon with Roasted Tomatoes
Lasts six lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 4 medium to large tomatoes (I used 5 medium)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • 3 servings udon noodles (one pack of the Shirayuki noodles I mentioned above)

Take your tomatoes and quarter them, and then half those quarters. Put them in a baking dish, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Heat your oven to 300 (275 if it runs hot), and roast your tomatoes for two hours.

About a half hour from the tomatoes being done, put on about four cups of water into a pot, and bring it to a boil. (The instructions only recommended one cup per noodle serving, but I skewed slightly higher to ensure that there was enough water). Once boiling, add your noodles, and stir with a chopstick as they break apart, keeping all the noodles separate. Boil for three minutes, then remove to your colander.  Once ready, strain them in a colander, and then put the colander in a large bowl, and run cold water over them, filling the bowl (and the colander), and stir your noodles, as seen in picture 5. This helps them cool down and not get overcooked or mushy. Cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Once your tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool at least ten minutes. Once cooled, add in soy sauce to taste. The original recipe also recommends shiso, but I didn’t have any on hand (might grow it in the garden next year). 

Then, combine your tomatoes and noodles, ensuring that the noodles are fully coated, and either eat immediately, or chill further in the fridge. Either way, enjoy your minimal fuss meal!

This is the first of many new recipes from one of my favorite new cookbooks, The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen. This is also the first recipe I’ve ever had to order cheese online for (no one around me sells caciocavallo). You may have to do that too, if you don’t have a good Italian store by you.  It’s similar to provolone, but made with a blend of cow and sheep’s milk, and has a sharp, salty taste to it.  Fried cheese on its own is wonderful, but the way this is made, it’s even better.

Fried Caciocavallo
Lasts five lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • .25 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lb Caciocavallo cheese, sliced about .75 in thick (see pic 1)
  • red wine vinegar
  • several sprigs fresh oregano
  • black pepper

Heat your olive oil over medium heat, and add the garlic cloves to the pan, frying until golden brown on each side (about one minute per side). Discard the garlic and keep it on the side. Turn the heat up to medium high, and add the cheese. Fry for about two to three minutes a side, until the edges start to gild. Once fried on both sides, splash red wine vinegar and sprinkle on the oregano sprigs and pepper.  Cook for one minute more, and remove from heat. Repeat until you’ve fried all your cheese.

This is going to be one of my go to recipes for breakfast in the future.  One, because it’s delicious, and two, you can have everything separate and ready ahead of time, and all you’d need to do is heat up whatever you choose to serve the egg and smoked salmon on, and you’re ready to go.  It’s functionally a breakfast sandwich.

I will be giving you the details for how I poached my eggs, as it worked pretty damn well. 

Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg Open Faced Sandwich
Makes however many eggs and baguettes/bagels you have

Ingredients

  • bagels or bread
  • eggs
  • smoked salmon

To poach your eggs, fill a small pot with water, a splash of white vinegar, and salt.  Crack your eggs into separate holders (ie ramekin, small bowl, whatever) while the water comes to a simmer.  Once simmering, stir the water with a whisk in one direction until it’s spinning around like a small whirlpool. 

Then, add your eggs into the center of the whirlpool one at a time, and turn off the heat.  (This method works for up to four eggs.) Let sit for five minutes, and then remove from the water with a slotted spoon.  Your eggs will be nice and soft in the center, and quite yummy besides.

Take your bagel or bread, and heat it up however your choose.  Lay a slice or two of smoked salmon on it, and your poached egg over the top, and enjoy!

Ladies and gentlemen, all hail donburi, one of the most cheap, versatile meals known to man.  Feeling hungry, but don’t want any of the leftovers in your fridge?  No worries!  Make up a bowl of rice, toss some rice vinegar/sugar on it, put whatever the hell you want on top (I used salmon in this case, but the ideas as to what you could put on it are literally limitless), and boom, easy, new meal that you have to put little effort into!

Salmon Sashimi Donburi

Ingredients 

  • between half to one pound of salmon (depends on how much you like fish, any other protein can substitute)
  • rice (I use short grain sushi rice)
  • splash of rice vinegar and sugar

First off, take whatever amount of rice you like and cook it according to the instructions on the rice packaging, using whatever you have handy – rice maker, steamer (which I used), pot, whatever.  (in this case, I used 1.5 c rice to 2 c water.)  Once the rice is done, let it cool off a bit, and scoop out however much rice you want, and drizzle a combination of rice vinegar and sugar on it (basically makes it sushi rice).  Toss the rice with a wood paddle, to aerate and spread the vinegar mixture.

Meanwhile, cut up your salmon into thin slices (I used the long, thin knife in my knife block, and no, I have no clue what it’s called), and put on top of the rice.

Boom.  Dinner.  1.5 c of rice ususally makes about three servings, but how long it lasts in this case is up to how much you make, and what all you have on hand.