This is a great quick summer toast, combining brie, bread, and tomatoes for the perfect morning flavor combination. Might have to try this before heading out the door for work in the morning here while we’ve still got good tomatoes. 

Heirloom Tomato and Buttered Brie Toast with Thyme and Honey

Ingredients

  • Slices of crusty bread of choice (sourdough, roasted garlic, whichever you like best!)
  • 2 T butter
  • brie, sliced to taste (or in these cute little brie bite sizes that I got from Trader Joe’s)
  • fresh thyme if you have it, otherwise, dried thyme to taste
  • heirloom tomatoes of varying sizes, sliced thin
  • honey and olive oil, to drizze
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450. Rub the slices of bread with butter, and place in the oven for three to five minutes, until lightly toasted. Layer on the brie and tomato slices, and then return to the oven to cook for five minutes, until the brie is melted and the tomatoes wrinkle slightly. Turn on the broiler for one minute after the brie is melted to crisp it up a bit. 

Then, add your thyme (and oregano, if you’re me), and drizzle with honey and olive oil, and a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. And then, enjoy your quick summer breakfast!

I haven’t tried making a pie in a while, and frankly, I felt it was time to try again, especially with the strawberries and peaches at the height of their season. It didn’t exactly turn out amazing (fumbling around with thawing pie crusts and super juicy fillings translates into a sudden cobbler transformation), but it’s good for a first try. Plus, it’s generally an amazing flavor combination – warmed, honeyed peaches and strawberries, with just a dash of bourbon and vanilla. 

Honey Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen pie crusts (one for the bottom, and one for the lattice top or whatever you can manage) (if you want the recipe for the crust as in the original recipe, click the link above)
  • 5 fresh sliced and pitted peaches (roughly 5 c)
  • 2 c strawberries, halved and hulled
  • 1/3 c dark brown sugar
  • .5 c flour
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 T bourbon
  • 2 T butter, sliced thin
  • 1 beaten egg
  • sugar, to sprinkle

Line the bottom of your pie plate with the crust. Toss together your peaches, strawberries, dark brown sugar, flour, honey, vanilla extract, and bourbon, and then spoon the filling into the pie plate, being sure to get all the juices. Add the thin butter slices over the top. 

Place the top crust over the top of the pie – if you can make a lattice, go for it! Otherwise, just crimp the edges on, and be sure to cut vents in the crust. (I tried to lattice it. It didn’t go very well.)  Brush the crust with the beaten egg, and then sprinkle the sugar on top. 

Chill the pie in the fridge until it’s firm, usually about 1 hour, but up to several days in advance. 

When you’re ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 350. Once heated, place the chilled pie on a baking sheet, in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is a good golden brown. Let the pie cool, and then om the nom out of it!

This is an amazing summer dish that I can’t recommend enough, especially now that we’re at the height of tomato season. I originally paired California black figs with this, but now that I’ve tried some more figs, I think that tiger figs might actually have gone better. (I’ve never tried figs before this summer. I’m still learning.)  Throw these roasted tomatoes in with burrata, and the end result is goddamn amazing. 

Marinated Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Burrata and Toast

Ingredients

  • .25 c olive oil
  • 2.5 c cherry tomatoes of various types, halved
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • dash of thyme (fresh if you have it, dried if you don’t)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • dried Greek oregano to taste
  • fresh figs, halved, to taste
  • 2-3 balls burrata
  • slices of sourdough, roasted garlic, or crusty bread of choice
  • olive oil and garlic clove for the toast

Preheat your oven to 225, and half your cherry tomatoes. drizzling with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Slow roast the tomatoes for three hours, until they’re nice and wrinkly and juicy. Then, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper, basil, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes, and greek oregano. Add in your tomatoes, toss to coat, and marinate for 2-4 hours at room temperature, or just toss them in the fridge to absorb the flavors. 

When you’re ready to eat them, take your slices of bread, rub them in olive oil and a halved garlic clove. Hold your toast over an open flame, or in a grill pan, and heat until it’s lightly charred on each side, about 2-3 minutes a side. 

Slice your figs, layer them in a bowl with the burrata ball, layer the cherry tomatoes on top, and have a piece of toast on the side to dip into all the various juices, and enjoy the resulting amazingness!

I threw this together quick as a way to use up the last of the cherry tomatoes and basil in the front garden (which, with the way the temps have been dropping at night, are pretty much dead now). Caprese is one of my favorite things to do in the summer months, so getting to translate it to yet another form is even more fun.

Caprese Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1 c water
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 c couscous (I used pearl)
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 8 oz ball mozzarella, cubed
  • 2 T basil, torn
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and pepper

Quarter your tomatoes, and put them in a small baking dish, drizzling olive oil over them. Roast at 400 for 25 minutes. To the roasted tomatoes, add your cubed mozzarella (to do so, take your ball, and, if pre-sliced, slice into strips horizontally, then vertically. If not sliced, slice a half inch thick, and then do the same.), torn basil, and garlic. Mix, and let sit.

Bring a cup of water and the 2 T olive oil to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in your cup of cous cous and a touch of sea salt, and cover again, cooling for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and stir into the caprese mix, sprinkling pepper on. And then, enjoy your caprese cous cous!

Another quick, simple summer dish I did earlier in the week.  Quite good, too, and pretty simple, all things considered.  Also, cheap.  Except for the bread and cheese, you should be able to get the vast majority of this from a garden, or your pantry.

Basil Scalloped Tomatoes and Croutons

Ingredients    

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1/3 loaf of bread chopped into .5 inch cubes (I used roasted garlic bread, because I ❤ garlic)
  • 2.5 lbs grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • .5 c basil leaves, torn
  • .5 c shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 (my oven runs hot, so it went to 325).  Heat your olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, and chop your bread while it heats. As soon as the skillet is heated, add your bread and mix so that it’s coated thoroughly with oil. Stir frequently and cook, until your bread is fairly crispy on all sides (5 mins).  While this is happening, half your tomatoes and mince your garlic, and combine with the sugar, salt and pepper.  As soon as the bread is ready, add your tomato mixture to the skillet and stir and cook for another five minutes.  Remove it from the heat, and stir in your basil. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish, and cover with parmesan. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the top is goldenish. Let cool, because tomato juices are REALLY hot. And then, enjoy!

So, I had the day off today, and decided to take advantage of it by making something I’ve wanted to make for a while.  This recipe has popped up in two places lately – in its original form in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, which is effing fantastic, and a variation over on Set the Table, which will be linked to below.  I took the variation a little further, held the scallions (as I forgot them and didn’t really want to go out and get more)and slow roasted the tomatoes for the filling, and did garlic and herbed goat cheese instead of plain old goat cheese.  

The results, as I just bit into it while I was writing this?  Effing amazing.  Make this.  Make this now.

Tomato Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese
Makes enough to make 5 biscuit sandwiches, plus a little bit of dough left over

  • 2 c plus 2 T flour
  • 2 T baking powder
  • ¾ t salt
  • 5 T frozen butter (remember that trick from the strawberry biscuits recipe with the frozen butter? We’ll be doing that here again)
  • 2 c milk
  • .5 lb cherry tomatoes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1.5 T champagne vinegar (I had strawberry champagne vinegar on hand, so I used that)
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 3 T heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese (I used garlic and herbed)

Preheat your oven to 225 (200 for mine, you know the deal here by now), and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Slice your cherry tomatoes in half, and drizzle your olive oil over them.  Roast them in your oven for… well, I actually didn’t get an exact time on how long this was, as I watched about two and a half episodes of season 2 of Once Upon a Time, and it took about fifteen minutes to make the dough for the biscuits, and I took it out after the biscuits were cut.  So, call it… two hours, ish?  They should look a little wrinkled and shriveled.  

While your tomatoes slow roast, in a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder).  Then, take your frozen butter, and the largest holes on your cheese grater, and grate your frozen butter into your dry ingredients.  The butter will get melty as you use it, especially if your kitchen is hot, but keep at it; eventually you’ll get down to a small enough chunk, and once that happens, just toss it in. The end of this should look like the first picture.  Then, mix the butter in with your fingers and distribute it evenly, so the dough looks crumbly (see picture 2).  Then, add your milk and stir until your dough is evenly wet. Turn it out onto your counter, and pat/roll until your dough’s about ¾ to an inch thick.  Use a glass and cut out ten biscuits, rolling the dough out multiple times if you have to.  When you’ve got all your biscuits cut out, take the tomatoes out of the oven, and turn it up to 425 (400).  Line your baking sheet again, and put your biscuits on.  Bake for appx 15 mins, until your biscuits are golden brown.

While your biscuits bake, combine your tomatoes, the remaining olive oil, the champagne vinegar, and the salt and pepper.  In addition, put your whipping cream in a small bowl, and beat it with mixers for about 4 minutes on low speed, until it looks like the fourth picture.  Then add your soft goat cheese, and mix on low until combined and fluffy.

When your biscuits are done, remove them from the oven and let them sit a bit, until cool enough to handle.  On one, put a spoonful of your slow roasted tomatoes, and on the other, spread some whipped goat cheese.  Sandwich together, and nom!

It’s hot.  It’s been a damn long day at work.  And apparently I’m not going to nap like I thought I would, so that’s right out the door now.  Instead, I’m going to make these awesome popsicles.  Because fuck today, I need some summery, cool goodness.

Root Beer Float Popsicles
Makes 6

Ingredients

  • root beer (I got a liter of A&W and barely put a dent in it, you could probably get a bottle or two of really nice root beer, like Sprecher’s)
  • pint vanilla ice cream (I used Haagen Dazs vanilla gelato, same difference, depends on how fancy you wanna be, but know you will definitely have some left over :P)

Take out your ice cream before hand and be sure to let it soften up.  Fill your popsicle molds about 3/4s of the way full with ice cream (see pic 1). Then, take your ice cream, and spoon it into the molds (be sure to sip up any of the foam that comes up as it settles (pic 2)), and cap.  Put the popsicles in the freezer, and wait for them to freeze, and voila, root beer floaty goodness in another awesome form.

This was the best idea.  No shit.  One of the best ideas I ever had.  Because extra cheese was involved.  And it got all melty, and now it’s FANTASTIC.  (Plus, those tomatoes? Used the strawberry wash on them, two weeks ago.  They were perfect, and just as juicy and ripe as the day I got them.  Seriously, that wash is the best.)

Roasted Caprese Tomatoes
Makes 4 tomatoes

Ingredients     

  • 4 large tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar, enough to drizzle
  • small ball (2-3 oz) of mozzarella
  • 4 leaves of basil

Half your tomatoes, and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over them.  Preheat your oven to 350 (325 cause my oven sucks) and roast them for 25 mins, right up until the skin starts to blister.  While this is happening, slice up your mozzarella into 8 pieces.  Then, take them out of the oven and put your mozzarella slices on top of the tomato halves, one per half.  Put back in the oven for five more minutes.  Once the tomatoes are done (and the cheese will have melted all over them, trust me), remove four of the halves to your container, and put the basil leaves on, one a half.  Then take the other halves and put them on top of the basil leaf-ed halves, making a whole tomato.

Look.  You made a pretty, olive oil/balsamic vinegar roasted, cheese stuffed roasted tomato.  Be proud of yourself.

So, this is the final use for the strawberries from last week!  And what a good one it is, too.  Roasted strawberries smell fucking amazing, and make an amazing flavor besides.  Plus, Jeni’s is one of my all time favorite ice cream makers, period.  Too bad it’s something like $10/pint.  ><;;  Turns out that doing this is WAY cheaper. Recipe can be found in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Makes about 2 pints

Ingredients

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1.5 c whole milk
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 2 oz (4 T) soft cream cheese
  • 1/8 t sea salt
  • 1 1/4 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • ¼ c buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375 (350 if it runs hot like mine), and while it heats, combine your strawberries and sugar in a baking dish, stirring gently.  Roast about 8 minutes, until soft, and then let cool a bit.  Combine your roasted strawberries and sugar with your lemon juice in a blender, and puree.  Measure out ½ c of the puree, and save the rest for another recipe.

Mix 2 T of the milk with the corn starch to create a slurry in a separate container.  Combine the cream cheese and sea salt in a medium bowl, and whisk.

Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat.  Once boiling, boil for four minutes, then remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Once combined, return to heat and bring back to a boil, and stir with a heatproof spatula until slightly thickened, appx 1 min.  Remove from heat, and whisk together with the cream cheese mixture, and add the roasted strawberry puree.  Once combined, pour into a gallon ziploc bag, and chill in an ice/cold water bath for a half hour.

Set up your ice cream machine, add the base, and spin for appx a half hour.  The last set of two pics are what your ice cream should look like before, and after.  Once you attain that second picture, stop the machine, and scoop into your container, and throw that into the freezer over night.  (I happen to have spare pint containers, so I used those.)

By the next afternoon, you will have excellent, nommy ice cream!

So, managed to use up the last of the strawberries today, and in a perfectly awesome way.  These strawberry and cream biscuits were something I discovered last year, and holy yes are they good.  I used a BIT too much sugar (as in, 2 cups instead of the ½ one I should’ve used doubling the original recipe), but they still turned out great.  And these should be good for the double baby shower we have tomorrow at work (though I’m still keeping most of them for me).

This recipe also gave me the BEST trick for cutting butter in.  Freeze your butter (I think mine was frozen for about an hour?), and then grate it in using the big holes on a cheese grater.  So much easier.

Strawberries and Cream Biscuits
Makes appx 27 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 4.5 c flour
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • .5 c sugar
  • 12 T (or 1.5 sticks) cold butter (freeze it, you’ll thank me later)
  • 2 c strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 c heavy whipping cream

Whisk together your flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Using the largest holes available on your grater, grate your frozen butter into the dry ingredients and mix it together until the dough is crumbly, with little bits of butter.  Hull and half your strawberries (quarter if bigger), and add them to the mixture, stirring so that they’re coated.  Then, stir your heavy cream in using a rubber spatula, as the dough will be heavy and thick once combined.  At some point it will get too thick for the spatula, though, so you will need to knead it a few times to make sure it fully comes together.

Flour your counter, and transfer your dough onto the counter, rolling out the dough to ¾ inchish thickness.  Use a glass to cut out your biscuits, and put the cutouts onto a foil-lined baking sheet.  Preheat your oven to 425 (400 if it runs hot like mine does), and then put the scones in for 15ish mins.

The end result is perfection.  For reals, even if they get a bit burned, they’re still incredible.