Stacked Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pistachio Balsamic Vinaigrette

Stacked Heirloom Tomato Salad With Pistachio Balsamic Vinaigrette

Let me tell you what not to do.

Don’t let yourself erase any photographs you ever use on your blog. Ever.

Because then probably, by some yet-to-be discovered law of the internet, the one set of photos you can’t find from April 2012 will attract the attention of a buyer – a real flesh-and-blood breathing person who wants to pay you cold hard cash for the rights to use them in an online promotion this October.

And then you’ll start to daydream about all the things you could pay for with cold hard photograph cash. Then boom! You’ll shed a tear or two because somehow. SOMEHOW those are the only missing photos from the last 800 or so days of your life.

It just doesn’t seem fair.

And I’m sure there is a lesson in here somewhere, I’m just trying to figure out which one it is. Because so far, I’ve thought of about 16.

Just sayin.

The other thing you shouldn’t do? Binge on pizza and chocolate chip cookies this weekend after you’ve been religiously working out for like, a whole 5 days.

6 Week 6 Pack, yo.

Here I come.

The thing Jeezy MicCheezy doesn’t tell you though, is that your six-pack will be buried under that floppy layer of skin left behind from that time you grew a human in your belly. Times four. *sigh*.

My belly tells my story. Of love and wholeness and 4 fantastic little shorties I’d never trade for rock hard abs. That would only be a 4 pack anyway. Which would be totally weird and incomplete.

Something else one must never do – experiment with super short razor lengths when cutting one’s husband’s hair.

You might get a good chuckle out of it.

He will not.

The fourth thing you must not ever do – we’re going with a double negative here: You must never not make this dressing.

Serious.

If you are a balsamic vinegar lover, consider making it, like – this exact moment.

Unlike most vinaigrettes, it’s thick and dipable (Ranch replacement anyone??).

It’s lighter, healthier, and cram packed with lightning bolts of flavor.

Pistachios.

??

Pistachios are the magic ingredient.

They are the thickener that is not mayonnaise and the super subtle smoky salty flavor that is not bacon.

Why not just go with bacon?

Well, that is an excellent question, since bacon is probably the best food ever known to man.

(On an off-note here, we had breakfast this spring with a man who said he never eats bacon. Ever. It’s like death fried as a stick – that as a child his mother always preached the horrors of bacon. He just cannot fathom putting it in his body. . . . This, he told us as we brunched with bacon infused Bloody Marys in our hands – garnished with gigantic, thick slices of crispy bacon. . . .*Ahem*.)

The most truthful answer is fourfold: 1. Let’s go meatless, and 2. Let’s not dirty more dishes frying bacon, 3. Let’s be healthy, 4. Let’s be speedy.

Done, done, done, and done.

Actually, I guess it’s fivefold: 5. Let’s make it so delicious you want to lick your plate clean.

Done.

Stacked Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pistachio Balsamic Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: about 3/4 cup

about 2 tablespoons (but you'll want more!)

This dressing is lick-your-plate good. Typically, a serving size of dressing is 2 tablespoons. You certainly could abide by that here - it's packed with flavor. However, it's also very light, so if you feel like you want to pile on a little more? Go ahead - without the guilt!

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 2-4 large Heirloom tomatoes (consider 1 whole tomato per person)
  • Parsley and fresh ground black pepper for garnish
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup dry roasted, salted, (shelled) pistachios
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 large, fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, and torn
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

For the salad: Wash tomatoes. Slice them into rounds a little thicker than 1/4". Stack them, varying colors, and garnish with parsley. Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper.

For the dressing: In a small food processor, blender, or Magic Bullet, add the vinegar and pistachios. Blend until pureed and smooth. Add in smashed garlic, and torn basil. Whir again until smooth. Add in olive oil and whir until thickened. Taste, and add in desired salt and pepper.

Serve right away, drizzled over stacked tomatoes, or refrigerate for later.

Source

Sara| Home is Where The Cookies Are

http://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2014/05/27/stacked-heirloom-tomato-salad-with-pistachio-balsamic-vinaigrette/

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (with crunchy sweet and savory toppings)

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (with delightfully crunchy sweet and savory garnish)

This soup belongs in the “I know it’s late spring/almost summer but I don’t care” category.

It’s off kilter.

That’s what I’m thinking right now. “Off-kilter” is what this soup says to someone who might pop over here to see what’s new.

What’s new this third week of May? Butternut and Apple soup.

(Odd??)

Poor timing, maybe. Since butternut squash and apples are the poster children for fall food galore.

Maybe. Maybe our food choices belie our outer, organized, calm demeanor (Wait. Who’re we talking about?) and ruthlessly expose the tilling of our inner chaotic goings-on.

I feel tilled and off-kilter.

Everything’s all strewn about and upturned and crumbly and haphazard.

And that’s just my livingroom carpet.

. . . and the area rug under the kitchen table.

. . . and the gigantic mountain of unfolded laundry on the couch. (Picture: chest-high.)

The big, the everything, the bird’s-eye view, is that life feels like it’s a real-time illustration of high entropy.

Everything is everywhere and it’s moving really fast.

Trying to tame it into order feels impossible and like it’s against all nature.

There is a war going on here, folks.

I think it’s called, “My House Prefers Chaos, and That’s the Natural Order of Things So Just Get Used To It”.

Ok, so maybe it’s not a war, but a novel (with a really long, annoying title) based on a thermodynamic law and it’ll never make the best-seller list.

Either way, there are moments of quiet and molecular rest (mostly as toys and socks and snacks have found their roosts on random plots of common floor space) here and there, and in those moments. . .  there is reading.

And at the intersection of this book:

and this book:

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess  -     By: Jen Hatmaker<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

was this soup.

Weird, right? And Ina Garten is its mother.

I have never once tasted a recipe developed by Ina Garten that I didn’t love in one way or another.

So obviously butternut squash and apple soup jumped from “I’ll make it this fall when it’s seasonal”, to “I’ll make this right now because right now I’m smitten with these two ladies and what they have to say, and one can never really go wrong employing a Barefoot Contessa based recipe.

And anyhoo – I’m a fan of 1) soup, 2) butternut squash, 3) apples, and 4) making a gigantic batch of dinner that can be shared or frozen for later.

Two little unforseen bonuses that make this particular combo a keeper for any season? Butternut squash and apples are available year round and both are long-lasters. By “long-laster”, I mean they enter your kitchen on day one, fresh from the store or market but, (and, BUT and AND) the great thing about them is that they have long shelf-lives. If you don’t get around to the soup until five days later or next week, it’s ok. Your ingredients are still good to go. Not the case with most other veggies and fruits.

Therefore – this is a busy person soup to boot. Get to it when you get to it, and make enough to freeze for later. Two dinners in one. Sign me up, Ina. And Jen. And Jenny. We’re making soup.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (with delightfully crunchy, sweet and savory garnish)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 10 or more

This soup is deceptively easy to make. If you're intimidated by buying a whole squash and preparing it yourself, or just prefer convenience, many stores carry pre-peeled and diced squash. The version I have here is slightly spicy. You may want to tone it down the first time around if you are serving spice-sensitive folks. Then, add in more heat individually. This recipe is also incredibly flexible - thus the trail from here to Jen Hatmaker (who subbed sweet potatoes for the squash) and Jenny Rosenstrach, to Ina Garten (who consequently was inspired by a recipe in The Silver Palate). You can easily make it into your very own personalized version by adding, omitting, and/or subbing various spices, toppings, and other ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 -3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 2 (smallish) medium yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt and 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (optional)
  • 1/8 teasopoon cayenne
  • 7 cups (give or take) butternut squash, peeled and in 1" cubes
  • 2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and large-diced
  • 5 1/2 cups (give or take) low sodium chicken broth (I used Swanson)
  • garnish:
  • Scallions, sliced
  • Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Apple slices,skin on, julienned or diced

Directions

In a dutch oven or large stock pot, heat oil over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the onion until transparent and starting to brown. Add in salt and pepper, the leaves of the thyme sprigs, curry powder (if desired), and cayenne. Stir to combine. Add in squash and apples, stir again. Top with chicken broth. Add enough broth to cover the veggies and apples by about a half inch. Simmer uncovered for about a half hour. Check every now and then to make sure there is enough broth, and add more if needed. Cook till the squash is tender. Turn off heat and use an immersion blender (if you have one) to puree, adding more broth or water to reach desired consistency.

If you don't have an immersion blender, you can puree in batches in a regular blender, making sure to leave the vent open (or the lid slightly adjar), but covered with a towel (so that the soup will not explode because of the high temperature - keep the towel in place to catch hot splatters). Serve hot, topped with garnishes of choice. Allow leftovers to cool completely, then refrigerate or freeze for later.

Source

A blended adaptation by Sara|Home is Where The Cookies are, from Dinner: a Love Story, Ina Garten, and inspiration from Jen Hatmaker's 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

http://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2014/05/13/butternut-squash-and-apple-soup-with-crunchy-sweet-and-savory-toppings/