Tag Archives: balsamic vinegar

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

18 Jul

With the plethora of tomatoes I’ve been receiving from my CSA box, I needed a way to use them up in quantities before they went bad – because in a week’s time I would be receiving another huge batch.

Organic Tomatoes

I have been a fan of sun-dried tomatoes for a while now… it was my first “foodie” grocery purchase about 10 yrs ago.  I remember we went to this gourmet store called Domenico’s, which is no longer in operation.  I went to buy sun-dried tomatoes, but left with my first piece of Gruyere cheese too.  It was a good day.

So I decided how it would be if I made my very own version of sun-dried tomatoes… they’ll not completely dry, but the flavor is definitely intensified by roasting them low and slow. 


        oven roasted tomatoes 1


As many tomatoes as you can fit in a baking sheet – halved and seeded
A drizzle of olive oil – about 1 tbs for the whole thing
A sprinkling of Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
About ½ tbs of balsamic vinegar
A few leaves of thyme – optional


  1. Place the halved and seeded tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle the salt, pepper and thyme leaves if using.  Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
  2. oven roasted tomatoes - prep
  3. Mix all the tomatoes to make sure they’re evenly coated with all the ingredients we added.  Make sure they’re all cut side up before placing them in the oven.
  4. Roast slowly in a 250F oven for about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Don’t let the tomatoes burn too much or they’ll taste bitter.


Use them in your favorite tomato application… they’ll impart an intense tomato flavor to pastas, salads and sandwiches.

Chunky Tomato Sauce

1 May

I started making this sauce because I wanted to try some techniques I learned from one of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver.  When I was at London’s Heathrow Airport doing a stop over a few years ago, I bought this cooking magazine with a small booklet inside with various Jamie Oliver recipes. 

Jamie talked about frying the basil and adding balsamic vinegar to the sauce to give it a special kick…  I have always seen chefs add wine to sauces and it was very welcoming to me to know I could also do it with vinegar and get a similar result.   BTW – This was the same magazine where my favorite whisk came with…

This is also one of the recipes made with basil from my CSA box…




1 jar of whole peeled tomatoes
1 jar of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1 handful of basil, washed well and leaves removed from the stems
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and Freshly cracked pepper


  1. In a tall skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic slices and the basil stems.  Sauté for a few minutes to infuse the oil with garlic and basil taste.  Add the basil leaves and sauté a bit.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the skillet.  Stir to combine well.  Season with salt and pepper, and add the balsamic vinegar. 
  3. When the sauce starts to boil, lower the heat to medium low and cook uncovered for about 25-30 minutes, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.  I like it chunky…  If you prefer it more liquidy, cook for less time.
  4. Remove the basil stems before serving.


Toss with your favorite noodle pasta or use it in a Pita Pizza Margherita.

Tomato Mozz Salad

19 Oct

This salad is a way to rearrange the same ingredients found in a Caprese Salad, plus adding some greens in the form of lettuce to increase the nutrition and the volume.

I first did this salad in this way when visiting my sister when she was living back in Indiana.  She had all the ingredients for a caprese salad – tomato, fresh mozzarella, great olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The only thing was that the size of the ingredients were not the traditional ones to fix a traditional caprese… we had delicious grape tomatoes and bocconcini mozzarella.  So this is how I rearranged the ingredients to make it work for us…



10 – 12 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
4 thick slices of fresh mozzarella or 6-8 bocconcini balls, cubed
6-8 romaine lettuce leaves, sliced and hard core pieces removed
Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
2-3 fresh basil leaves – optional


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add now also the basil leaves, if using.  Marinate tomatoes and cheese for about 20-30 minutes.  You can do this first and they can marinate while you prepare the rest of your meal.
  2. In a salad bowl, add the lettuce leaves and mix together with the tomato/cheese marinated mixture.  Toss to combine.  The extra mix of oil/vinegar will dress your salad beautifully.


The balsamic vinegar kind of “stains” the mozzarella and it looks “dirty”.  Even if the looks are not the best, the flavors are.  My sister called me once after I had left to remind her of the ingredients because she wanted to make it for company.  That’s how tasty this is…

Spinach Strawberry Salad

7 Mar

I went to Costco yesterday.  And here in Puerto Rico, Costco has the BEST produce you can find… everything is beautiful and fresh and gorgeous. 

I bought yesterday strawberries (you know how I feel about strawberries), grape tomatoes and organic baby leaf  spinach.  You’ll be seeing these ingredients in the next few posts, I’ll promise. 

As I was doing my Serious Eats site daily perusing – I noticed this Talk string about being on a “kick”.  I get those sometimes, but nothing lately.  I read the post from evilchefmom saying she’s on a Strawberry Spinach Salad kick…  That’s exactly what I bought today – baby spinach and strawberries, never thinking when I bought them I would actually eat them together.

I decided to make my version of what she wrote… I do not normally mix fruit in my salads, but I decided to take a chance.  The results were DELICIOUS!!!!  Sweet and tangy, a very different salad that screams for company…



for one
2 handfuls of washed organic baby spinach
3-4 beautifully ripe strawberries – hulled and cut in pieces or slices
2-3 very thin slices of red onion
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil – the best one you can find
2 splashes of balsamic vinegar – about 2 tbs
Salt and Ground pepper to taste
a squirt of Honey
  1. In a medium sized bowl prepare the dressing – Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and honey.
  2. Add the strawberries and onions to the dressing and toss to coat.
  3. In a salad bowl, arrange the baby spinach leaves and top with the strawberries, onions and dressing.

I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this flavor combination, that I immediately made a mental note to serve this salad at any upcoming dinner party… this is too good to keep to myself.

Thanks eveilchefmom for showing me something I have never tried before… 

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