Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Autumn Sunday Supper

It's that time again. Time to move the furniture onto the back porch, turn the music up, friends and family join us with their dishes, we gather around the table laugh, nourish our bodies and souls, reconnect.  The food is rarely fancy, just a good meal served up family style.

This what our family does often, we eat. 

The weather is perfect-warm enough to keep the Thai peppers a fiery red

But, cool enough to add some color to landscape

Two of my boys getting ready to chow down

Thanks for joining us. See you next Sunday.

If you would like to share a friends and family gathering here on Tomatoes on the Vine send me an email at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Acorn Squash with Rosemary and Brown Sugar

I thought with the endless Summer squash, the gift that keeps on giving all season that we would be bored with squash in the Autumn.  As soon as I laid eyes on this recipe, I changed my mind.  What was I thinking?  Summer squash is no comparison to Fall squashes, different textures, different colors, different flavors.

This acorn squash was like eating creamy candy, yet it did not feel heavy or indulgent.

The squash looks stunning sauteing in the pan.  Look at those Autumn colors!

Acorn Squash with Rosemary and Brown Sugar
Serves 4
Recipe from Fine Cooking

1-2 pound acorn squash (unpeeled), halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Using a paring knife, score each wedge of squash lengthwise down the middle of the flesh.  heat the butter and oil in an 11 to 12-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat.  Arrange the squash in the pan in a single layer and cook, flipping occasionally, until deep golden-brown on all cut sides, about 10 minutes (note: if your pan is not large enough to brown all the squash at once, brown it in batches, and then return to the pan to simmer.

Carefully pour the wine into the pan, then quickly scatter the brown sugar, rosemary, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper over the squash.  Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the squash is almost tender, about 10 minutes more.

Uncover the pan and increase the heat to medium.  Flip the squash and cook until the liquid is thick and the squash is tender, about 5 minutes more.  Transfer the squash to platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle any remaining liquid over the top, and serve.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Andy Wallack

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Peanut Butter and Toffee Candy Bark

Trick or Treat?  This is one time of year, where I am not an advocate for healthier food options.  I will not choose fruit instead of candy.  

Here is proof.  A fast and easy Halloween treat that goblins of all ages can't resist.

Halloween Peanut Butter And Toffee Candy Bark
Makes about 2 pounds
Recipe from Bon Appetit

1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
3- 2.1 ounce Butterfinger candy bars, cut into irregular 1-inch pieces
3- 1.4 ounce Skor or Heath toffee candy bars, cut into irregular 3/4-inch pieces
8- 0.55 ounce peanut butter cups, each cut into 8 wedges
1/4-cup honey-roasted peanuts
3 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped 
Reese's pieces and/or yellow and orange peanut M&M's

Line baking sheet with foil.  Stir chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch.  Pour chocolate onto foil; spread to 1/4-inch thickness (about 12x10-inch rectangle).  Sprinkle with Butterfinger candy, toffee, peanut butter cups, and nuts, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to adhere.

Put white chocolate in heavy small saucepan.  Stir constantly over very low heat until chocolate is melted and warm (not hot) to touch.  Remove from heat.  Dip spoon into chocolate; wave from side to side over bark, creating zig-zag lines.  Scatter Reese's Pieces or M&M's over, making sure candy touches melted chocolate.

Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes.  Slide foil with candy onto work surface: peel off foil.  Cut bark into irregular pieces.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Camarones Con Salsa de Anis (Shrimp with Anise Sauce)

There are days when it does not seem there is enough hours in the day to make it all happen.  This is an opportunity to reach out to one of my favorite bloggers and ask for help.  Erica graciously provided one of her authentic Colombian recipes to share with you.

I have been following My Colombian Recipes loyally since I started blogging. Erica was born and raised in Colombia and now lives in the U.S..  Erica strives through her blog to bring awareness and appreciation for Colombian culture and food traditions. You may have already discovered her blog. If not, please take the time to stop by and say hello to her. You will not be disappointed.

Without further ado-Welcome back Erica!

This simple Shrimp with Anise Sauce is a traditional Colombian dish from the Department of Sucre, where plain white rice is always served to soak up the aromatic anise sauce.

This dish is so simple that once you make it, it's pretty easy to remember.

Buen provecho!

Camarones Con Salsa de Anis (Shrimp with Anise Sauce)
Serves 2
Recipe from My Colombian Recipes

10-12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon anise extract
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

1.  In a large pot, bring water to a boil.  Turn off heat, add the shrimp and cover.  Leave the shrimp in the hot water for 1 minute, drain and set aside.

2.  In a large pot saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil.  Add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the flour and stir well.

3.  Add the wine to the saucepan, bring to a boil ad then reduce the heat to medium low.  Add the heavy cream, shrimp, anise seeds, anise extract and cook in sauce for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley.  Add salt and pepper, if necessary.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Scott Edmonds

Sunday, October 17, 2010

La Diva's Heartthrob

I know it's Sunday, the weather is crisp and cool.  A hearty dish is probably the best option for today's post but, the past week has been hectic. I am going to skip cooking today, and join friends outside for a cocktail.  Share some good laughs, enjoy some nibbles and call it a day.

This is La Diva's spin on a classic whiskey sour.  This is her sexy drink that she calls "Heartthrob".  You can check out her sassy and fun blog at .  If you live in the South Florida area, don't forget to register for her cooking and cocktails classes.

Honestly, I have not been a fan of bourbons and whiskeys. No reason, probably a lack of experience and appreciation.  This cocktail is proof that I have a lot to learn. This drink is both a sweet and sour. Make no mistake, this drink is smooth and it promises to deliver a punch if you are not careful.

La Diva's Heartthrob

2 ounces cherry whiskey
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon raw egg white (use organic free range)
1 scoop ice

Put all ingredients in a shaker and vigorously shake until frothy.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cauliflower, White Bean and Feta Salad

The salad colors were pale, but the crunchy texture of fresh cauliflower, feta, white beans, rosemary and lemon, created a flavor combination that tied up your taste buds, and made this a memorable eating experience.

This recipe was prepared by our friend Karen who served up this fabulous salad which was perfect for our Black and White themed Cooking Club evening with friends.

Cauliflower, White Bean and Feta Salad
6 Servings
Recipe from Bon Appetit and Prepared by Karen Munoz

1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
1 (15-ounce) can white beans (such as Great Northern or navy beans), drained
2 large heads of Belgian endive, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

Combine oil and rosemary in small saucepan.  Stir over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Cool.

Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in small bowl.

Combine cauliflower, beans endive, chives, parsley,and rosemary oil in medium bowl; toss.  Mix in cheese.  Add lemon juice mixture and toss to coat.  Season salad with salt and pepper.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, October 10, 2010

French Lentil Rice Soup

Just as soon as I throw the windows open and get prepared to put on warmer clothes, the warm air comes rushing back. No matter, the cool air will return, and this is what we will be eating.

I don't use my slow cooker hardly enough.  When I do, I am reminded that it is a time saver.  More importantly, my slow cooker can produce healthy and flavorful meals that offer me a hassle-free dinner.

French Lentil Rice Soup
Serves 4

6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely diced
3 tablespoons uncooked white rice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence or dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream, divided (optional)
1/4 cup chopped parsley, divided (optional)

Stir together broth, lentils, carrots, onion, celery, rice, garlic, herbs de provence, salt and pepper in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove 1-1/2 cups soup and puree in a food processor or blender until almost smooth.  Stir pureed soup back into the slow cooker.

Divide soup evenly among 4 serving bowls, garnishing each with 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, if desired.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tallahassee Cooking Club, October 2010

This month's Cooking Club theme was Black and White.  The beauty of using this theme is that there are so many other eye popping colors that contrast.

The appetizer consisted of three selections; skewered goat cheese filled kalamata olives,  a spicy black bean shooter and deep purple, almost black baby potato stuffed with cream fraiche and topped with caviar.

The salad was a flavorful mixture of cauliflower, white beans and feta cheese
(note: This salad will be a future blog post)

Our entree was an elegant Pork Tenderloin with a Blackberry Gastrique and Mango Salsa.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Gastrique and Mango Salsa
Serves 10-12
Recipe prepared by Shirley Mcfadden



2 ripe mangoes, medium dice
3 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped

Mix ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Blackberry Gastrique

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
8-ounces high quality blackberry seedless preserves or jelly
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups frozen blackberries

Heat vinegar and jelly together.  Reduce to a sauce consistency. Before serving add frozen berries and heat.

Pork Tenderloin

3-pork tenderloins (1-lb. each)

Pork Marinade
1/8 cup kosher salt
3 cups warm water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes to taste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 cups ice cubes

Add ingredients together and marinate the pork tenderloin for 20 minutes.

Heat grill, remove tenderloins from marinade and pat dry.  Liberally grind black pepper on each tenderloin.  Cook on grill until desired doneness.  Remove from grill.  Tent the meat for 10 minutes.  Pour sauce on the pork and decoratively place fresh blackberries on the pork and garnish with mango salsa.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn at

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melt

This classic patty melt gets a healthy makeover with lean ground sirloin, reduced fat provolone cheese and plenty of mushrooms.

The sandwich is quick and easy to prepare and makes a great weeknight menu idea.

Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts
Makes 4 sandwiches
Recipe from Cooking light

1 pound ground sirloin
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package sliced cremini mushrooms (note: I used baby portabella)
1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark beer (note: use beef broth in place of the beer)
8 (1.1 ounce) slices rye bread
4 (3/4 ounce) slices reduced-fat provolone cheese

1.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Shape beef into 4 (4-inch) patties.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.

2.  Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, salt, pepper, and mushrooms; saute 3 minutes.  Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in beer; cook 30 seconds or until thick.  Remove from heat, keep warm.

3.  When patties are done, remove from large skillet.  Wipe pan clean; heat over medium high heat.  Coat 1 side of each bread slice with cooking spray.  Place 4 bread slices, coated sides down, in pan.  Top each with 1 patty, 1 cheese slice, and one-fourth of mushroom mixture.  Top with remaining bread slices; coat with cooking spray.  Cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned.