Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

We are probably not unique this time of year whereas we are sitting on a bunch of tomatoes. I’ll admit that my wife loves tomatoes a lot more than I do, but when they are hanging from the vine or loaded in a bowl on my counter from a recent harvest, well I’m about to do something about it. That’s when I typically think about harvesting the rest of our basil from outdoors and making a fresh sauce to be used on pizzas or lightly tossed with some pasta, but this time around I decided to take a generous handful of tomatoes and slowly roast them. Why? Well, because I had some great day old bread on the counter, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil, and that screamed one thing and one thing only. Roasted tomato crostini.

Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe
Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

This is a super simple recipe to make, can feed a crowd, and is really delicious especially with the roasted tomatoes.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 loaf day old French bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, lightly torn
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • mozzarella balls, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place into the preheated oven, cooking for about 45 minutes

During this time, slice the bread. Remove the tomatoes, and let them cool.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the bread to the oven, and cook just until lightly crisped.

Take the bread out and rub each piece of the bread with the garlic clove.

Chop up the cooled tomatoes, and add to a bowl with the freshly torn basil. Add in the olive oil and gently stir.

Lay out your bread onto a serving tray, and spoon on the tomato and basil mixture.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the mozzarella balls in between some of the crostini for those that want to add a bit of cheese to their bite.

Dig in and enjoy. That lightly toasted garlic bread topped with fresh basil and roasted tomatoes really make this a perfect bite for any occasion. Hope you enjoy!

Indian Coconut Green Beans

My wife and I have been going to a local Indian restaurant in our area called Indian Garden.  I am no expert when it comes to authentic Indian food, but my taste buds are pretty good and I have eaten enough of that cuisine to know the good from the bad, and this place is the good. There are couple of things that differentiate an ethnic restaurant for me when I first arrive. My first sell is it busy and second are those sitting down to eat of the same ethnicity as the restaurant. Win, win on Indian Garden, and as a matter of fact we are often times the only ‘gringos’ in that joint. With all of that being said, we have only dined in for their lunch buffet and there are plenty of reasons why. It’s very affordable, and they offer a wide array of great Indian food, so much as my wife will say ‘we have to learn to make that’. One of our visits my wife tried their coconut soup and loved it so much that I had to learn to make it for her. It’s still one of her favorites to this day. On our most recent visit they had a green bean dish, one that was the first for us, that was just out of this world, and it was up to me to figure this one out.

Indian Coconut Green Beans Recipe
Indian Coconut Green Beans Recipe

This was perfect timing as we needed to harvest a bunch of green beans from our garden, and so it was time to use up some leftover coconut from making pies this summer and put it all to a good use.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh green beans, trimmed, and cut into about 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 5 Indian curry leaves
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste

Super simple stuff here but flavors that will have you coming back for more, trust me I know from that last visit to the buffet. I had no guilt getting a second serving of these beans.

Start by getting a large skillet on the stove, over medium heat. Add in the oil and let that come to temperature, about a minute or so.

Next add in the green beans, and give them a nice stir in the oil. Continue to cook the beans on medium heat for about 5 minutes, then toss in the Indian curry leaves. Give your wrist a workout and toss those in the skillet, and then continue to stir for a couple of minutes.

Indian Coconut Green Bean Ingredients
Indian Coconut Green Bean Ingredients

Now add in the coconut flakes, and continue to toss and stir.

Cook the beans and the coconut until the coconut flakes start to turn a golden color and the beans are just starting to get tender.

Slide these into a serving bowl and get ready to dig in.

These coconut green beans are so good you can just eat them as a main dish if you desire. Crunchy beans with a sweetness from the coconut and a slight pungent taste from those curry leaves. It was a win, win, just like the buffet at Indian Garden. If you are looking for a great side dish, and looking to harvest some beans, give this one a try. As a side note, you can get curry leaves from your local Indian market (I shop at Best Food Store in Milwaukee, and the curry leaves can get sealed up and frozen as well. Hope you enjoy!

Pasta with Peas and Mint

Lately my wife and I had to cut back the mint in our backyard. If you have never grown mint, be careful, especially if you are not planting in a pot. The mint literally will take over your yard, and this year it decided to not only take over its home where we planted many years ago, but it also decided to make its way into our raspberry bushes. As much as we love using mint for a variety of different recipes and teas, we are not a fan of it taking over our yard. That’s when I decided to take some things into my own hands and figured I would take a couple of handfuls of that mint and use it up in a dish I knew my entire family would enjoy. It’s pasta with peas and mint and it’s a good one.

Pasta with Peas and Mint Recipe
Pasta with Peas and Mint Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fettuccine, or your favorite pasta cooked al dente
  • 1 cup of cooked pasta water, reserved
  • 1/2 cup of garlic scapes, blanched, or 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mint, packed
  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, to taste

Start by heating a large skillet, and on medium heat add the olive oil and butter. Once melted, add the cracked black pepper, blanched garlic scapes, and frozen peas. Add the pasta water, and stir, letting the mixture come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a medium-low, then add in the cooked pasta. Stir, making sure to coat all of the pasta.

Pasta with Mint and Peas Recipe
Pasta with Mint and Peas Recipe

Once the pasta is coated, add in the fresh mint, giving a good stir and toss, season with a touch of salt, then fold in the parmesan cheese.

Give another stir, then plate and serve. Season with a touch more parmesan cheese, and adjust the taste with any salt.

I was not surprised that my kids devoured this dish. The combination of mint and peas is a match made in heaven, and granted my vegetable hater (age) picked some of those peas out, he was still slurping those noodles, along with the mint. That’s a winner in my book. Hope you enjoy!

Mushroom Tacos

Lately my daughter has been really into mushrooms. So I typically pick up a couple of large containers of whole mushrooms during the week, and her and I will clean them and she will cook them down however she wants. This past week was no exception, plus they were on sale which makes it all the better. As these cooked down into a lot of mushrooms, I knew I had to do something with them as I think she was mushroomed out after a couple of servings. That’s when I threw out some bait to my wife stating that I was going to serve up some mushroom tacos this week. Her response was ‘Mushroom tacos? C’mon!’. I don’t think she really believed me, but as we are trying to eat a lot less meat during the week, this I knew would be a real winner, and it was.

Mushroom Tacos Recipe
Mushroom Tacos Recipe

I knew these would be a big hit, and seeing as though my boys were up north fishing, I knew that my wife and daughter would devour these. These mushroom tacos are way too easy to make, and make for a fast and delicious meal any day of the week.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz whole mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 whole onion, diced
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 package corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 package of queso Chihuahua, optional
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped, optional

Start by heating a skillet on medium heat. Add in the canola oil, onion, and garlic. Give that a good stir and cook for a few minutes. Add in the mushrooms, and continue to stir.

Cook until the mushroom caramelize, about 20 minutes or so, stirring along the way. Add in the jalapeno, salt, pepper, and diced tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Mushroom Tacos Recipe
Mushroom Tacos Recipe

Once the mushrooms begin to caramelize, heat another skillet, and add in the corn tortillas. Continue to flip the tortillas until they are completely warmed through. To be honest, I like a little bit of char on mine so I let them go a little longer.

I also like to add the slices (or shredded) cheese directly on top of my mushrooms, allowing it to melt. Also if you have never had queso Chihuahua, try it. It could possibly be one of my favorite melting cheeses.

Take two tortillas, if using corn, and fold in the cheesy mushrooms. Shower with a bit of cilantro and dig in.

Mushroom Tacos
Mushroom Tacos

The end result is one darn good taco. It’s ‘meaty’ in the sense because of the mushrooms, and it’s just loaded with flavor. You know what would also be good is the Mexican mushroom salad I made a handful of years ago. Shove some of that in some tortillas to kick start your day and you would be all set!