Thursday, August 2, 2012

SHH - SuperFoods Rx Part 1: More Tomatoes & Lycopene

It's been HOT here. Last night at 11pm, it was still 100 degrees outside. It's been too hot to think about cooking. But, I'm still playing with making tomatoes as delicious as they can be.

First, I made this beautiful and delicious salad. Yeah, I said delicious salad. There was a time when I wouldn't eat anything containing the word "salad". No pasta salad, no tuna salad, no egg salad, no jello salad, no anything salad. Salad was how you ruined pasta and tuna and eggs and jello. Well, jello didn't have much of a chance in the first place, did it?

Anyway, I realized one day that all of the traditional salads I'd tried had started with iceberg or romaine or some other lettuce that had those thick veiny stalks in them. So many people told me lettuce didn't have flavor, but I could taste it, and didn't like it. But, one day, I realized something. I loved small leafy things that were called fresh herbs. I didn't hate all things green. I might never like "lettuce", but surely I could eat a single leaf if I had to, right? So I started trying things like baby spinach, which I found I really like. And arugula and other baby greens. So, after almost forty years of life, I found I actually like salads (well, some of them). Here's one I really loved!

First, the SuperFoods Rx book had a really delicious idea that helped me get past that other issue I had with fresh tomatoes. It suggests as a snack, simply roasting cherry tomatoes with EVOO and salt and pepper in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. I did that and used as a garnish for the salad. I also made a fantastic and simple lemon vinaigrette that I highly recommend.

See how pretty! It's just baby spinach with roasted cherub tomatoes and a little grated cheese and a lemon vinaigrette dressing (recipe to follow). 

If you can find this cheese - BellaVitano Gold by Sartori, I highly recommend it. This is what I grated over our salads. It has a flavor like parmigiano reggiano, but is creamier like a white cheddar. Otherwise, parm is a good choice.
The lemon vinaigrette was so simple. Just add these ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake them all together. Use the same day.

1/2 Cup EVOO
The juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp Dijon
Fresh thyme
pinch black pepper
lemon zest to your taste preference
two cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)

I was making this earlier in the day, so I kind of smashed the garlic cloves and took the skin off, but didn't bother dicing it. I also left the thyme on the stems and put several pieces in. I shook everything together in the jar and served after the garlic and thyme had time to impart flavors. It was easy to pour out just the dressing, leaving behind the used thyme and garlic cloves.
It just felt right to use a jam jar for this homey and simple recipe. 
Another hot day, I felt in the mood for a BLT. In my whole life, I've never eaten a true BLT because... you guessed it... I don't like the "L" or the "T". So, for my very special and lycopene-rich BLT, I made a sandwich using sun-dried tomatoes and baby spinach for my "T and L". I'm currently experimenting down the bread aisle for major-brand-healthy-but-still-tasty breads. What I used for this sandwich was Oroweat Health-Full Nutty Grain. (I never noticed the Oroweat brand doesn't have an "h" in it until now. How weird.) Oh, and this was supposed to have homemade mayo on it, but I couldn't get it to emulsify, so once I master that, I'll share the secret. The internet said it would be easy. The internet lies sometimes. Also note, there are FOUR slices of bacon on my sandwich, because this was dinner, not lunch. And I buttered that bread with Smart Balance spread, 'cause I like it that way. 

I'm particularly fond of Neuske's bacon, but have to order it. This isn't anywhere near Nueske's, but it's a nice thick sliced Applewood smoked that was readily available at the store. My second favorite is Boar's Head bacon, but that requires a trip to a specialty store. 

Finally, on my little lycopene trip, I decided to mix it up. Yes, tomatoes are the richest in lycopene, but the book also says you can get lycopene from pink grapefruit. I found suggestions on the internet for sprinkling brown sugar over grapefruit halves and broiling them. I've never really liked grapefruit, but I love brown sugar. This seemed like something that could work. I should note that my "sprinkling" of brown sugar was more like "packing it on". I then sprinkled a bit of cinnamon. Broiled for 5 - 7 minutes. 

As they are broiling.

This really wasn't bad. In fact, I actually liked it. Did you know there's such a thing as a grapefruit knife? I didn't. 

At the end of another hot day, I thanked my lucky stars for air conditioning and drank a glass of red wine. It's never too hot for wine.
This VistaMar "Brisa" Cabernet was crazy cheap and actually delicious.  A medium body and great flavor. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I just finished creating an infographic that I think is a good fit for your readers on She's Fed Up.

    It's called "7 Superfoods That Help You Live Longer." You can see it here.

    I wanted to get in touch because while researching, I read this post you wrote about Superfoods, SHH - SuperFoods Rx Part 1: More Tomatoes & Lycopene, so I wanted to get in touch to see if you'd like to use my infographic, too.

    I put HTML code that you can copy and paste below the image to make it easy to put on your site. If you'd like a different size, please let me know and I'll make it for you.

    Thank you!

    ~ Melanie