Tomato Egg Bake

Tomato Egg Bake


Eggs baked in a tomato cup is an incredibly simple and delicious idea for breakfast or a light lunch, and if you've got a garden full of tomatoes ripening on the vine, it's also a great way to use some of them up. One medium to large tomato is usually a serving for most people, and it only takes about five minutes or less preparation for each tomato.

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Cut off the top of each tomato, run a knife carefully down the insides and spoon out the seeds and pith. Sprinkle the insides with grated Parmesan cheese (about a small teaspoon for each tomato) and some fresh ground black pepper. Toss the cheese and pepper about to coat the insides.

Crack one egg for each tomato in a bowl. Add one teaspoon of yogurt or milk for each egg, and any sort of spice and herb seasoning you like, and beat lightly.

Pour the egg mixture into each hollowed out tomato. Sprinkle on more Parmesan cheese and ground pepper on the top.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the tomato, until the eggs are set and the cheese is brown.

Vegetarian Harira (Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Stew)

Harira (Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Stew)

Harira is the traditional Moroccan and Algerian soup that's used to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan as well as served after special celebrations like weddings. But there's no reason to confine yourself to making harira for special occasions — it's a delicious and hearty dish at any time. Usually served with lamb, or occasionally beef or chicken, harira is considered to a be a meal all by itself, but vegetarians will find it satisfying alongside buttered rice or a few hard-boiled eggs, with some dates or figs on the side.

There are many regional variations on this dish, but I find this version to be particularly nice and spicy, especially with the addition of harissa as a condiment for the soup. For those of you not familiar with this classic and North African hot sauce made from dried hot chili peppers, garlic and roasted cumin seeds, I've given the recipe for harissa here.

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Anooshavoor (Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge)

Anooshavoor (Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge)

Although whole grain porridges are a staple breakfast food in my kitchen, I'd never considered barley a morning grain until I came across this recipe in my treasured copy of Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café for anooshoavoor, an apparently traditional Turkish barley porridge that's flavored with apples, apricots, honey and cardamom. It's one of the most delicious and satisfying porridges I've ever had.

Cooked in a risotto style with liquid slowly added to very low heat, the result is a creamy, sweet porridge surrounding the still chewy grains of barley. But although the preparation and instructions are so extraordinarily simple, it takes about two hours to cook so it's not a breakfast for a weekday unless you make it the night before and reheat the next morning.

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"End-of-Summer" Pasta Sauce

End-of-Summer Pasta Sauce

I came across Valli's Summer Spaghetti back in August when the tomatoes were just bursting off the vine and thought it would be a perfect and fresh way to enjoy them in an uncooked pasta sauce. Well, I didn't get around to making it then, but since the tomatoes are still coming up on the vine and the summer is ending in glorious, hot clear weather, it still seemed like a fresh idea… so I'm calling my version "end-of-summer" spaghetti instead.

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Grape Tomato and Goat Cheese Clafouti

Grape Tomato and Goat Cheese Clafouti

A clafouti — pronounced "klah-foo-TEE" — is a traditional French baked fruit dessert with a pudding-like custard topping that originated in the northwest central province of Limousin. But in this beautiful savory version, the custard is infused with fresh basil and coats vegetables instead of fruit. It will make you dream you're sitting on the French Mediterranean coast instead of the chilly northwest, which makes it perfect for those cold autumn days when the vegetables are all still in season. The grape tomatoes burst with fresh sweetness in every bite. I served this with a red lentil and carrot soup for an extraordinary meal.

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Eggs Vindaloo


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Eggs Vindaloo

Just like paneer cheese, eggs are a perfect medium for Indian curry sauces like the shahi egg dish I made back in August. This time the eggs are fried in olive oil after being hard-boiled and then simmered in a fragrant and very spicy vindaloo gravy for a delicious lunch or dinner served on a bed of white basmati rice.

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Red Lentil and Carrot Soup

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup

I was in the mood for a simple but tasty soup yesterday and this golden red lentil and carrot soup — adapted from a now sadly defunct food blog called Gourmet A Go-Go — turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to a grape tomato and goat cheese clafouti. As the cold weather nears, I highly recommend you keep this recipe on hand. I've made a few variations, but the essential base of the recipe remains the same.

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Concord Grape Pie

Concord Grape Pie Slice

I am guessing that not many of my readers have heard of grape pie before. Well, if you can get Concord grapes in your area, you are in for a real treat. Everyone that I know who has tasted this pie will forever remember it. For this recipe, you will need one unbaked single pie shell. I'm a firm believer in making my own crust, though you can purchase one if you don't have the time or inclination to prepare your own. I'm providing a recipe here for the crust I made, but feel free to use your own favorite pastry shell recipe. Though the pie is delicious warm out of the oven, I would suggest chilling it before serving as it holds together better if you do.

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Black Bean & Corn Bake With Cheese Topping

Black Bean & Corn Bake With Cheese Topping

These Mexican-style baked black beans take very little effort and make a delicious and hearty dinner when served up with brown rice and a green salad, great for the cool weather. I found out after I made it that my neighbors could smell it baking and loved the aroma.

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Mango Salad Dressing

Mango Salad Dressing

Since I've found out that quite a few of my friends are mango fanatics, the natural thing to do was to bring mangoes to the salad plate. For all those mango fiends out there, this simple and zesty mango dressing turned out to be a gorgeous, delicious and very mango-y dressing for any kind of green salad.

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Danny and Maria Celebrate 25 years of Business

Danny's Wine and Beer Making Supplies
Danny's Wine and Beer Making Supplies, located at 127 Hamilton Road here in London, Ontario, has for many years provided me with delicious red wine. Last Saturday, Danny and Maria Cardoso celebrated 25 years of business with their family, friends and dedicated customers. I attended the celebration and wrote about it for foodtv.ca. You can read about the event, complete with a short description of the wine making process, here.

Chinese-Style Fried Brown Rice and Vegetables

Fried Brown Rice and Vegetables

Even if you're a fan of Chinese restaurant-style fried rice, you'll find it strangely bland and unsatisfying after trying this hearty and colorful fried brown rice recipe at home. Packed with vitamins and minerals, you can add even more vegetables as desired; for example, add some sliced celery or chopped cabbage at the same time as the mushrooms go in.

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Indian Sour Mung Bean Soup


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian Sour Mung Bean Soup

If you are in a hurry, but don't want to sacrifice taste for speed, I highly recommend this simple and spicy mung bean soup. There is very little preparation, most of which can be done while the beans are cooking. This recipe has long been one of my favorites.

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's been a while since I've done any baking, which has as much to do with the heat wave we were engulfed in for much of the summer as it has to do with finding the time. However, the other day I came across a recipe for flourless peanut butter coconut chocolate chip cookies that I just couldn't resist. I've made a few minor variations to make these easy and gluten-free treats. I didn't miss the flour one bit. Very tasty and highly recommended.

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Culinary Disasters

Cookie Jar

Something Awful [warning - the name is an entirely appropriate description of the site] invites their readers to write about their most disastrous culinary experiences.
I accidentally greased a glass baking dish for ham loaf with Pledge instead of Pam. We all wondered why the ham loaf tasted so odd, and it wasn't until after dinner when I was putting everything away that I realized what I did.

[another account:]

I was home from school sick one day, and was getting hungry, so I started some ramen. I had a headache at the time, and came up with the bright idea of advil ramen. I figured, "I like ramen, and I could use some advil. How can this go wrong?" Needless to say, dissolving advil tablets let off terrible fumes which are not the least bit appetizing. This wasn't one of my brighter moments.
It got me thinking about my kitchen and thankfully, apart from a few instances of dough flying across the room, my culinary failures have been few. That said, I do recall two of my worst moments in the kitchen.

The first episode occurred in my teen years, and is not exactly an example of a culinary disaster, but rather an instance of stupidity. After frying some eggs, I proceeded to place a loaf of bread, housed in a plastic bag, on the still warm element. Melted plastic and bread are not a tasty combination.

The other memory I have of failed food is alas once again a matter of stupidity and distraction. The result: a new soup pot and pizza for dinner instead of charred black beans. I don't use canned beans, and so instead opt to soak the beans the night before and boil them in preparation for the dish I plan to make. On this particular occasion, I prepared to bring the beans to a boil by setting the heat to high. Problem being, I *forgot* to adjust the heat to low before heading off to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for the recipe. On the way to the store, I suddenly instructed my driver to return home immediately. Oh no! I think I forgot to adjust the heat! Upon pulling into the driveway, a burning smell was immediately evident, and the kitchen was indeed filled with smoke. Thankfully, this blunder occurred in the last decade and has not been repeated since.

See also Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food.

Leave your own culinary misadventures in comments. Regular programming will commence tomorrow.

Red Fruit Salad

Red Fruit Salad

As the heat starts to fade away, this red fruit salad is a sweet, beautiful and refreshing reminder of summer and a wonderful opportunity to use fresh local watermelon before it disappears from the market.

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Mung Beans with Cottage Cheese (Moong Dal Paneerwali)


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Mung Beans with Cottage Cheese

I have a weakness when it comes to cookbooks. Not only do I own a bookshelf worth of cookbooks, I am continually taking note of interesting recipes I find on the internet and I often borrow cookbooks from the library. Recently, I borrowed a copy of From Bengal To Punjab by Smita Chandra. Although the book is not restricted to vegetarian recipes, it does contain some interesting and unique vegetarian friendly recipes, such as these mung beans with cottage cheese (moong dal paneerwali).

As usual, I've adapted the recipe somewhat to suit my tastes. In particular, I used whole mung beans and added the onions earlier, rather than browning them at the end to use as a garnish. Feel free to use mashed paneer cheese in place of the cottage cheese, although I think the use of dry-pressed or dry-curd cottage cheese in this case lends a fantastic creaminess to the dish. I served this with mushroom methi curry and masmati onion rice, but it could just as easily be served with any grain dish, along with a vegetable dish of your choice. The author of the cookbook suggests mashing the beans along with some cooked potatoes and frying the mixture into croquettes, or using as a stuffing for tomatoes. Sounds good to me!

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Orange and Beet Soup

Orange and Beet Soup

I don't often cook with beets, which is an oversight I hope to correct, especially considering beets are packed full of nutrition. Both the leaves and root can be eaten. The roots are an excellent source of vitamin C, while the leaves are rich in vitamin A. Beets are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, calcium and contain anti-oxidant properties. Beets are celebrated for their medicinal properties and widely believed to be an excellent choice for purifying the blood and liver. If the leaves are green and healthy, take care to save them, even if the dish you are making only calls for the root. They make an excellent salad green.

I've adapted this recipe from Small Bites, an unusual little cookbook I found at the library recently. It's not the most vegetarian friendly cookbook, but it does contain some tasty and sophisticated recipes that I plan to make in the near future as I am intrigued by the unique blend of flavors presented throughout. If this beet soup is any indication of the quality of recipes, I'm in for a treat! The book also includes some lovely photographs of each dish.

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A Visit to a Local Indian Grocery Store

India Spice Centre

Earlier in the week I visited India Spice Centre, located at 611 Wonderland Road North here in London, Ontario. I wrote about my trip for The Food Network.

Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Jalapeño Peppers

The jalapeño pepper plants I have growing in my backyard have been offering up an abundant harvest this summer, and though regular readers know I use a lot of hot peppers in my cooking, I have so many that I decided to make stuffed jalapeño peppers. On the rare occasion I dine out at a restaurant offering jalapeño poppers, I virtually never fail to order them. But not until now have I attempted to make my own version with some of my favorite flavors. Expect to spend some time in the kitchen if you make these, but they are totally worth the fuss. This batch was baked in the oven, but you can also broil the stuffed peppers or deep-fry them. I served them with the simple tomato salsa I made yesterday. I would suggest puréeing the salsa because it works better as a dipping sauce for the peppers.

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Simple No-Cook Tomato Salsa

Simple Tomato Salsa

This is an especially easy no-cook salsa that can be served with tortilla chips, nachos, quesadillas, or various types of Mexican fare. Corn kernels and a pinch of ground cumin can be added if desired. I made it to serve with the stuffed jalapeño peppers I plan to make tomorrow. Served chilled or at room temperature.

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Cottage Cheese Blintzes and Peach-Plum Compote

Cottage Cheese Blintzes and Peach-Plum Compote

Blintzes are essentially the same thing as crêpes but traditionally stuffed with a cream or cottage cheese filling, so it seems appropriate to call these thin stuffed breakfast or dessert pancakes by their old Yiddish name.

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Black Bean Mango Salad

Black Bean Mango Salad

With the southwestern Ontario summer ending in yet another heat wave, mango with lime and cilantro seemed like the perfect combination to cool and refresh in this fast and simple no-fuss black bean salad. And it's as good as it looks.

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Simple Three-Egg Mushroom Omelette

Simple Three Egg Mushroom Omelette

A three-egg mushroom omelette makes a perfect breakfast or light lunch or dinner for two people, along with some toast or crusty bread and some fresh fruit or a green salad depending on your preference and the time of day you serve it. It's amazingly simple and fast, too. You might think that making a perfectly folded omelette is tricky, but there's really a simple knack to it if you follow these instructions, and you don't even need to use a no-stick pan.

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