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Posts tagged as tomatoes

Fried Chicken with Watermelon, Tomato & Corn Salad

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 17, 2013 at 4:01pm

Fried Chicken with Watermelon Tomato Salad | Fresh TartI’m writing a cookbook called Twin Cities Chef’s Table, to be published by Globe Pequot in spring 2014. The book is a snapshot of the Twin Cities food scene, incorporating recipes and full-color photographs from chefs, growers, and purveyors. Twin Cities Chef’s Table will be part of a series of of beautiful Chef’s Table books that have highlighted various regions and cities around the country. Back when I was considering the proposal, the publisher sent me Cape Cod Chef’s Table, by John Carafoli and Francine Zaslow, which for me sealed the deal. The book is a food fairy’s tale of Cape Cod and its magical bounty of farms, fish, and markets. Smart chefs add just a bit of sparkle to perfect ingredients.

It was actually a non-fish recipe that stole my heart, likely because the dish would happily shine here in the Twin Cities. Folks in every region spread checkered tablecloths on picnic tables and set out platters of fried chicken, watermelon, sweet corn, and garden-ripe tomatoes. What I loved about this dish is how fresh and pretty the components are together, snuggled right into the same dish, pulled together with fresh mint, jalapeno, lime, and honey. Cool and sweet meets hot and salty, always a winning combination.

As an unplanned aside, I happened to possess a bottle of Lucia’s (yes, that Lucia!) maple-mustard vinaigrette, one of a line of best-quality products Lucia has developed with Lakewinds Natural Foods Co-op. While the recipe’s honey/lime dressing is a perfect finish for the salad, I couldn’t resist swiping the fried chicken through Lucia’s dressing. The hint of mustard, smooth and just a bit sweet, yet tangy enough to be addictive, is nice here…and everywhere.

Recipe for Fried Chicken with Watermelon, Tomato & Corn Salad at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Tomato Sweet Corn Quiche

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 10, 2013 at 7:38pm

Tomato Sweet Corn QuicheFor the third summer in a row, I’ve had the pleasure of being invited to a Tomato Party. The party kicks off with the hostess’s jewel-toned tomato-basil water, spiked with a bit of vodka, glistening with a drizzle of olive oil. It is the very essence of summer’s end, a fragrant reminder to hurry up and enjoy as many tomatoes as we can.Tomato Basil WaterTomato SorbetAnd so we do. Each guest brings a tomato-y treat, filling out a spectacular meal that includes salads, salsas, tarts, soups, Serious Jam, and this year even a divine tomato sorbet topped with a crispy-sweet tuile of dried tomato (made by the lovely Zoe Francois of Zoe Bakes, recipe here, hooray!) It was a glorious evening.

My contribution was a Tomato Sweet Corn Quiche. Inspired by my favorite panna cotta recipe, I steeped the cream for the quiche with sweet corn, extracting every lovely bit of corn sweetness that I could. Just try not to drink the whole of it, while the corn cream is still warm, I count it as one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. If you resist, it makes a lovely quiche filling.Tomato Sweet Corn Quiche | Fresh TartI added grated raw milk cheddar to the pictured tart but I think the next time I make it, I’ll skip the cheese. I will also make the quiche in a pie plate, instead of a tart pan, so the custard is nice and thick. Did I mention how much I love that corn cream?

Recipe for Tomato Sweet Corn Quiche at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Chiles Rellenos (grain-free, glutenfree): Tomato Party, Part III

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Aug 20, 2013 at 5:04pm

Chiles Rellenos (grain-free, gluten-free)It sounds unlikely, but I swear it’s true: the residents of Grand Forks, North Dakota, are obsessed with Tex-Mex food. I know this because I came of age there, and I and my fellow starving high school friends spent the bulk of our disposable income on tacos, smothered burritos, chips and “sauce,” grinders (a future post, by the way, stay tuned), and chimichangas. They were all probably a little bit not good, but we didn’t know that and in fact, we never will, or at I least I never will, because my taste buds are so wrapped up in nostalgia that it all just tastes like deliciously spicy teenage freedom.
Chilles Rellenos with Ranchero Sauce | Fresh TartWhich as far as flavor profiles go, is pretty hard to beat.

Given that none of the joints I hung out it in exist in the Twin Cities, I spend a fair amount of time recreating the dishes I crave the most. And while I’m at it, I freshen them up a bit, with whole ingredients I feel good about eating.
Chiles Rellenos | Fresh TartTherefore this version of chiles rellenos! Don’t just walk by those mountains of dark, glossy chiles now showing at farmers markets, wondering what to do with them. Stuff them! Poblanos are mild enough for Midwestern palates yet loaded with fresh chile flavor. I stuffed my latest batch with ground beef and cheese, but feel free to go the more traditional route and skip the beef. Whole chiles are glorious when oozing salty cheese with plenty of fresh oregano, mmm. They’re usually dipped in batter and fried – which makes them amazing – but I love them this way too, which puts the focus on the smoky peppers. I get my nostalgia fix and a colorful, healthy meal to boot.

Ranchero sauce, other than being a terrific way to use up garden tomatoes, is the sauce of choice for huevos rancheros. Make a double batch to eat with fresh corn tortillas and fried eggs.

Recipe for Chilles Rellenos with Ranchero Sauce at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

For Tomato Party: Part I, see recipe for Green Gazpacho with Fried Shrimp.
For Tomato Party: Part II, see recipe for Tomato Gratin Stew.

Tomato Gratin Stew: Tomato Party Part II and…What Am I?

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Aug 15, 2013 at 10:23am

Tomato Gratin StewSo Stephanie, what do you do?

That question causes my throat to close. What on earth do I say? I’ve said food blogger a few times, just to watch eyes glaze over. Food writer, photographer, event organizer, recipe developer, and cooking instructor most often tumble out, in some combination, but that feels like a task list, like a chef saying, “I’m a menu planner, trainer, supervisor, food purchaser, and cook.”

That’s silly.

So food world, what’s the new title? The one that hasn’t been invented yet? I’m certainly not the only food blogger out there who is working on a cookbook, organizing events, promoting my local food community, teaching classes, doing media appearances, styling photo shoots, connecting with people through social media, partnering with brands and businesses, and advocating for the simple beauty and incredible power of real food, cooked at home.

Food influencer? Food educator? Food maniac?

While we think about it, here’s a pitch for an old-fashioned grandma sort of recipe. My friend Imen McDonnell, she of the stunning blog Farmette, tweeted recently about how she grew up eating tomatoes: with cream and sugar. I love the idea, and had it tucked in the back of my mind (waiting for tomatoes to start showing up here, LATE), when I remembered this recipe for Tomato Gratin Stew in Marion Cunningham’s wonderful cookbook, Lost Recipes. Isn’t that just the best name – gratin stew? J’adore a creamy tomato soup, a little bit sweet, so I think of this as a warm version of Imen’s growing-up favorite meets baked cream of tomato soup.Tomato Gratin StewYou can certainly keep it as pared down as the original recipe, but after making this a few times, I do like it with a bit of garlic and fresh herbs. I used gluten-free bread for the topping which worked just fine. I think you could also skip the bread topping and serve this over a piece or two of hearty, toasted bread, or a slab of warm corn bread, plunked down right in the middle of your bowl. The cream reduced with the tomatoes’ juices is truly divine and worthy of something starchy to sop it up. That said, if avoiding things starchy – as I generally do – creamy tomato juice on a spoon alone is perfectly loverly. Serve with a crunchy salad to balance the soft, warm richness of the tomatoes.

For Tomato Party Part I, see my recipe for Green Gazpacho with Fried Shrimp (below).

Tomato Gratin Stew
Adapted from Lost Recipes by Marion Cunningham
Serves 6

4 Tbsp. butter, divided
4 lbs. garden-ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh basil
coarse sea salt or kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. maple syrup
1 c. heavy cream
2 c. fresh bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a tart pan or shallow casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

Cut 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and set aside.

Sprinkle the minced garlic over the bottom of the dish. Add one layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle with some of the fresh basil, a bit of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and dot with a few pieces of the 2 tablespoons of cut up butter. Repeat layering and seasoning the rest of the tomatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and cream and pour over and around the tomatoes.

In a medium skillet set over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir in the bread crumbs, thyme, and salt to taste. Pat breadcrumb mixture on top of the tomatoes.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving in shallow bowls, with spoons.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 25, 2012 at 4:54pm

roasted tomato soup fresh tart stephanie meyer

Despite our first frost, there are still plenty of tomatoes kicking around! Make a double batch of this easy soup and freeze it for a mid-winter’s treat. Or eat it all hot from the pot, which is a good plan too. I make this soup all season long by roasting tomatoes as I pick them, stashing them in the fridge, then at week’s end simmering it all into a batch of soup. You could freeze batches of roasted tomatoes as well, see mid-winter’s treat mentioned above.

It’s always great fun to enjoy tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich so if that’s what you’re in the mood for – back-to-school and chilly nights and such – skip the croutons and cream and grill away with cheese and butter. Slide a slice of tomato or a smear of tomato jam into the middle of the sandwich for a vertically integrated tomato explosion. Killer.

socca stephanie meyer fresh tart

I left the cream in the version pictured, then fried up socca (chickpea flour pancakes) to eat as a warm (gluten-free) flatbread with my soup. Bits of crispy sage, a sprinkle of garlic scape salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper, and an extra drizzle of olive oil made for a fast treat, one of my very favorites.

roasted tomato soup fresh tart stephanie meyer

Recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Andrew Zimmern’s Gazpacho

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Aug 28, 2012 at 10:48am

andrew zimmern gazpacho stephanie meyer fresh tart

Swimming in tomatoes yet? Even if not, make this gorgeous gazpacho anyhow – it’s one of my very favorite versions of everyone’s favorite summer treat.

Recipe for Gazpacho at Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures/Food & Wine Magazine.

Crab & Sweet Corn Chowder

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:24pm

crab corn chowder stephanie meyer fresh tart

Hello from my (ridiculously brief) summer vacation in East Hampton. The only reason I’m posting a recipe while on vacation is that the local produce out here is so astonishing that I’m inspired to cook here more than I am at home. As much as the area is known for spiffy homes, those homes are separated by farms and farm stands bursting with glorious peaches, grapes, melons, vegetables, tomatoes, and berries. The sweet corn in particular haunts my beachy dreams with its caviar-pop sweetness.

east hampton stephanie meyer fresh tart

east hampton stephanie meyer fresh tart

east hampton stephanie meyer fresh tart

east hampton stephanie meyer fresh tart

As an added bonus, the fish scene is as fresh as the fashion. Every summer, my father-in-law makes us his famous crab cakes, a recipe I’ve already shared, so this year I settled on making up a crab and sweet corn chowder. It’s not difficult to put your hands on good lump crab meat in Minnesota (Coastal Seafoods sells it, for instance), and Lord knows we know good sweet corn right exactly now. Work in some of the fresh herbs overgrowing your garden, serve wearing high heels alongside a plate of perfectly ripe tomatoes, and call it August, Hamptons-in-Minnesota style.

Recipe for Crab & Sweet Corn Chowder at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

country chef challenge minneapolis

And oh, congratulations chef Sameh Wadi (Saffron, World Street Kitchen) for his win at the Minneapolis Farmers Market Country Chef Challenge this past Saturday! He and chef Jack Riebel (Butcher and the Boar) faced off with fresh-and-fabulous items quickly gathered at the market. I was a lucky, lucky judge, along with Lee Dean, food editor at the Star Tribune, and Matt Brickman and Jamie Yuccas, weekend anchors at WCCO-TV.

beer cheese soup jack riebel

Jack Riebel’s luscious beer cheese soup with tomatoes, chiles, maple-glazed bacon, fried croutons.

tomato salad sameh wadi

trout tagine sameh wadi

Sameh Wadi’s stunning tomato salad with smoked tomato vinaigrette and raspberries (top) and fragrant trout tagine with squash and sweet corn.

Not a bad way to kick off the weekend, ha! I went from the market to the airport. Whee! Nice.

tomato jam stephanie meyer fresh tart provisions

Notice how both chefs featured the gorgeous tomatoes flooding the markets right now. If you’re looking for new (as well as tried-and-true) ways to use the tomatoes in your garden or at the market (like the gorgeous tomato jam pictured!), join chef Scott Pampuch and me for the last class in our Provisions series at Kitchen in the Market. This Thursday night we will be talking and eating tomatoes and berries: Jams, syrups, freezing, sauces, preserving in oil, on and on and on. We’ll share tasty cocktails and a delicious meal as we chat and learn. Join us!

Tomato Tart Round III: This Time, Gluten-Free + A Tomato Party!

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 21, 2011 at 6:07am

tomato tart gluten-free parmesan crust

I should have titled this post, How to Beat a Recipe to Death. Seriously. This is the third time I’ve posted a variation on it but hey, a winner is a winner, and this one is A Winner. It originated with the lovely blog 101 Cookbooks and I’ve just continued to play with it.

The first time I made it as written. The second I adapted for bite-sized tarts. This go-round I made it gluten-free and oh wow, it’s quite lovely. The addition of almond flour is a big win, adding an extra layer of crunch that is a dreamy pairing with the tangy Parmesan cheese.

I’ve also started layering in tomatoes of varying sizes for even more visual and flavor impact. Good tomato fun. Treat yourself before our juicy friends are gone for yet another season…oh, I hate to even think of it.

tomato party

I took this latest version along to one of the highlights of my whole summer – a Tomato Party! Dreamed up and hosted by Heidi Skoog and her husband Kern Nickerson and Heidi’s cousin Arianna Skoog, every item on the delicious potluck menu was made from tomatoes!


tomato consomme

Heidi and Kern opened the party with a tomato consomme cocktail, a ridiculously delightful concoction of tomatoes, basil, vodka, olive oil, and salt, slurried together then dripped through cheese cloth into a clear, blushing liquid. Pure essence of summer, those sips, they lingered on the tongue like the very best of kisses.


bloody marys

From there we graduated to juicy Bloody Marys, brought by Dena Alspach, thick with homemade tomato juice and zingy spices.

Better than dessert. Even without a hangover. Yep.

As we sipped and chatted, we dug into Heidi and Kern’s tomato/fresh mozzarella salad (dubbed The Mothership, love), a bowl of perfect cherry tomatoes from their crazy-awesome heirloom garden, as well as their version of roasted tomatoes with goat cheese.

Dena brought roasted tomatoes with goat cheese too (great tomatoes, great tomato minds…), and an insane heirloom tomato salad with tomato vinaigrette – yes! We were all soon spooning that dressing over everything, so fantastic and rich.

I so wished I’d taken a stab at a tomato-strawberry ice cream, or some such food fun for a tomato-y dessert, but…next year.

tomato tart gluten-free

We joked about how a huge blast of tomatoes would mean none of us would be getting colds soon. Or prostate cancer.


For now, in case you have a stash of lovely tomatoes on your counter, and you’re somehow tired of BLTs, have at this easy, cheesy tart.

End of summer happiness.

Tomato Tart with Parmesan Crust (Gluten-Free Version)
Very lightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson
Serves 8

According to my friend Joy Summers, the nutty cheese crust is like a savory cookie frosted with Mother Nature’s bounty. Love.

4 medium-sized, in-season, ripe heirloom tomatoes, mixed varieties (3-4 inches in diameter), cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 small, ripe heirloom tomatoes (1-2 inches in diameter), cut into 1/4-inch slices
8-10 ripe cherry tomatoes of varying colors, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. gluten-free, all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour if not gluten-free)
4-oz. chunk Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. ice cold water
best quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. torn basil
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle them with fine-grained sea salt.  Top the tomatoes with another layer of paper towels and press gently.  Let the tomatoes sit until you are ready to use them.

In the bowl of a food processor, grind the Parmesan until very finely grated and fluffy. Remove about 2 Tbsp. of cheese and set aside for later.

Add butter and both flours to the cheese and pulse in short bursts until the dough is sandy-textured with pea-sized pieces of butter.  With a few more pulses, blend in the 2 Tbsp. of ice water.  The dough should start to come together in a ball and when pinched, stick together. Transfer  the dough to a removable-bottom tart pan, then press the dough uniformly into the pan, patting out a 1/4-inch edge as you go.  Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.

Pull the crust out of the refrigerator and poke several times with a fork.  Cover the tart with a square of aluminum foil and cover with pie weights. Slide the crust onto the middle rack in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, pull the shell out of the oven and remove the pie weights, then gently peel back the foil.  Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown color.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the reserved grated Parmesan (this will act as another barrier to the tomato liquid).  Place the pan on a rack and let cool to room temperature before filling.

Just before serving, arrange tomato slices on the crust.  Drizzle with best quality extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with basil.  Grind black pepper over the whole.  Serve immediately.


Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:00pm


How do you like your gazpacho? Smooth or chunky? Spicy or sweet? I’m such a gazpacho lover that I like it any way, honestly, and mix it up every time that I make it, depending on my mood and what I have on hand.

This version is a combination of elements from two friends’ recipes: Artist Maud Bryt, and co-Minnesota Food Blogger Laurie Jesch-Kulseth, who writes the lovely blog Relishing It. I love the tomato juice that Laurie uses, and so enjoy the hearty dash of paprika and fresh herbs that Maud calls for – together they make a particularly delicious gazpacho, as spicy or smooth as you want it to be, rich and tomato-y. If it’s a really hot day, Maud adds more cucumbers. Laurie makes her own garden-fresh tomato juice. It’s fun to experiment with adding watermelon, your favorite herbs, or hot chiles.

The key to a really tasty gazpacho is to taste and adjust and make it your own. Recipe for Gazpacho at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Tour de Farm Chicknic at Riverbend Farm, July 31, 2011

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Aug 2, 2011 at 10:29am

tomato jam

Sweaty, delicious partying is in full swing in Minnesota, whee! Given our short al fresco season, we are maniacal about eating outside, mosquitoes be damned. From food trucks to farmers markets, patios to farm dinners, food just tastes better in the hot sun.

michelle gayer

I’m personally full to bursting with beautifully prepared local food, courtesy of a flurry of lovely, farmy events. I was even at the same farm – Riverbend Farm in Delano – twice in the last week. Yah. Too fab, truly.

Yesterday’s food fun was via the Tour de Farm Chicknic Breakfast at Riverbend, featuring four lady chefs – Molly Herrman, Sheela Namakkal, Michelle Gayer, and Solveig Tofte. Oh my god, all four are the coolest girls on the planet, cranking out ridiculous food all over the Twin Cities while keeping everyone around them laughing.

When Stephanie March, Katie Hoffman, and I arrived, there they were, glistening in the beating sun while pulling together a local feast for the crowd’s breakfast.

Molly’s Kitchen in the Market partner Tracy Morgan was pouring icy cocktails (each chef created a signature mix). Loads of volunteers were running-while-melting. King and queen de Tour de Farm Scott Pampuch and Kris Hase played hosts and runners and photographer and…everything.

stephanie meyer, stephanie march, kris hase, katie hoffmann

Steph, Katie, and I – city girls that we are – set out our blanket in shade-that-was-sun in less than an hour. Ah well. We were happy to sweat it out with the rest of the crew, inhaling heaping plates of chilequiles, poached eggs, braised pork, cheesy polenta, BLT waffle cones, empanadas, salads, pancakes with berries, and a healthy sample of each cocktail.

I was personally quite taken with Molly’s pretty tomato jam (up top), a bright-and-tangy foil for the porky, cheesy heaven that I slathered it on. I asked her for the recipe last night and she graciously obliged.

tomato jam

Recipe for Tomato Jam at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.