Tag: tomato

Rhonda Franz: Celebrating the Flavors of Arkansas with Petit Jean Meats

Celebrating the Flavors of Arkansas: Variations on BLT

Oh, the beloved BLT: a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich is so good you can almost get by without one of the three core ingredients. Except the Petit Jean Meats bacon. Or the tomato.

I haven’t much need to mess with the original, except that variations are fun and in some cases and for some food preferences, add pizzazz to the standard sandwich. Following are a few BLT variations I’ve played around with in my kitchen.

rhonda frznz blt open face

The Breakfast BLT

Of course you can have a BLT for breakfast (BACON, people), and with tomato to boot. I am leaving out the lettuce on this one, because I’m not sure about lettuce for breakfast. So, it’s more like a breakfast BLT minus the L . No worries, though: I’ve added some vowels.

Rhonda Franz: Open Face BLT
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Ingredients
  1. thick white or whole-grain bread, toasted
  2. 1 to 2 strips Petit Jean bacon
  3. 1 to 2 slices tomato
  4. 2 to 3 slices avocado
  5. 1 egg
  6. salt to taste
  7. cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Lay toasted bread on plate.
  2. Cook bacon, pat with paper towel, and set on toast.
  3. Pat tomato slices with a paper towel to soak juices and sauté in a skillet on medium heat for about a minute. Add to bacon.
  4. Cook egg over easy, runny yolk or solid yolk. Add to bacon.
  5. Lay avocado slices on top. Eat the open-faced toast while ingredients are nice and warm.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

The BLT Salad

I like whole cherry tomatoes for this one. The egg provides perfect companionship to other ingredients, and crispy bacon adds the crunch.

Rhonda Franz: The BLT Salad
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Ingredients
  1. a mixture of dark greens and crispy lettuce
  2. 2 to 3 strips Petit Jean bacon, cooked slightly overdone (to crispy), cooled and chopped or torn into small pieces
  3. a few cherry tomatoes
  4. 1 hard-boiled egg, cut into wedges or crumbled
  5. other good toppings for this salad: croutons, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, grated carrots
  6. dressings to make this salad delightful: ranch, blue cheese or balsamic vinaigrette.
Instructions
  1. Toss lettuce with chopped bacon
  2. Top with cherry tomatoes, egg and other ingredients you’re using.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

 

BLT salad

 

BLT Kabobs

This one’s just for fun. Iceberg lettuce works the best for sticking on skewers, but it works with any kind of lettuce folded over a time or two. The best part of these kabobs  is that they can be eaten cold.

Rhonda Franz: BLT Kabobs
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Ingredients
  1. several pieces of toast
  2. iceberg lettuce cut into small wedges or leaf lettuce torn into big pieces
  3. cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
  4. cooked potatoes, sliced or diced
  5. several strips of Petit Jean bacon, cooked and cooled (for this recipe, it’s best to have the bacon not overdone)
Instructions
  1. In any order, slide the ingredients onto a skewer.
  2. In any order, eat the ingredients.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

Ingredients

BLT kabobs

 

rhondafranz

 Rhonda Franz is an educator, freelance writer, and mom. She is a born city girl who is raising three boys in the woods of northwest Arkansas with her husband, a corporate pilot. She works as the Girl Friday for the Women Bloggers, and writes for websites, parenting magazines, and on her blog, Captain Mom.

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rhonda.b.franz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rhondafranz

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Keisha Pittman: Easy Summer Caprese Salad {Foodie Friday}

Getting to Know Keisha

Easy Summer Caprese Salad with watermark

Surely you are like me and the scent of ingredients from a certain food take you back to the place you first tasted them.  This recipe for me brings back a very special moment.  The tang of the balsamic coupled with the crisp pop of summer tomatoes and mozzarella and the fresh scent of basil remind me of a sacred night where I re-learned the gift of friendship.

My friend Emily and her husband Jon offered to come help me pack up my home before my big move to NWA.  Emily and I have a special friendship (as we say, in spite of ourselves).  She has taught me the meaning of easy talks on the couch late at night, lazy Saturday morning quiet coffee moments and the depth of love created over a homemade meal. 

When your dearest friend is moving away from you, it’s easy to just come over with a box of pizza, an extra sharpie and a fake smile.  You throw a few things in boxes, laugh at the hoarding tendencies we all discover when packing up a home and throw out the dreams and plans of your first visit to their new town.  We definitely covered the hoarding topic when it came to the napkins in my “party closet”, but Emily showed up with way more than a pre-made dinner.  Emily loves best and from the deepest parts of her heart when she makes you a homemade meal and that night, she did not disappoint….a veggie frittata with asparagus and goat cheese and this delightfully refreshing caprese salad. 

Its my go to when I’m missing my sweet friend or wanting to impress my co-workers at the summer salad swap.  With 4 ingredients that you simply stir together, it makes a perfect side dish to grilled burgers, veggie frittatas, and even homemade pizza. 

When I smell basil, tomatoes and balsamic, I will always remember a grande picnic on the living room floor of a farm home that was no longer mine.  But the deep rooted demonstration of true friendship that when we don’t know what to say, we always know how to give!

(and yes, this is my adaptation because Emily always uses the finest ingredients, like European balsamic…I’m the friend that goes for convenience and ease!)

Keisha

 

Keisha Pittman 
BigPittStop

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Etsy: K Cutie Designs 

 

 

Easy Summer Caprese Salad
Serves 3
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Prep Time
7 min
Prep Time
7 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of Cherubs (cherry tomatoes)
  2. 1 package fresh mozzarella pearls
  3. 5 fresh basil leaves
  4. ½ cup light balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Instructions
  1. Rinse tomatoes and cut in half crosswise and place in mixing bowl.
  2. Separate mozzarella pearls into individual pieces.
  3. Drop in mixing bowl on top of tomatoes.
  4. Break basil leaves off stems and stack on top of each other.Roll leaves together and cut cross wise into tiny strips (chiffonade).
  5. Sprinkle over cheese and tomatoes.
  6. Pour dressing over first 3 ingredients and stir together.
  7. Chill for 30 minutes. Serve.
Notes
  1. Because of fresh herbs, recipe really only keeps for one day.
  2. If ingredients are already chilled when prepping, you can serve immediately.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

 

Kristie Jones: Arkansas Peach and Tomato Salsa via Bernice Garden

By Kristie Jones of Love On Main Street

bernice garden 2

Popping the most delicious grape tomatoes in my mouth made a warm, sunny Sunday in July even sunnier at The Bernice Garden Farmer’s Market.  Situated on the corner of 14th and Main streets in downtown Little Rock, it’s a welcomed oasis for those in search of locally produced fruits, vegetables, wildflowers, honey, coffee, and more.  My dear friend, Kelly Brant, accompanied me on a journey to discover the wonder of the market.  The vibrant colors, aromatic herbs and juicy flavors far surpass anything found in the produce section at your local commercial grocery.  Meeting the farmers would serve to add another dimension to an already personal experience of hand picking locally grown food.

Robert of Willow Springs Market Garden provided a sampling of peppers and humor in his handwritten signs describing defiant tomatoes and cosmetically challenged garlic.  He provided a lemon drop pepper for the recipe that began to unfold with a visit to each booth.  This little pepper is known for its citrus flavor and packs a bit of heat that ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville Scale.

bernice garden 3

Kelly Carney of the certified organic North Pulaski Farms enticed us with heirloom grape tomatoes of a somewhat addictive quality and unmatched sweetness.  Carney has been a fixture at this market since the first Sunday it began back in 2012.  In addition to the tomatoes, there were overflowing pints of blackberries capable of inducing dreams of grandma’s homemade cobblers.  With charming humor, Carney described his exclusive use of organic tools as more expensive and less effective.

tomatoes from Bernice Garden

Flat leaf parsley was the gem found by meeting Kevin Haggerty and Lauren Tyner of the North Little Rock Community Farm.  All of their lovely vegetables and herbs were harvested from the student farm of Lakewood Middle School’s freshman campus.  From seed to market, I thought of the work and pride that they poured into their colorful array from the garden.  With corn on the cob from Barnhill Orchards and peaches from Val of the Russian Farmer, items from practically every vendor combined to make a sweet yet savory salsa idea.  Small purple onions from Sara Fulton-Koerbling and Ryan Boswell of The Victory Garden and a touch of Sun Harvest Honey from Pat Cullivan’s apiary in North Little Rock were the final ingredients needed.

blackberries bernice garden

The Bee in my Bonnet booth was by far the most charmed as it was adorned with hand-tied bouquets of wildflowers.  Katie, the farmer, allowed me to take her photo holding a bouquet and although we chose the lemon drop pepper over a jalapeño, her peppers were the prettiest.  One of the fresh bunches of flowers had to come along for the journey and made a lovely display on Kelly’s dining room table.

bernice garden 4

From seed to plant, harvest to  table, this adventure to create a recipe from The Bernice Garden Farmer’s Market was a rewarding experience with a great payoff.  Here’s the recipe for a perfect summer salsa to keep you cool and refreshed.

 

bernice garden arkansas

Arkansas Peach and Tomato Salsa {Bernice Garden}
Yields 3
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ear of fresh corn, in husk
  2. 2 small ripe peaches
  3. ½ pint grape tomatoes
  4. 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons minced purple onion (see tip)
  5. ½ to 1 small lemon drop pepper, seeds and membranes removed, minced
  6. 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, minced PLUS 1 sprig for garnish
  7. ¼ teaspoon red wine vinegar or to taste
  8. 1 light pinch coarse salt or to taste
  9. 1 teaspoon honey or to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roast corn for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, dice the peaches and quarter the tomatoes.
  3. Shuck corn and using a sharp knife, carefully cut kernels from cob. Discard cob (or freeze for another use such as making corn chowder).
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the diced peaches, tomatoes, corn, onion, lemon drop pepper and parsley and mix well.
  5. Add the vinegar, salt and honey and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust salt, vinegar and honey, if needed.
  6. Garnish with a sprig of the flat leaf parsley. Serve with tortilla chips or atop chicken breast or fish. Makes about 3 cups
Notes
  1. Tip: To tame the bite of raw onion, soak it in cold water for 5 minutes; drain well and proceed with recipe.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

arkansas peach and tomato salsa

headshot kristie love on main street

I love carbs and men who lie.
I’m nostalgic at heart and a lover of all things vintage.
Writing and photography have been passions since childhood, and I’m constantly amazed at the beauty found in what others may see as ordinary.
I think there’s a bit of love in everything if you’re willing to see and feel it. My journey is to find love in the places, people, food, communities and stuff of life.
Adventure awaits!

 

 Blog:  loveonmainstreet.wordpress.com

Instagram: loveonmainst

Amy Bradley Hole: Tuscan Garlic Sauce {Foodie Friday}

By Amy Bradley-Hole of Freaky Perfect

I have been blessed to spend a lot of time in Italy’s Tuscany region.  I’m also lucky in that many of my friends over there are either professional chefs or amazing home cooks.  From them, I learned much about Tuscan cuisine, the importance of using local ingredients, how the most simple dishes are often the best, and Italian regional cooking in general.

One of these simple-yet flavorful recipes that is a staple in my home is Tuscan garlic sauce.  It uses only five ingredients, yet when those ingredients are high quality, the taste is magical.  The recipe calls for canned tomatoes, but I use San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy.  It calls for lots of olive oil, but I use the finest Tuscan olive oil, not an Italian/Greek/Tunisian/Egyptian blend, like what you find in most “Italian” olive oil sold in the grocery stores.  Use the best ingredients you can find when making this sauce.

And like the best Italian dishes, this sauce is quite easy to make.  Don’t overthink it.  Just combine the ingredients, let it simmer, and it will turn our great!  Make large batches and you can easily can or freeze it for later use.

Speaking of use – you can do so much with this versatile sauce.  Serve it simply with pasta.  Spoon it over crostini for a take on bruschetta.  Use it as a base for your favorite pizza.  Even use it as a starter for a flavorful vegetable soup.  My kids love it when I simmer meatballs in in.  Use it as you would any other tomato-based sauce.  There are many possibilities.

To make Tuscan Garlic Sauce, you will need:

  • one head of garlic (yes, the whole thing)
  • 6 ounces of olive oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt

Peel the garlic, then chop or mince it.  I actually put mine in the food processor.  It’s much easier than chopping it all, and I prefer the smoother blend.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Once it’s heated, turn the temperature down to low and add the garlic and pepper flakes.  Stir well and simmer until the garlic begins to turn brown.

garlic 1

Add the tomato paste.  Again, stir it in well and simmer until the paste breaks up.

photo 2 tomato

Add the can of crushed tomatoes.  Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the salt and stir.  Let it continue to simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s at least heated through.  The longer it simmers, the better it tastes, in my  opinion.  The finished product will look like this:

sauce

Again, I encourage you to experiment with uses for this sauce.  If you’re like me, you’ll probably soon become addicted it it, and you’ll want to find a way to serve it a few times a week.

 amy bradley-hole

 

Amy Bradley-Hole is a freelance writer and speaker who covers tech, travel, business and parenting.  She’s a true Southern girl, but she’s lived and traveled all over the world.  She blogs at Freaky Perfect about the freakiness of her not-so-perfect life.  When she’s not goofing around on the internet, she dreams up new ways to drive her husband and two young boys crazy.  Follow her on Twitter at @amybhole.