The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It

Blue Cheese Tomatoes on the Grill

Inspired by our recent meal at McGuire’s Irish Pub, the hubs and I decided to try to recreate their tomatoes.
Not having a clue or a recipe, we improvised. We sliced four tomatoes in half around the middle and scooped out the insides.
Then, we drizzled olive oil across the tops and stuffed each one with blue cheese.

Actually, it was gorgonzola, but who would ever notice, right?

We grilled them for just a few minutes over my sister’s charcoal grill. They could have used a few more minutes, but we took them off when the cheese melted and the tomatoes were just starting to turn on the bottom.
They were good, but the crowd consensus was that they were for blue cheese lovers only.


For More Than Just Popcorn: Basil Chicken Pasta


To me, there is just something unnatural about using the microwave to cook. My microwave is on the counter by the refrigerator, but we only use it for defrosting, Easy Mac, and popcorn.


So, when a friend shared this recipe for chicken and pasta in the microwave, I thought she was kidding. This friend is trustworthy and a great cook, but microwave pasta? Blech.

Then she shared a sample. Yum.

The recipe:

4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
3 c uncooked penne pasta
3 c chicken broth
2 c grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 t salt
1 oz. parmesan
1 c fresh basil, cut into ribbons or 1 t of dry basil-I used dry.
3/4 c white wine
1/2 c heavy cream
2 c diced grilled chicken-I bought a bag of frozen grilled chicken, and it worked out fine.
Put the olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes in a large glass casserole dish with a lid. I used my largest Corning Ware bowl. Cover and cook in the microwave on high for five minutes. The tomatoes should pop.
Add the chicken broth and pasta to the tomatoes, as well as the wine. Stir. Cook and cover again in the microwave for 10 minutes. Stir it again and microwave again for another 8 minutes.

Stir in the basil, chicken, and the cheese. Cover and heat in the microwave for another 3 minutes. Top with extra cheese if you wish.

I like this a lot. It’s got vegetables, pasta, protein, wine, and cheese-all the things needed for a happy life and shiny coat.

This recipe is easy enough for a novice to do well and anywhere there is a microwave. Thinking that, I gave my niece all these ingredients for her to make this meal in her dorm room at college. I thought I was doing a good deed. Later she texted me and reminded me that if someone found the wine in her dorm, she would kicked out of school and her future would be ruined.

My bad!

How to Be Cool with Tomatoes

Book Club this month was the book How to Be Cool by Johanna Edwards.  The book was bleh and predicatable, but the food was-as usual-very, very good.

Do I attend book club just for the food?


This month, we had a plethora of fresh garden tomato recipes, and they were a hit.

We had fresh salsa, mozzerella and tomato dip, tomato bread, tomato sandwiches, and of course, chicken salad.

I made steak and chicken quesidillas with guacamole with tomatoes and also spinach, tomato, and bacon dip.  My dishes were fine, but I had some other favorites.

One of my favorites was Amy’s broiled tomatoes.  I copied her dish by slicing two fresh tomatoes into quarter-inch slices.  In a glass casserole dish, I placed the tomatoes in a single layer and coated them with olive oil.  On top of that, I generously sprinkled salt, paper, basil, and Romano cheese.  I baked that in the oven at 350 for twenty minutes, and then I broiled them for two minutes.

They were delicious and so, so easy.  A few more minutes in the oven would not have hurt them, but I was happy the way they were.

A good use of the many, many tomatoes that are in the garden now.  Our tomatoey book club was fun, even if the book was not.

Super Bowl Recipe #2-Pico de Gallo

My new favorite condiment is pico. I used to hate it, but I guess that with age, my taste buds have changed. That and the fact that we eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant at least once a week, and I have found a wonderful steak dish that they serve with fresh pico.

I think that this would make a fine dish for a Super Bowl party because it is easy and somewhat healthy.

Healthy isn’t something that I worry about during the Super Bowl, or most any other time, but pico is also delicious so it all evens out.

The recipe:
Two ripe tomatoes, diced
One medium onion, diced. I like my tomatoes and onions chunky.
One clove of garlic, finely diced
One bunch of cilantro-I used 66 ounces to be exact. I striped the leaves and chopped them, but I left several leaves whole.
1 t salt
2 t lime juice
1 t red pepper flakes

Combine all the ingredients and chill. As it chills, stir several times to help incorporate the flavors.

Sometimes when mine looks a little thick, I add a little water. I like a sloshy pico.

Serve along side the other chips and dips you have.

Fresh and delicious.

At Least the Fire Department Didn’t Show Up: Broiled Tomatoes

Don’t you just love it when something you’ve made a million times turns out wrong?

I can make this recipe with my eyes closed.  I have done it a million times.  You take canned tomatoes, drain them, cover them with salt, pepper, butter, and shaved or grated Parmesan cheese.  Then, you broil it for about ten minutes.

Or, you burn them halfway to Kingdon Come like I did.  People were on their way to my house to eat, of course. At least the place wasn’t full of smoke, and it didn’t smell too bad.  I think. What to do? 

Hide the evidence with extra cheese, of course.  Worked like a charm. 

If only I could fix bad hair days this easily.

The Last of the 2011 Tomatoes
November 21, 2011, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: ,

Saturday Lunch for One
November 5, 2011, 6:24 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , ,

Lunch today was just for me since no one else was hungry.

I concocted a ham sandwich on a buttered, toasted roll with a tomato from a friend’s garden and sauerkraut to boot.

I ate my weird yet yummy sandwich while watching Bobby Flay make a fancy-schmanzy brunch of TV.

I think my sandwich looks better.

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