Posts Tagged 'tomato'

Tomato and Coriander Soup

Is it possible to have too many tomatoes? Some people say it is. I am still eating cherry tomatoes right off the bushes, but I had some bigger  farmers’ market tomatoes to use. This soup, from my favorite low fat Indian cookbook by Husain and Kanani, has a little heat to it because of the black pepper. If you want it milder, use less.  Also, when I make it again, I think I will cut the oil down to 1 teaspoon. It would bring the fat grams down to about 1/serving, and I actually found it a bit oily. And, it says to puree it in a food processor, which did not make a completely smooth soup. I rather like the slight texture, but I think if you pureed it in 2 batches in a blender it would be smoother.  This was almost too much liquid for the food processor, and began seeping out and made a mess.

Tomato and Coriander Soup

1 ½ lbs tomatoes, peeled and chopped (see Note)
1Tablespoon oil
1 bay leaf
4 spring onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro)
3 cups water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Non-fat sour cream or yogurt to garnish

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and fry the tomatoes, bay leaf, and spring onion for a few minutes until soft. Gradually add the salt, garlic, pepper, coriander, and water. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in a little cold water to form a creamy paste. Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool a bit. Puree in a food processor.

Return the soup to the pan and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium low heat for about 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Makes 4 servings  at about 3.5 grams of fat/serving

NOTE: To peel tomatoes, plunge them in very hot water for a few minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly. The skin will peel off easily.


Ginger Pumpkin Tomato Soup

It is still cold, and to add insult to injury, it is snowing.  After I made six pounds of buffalo pot roast this morning to fill my freezer (and heat my kitchen), I decided to make more soup – the overall cure for cold and snowy weather. I had canned pumpkin left over from an earlier project, so that became the basis of my recipe search. This soup was a reader contribution to American Profile (another of those magazines that gets tucked into print newspapers).   Although the ingredients seemed a bit odd together, I did have them all in the house, and it was quick to make. I minced my onion and celery in the food processor, which gave them a nice texture in the soup. Also, since I had already used the processor, I just reused it to puree the stewed tomatoes.

The soup is quite thick and has some texture. It was really good with a dollop or two of non-fat sour cream in it (Everything is good with a dollop of sour cream!). I ate it for dinner tonight, packed one container to take for lunch this week, and the rest are carefully packed and labeled in the freezer for other cold days which, no doubt, are yet to come.

Ginger Pumpkin Tomato Soup

2 Tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups minced yellow onion

1 cup minced celery

3/4 teaspoon dried ginger

1 14 ounce can of chicken or vegetable broth

1 (14-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

2 cups (or a 15 ounce can if you’re not using up leftovers) pumpkin purée

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Non-fat sour cream

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy skillet over medium heat (I used my ever-present big wok). Add the onions and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened (and your kitchen smells warms and delicious.) Sprinkle the dried ginger on top, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the broth, and bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, purée the canned tomatoes (with the juice) in a blender or food processor. Stir the tomatoes and the pumpkin into the broth mixture, and simmer covered for about 20 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more broth or a little water. Season with pepper, and garnish with sour cream. Makes 6 servings at about 3.5 grams of fat/serving.

Fresh Tomato Minestrone Soup

The tomatoes are still coming on strong, but the nip in the air once the sun goes down tells me that it’s soup making weather. I still have a lot of produce coming out of the garden, although the plants themselves are starting to look rather tired.

Minestrone means “big soup”. It is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine, and no doubt thrifty Italian housewives did as I did – used whatever vegetables were in season. Minestrone ranges from thick and dense to a more broth-like soup with large quantities of diced and lightly cooked vegetables. It typically has beans in it, and sometimes includes meat or pasta.
This soup used up all the little roma tomatoes, although I expect when I go out tomorrow morning there will be more of them.

This is not a heavy soup. It is more on the broth with vegetables side. You could easily add some pieces of chicken to the soup, or some pasta or sprinkle on a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese, as long as you accounted for the fat grams. I have been sprinkling 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan over the soup when I eat it – for an additional 4 grams of fat/serving.

Fresh Tomato Minestrone

1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 or 5 sprigs of mixed fresh herbs. You could use rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram – what ever you like best
4 parsley sprigs
2-3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thoroughly cleaned and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or half of each for color), diced
1 carrot, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 pound diced roma tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Tie herbs and parsley in a bundle with kitchen string if desired (this makes it easier to fish out later). Add the herbs, leeks, garlic, zucchini or yellow squash, carrot, salt and pepper to the pot and sauté until the vegetables are golden, 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add broth, beans, tomatoes, green beans and 4 cups water to the pot. Simmer partly covered 45-60 minutes. Discard herbs. Thin with a little water if the soup is too thick.  Makes 6 servings at 3 grams of fat/serving.

Goat Cheese and Tomato Quiche with Potato Crust

Years ago, the late John Denver had a song about home grown tomatoes that went something like “only two things that money can’t buy – that’s true love and home grown tomatoes.”  Well, I have home grown tomatoes:

I’ve got nice big round ones, little long romas, yellow, red, and orange bite size ones.  This is the first year I’ve actually been able to grow tomatoes – or any vegetable as a matter of fact. The deer always ate the bushes. This year, though, I deer-fenced the back yard. And although the deer gaze longingly at the raised beds, they can’t jump an 8 foot fence. When the tomatoes first started getting ripe, I ate them right off the bush as fast as I picked them.  They never made it to the house. But then they really went crazy.  I’ve got tomatoes everywhere. I sliced them up for dinner every day. I took them for lunch mixed with the only two banana peppers from my garden that actually got ripe and a bit of crumbled goat cheese.

But now I need to get serious and start cooking with them.  I decided to use this as a reason to make a quiche with a potato crust. Last summer I visited a friend and they served 2 quiches that had potato crusts. This eliminates the high fat part of the quiche – the crust – and it was delicious. They recommended using the dried hash browns from Costco that come in a big box. You just follow the instructions to reconstitute them, and once they are reconstituted, use them like regular potatoes.

But here is a major WARNING. The first time I made the crust, the notes I had from my friend said 3½ cups of grated potato. So I scooped out 3½ cups of the dried potatoes and reconstituted them. Only they made a lot more potatoes than I expected, and my first crust was way too thick. So what the recipe really means is 3½ cups of grated potatoes – after reconstituting, which really is about 2 cups dry.

Goat Cheese and Tomato Quiche with Potato Crust

3½ cups grated, cooked potato or frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed & squeezed dry or reconstituted dry shredded potatoes
Cooking spray
about 2 cups of cherry, grape, or small pear tomatoes, halved
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 ounces of goat cheese, softened
2 cups egg substitute
½ cup fat free milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a 9 inch deep dish pie plate with cooking spray. Press the potatoes into the prepared pie plate, spreading evenly over the bottom & up the sides. (This crust is still a little too thick.)

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Reduce heat to 350. Spread halved tomatoes over baked crust.

Sprinkle with thyme. Beat together goat cheese, egg substitute and milk until thoroughly blended. Pour over tomatoes. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until filling is set. Makes 6 servings at about 3.5 grams of fat/serving.

Now sing a few bars: home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes….

Use-Up-the-Tomatoes Salad with Perlini

Yes, it’s potluck time again.  H-N is supposed to bring salads.  I know I have to make something with tomatoes, because I have 6 tomatoes sitting on my counter that will certainly expire before I eat them.  I usually take a chopped salad for lunch – tomato, cucumber, other veggies, some kind of cheese – but I think I had a lot of leftovers to take this week so the tomatoes didn’t get eaten.  Also, I plan to do yard work all morning, so whatever I make has to be something quick and easy.

I decided to make a large version of a chopped salad, dressed up with bread croutons.  I even used a good low fat bottled dressing, which I often use on my lunch salads, rather than home-made.  I had quite a few other vegetables in the house, but I went to the grocery to buy a cucumber and see if there was something interesting I could add.
The vegetables.

And there I found…perlini!

They are not fish eggs or giant tapioca.  They are tiny balls of fresh mozzarella, just waiting to be mixed into a salad.  Let me tell you, they were a sensation in the salad. Great Wow factor. Everyone exclaimed over them.  The salad was pretty much gone by the time I gathered up my bowl to take it home.  This is an imprecise recipe in terms of the veggies.  You can use what you have in the house or what looks good in the store or at the farmers’ market.

Use-Up-the-Tomatoes Salad with Perlini

6 medium tomatoes, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 large cucumber, peeled and mostly seeded, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 sweet pepper (I used yellow), cut in one inch pieces
¼ of a small onion, sliced very thin
about ½ cup broccoli, chopped fine
about 4 ounces of sugar snap peas, sliced in ½ inch pieces
8 ounces of perlini, drained
½ cup light balsamic salad dressing (I use Newman’s Own)
8 slices of oven baked garlic toast, either home-made or from a bag.

Toss together the vegetables, perlini, and salad dressing. Break each of the toasts into 5-6 pieces.  Add to the salad just before serving.  This makes 10 servings, at about 5.8 grams of fat/serving.

I packed the crumbled toast separately in a bag so I could add it after I hauled the salad to the potluck.  That way the bread didn’t get soggy right away.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I must confess that some of my culinary expeditions are based on the fact that I have aging groceries, especially produce, that has to be used.  The luscious chicken and grapes was invented to use up a sack of rapidly aging grapes, and I have posted bananas recipes until I couldn’t stand to look at bananas due to an over purchase.  My usual problem is that I see an item I like on sale, and buy too much, expecting that I will have time or appetite to use them before they get iffy.  This was the case with a container of organic cherry tomatoes that I thought I would nibble on as a snack…but instead found them wrinkling on the back of the kitchen counter.  You know of course, that you’re not supposed to refrigerate tomatoes or they lose their full flavor, but this does make them prone to the need to be used in a reasonable amount of time.

This recipe was part of a larger recipe that had something to do with chicken, but I was only interested in the tomatoes.  After tossing out the few tomatoes that had gone beyond iffy, I proceeded with this very easy recipe.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

2 cups grape tomatoes, washed and patted dry
2 teaspoons good quality olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
1/8 teaspoon salt (I used a grind of sea salt)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Combine tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of oil in an 8 inch square baking dish and toss gently. Bake at 425 for 18 minutes or until tomatoes are tender. Combine tomato mixture, parsley, and remaining ingredients and stir gently. Makes 4 servings at 2.5 grams of fat/serving. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.


Variation: add 1 ounce of reduced fat blue cheese and 1 gram of fat/serving.

l ate the roasted tomatoes hot as a side with a small buffalo steak, cold alongside tuna salad for lunch, and one day I added blue cheese to the cold tomato mix.  I think this would also be very good over grilled fish, and I plan to make it again when the snow goes away and grilling season begins. Yes, you guessed it, 5-9 inches of snow expected tomorrow.  Does snow blowing firm the abs?

Garlicky Asparagus and Tomatoes

For some odd reason, the grocery had asparagus on sale this week – in the fall instead of the spring. And it was glorious asparagus – thin and crisp.  Who could resist.  So I made some very garlicky asparagus in my stir fry pan.  It’s a simple preparation.  The combination of the tart tomatoes and the earthy green taste of the asparagus just explodes in your mouth.

Garlicky Asparagus and Tomatoes

3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup of grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
zest and juice of one medium lemon
sea salt (optional)

Zest and juice the lemon and set aside. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan that is good for sautéing.  Add the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until it is fragrant.  Be careful not to burn it.  Burnt garlic tastes terrible.  Add the asparagus and tomatoes and sauté for about 5 minutes.  You want it crisp – but a lot of the timing depends on how thick your asparagus is.  Toss occasionally as you are sautéing. Once it is cooked to your liking, add the zest and lemon juice, and a few grinds of seas salt if you’d like, and toss with the asparagus. Serve warm.  4 servings at about 1 gram of fat/serving

Hint: Selecting and trimming asparagus. Choose thin stalks of asparagus rather than thick ones.  Thick asparagus is woody, and you loose a lot when you trim it.  Also, try to choose a bunch of asparagus that has stalks that are about even in width, so they cook at the same time.  To trim asparagus, grasp a single stalk firmly in both hands and snap it in two pieces.  It will separate into a woody bottom and a nice, tender upper part.  If you have bought slender asparagus, you won’t lose too much of the stalk, nor will you have to peel it.

Cherry Tomato Salad

Thrifty woman that I am, I take lunch to work pretty much every day. I confess to occasionally eating a frozen boxed low-fat entrée, but most of the time I like to have something a bit more interesting to eat. Whenever I bring this fresh tomato salad, people comment on how good it smells – and it tastes good too as a side dish with a sandwich or a container of reheated gourmet leftovers, It’s fast and easy to make, too.

Cherry Tomato Salad (one serving)

1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 green pepper, finely diced (other colored peppers would also work – I just like the contrast)
2 Tablespoons onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (other light vinegar, like rice vinegar, would also work. I am currently somewhat obsessed with white balsamic vinegar, which I only recently discovered)

Mix everything together. By the time you open the container for lunch, the flavors will have blended nicely. If you multiply the recipe to serve at a meal, make it a couple of hours in advance so the flavors blend. This essentially has no fat grams/serving.

Variation: You could make this with regular tomatoes, cut into 10-12 pieces. It will be a little more watery, but still good.

Hint: It’s a nuisance to have to chop small amounts of onion, especially when you’re trying to get lunch ready (I’m not terribly efficient in the morning). Chop half an onion and keep it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator so you can scoop out what you need. It will keep for several days.


I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

More about me.

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