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U is for Understated

May 19th, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Most of the television chefs go on and on about how flavorful this is and how grand this tastes and how we need texture and color, and size. And I agree. To a point.

Some of my favorite recipes aren't the most exciting as far as all of the above mentioned. Some are just basic recipes that may be a comfort food, or something that we like.

Take for example mashed potatoes. Basically potatoes parboiled, mashed with something or other, and served either plain, with butter, or gravy. Unless they are dry, they are usually pretty good. My husband loves them made with heavy whipping cream. I like adding garlic when I make them with milk. I've made them with broth, as well as different types of cheese and even sour cream. Nothing glorious and earth shattering, but good, nonetheless.

I'm looking forward to this summer when we have homegrown tomatoes. Certainly not a gourmet dish, but a tomato picked fresh from the garden, washed, and with salt and pepper is delicous.

I like some of the fancier things here and there, but I think it is the common foods, almost the bland foods, that make the others more exciting.

I tried a new recipe that while not fancy cuisine, we both liked and I will make again. I can see where changing the cheese will certainly change the flavor. The recipe is from Ian Garten, a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa. I cut the recipe down and used common tomatoes from the store.

Tomatoes Roasted with Pesto

2 to 2 1/2 lbs large red tomatoes
3 T olive oil
2 t dried oregano
Kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Pesto
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425

Core the tomatoes and then slice them across (not through the stem) in 1/2 inch sliced. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, spread each with the pesto and sprinkle with the Parmesean cheese and bake 7 to 10 minutes until Parmesan is melted and begins to brown.

I like the fact I used store bought tomatoes that normally wouldn't have a whole lot of flavor and with a few simple ingredients, made them taste good, but wasn't incredibly fancy.

I've tried a lot of different tomato dishes and I'm pleased that most of them have been pretty good. Maybe tomatoes are like potatoes -- very versatile, if understated.

4 Responses to “U is for Understated”

  1. retire@50 Says:

    I like simple meals too, like soft boiled eggs with rye toast - yum, or pinto beans and cornbread. One of the reasons I really like Ina Garten is a lot of her recipes are fairly simple. Some of the food network chefs seem to add ingredients just to add ingredients.

  2. rob62521 Says:

    Sorry, Jerry! Didn't mean to make you hungry. I like the yogurt suggestion.

    Retire@50: I have to agree with you on Ina.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Nice entry. I tend to dress up supermarket veggies, like you say, but when we get really farm-fresh stuff from our CSA, a lot of times we prepare them really simply. Especially new potatoes, so tender the skins rub off as you're washing them... mmm...

    Do you eat pasta and mushrooms? I have such a nice simple recipe for that. It calls for more flavorful mushrooms, but I find that the preparation brings out the flavor even in cheap button mushrooms. Let me know and I could post the recipe.

  4. rob62521 Says:

    Yes, we eat pasta and mushrooms. I'd love for you to post the recipe. Thank you.

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