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Do you eat kale?

This is an ingredient that I discovered way too late in life.

I know now that kale makes my life.

Happier.

Greener.

Healthier.

Delicious-er.

If you like cooked spinach, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that you’ll like kale.

It is a little heartier, and I think it actually has a little more flavor.

This recipe is delicious, hearty, and perfect for a simple lunch, a healthy snack, or a great side dish for dinner.

Here is what you’ll need:

A bunch of Kale- this kind is called Lacinato Kale, but any type of kale will do

6 mini portobellos or 3 large portobellos

A handful of cherry or grape tomatoes

4 garlic cloves

1 box of couscous

Vegetable or chicken stock

Put a little of the extra virgin goodness in the pan.

It is essential that you put the oil in the pan in a very fancy pattern like a spiral.

The dish just won’t taste right if you don’t create a super special olive oil design in your pan.

It is a proven fact.

Now, chop 4 cloves of garlic to add into that pan (should be over medium-low heat).

If you don’t want to chop, you can use your handy-dandy garlic press.

This one is from Pampered Chef, and it really is quite delightful.

It saves my hands from smelling like a hoagie.

Get your bellos ready.

Use a damp cloth to wipe them off.

Pull off the stem.

Then, give ’em a rough chop.

Portobellos like it rough.

Or so I hear.

Kale.

We must remove the woody stalk.

Grab the stalk.

And pull the leaves off.

Easy Peasy.

If you don’t get the whole stalk, don’t sweat it.

Take off all of the stalks and make a big old pile of kale.

Give it a rough chop.

Did you know kale is anti-inflammatory?

Kale contains sulforaphane which (especially when chopped) is a chemical believed to have anti-cancer properties.

Or at least thats what Wikipedia tells me.

Add the chopped kale to the pan o’ mushrooms and garlic.

Add in a little stock.

Probably about a half cup.

Mix it around.

Fairly quickly, the kale will start to wilt down.

Add in a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes.

Isn’t that so pretty?

How about a sprinkle of salt and pepper?

Yes, please!

Now, we shall prepare our couscous.

These are the directions from the box.

Put 1 1/4 cups of water in a small pot.

Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

And dump in the included spice packet.

I used the Wild Mushroom and Herb variety, but you can use whatever suits your fancy.

Once that mixture comes to a boil, add in your couscous.

Stir it up, put a lid on the pot, and turn off the burner.

After 5 minutes, take the lid off and fluff it up with a fork.

That is what the directions say to do.

And quite frankly, I’m not so sure that I know what that means.

I almost always start by “fluffing” with a fork.

That quickly turns to stirring with a spoon.

Toss the couscous into the vegetables.

And combine it.

I also decided about halfway through the recipe that some pine nuts would be delicious all toasted up.

So, I did that.

Put a big ole’ heaping pile on your plate.

I put some pine nuts on top.

I was feeling kinda crazy, so I threw on a few raisins and some goat cheese.

What?

Yes, raisins and goat cheese.

I like the contrast of the hearty, savory, salty couscous with the sweetness of the raisins and the sharpness of the goat cheese.

Try it.

It tastes like fall.

And for goodness sake, if you’ve never had kale… what the heck are you waiting for?

Happy Monday my dearly beloved friends.

XO,

Leah

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Note: Click on the recipes tab above this post for the full catalog of Seven Hills Recipes.

Summer tomatoes.

I’ve talked about them before, and I may just mention them again.

I love them.

Juicy. Red. Perfect.

Winter grocery store tomatoes are G-R-O-S-S, gross.

Riddle me this.

Why is it that in the middle of summer when tomatoes are at their peak, does the grocery store still only offer weird winter tomatoes?

Something is wrong with that picture.

I digress.

Summer tomatoes make me happier than a fruit should.

The only challenge in the summer is what to do with all of those tomatoes so that I don’t get burned out.

This little side dish is perfect for the slightly cooler weather that we have been having lately.

And it is so super simple.

And  I love a super simple recipe.

Slice up some tomatoes and lay them on a sheet pan (with sides so that the tomato juice doesn’t drip all over your oven causing your kitchen to stink to high heaven).

I used parchment paper because it makes life so. much. easier.

Parchment paper keeps whatever is resting on it from sticking to the pan and from over-browning on the bottom.

One warning- on the box, there is always a heat limit (usually 400 degrees)… so just take note.

You don’t want to flambe your tomatoes.

Or anything else for that matter.

I took the photos with a flash without natural light- so the tomatoes look a little more florescent than normal.

Give those ‘maters a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Want to know why I like the extra virgin?

No, not because of the name.

Well, a little because of the name.

But mostly because extra virgin means the olive oil is the least processed form of oil making it the most heart healthy.

So, you can feel good about this dish.

Give them a sprinkle of course Kosher salt.

Just a light sprinkle.

And a little fresh pepper.

Please note that none of my pictures show me actually grinding the pepper.

I take all of the pics on this blog.

And for the life of me I can’t figure out how to grind pepper and take a picture.

I need three hands.

Next come breadcrumbs.

You can use fresh.

But that is a lot of work, so I don’t recommend it.

Or you can buy breadcrumbs from the grocery store.

They are in the baking aisle, and generally stores have both the Plain and Italian Seasoned variety.

Either would work here.

I’m using Panko for my breadcrumbs.

Have you ever had Panko?

It is usually found in the Asian foods section of the grocery store near the soy sauce.

And they are the crunchiest, best textured crumb you’ll ever have.

Plus the graphic design on the box is top notch.

I like em.

Sprinkle some of those on your tomatoes.

And now some parmigiano reggiano.

I’m getting on my soap box.

Watch out.

Parmigiano Reggiano is worth the investment. A hunk of it, like the one pictured below, is about $6-$8.

Although you can find much more expensive versions.

It is worth it.

It lasts forever when wrapped in plastic and placed in the fridge.

With parm-regg, there is so much more nutty, salty, delicious flavor than what you can get from the strange parmesan concoction that is often found in a green can.

Please use this.

You’ll know it is the real deal because on the rind of the cheese it will actually say Parmigiano Reggiano.

Stepping off my soap box.

I feel it is necessary to be generous with the cheese.

Because it is cheese.

Stick those bad boys under your broiler (set on high) for 5 minutes.

If you want them slightly more browned, keep an eye on them and add another minute or two.

They come out looking like this.

I served them up with a breakfast-for-dinner throw-it-together-with-what-ya-got meal.

A simple berry salad alongside of homemade hashbrowns topped with turkey, cheese, and a fried egg.

But these ‘maters would pair well with just about anything… chicken, beef, fish, pork.

The possibilities are endless.

Happy cooking.

And Happy Friday!

XO,
Leah

Also known as Tomato Pie.

Guilty. Summer. Pleasure.

Brad’s aunt is one heck of a cook, and she introduced me to this delectable delight 11 years ago at the family lake house over the Fourth of July.

Aunt Chris has made the ter-mater pie every year since then, and I’m not gonna lie… it is one of my favorite parts of the holiday.

That, and seeing the family. I suppose.

I kid, I kid.

I love the family.

And I love swimming in the lake.

Oh wait, my irrational fear of lake fish prohibits a love of swimming in the lake.

I wish I were kidding on that one.

We all have our neuroses, don’t we?

Don’t we?

So, tomato pie.

It is savory, and is best made right about this time of year when tomatoes are juicy and delicious and bountiful, and when your herb plants are in full bloom with their bright goodness.

It kinda tastes like a picnic in the country.

I like tomato pie for lunch, dinner, or a snack. It is so summery good.

As a bonus, it is super duper easy to throw together.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and pull out these ingredients:

One frozen pie crust, 6 medium-large sized tomatoes, 4 green onions, a bunch of basil, whatever other herbs you have and want to include (I ended up having dill in the fridge, so I added that too), 1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, 1/3 c. real mayo, 2 T. lemon juice

Let’s start by saying God Bless Marie:

For those of us that do not excel at baking, Marie makes life easier and decidedly more delicious.

Take one of those pie crusts prepared by Marie out of the package, and give the bottom of it a few good pokes with a fork.

This does something, I’m sure.

Now, toss that into the oven for 8-9 minutes.

Next, we need to peel the tomatoes, and there is an easy peasy way to do that.

Boil some water, and plop your tomatoes in.

Well, maybe just place your tomatoes in. We don’t want to scald our limbs with flying water.

Leave them be for about 45 seconds.

Once the skin splits, take out the tomatoes. This is what split tomato skin looks like.

Can you see the split?

Put the tomatoes into an ice bath.

The bath cools them down and stops them from cooking further:

After a minute or so of soaking in the ice, the tomato skin will come right off:

So, that the pie isn’t super soggy, I recommend de-seeding the tomatoes.

De-seeding.

Unseeding.

Seed Removaling.

You get the idea.

Slice off the end, hold the tomato over the sink, and squeeze out the seeds.

If you have some pent up aggression, this is a rather cathartic step in the cooking process.

It is practically therapy.

For free.

You are welcome.

Now, chop your tomatoes.

And then throw them in your pie crust.

Chop up your herbage.

I used basil, green onion, and dill.

But you are only limited by your imagination and/or garden here. Oregano, thyme, chives, or parsley would also be delicious.

Mint probably wouldn’t be. Or lavender. Or lemongrass.

But if one of those float your boat, I’m not gonna hold you back!

Sprinkle all of that on top of your tomatoes.

Add a little salt and pepper.

Cheese comes next.

One cup.

I recommend buying more cheese than you’ll need, because lets be honest…

It is impossible to shred cheese without eating some as you go.

I’ll give you a nickel if you can do it.

This next part may weird you out.

But, trust me.

It is a necessary step.

And it takes this pie over the top.

Take 1/3 c. mayo (the real stuff) and add 2 T. of lemon juice to thin it out.

Mix it up:

Then spread it on top.

Just do it.

You won’t regret it.

Oh, hey… I have a good idea.

Let’s put another 1/2 cup of cheese on top.

What do you think?

You agree?

Perfect!

Into the oven for 25 minutes.

It makes your house smell so good.

And it comes out looking like this:

This finished baking at 10:30 pm.

I pulled it out of the oven, and cut myself a huge piece.

Turns out tomato pie also makes a great dessert and late night snack.

As a final note, Lola Belle rested her head ever so patiently on my foot while I was cooking.

I like to think that she just loves me so.

But I know the truth.

She just wants the goods.

But thats ok, because she is so darn cute.

Yours in ‘Maters,

Leah

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