Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Got little tomatoes?

I love cherry and grape tomatoes, but never seem to eat them all before they go bad. If you are like me, you either hate this because you paid too much for them or you worked too hard growing them to allow them to go quietly.

I usually have a jar of roasted peppers in the pantry, so I grab that and combine the two overnight in the fridge (the juice that the peppers are in adds a nice flavor to the tomatoes and marries their flavors).

The next day, give them a spin in the food processor until they are nice and smooth. I add a little olive oil and some spices (depending on your tastes- you can make it spicy or go for the Italian herbs- whatever your preference). When smooth, pour into a saucepan and cook it over low heat until the color darkens and its smell starts to waft through the kitchen.

You can serve it over any sort of pasta you like, but it really seems to go best with pasta shapes as opposed to strands. The shapes really grab and hold that delicious sauce.

For Oscar I add a little cheese to the top, for me a nice pinch of basil.

This sauce can be frozen and helps make all those tomatoes worth the money or the time & effort (depending on your investment)!

Roses passed their prime?

I have several shrub roses that brighten up the landscape, but they never last long enough! I just could not let all those pretty petals go to waste, so I decided to make a nice rose-petal facial scrub.

I picked the petals that were about to go brown; you can tell that they are the right ones to pick, as they come away easily from the stem. You will want to get a nice bowlful, and then lay them out and pick out the foreign objects and allow the insects to escape (you will find small aphids and their friends living in the flowers; they are not part of this recipe as who wants critters in their scrub?), then wash the petals in cool water.

I like a scrub with brown sugar, milk, egg whites, honey, dried oranges and oats. You can use whatever you like, but be sure you do not use anything too harsh. When I have almond milk I often use that instead of regular milk, and have been known to add some fresh aloe juice if it is available. DO NOT add anything you are not sure about; you can give yourself one heck of a rash if you get a little too creative with the botanicals. Just because it is natural does not mean it is your skin's friend! Also , some fruits and berries can stain skin; you do not want to end up looking like Violet Beaureguarde, now do you?

I pop all the ingredients into the food processor and give them a whirl until they are as smooth. You should refrigerate your mix, as it can go bad and you do not want to put funky scrub on your skin!

Before you try the scrub, I ALWAYS recommend you put a little dollop on the inside of your forearm and leave it on for a few minutes to see if you react less than nicely to your scrub. Better a little welt on your arm than a face full of them! Use the scrub within a few days of making it.

It makes my skin soft, silky and smooth and I feel good about making the Roses last just a little longer!


Do you feel the pressure of using all the produce and food you buy before it goes bad? I have found the frugal & tasty way to make sure that nothing goes to waste in our fridge. Each night I peek through the drawers and look for anything that might be getting a little less than perfect, and work out the way I can extend its useful life.

This weekend I had some peppers I intended to stuff, but each dinner I could not entice Oscar with stuffed peppers so here I was with peppers that were just about to go soft. I cored, seeded and sliced them and then marinated them overnight in a nice vinegrette dressing.

The next day they were roasted on the grill, ready to be used in recipes that called for roasted peppers! Just put them on a grill pan or in a grill basket, turn every 5 minutes, and in 15 minutes or so, you have some fire-roasted goodness.