Saturday, September 25, 2010

You Say Tomato

This month's Blog Bites challenge was to pick an ingredient and use it in two different ways. One ingredient that sneaks into way too many dishes that I make is the tomato. Tangy-sweet with a happy red color, I use tomatoes year round but other than the few summer months, they tend to be of the canned variety.

Here is what I made with tomatoes in the past week. Lately, the focus has been more on cooking and eating and less on food photography so I must warn you that the pictures on this post are quite wretched.

The first is a simple pizza sauce. My usual recipe is from my mom, but this particular evening I was looking for a quick no-cook recipe and found this one from Dine & Dish. It calls for some fresh basil (which is on hand during summer), a few canned tomatoes and some other pantry ingredients, simply stirred together. Perfect!

Here's how I made the 2-minute no cook pizza sauce.

In a bowl, mix together

  • 7-8 whole canned tomatoes, chopped finely
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Few turns of freshly ground pepper
  • Salt to taste

This quick and rich tomato sauce was spread on a thin whole wheat pizza crust, topped with dollops of pesto and thinly sliced summer vegetables- peppers, onions, eggplant, zucchini- and some mozzarella and parmesan, and baked to perfection in a very hot oven. Throw in some good beer and you have the perfect summer meal.

The second tomato recipe is also a keeper. I love Punjabi rajma, with the rich flavor of tomatoes and kidney beans and little else. This refried beans recipe from Kitchen Parade, adapted from a recipe by Diana Kennedy, was very reminiscent of rajma with a different cultural spin.

Here is how I used fresh local tomatoes to make Refried (ish) Kidney Beans

  1. Soak 1 cup dried kidney beans for 24 hours and rinse them thoroughly. Cook them with a little salt in the pressure cooker until tender. 
  2. Puree the kidney beans with 4 medium chopped fresh tomatoes in the food processor. I left the puree quite chunky. 
  3. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil. Saute 1 finely minced onion, 1 finely minced red pepper and 2 tsp. minced garlic
  4. Add 1 tsp. cumin powder, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. paprika and 2 tsp. red chilli powder (or more or less depending on your desired level of heat). Add salt to taste. 
  5. Stir in the bean-tomato puree and cook for several minutes. 
This simple bean puree was a surprise hit- tasty and comforting. It keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days. Once you have the bean puree on hand, you can cook it with eggs for breakfast as in the original recipe. I made burritos with the bean puree, sauteed vegetables, cilantro and cheese. 

But this was my favorite way to use it: smear half a whole wheat tortilla with tomato pickle (mine is store bought). Then spread the bean puree generously. Top with some pepper jack cheese, fold the tortilla and microwave for 20-40 seconds. This is what I packed into my lunch 3 days in a row. So good. There was a small container of bean puree left over and I would have taken lunch for a 4th day, but Neighbor Girl discovered it and ate it up before I could protest.

Meanwhile, I am thoroughly enjoying the sneak peek into the kitchens of some of my fellow bloggers, linked in my last post. If you would like to play along, I've extended the deadline for a few days, and the link tool will be open until September 30.

Please check back tomorrow evening for the round up of BB7 and the theme for the next round (today is the deadline for entries). Happy Saturday!


  1. Te pizza sauce sounds perfect! So do u give it a whirl in the blender at all or keep it as chunky as seen?

  2. Looks yummy! I am racing to the finish line- I have 1 dish made and written up- am just going to make the second dish..(I wish it weren't sooooo hot!! It is so tempting to just curl up with some orange juice, some fruit in front of the

  3. hi
    as you know here in India we do not get canned tomato so should I cook tomatoes to get this sauce...

  4. Manasi- I left it chunky but if you prefer smoother sauces, whirl it by all means.

    Lavanya- Thanks for making it to the finish line :)

    SS- Thanks!

    Mahek- You'll have to try it for yourself, I'm afraid I have not tried with fresh tomatoes.

  5. hi Nupur,
    You have made our day today. We have several pounds of tomatoes from our garden and I was looking for tomato recipes and tried this one today for lunch. Made a taco with the bean tomato paste, spring onions and every other veggie I had on hand and it tasted superb !!! Everyone liked it and now it goes in our favorite list. Thanks so much..God Bless



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