Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

oliverosemarybruschetta

Photo from Graze.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Ingredients:

mini tomato breadsticks, rosemary and garlic cashews and kalamata olive croutons

I received this bruschetta snack mix in my first Graze Box!

Tea Suggestion:

I thought that a sweet, brothy green tea would be ideal to serve with this savory snack mix, so I chose this Konacha Green Tea from Aiya.  A really delicious pairing!

What I Think:

This is pretty tasty … certainly different!

The mini tomato breadsticks are really good.  I can taste the tomato and I love tomato!  The rosemary and garlic cashews add a nice texture and a yummy nutty taste to the overall mix, and I like the seasoning on the cashews.

The Kalamata olive croutons are probably my least favorite part of this mix, but I don’t dislike them.  I just find that it takes a couple of croutons – one after another – to really taste the Kalamata olive flavor.  I mean, I can taste the olive flavor, but, it seems to be a little obscured by the … I don’t know, maybe it’s the texture of it, because my mouth seems to want the olive texture when it tastes the Kalamata olives.  and instead it gets a hard, dry crouton.  I guess I just want a little something … different than the crouton to deliver the olive flavor.

My Final Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this snack mix … a really neat alternative to the typical snack cracker.  I don’t know that I’ll “like” this one though, I think I’ll wait and try some of Graze’s other savory selections before I put a “like” on this one.

I love tomatoes.  I call them my favorite “fruit” … not so much because they are technically a fruit but because my favorite vegetable is carrots, and I would have a difficult time choosing between the two if they were both deemed vegetables.

???????????????????????????????This summer, my big Costco discovery was these Symphony tomatoes (I’ve also seen a smaller “symphony” package in Chuck’s Produce, which suggests to me that you might be able to find them elsewhere as well.)  They are an eye catching array of colorful cherry sized tomatoes – with colors such as chocolate brown, white (which looks like a “greenish” white), green, orange, and the familiar red.  Most of the tomatoes are roundish in shape, but some are “Roma” tomato shape.

To make my tomato salad, I start with a colander full of these tomatoes with all the blossoms removed and the tomatoes washed thoroughly.  Then I cut them.  Most of the round tomatoes I cut in half, but some of the larger round tomatoes I cut into fourths … basically, I cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces.

???????????????????????????????Then I season with Kosher salt and ground pepper.  If I happen to have it on hand, I will substitute the Kosher salt with a gourmet salt from Woody’s Gourmet.  (My personal favorite is the Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Sea Salt)

Then I reach for my bottle of Smoky Bacon flavored Grapeseed Oil from Wildtree.  This is the MAGIC product in this salad, because it adds such a delightful flavor.  The bacon flavor is not an overpowering flavor, and I might like this even better if the bacon flavor was more pronounced (Bacon is a lot like chocolate in that more bacon = better.)  The bacon is best tasted when you taste the oil on it’s own, but, I still taste the bacon flavor when I make this tomato salad, and  love the way the smoky bacon and tomato flavors meld.

Note:  If you really want to focus on the bacon flavors, I suggest seasoning with plain Kosher salt rather than the gourmet stuff, as the extra seasoning in the gourmet sea salts tend to distract my palate.

grapeseedoil

Photo from Wildtree
Click on the pic to go there.

I have fallen in love with Grapeseed Oil because I love the taste.  I used to be very devoted to olive oil, but, I like grapeseed oil even better, and I love the Wildtree brand (and not just because one of my dear friends sells the stuff!)   The taste of the grapeseed oil is not as heavy as the olive oil, and I find this especially desirable on a salad like my tomato salad where I want to taste the tomato.

I drizzle the grapeseed oil over the seasoned tomatoes, and then I follow that with a drizzle of vinegar.  I tried this salad first using this Champagne Mimosa Vinegar from Chapparal Gardens – LOVED it – but now I use balsamic vinegar and that is good too.  The Champagne vinegar is better … but it is also kind of pricey, Then again, so is a good balsamic vinegar, but since I always have balsamic vinegar on hand … well, you get the idea, right?

After I’ve seasoned and dressed the tomatoes, I toss the tomatoes well in the mixture to make sure that all the tomatoes get some vinegar and oil and seasoning on them.  And then I eat it.  YUM!

???????????????????????????????Yeah, I told you it’s easy.  So, if it’s a little too easy for you and my recipe is leaving you asking why I bothered to write this post … let me add this:  Tomatoes are very good for you!  They are an excellent source of antioxidants and help lower cholesterol.  They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, A, K and potassium.  And they’re practically calorie free!  Now, the dressing on this salad isn’t calorie or fat free, of course, but, I suggest go sparingly with the vinegar and oil anyway and let the tomatoes be the star of the show.

You can find more yummy grapeseed oil recipes on my friend Jennifer’s blog!

Photo from Petit Amuse. Click on the Pic to go there!

Product Description:

Italians have been drying tomatoes for centuries as a way to enjoy fresh tomatoes during the long winter months. Now a culinary staple, they’re a gourmet complement to our fine blend of aged hard cheeses and garlic. Our Sun-Dried Tomato & Parmesan popcorn delivers a surprising pronounced flavor thanks to our imported tomatoes and smooth Reggiano Parmesan finish. As sophisticated and complex as popcorn gets, this is a flavor to truly savor.

Oogie’s Gourmet Popcorn is available at Petit Amuse.  (they have lots of other intriguing flavors too!)

Tea Suggestion:

Because this popcorn has so much flavor on it’s own, I didn’t go with a flavored tea.  Instead, I chose something a little more straightforward and simple:  White Peony from Peony Tea S.  This tea is crisp and refreshing, offering lovely fruit notes that contrasted with the zesty seasoning of the popcorn, and seemed to help clear the palate to ready it for more!  This combination was simply delicious!

What I Think:

Right now, I have a lot of different types of popcorn in my pantry!  Not only do we have our old stand-by microwave popcorn that we keep on hand for when we want popcorn with a movie (I have got to get myself a hot air popcorn popper, I soooo prefer air popped popcorn to the microwave variety), but I also have a couple of other gourmet-type popcorn selections – including this one – that I need to get busy and start tasting.  So I decided that the time to get busy and start tasting was NOW!

This is really good.  With so many sweet gourmet popcorn selections out there, it is kind of refreshing to try a savory popcorn now and again.  This is a very Italian-tasting popcorn with the tomato and Parmesan cheese, and there is a hint of garlic in there too.  It isn’t too salty, it’s my guess that Oogie’s wants to let the other flavors speak for themselves and not overwhelm the palate with salt.

What makes this gourmet flavored popcorn really work, though, is that the flavorings and spices are not too heavy – the sweet yet savory flavors of the popped corn stand out as the strongest flavor here.  And the result is a popcorn that tastes as though it’s been dipped in marinara sauce… yet a very light “dip” — more like one took the popped kernel and barely tapped the marinara sauce, taking away with it a touch of tomato-y goodness that’s been simmered with a little bit of garlic and Parmesan cheese.  YUM!

My Final Thoughts:

I really like this snack.  It’s got a nice crunch, and a whole lot of flavor.  I like that it isn’t overly salty, and I don’t miss the buttery goodness that I usually crave with popcorn because it has enough other delicious flavors going on that I don’t need the butter.  And best of all, by the time I was finished with the package, I had only found ONE un-popped kernel in the whole bunch.  This is a great snack, one I think I’ll be needing more of very soon!

Where to Buy:  Sir Kensington’s on Foodzie

Price:  $8.99 for an 11-ounce jar

Product Description:

Behold my finest creation! This ketchup is made with the ripest red tomatoes, olive oil and green peppers, and is sweetened with agave nectar, brown sugar and honey. Do not settle for anything less than Sir Kensington quality!

What I Think:

I want to start this review by stating that I don’t really care much for ketchup.  When I was single, I didn’t even have ketchup in my house. The only thing I put ketchup on is Breakfast Jacks (yes, from Jack-in-the-Box), and that’s only because I was programmed as a kid to only eat Breakfast Jacks that have been doused in ketchup, and when I bite into one without ketchup it just tastes wrong. In fact, ketchup is one of my pet peeves… err, that is, the act of slathering one’s meal with ketchup is one of my main pet peeves.  (You know how when guests come over for dinner, and someone covers the roast that I’ve spent hours preparing with ketchup?  I hate HATE hate that.)

However, if the ketchup used to defile my roast was THIS ketchup, I might be willing to forgive.  Yes.  This ketchup is that good.  This is extraordinarily good.  It is “wipe the plate clean with my fingers so that I can lick the ketchup off of them” good.

The first thing I notice about this ketchup is the aroma.  I can smell the fresh tomatoes and green peppers.  Then I notice the color and the texture.  Instead of the bright “cherry” red color of a typical ketchup, it has a deep, rich red that verges on the edge of a burgundy color.  The texture is not quite as smooth as a typical ketchup, this is chunkier.  Not like “salsa” chunky, but, this isn’t a ketchup you could squirt out of a squeeze bottle, either.

But the most important thing is how it tastes.  And this tastes really good.  It is sweet, but I don’t find it too sweet, especially when compared to the ketchup you’d find on the grocery store shelf.

This ketchup reminds me of vine-ripened, homegrown tomatoes.  It has that deliciously fresh tomato taste.  The peppers add a really amazing dimension of flavor.  Not spicy; but enough zesty flavor to make this ketchup stand out among the rest. It tastes really fresh and delicious – so good that it will elevate an ordinary pile of fries to extraordinary!

My Final Thoughts:

They call this “Scooping Ketchup” and that’s because you will want to scoop this out with a spoon and eat it.  I even used my fingers to clean the inside of the jar!  Yes, it’s that good.

Where to Buy:  Wayne’s Fine Foods on Foodzie

Price:  $4.99 per jar

Product Description:

The original Wayne’s Green Tomato Relish started in the 1950s as a clever way for Wayne to use up the unripened green tomatoes that remained in his garden every fall. People liked it so much, that he decided to enter it into the Macon County Fair (Macon County, IL). There it garnered a first prize blue ribbon (hence the “award winning” part of our moniker). The relish is delicious on grilled and spicy foods and for appetizer, alone on a cracker or dolloped over cream cheese.

What I Think:

I love trying unusual relishes and other condiments – and this one would certainly qualify as unusual.  I can’t think of trying a relish made of green tomatoes before.  But I’m really quite impressed with this.

The green tomatoes give the relish a nice texture and a mild, tangy flavor.  There is a nice sweetness to this that reminds me of sweet chutney.  Overall, its a very mellow flavored relish – a little sweet, a little sour.  It’s very tasty and makes a great topping for a hot dog, which is how I am enjoying it today.

I like that not one ingredient dominates over the others.  Even though this is a “green tomato” relish, it could have very easily been called something else, because I don’t think that the green tomatoes are the main flavor component.  They are nicely balanced with the sweetness of the bell pepper, and the sour notes of the vinegar, and even the faintest hint of warmth from the onion.  It’s really quite good, and something I would consider purchasing again!

My Final Thoughts:

I am really enjoying this relish.  It is quite different from any other relish I’ve ever tasted.  It has a very homemade feel to it – like something that the neighbor with the very prolific garden made and handed out to the neighbors for the holidays.  This one rates very high on the YUM scale!