Seahorse v. Barnacle

Courtesy of

If nothing else went right for you this barnacle of a Monday, please accept my sincerest condolences, and then spend a few minutes scrolling through this.  Might as well scroll through it even if your Monday was smooth sailing. It’s funny either way.

Tomorrow, exit the bed from the other side, tie your shoelaces in reverse order, and do some counter/cabinet cleaning to conjure up something interesting to pack for lunch.  This recipe for Avocado Tomato Crackers was inspired one Saturday when I couldn’t peel backside off couch for long enough to visit the grocery store or one of three great lunch places within a three-block radius.  Blame it on this incredible book or laziness, but the meal was a happy result.

Mash half of an avocado with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, then spread onto a good thickish cracker (like Wasa brand) or toasted bread. Add sliced tomato, sprinkle on a little more salt, then layer on some thinly sliced extra sharp cheddar (or not if you’re going vegan – the avocado makes this hefty enough without the dairy). Top with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of whatever herb you’ve got – dill was great, but I imagine parsley and chives would be equally delicious. Easy, quick, and filling – just the thing to help you square those shoulders and face the rest of the day, be it barnacle or seahorse.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

This isn’t the least expensive sauce you could make (for the per pound price, I’d typically prefer to eat tomatoes in their pre-cooked state with a plethora of alliteration), but it’s one of the better ones for capturing those last summer tomatoes and their bright summer flavor.  We made this a few days ago but ate it tonight with whole wheat pasta and a light sprinkling of grated grana padano. Some sautéed zucchini on the side rounded out the color, and dessert was a slice (or two…? or three…? I’ll never tell!) of prune plum cake, recipe to follow.

Fresh Tomato Sauce
(the simplicity and some details of which were inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Scarpetta naked tomato sauce) 

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
6-8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange quartered tomatoes on single layers on rimmed baking sheets, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on salt.  Roast for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are partially dehydrated/collapsed and their edges have started to brown.

Pull sheets from oven and once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and smoosh the garlic cloves out.  Get a spill of olive oil hot in a pan and add the garlic and then the tomatoes.  Simmer on low heat, breaking some of the tomatoes into smaller pieces, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.  Taste for salt, add pepper, and once you’ve removed from the heat, stir in the butter.