You may have noticed that I haven't yet posted my supposedly fabulous recipe for vegetarian kibbeh. Yeah, it needs a little work. The end result was a delicate touch of parsley and mushroom sauté [actually leftover filling from stuffed mushrooms] sandwiched between two think layers of a gummy, grey mass. My lousy rendition of kibbeh used barley couscous mashed with a potato and half a jar of cumin and coriander each, to make it taste like something. Whole-grain barley couscous was not a hit at my dad's store, and as such, I have about 15 boxes on my shelf. As much as I wanted couscous and bulgar to be the same thing, they clearly are not.
My kibbeh was...heavy. I ate it, of course, but it wasn't very good.
And then there was "fun with indoor grilling" adventure I had last week. Thinking that I could fashion my own inexpensive grill pan by placing the teensy rack from our toaster oven directly on our gas stove gives me points for ingenuity, but I was not winning any cooking contests. I brushed corn on the cob and red peppers with a spicy yogurt based marinade and chard them until they were black. And they tasted, well, burnt. And chewy. And boring. My roomates were also not thrilled that I f-ed up the toaster oven rack, and it took a full week until the kitchen was restored to full usability.
It was time, I decided, to do something simple. There are whole books written about how to cook with three ingredients and a drizzle of olive oil. As fun as it is to invent new combinations of flavors and textures, its important to honor the old standbys, the tried and trues. And so, here is one weeks worth of tomato basil ideas, all of which were fabulous and satisfying.
For all of these, I used quality Lebanese olive oil and generous sprinklings of course sea salt. Good olive oil is key. If you wouldn't take a shot of it straight, its probably not worth your time.
Monday: Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad
Ann took the reigns on this one, diced the tomatoes and mozzarella, and chopped the heck outta some basil. It was almost as fine as being run through the food processor. My original vision was a chunkier salad, but this turned out to be really great, almost like a salsa that you can eat on its own, or spooned on a cracker.
Tuesday: Tomato Basil Sandwich
Just like it sounds, with a smear of mayo and some salt and pepper.
Wednesday: Tomato Basil Omelet
What a little light cream can do. I wisked 3 eggs with about 2 tbsp light cream and my eggs were rich and fluffy. I considered sauteeing the filling before I put it in the omelet, but I decided on putting them in fresh instead. It was a good choice-the tomatoes were tender in the omelet, but still had some shape and the basil was fragrant and pungent.
On rosemary bread,and diced tomatoes again, but I just tore the basil and sliced the mozzarella because I was short on time. The key with this was to drizzle the bread with olive oil before and after adding the tomatoes and basil and sticking it under the broiler until the cheese melted and the bread got crispy. Oh my, was it a treat.
Friday: Tomato Basil Pasta
Olive oil. Salt. Spaghetti. Thats it!
Saturday: Tomato Basil Couscous
I used fresh tomatoes, but it would be particularly tasty with sundried tomatoes.
Sunday: Stuffed Tomatoes
The last of my basil will get mixed with breadcrumbs and cilantro and set stuffed into the hollowed out shell of a tomato. Recipe to follow [provided that all goes well].