By Gini Rainey
It would seem that I’ve taken a mini-hiatus from my blog. I could say that I’ve been doing research, or have been too busy or uninspired – and it would all be true! However, last week a friend told me that Hastings was having an incredible going-out-of-business sale, so not wanting to miss out on 70% off on one of my favorite things – books – I stopped in after work and came away with 6 books valued at retail $130.00 and only paid $18.00. Heck of a deal!
Of course, the majority of the books I purchased were cookbooks, and one of them, “Blue Eggs & Yellow Tomatoes: A Backyard Garden-to-Table Cookbook” really should be a companion book to one I wrote about back in July, “Blue Corn and Square Tomatoes.” Just sayin’! Where that one was packed full of wonderful information and historical trivia about vegetables, this one has, jam-packed on its 320 pages, some of the most delicious sounding recipes and full color photos that you get hungry just looking through it. Written by Jeanne Kelley and published by Running Press in 2013, this cookbook is as beautiful as it is informative.
Speaking of yellow tomatoes, when I was growing up in Minnesota, summers and autumns were always filled with wonderful fresh vegetables and flowers from my family’s farm that was just north of Moorhead. I loved stopping by the Market with my mom and dad, especially if my Uncle Ray was there. He knew my weakness for those yummy little yellow pear tomatoes and always would slip me a small basket of them to munch on while I ran through the pumpkin patch trying to decide which one I would come back and pick later for my Jack O’Lantern. I loved visiting the farm, which is now the Probstfield Living History Farm, where they just celebrated the 3rd Annual Sunday Supper event that benefits the restoration of my great-grand father’s log home located on the banks of the Red River.
So naturally one of the recipes in this cookbook that jumped out at me was for “Orecchiette with Tomatoes and Garden Herbs.” Orecchiette pasta is ear-shaped pasta and by design makes for a great way to hold your dressing or sauce to savor maximum flavor. With this recipe, you will need to cook 8 ounces of orecchiette pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender, but still firm to bite – about 10 minutes. Then drain. Meanwhile, combine 1 pound of yellow, red, and/or orange cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half (about 3 ½ cups), 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar, and 2 pressed garlic cloves. Add the pasta and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in 2/3 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, oregano, and chives), and ½ cup coarsely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. You can serve this either warm, at room temperature or chilled and with a crusty French bread and fresh butter, you can’t beat this for a “fresh from the farm” meal or side.