Saturday was glorious. Not too hot or humid, we made do with the fans and open windows. I had a hankering for Granita. Then I was lusting after tomatoes. There were also chicken cutlets that had to be cooked, not to mention of a container of ricotta begging to be used so... a little of this, a little of that, and a really wonderful late lunch was had.
Roma (plum) tomatoes
Herbs de Provence
-Preheat oven to 300.
-Cut the tomatoes in half, place on a baking sheet or pan
-Drizzle a healthy amount of oil, then sprinkle on a healthy dose of salt, pepper, and seasoning.
-Bake for 4 hours or until the tomatoes have "melted." That is, the skin has wrinkled, the tomato has deflated and dried out a bit.
*These are excellent cold or hot.
**If you don't have 4 hours. Place tomatoes in a 400 oven for 30 minutes, then down to 325 for another half hour to 45 minutes.
***Feel free to use any seasoning you like by the way, Italian mix, something spicy, whatever you like. I just happen to like the intensely aromatic quality to the Herbs de Provence.
Melted Tomato Cutlets
4-5 chicken cutlets (1/4" - 1/2")
4-5 tbs Parmesan Cheese
2 cups flour (whole wheat flour is fine too)
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp each salt & pepper
-Preheat oven to 425.
-Season flour with salt & pepper. Dredge chicken cutlets through flour, tap off excess.
-Heat butter and oil in pan until very hot. Quickly sear cutlets, for color, not done-ness. They finish cooking in the oven.
-Place cutlets on baking pan or sheet, cover with a few melted tomatoes, then sprinkle on 1 tbs of Parmesan cheese (or more, you want the cutlet well covered). If your cutlets are thinner than 1/4", skip the pan searing and just sprinkle with salt and pepper, place tomato and parm on top, cook.
-Bake for 10 minutes or until the Parmesan browns and crisps.
-Serve hot or room temperature.
1 lb favorite pasta (I used a whole wheat thin spaghetti)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
15 oz fresh Ricotta cheese (I used a part skim, because that's what I had, but you can use full or even fat free)
2 cups fresh basil, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs fresh ground pepper
Salt to taste
-Combine ricotta, olive oil, Parmesan, pepper, basil, and salt in serving bowl, mix well.
-Do not drain pasta, you want the hot pasta water to thin out the ricotta mixture. Instead, using tongs or a slotted spoon, pull out the still dripping pasta directly into the serving bowl. Mix well and serve. This happens to be excellent cold too.
Mint Tea Granita
5 cups water
6 mint tea bags
2 bunches fresh mint, about 2 1/2 - 3 cups
Sugar or sweetener (I used Splenda)
-Boil water. Place 4 of the 6 tea bags, and half of the mint in a SHALLOW freeze-proof container. If you use a deep dish or bowl, it will take forever to freeze.
-Pour water over the bags and mint, let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, let mint sit for another 5 minutes. Remove the mint and repeat with remaining tea bags and mint (make sure to save a few sprigs for serving). You do this so that the tea and mint doesn't get too strong. You want an intensely minty Granita, not a bitter one. Add sugar or sweetener and mix to combine, adjust to your liking. I don't like mine terribly sweet, just a hint of sweet.
-Once room temperature, place in freezer uncovered. After 45 minutes, take a fork and rake through the entire pan of tea breaking up the ice. Repeat the raking every 30 minutes until the entire container of tea is frozen and broken up. Depending on the container, and the freezer, this may take 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Serve with a mint sprig.
-Serves 4 -5.
*Granita's are a wonderful and easy dessert. You can use watermelon blasted in the blender, a little vodka thrown into the mix. Any kind of juice you like, spiked with any kind of liquor you like. Or like this version, any kind of tea, even iced coffee with cream.