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Kachumbari Salad: A Kenyan Tomato Salad Sweet vine-ripened tomatoes, the gems of summer, make the perfect base for salads. From Kenya comes this recipe that pairs tomatoes with red onions, cilantro, chile, and lime juice. Visually attractive and packed with flavor, this salad is the perfect side dish for summer entertaining. Tonight, those incredible flavors will marry beautifully with the fish tacos I’m serving!

Kachumbari Salad
Share: The Cookbook that Celebrates Our Common Humanity

INGREDIENTS
1 lb firm and ripe tomatoes, sliced or diced
1-1½ red onions, very thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 chile, sliced (optional)
1-2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Place the tomatoes into a medium salad bowl with the onions. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

2. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir in the chile, if using. Season and gradually add the lemon or lime juice to taste.

Serves 4

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. One pound of tomatoes is approximately 2.5 large tomatoes. For this recipe I used about two pounds of assorted tomatoes (cherry, heirloom, and beefsteak).

2. I cut the cherry tomatoes in half from top to bottom, but the larger tomatoes, I sliced crosswise into rounds.

3. Because I sliced them into rounds, I gently mixed the salad in a large pan instead of a bowl. This salad is attractive when arranged on a platter.

4. I used half of a red onion instead of a whole one and I’m glad I did. Even with this reduced amount, there were a lot of onions in this salad.

5. Here are some tips from Craig Kielburger, the contributor of this recipe to the cookbook: If you prefer a milder onion flavor, rinse the onion slices in hot salty water before putting them in the salad. This will ensure the onion is less harsh on the palate. Squeeze the lemon or lime juice into the salad just before serving to avoid sogginess. If the tomato and onion are chopped more finely, this recipe also works well as a homemade salsa.

6. The chile is optional, but its heat adds a nice flavor dimension to the salad.

ENJOY!

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Wedding bells will chime this week for my son and his fiancé. As I happily wade through lists and list of wedding details, I offer you a repost of one of my favorite summer salads. Enjoy!

How fortunate it is that tomatoes and basil both thrive in summer heat. When it’s too hot to cook, salads make frequent appearances on the dinner menu in my house and with the bounty of tomatoes and basil outside in the garden, who could resist not finding as many ways as possible to use these two summer favorites? It only gets better – here’s a recipe that combines tomatoes and basil with the healthy goodness of quinoa. In an earlier post Quinoa and Shrimp Salad, I explained why quinoa is a nutritional gem; these tiny seeds contain a balanced set of essential amino acids, making them complete proteins, and are a great gluten-free source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and iron.

Quinoa Salad With Tomatoes and Basil
Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Venokur-Clark

Salad Ingredients:
1 C quinoa
1/2 red onion, diced
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/3 C sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), diced
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
1/4 C pine nuts, toasted

Dressing Ingredients:
4 garlic cloves
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 T white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Measure quinoa into a sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside and let cool.

2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients, except for the olive oil. Pour oil in a small stream into the the bowl of dressing ingredients, whisking the whole time to form an emulsion. Set aside.

3. Toast the pine nuts in a pan until lightly browned and fragrant. While toasting, keep an eye on them and stir them occasionally so that they don’t burn. Let cool.

4. To the cooked and cooled quinoa, add diced onion, diced tomatoes, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and diced basil. Toss gently.

5. Whisk salad dressing again and pour over salad ingredients. Toss again.

6. Serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

Serves 4-6.

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My husband will wonder if I’m throwing an impromptu party when he finds a container of freshly stuffed mushrooms and cherry tomatoes in our refrigerator. Yes, I’m having a party, but just a party for one! With only two months left before my son’s wedding, I would still like to lose some weight. Since my son became engaged, my husband has managed to lose over twenty pounds. What about me? Well, despite the fact, that I eat a small-portioned, healthy diet and work in a mix of cardio and strength training on a regular basis, I’ve not lost a single pound! My trainer tells me not to fret, since I have lost inches and body fat. So what about the appetizers in my refrigerator? Other than at the gym, I hate repetition. Bored with the usual snacks of apples, celery, and carrots, I decided to reward my progress with some healthy gourmet snacks!

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes Italiano
Recipe as found in Deborah Anderson’s cookbook Easy Gourmet-Style Cooking With 5 Ingredients

Ingredients:
36 cherry tomatoes
1 – 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained
1 bunch of fresh basil, plus 24 leaves
2 tablespoons garlic-flavored olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
1. Rinse the tomatoes and set aside.
2. Also wash and set aside 24 small basil leaves and chop remaining basil.
3. Cut 12 tomatoes in half, squeeze out all the seeds and juice, dice and set aside.
4. In a food processor or blender, puree the beans, basil, garlic oil and lemon juice until it reaches a finely chopped consistency.
5. Place pureed bean mixture in a medium bowl. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and chopped basil.
6. Remove top 1/4 portion from remaining 24 tomatoes and discard.
7. Slightly squeeze out the seeds, liquid and pulp using a small spoon, so you can create a cavity within the tomatoes.

8. Fill tomatoes with the bean mixture.
9. Garnish each tomato at the top with 1 basil leaf.

Makes 2 dozen.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Having large ripe tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter, I decided to dice those instead of the cherry tomatoes.
2. I used a little bit more lemon juice than called for, just to give it a fresher flavor.
3. I added half a shallot, a little salt and freshly ground pepper to the food processor before adding the beans.
4. You don’t want to over process this bean filling. It should still have small chunks of bean in it.
5. The recipe confusingly adds the basil twice – once to the food processor and then again to the pureed bean mixture. I ended up adding some to the food processor, and added in a bit more with the tomatoes. Although I love basil, I would probably not add as much the next time I make this recipe.
6. I did not discard the tomato tops as instructed in step 6. Instead, I diced them and added them to the bean mixture. I hate to waste food!
7. I used the small side of the melon baller to scoop out the tomatoes and then inverted the tomatoes on a paper towel to drain. A small demitasse spoon was used to fill the tomatoes and the mushrooms with bean filling.
8. Garnishing the tomatoes and the mushrooms in the photo are tiny Globe Basil branches from my garden.
9. The bean mixture is also delicious in baby bella mushrooms.

Enjoy!

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