Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tomato and Zucchini and Lunchtime, Oh My!

Since I'm pretty new to this whole cooking thing, I have absolutely no eye for American measurements. Thanks to my lab work, I'm pretty good with metric, but that's not how my recipes are written.

This usually isn't a problem since I own a few sets of measuring cups and spoons. However, back when I made the Artichokes in Tomato Sauce, it called for 28 ounces of canned, chopped tomatoes and I wanted to use fresh. How many tomatoes does it take to make 28 ounces? 2.25, if they're gigantic. Of course, I didn't know that and bought ten. I used them in salads and things, but when this past Sunday came around, I still had four enormous tomatoes sitting around. One became lunch with a little bit of Pine Nut Basil Dressing and the rest went into this week's dish: Tomato Zucchini Skillet.

Am I the only one that didn't know has about a billion recipes on it? There's loads of easy, tasty sounding, vegany goodness on that site just waiting to be made. This recipe is a perfect example of just how easy it is. I did everything as written, but omitted the bay leaf and it was seriously easy enough I could have done it in my sleep (though I wouldn't have wanted to because then I would have missed the aroma that wafted out every time I lifted the lid off my pan and that was divine!). The only other variation I might suggest is that if your tomatoes are the size of your head, you might want to cut them into more than eight wedges!

When I first started, I thought there was a mistake in the recipe. How would one teaspoon of oil be enough liquid to cook all that zucchini and tomato? Especially since the tomato was being added last, so its juices wouldn't be used to cook the zucchini. As it turns out, despite looking very dry, zucchini is jam packed with moisture that just comes pouring out when you get it good and hot. I was shocked! So the teaspoon of oil is really just used for the garlic and scallions and everything else pretty much cooks in its own juices. Rock.

That's one teaspoon of oil for 8-10 servings of vegetables (or 5-6 if you eat this as your whole meal like I do). And tomatoes and zucchini are both fat free, making this a nice, healthy, filling, tasty, pretty (two colors in one dish is kind of a big deal for me) dish you can throw together in about two seconds without feeling guilty about "fast" food. Winner! Will definitely make again. Hopefully, next time I make it I'll be a little less carb-averse because this would go great over some brown rice or whole wheat pasta or even with some bread to sop up the juices.

Tomato Zucchini Skillet
Serves 8 to 10

1/2 cup sliced green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds zucchini, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 tomatoes, peeled and each cut in 8 wedges

1. Cook onion and garlic in oil until onion is tender.
2. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and zucchini.
3. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes; heat through.

And in case you need them, here's instructions on how to peel tomatoes (I ignored the seeding bit).

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