Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
There is a lull, a tiny one, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In this momentarily quiet space, I am ever so grateful for the chance to enjoy the full bounty of the autumn fields on homey evenings with my family. Fall itself is an all too brief season in Central Texas, and I relish the chance for walks through fallen leaves in the weak sunshine of the afternoon, a season to be a little melancholy, to ponder, to read, to cook comforting recipes, to nest.
These flaky hand pies are one of my favorite ways to be self-indulgent. The crust, adapted from Tartine, will easily become your go-to pastry recipe. It comes together quickly and is amazingly sturdy, stretchy, pliable, and just about as buttery and flaky as puff pastry. It contains no sugar, so is also perfect for savory pies as well. In this recipe, the pastry surrounds a sweet and tart apple filling, warm with spices, and rich, earthy and complex with the addition of ever-so-slightly mysterious cheddar cheese.
Maple-Glazed Apple Cheddar Hand Pies
1 pound apples
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
2 T butter
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 recipe of flaky tart dough
1 cup cubed cheddar
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 T water
Maple Glaze, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and toss to combine. In a saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Cook apple mixture for 7 to 10 minutes until apple juices release and apples are slightly softened. Sprinkle flour over mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough. Using a saucer or a lid as a guide, cut the pastry into 5″ circles.
Add the cubed cheese to cooled apple mixture. Divide the apple mixture on one half of each pastry circle, leaving a 1-inch border along the long sides. Carefully fold into half moons; brush the edge with egg wash, crimp the edges together to seal, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush the outside of each pie with the egg wash.
Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes minutes. Remove from oven. Cool slightly and drizzle with maple glaze.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 T cream
5 T maple syrup
Combine sugar, cream and syrup until smooth.
I have a confession to make . . . my kitchen is filled with processed food. Pancake mix, frozen waffles, canned chicken broth, prepared breadcrumbs, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, and all manner of little jars and bags of “flavor enhancers.” But, ha! Before you condemn me, let me also say that while my life is made infinitely easier by all these little cheats and shortcuts, I am off the hook, because I have processed it all myself. It would be impossible for me to feed my family efficiently, healthfully, and deliciously, without all these mother’s little helpers, but that does not mean that I am willing to succumb to factory-produced salad dressings, packaged foods filled with chemical preservatives, and the like.
It’s all really just a matter of thinking ahead and using the freezer efficiently. The only real altercations my husband and I have had occurred when we were first married and he repeatedly threw away all my little kitchen dibs and dabs that, to his neat-freak eyes, looked like garbage. A roasted chicken carcass? ”That’s like money in the bank, and you threw it away???” I would screech. The leftover vinaigrette in the bowl after dinner—down the drain? Well, mister, we’ll just see how you like your crunchy broccoli and grilled shrimp pasta salad without dressing when you eat lunch tomorrow! The first mantra of a prepared chef is, first and foremost: Do Not Throw Anything Away. I know, I know, no one likes leftovers (including me). But here’s a different way of looking at things. Turn leftovers into something else, and then they are no longer leftovers, but pre-prepped ingredients. Leftover pot roast? Shred the meat, sauté onions and garlic, and add to crushed tomatoes and wine for an amazing ragu that’s divine with papparadelle. Last night’s vegetable side dish becomes tomorrow’s savory vegetable soup with the addition of a little chicken broth and some cannellini beans—grate a little parmesan on top and serve with hot crusty bread. Bacon leftover at breakfast? Crumble, chop, and stir into savory scones with a little grated cheddar, or add to smashed potatoes, or crumble on top of a tomato risotto. This is how we save money and stretch flavor. If you don’t have plans for using these leftovers right away, store them in freezer bags or containers, carefully label, and freeze for a night when you are pressed for time, or the cupboard looks bare.
The second rule of thumb is this: when you’re making a little, go ahead and make a lot. When we make waffles on weekend mornings, there’s always batter left in the bowl after everyone’s been served. It’s no extra work at all to go ahead and cook more waffles with what’s left (even make a double batch), cool, then freeze for weekday mornings. Beats Eggo’s. Making breadcrumbs or croutons for a recipe? Make extra and freeze. Roasted chicken for dinner? Throw the carcass in a pot with an onion (cut in quarters, don’t peel) and water, and you have a pot of homemade chicken stock before you finish washing dishes. Strain into containers and freeze for soup and risotto. If you really don’t have time to make stock (what, do you have tickets to the opera?), just freeze the carcass and make it later. Dicing onions? Go ahead and do a few extra, and freeze for when you’re really pressed for time. Making cookies? Triple the batch, scoop into balls, and freeze flat on a cookie sheet. When they’re frozen, transfer to a ziplock and bake as needed. They don’t even need to thaw first. Bake an extra loaf of banana bread, or whole wheat sandwich bread, or batch of cinnamon rolls, or anything you’re putting in the oven on a leisurely day. Make a huge pot of chili, a bigger batch of meatballs, more Bolognese than you could ever possible eat at one time. Your weeknights just got a lot easier.
Third, don’t ever let anything go bad. The only thing I have not successfully frozen is lettuce. I like to think of the freezer as a little time machine that gives me a minute to breathe. There’s nothing more panic-inducing than vegetables and fruit slipping towards oblivion. Take a trip down the freezer section of the grocery store, and you will see that’s there’s very little that can’t be frozen. Get some good containers, and those over-ripe peaches can be turned into compote with a little sugar and vanilla bean, easy to stir into an ice cream base, pour on top of whole grain pancakes, or stir into pound cake batter. Wilted greens and spinach can be washed, dried, chopped and frozen to star later in risotto, soups, dip, pasta. Learn from the corporate giants, but beat them at their own game. I do have an extra freezer, but it’s cheaper than a full-time prep cook, and I know intimately what’s in all our food.
Homemade Apple-Pecan Granola
1 large or 3 small apples, peeled, cored & diced
1 vanilla bean, split open lengthwise, seeds and paste scraped out
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. maple syrup
8 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
1 c. pecan halves
2 T. grapessed or other neutral oil
pinch of sea salt
Start with a quick homemade applesauce–place diced apple in a small saucepan with a splash of water, the seeds and paste from the vanilla bean, cinnamon and 2 t. of the maple syrup. Simmer until the apples break down, about 15-20 minutes. Add more water if the apples begin to dry out. Remove from the heat, and mash the apples with a fork.
Preheat the oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine applesauce with oats, seeds, pecans, a pinch of salt, and the rest of the syrup. Spread out on a large baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until golden brown and toasty. Cool the granola on the sheet and store in an airtight container or bag for up to three weeks or freeze for longer. My favorite way to enjoy it? With yogurt or kefir and chopped fresh apples.
This morning, I helped my fourth grader memorize the preamble to The Constitution, and I guess it proves what a nerd I am that reading that document and really listening to it makes me a little teary. The phrase that resonates most strongly for me is, “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” These words are a reminder that at the very core of our democracy is a responsibility to think about the well-being of future generations. We are not just in it for us. Our founding fathers were philosophers and statesmen, but they were also farmers.
“In his own eyes, Thomas Jefferson considered himself first and always a man of the land. He felt that “those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God….” What made Jefferson unique in his time was his understanding of the interrelationship between humanity and the environment and how they shaped each other. This wisdom and his subsequent practices, such as crop rotation, use of fertilizer, and contour plowing, characterize him as one of America’s early agronomists.
Jefferson was one of the first Americans to realize that the bounty of this continent was finite. If the nation and its citizens were to continue to enjoy the fruits of the New World, then its resources must be husbanded with proper stewardship.
At the center of Jefferson’s vision of the United States stood the educated, yeoman farmer. An enlightened citizen, trained in many fields, was the only force that Jefferson felt could maintain our democracy and the land upon which it was based. This natural educated man was the basis of stability in government, the basis of true morality, and the basis of the country’s freedom. Proper stewardship of the land was vital if the infant United States were to survive.” *
Those of us who enjoy the bounty of this great land are no less stewards, so think about that when you sit down to dinner tonight, know that the farmers you support work tirelessly every day to preserve the happiness of future generations, and be proud to be a citizen of this great nation.
*excerpt from Thomas Jefferson: Agronomist
Paneer & Tomato Curry
8 oz. paneer (a compressed Indian cheese, available in the dairy department of most well-stocked grocery stores–firm tofu can be substituted), cut into 1″ dice
1 T grapeseed or neutral vegetable oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into paper thin slices
1 2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into paper thin slices
pinch red pepper flakes
2-3 t tumeric
1 t coriander seeds
2 cardamom pods, outer husk removed, small seeds only
8 medium tomatoes, three chopped into 1″ pieces and five halved crosswise (core if cores are large)
1 can coconut milk
small handful cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
toasted naan or warm basmati rice to serve
Heat oil in a cast-iron dutch oven. Brown paneer cubes, in batches if necessary, salting lightly as they cook. When they are brown, remove to a plate and set aside. Add a little more oil to the pot if necessary, and add the garlic, ginger and pinch of red pepper flakes. Fry briefly over medium heat. Meanwhile place coriander and cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grainder and grind to a coarse powder. Add to the pot along with the tumeric and continue stir-frying until spices are fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, cover pot and cook until saucy. When tomato pieces are cooked down into a thick sauce, add browned paneer cubes back to pot, and cook 1-2 minutes. Add tomato halves, cut side down, cover and cook until tomatoes are beginning to soften, but still hold their shape. Uncover and add coconut milk (start with 1/2 can and add to taste). Stir gently to combine, then remove to a serving bowl or platter, top with chopped cilantro, and serve with naan or warm basmati.
When I was in high school, there was a class called “Home Ec.” This might seem charming and antiquated, but wait til you hear the rest of it. Home Ec was just for girls. There was another class, a class that was boys only, and that class was called “Bachelor Living.” I was always a little jealous about Bachelor Living–I suspected that while we were learning how to sew and cook and create tasty meals on a shoestring, the boys were throwing darts and drinking lager and grilling steaks. Maybe even playing the drums loud and throwing dirty clothes on the floor. At best, they were probably learning how to hold their lives together just long enough to get married and have somebody else do all the hard stuff while they went out to have fulfilling careers. This sort of thinking probably explains the collapse of the entire Home Ec curriculum in schools across the nation. And, now that we have thrown the baby out with the bath water, can we look forward to generations of bachelors, hordes of helpless souls waiting around for someone to come sew on a button or put out a small kitchen fire (with baking soda!) or stretch a meatloaf with oatmeal to feed a family of six?
I say, bring back Home Ec! For can there be more useful information than knowing how to care for ourselves, to learn to value food and spend sensibly in the domestic sphere, to have the resources to prioritize quality over convenience? What a relief it was to enter into adulthood knowing how to cut up a chicken, to increase a recipe to feed twelve, to repair a torn seam, to plan ahead. Teaching this knowledge in school says that as a nation we value this information, we think it’s important to be thrifty, to be self-sufficient, to abhor waste, and to spend time considering the choices we make.
Roasted Squash & Farro Salad with Feta
1 med-large winter squash (butternut, pumpkin, acorn, red kuri, etc), peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
8 oz. farro, cooked according to package directions & cooled (found in the rice & grain section of the supermarket)
2 small sweet red peppers, diced
1 bunch green onion, sliced thin (white part and about 1/2″ of green)
1 small handful parsley leaves, chopped
4-6 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp whole grain or dijon mustard
1/2 c. olive oil + extra olive oil for roasting squash
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the squash cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out onto a baking sheet. Roast, tossing once or twice, until tender and lightly browned.
When farro is cooked, spread out on baking sheet until cool. When it’s cool, place in a large bowl, and add peppers, green onions, and parsley, Set aside and make the dressing. Place lemon juice and mustard together in a small bowl. Whisk together until combined and continue whisking while drizzling in olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Pour over farro mixture, stir to combine and correct seasoning with extra salt and pepper if necessary. Add roasted squash pieces and feta cheese and lightly toss again. Refrigerate or serve at room temperature.
Oven Roasted Ratatouille
1 medium eggplant, cut into 2″ chunks
1 small handful cherry tomatoes
2-3 small sweet or med-hot peppers, cut into 1″ pieces
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
salt & pepper
6 sprigs thyme
Preheat oven to 400. Place eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and garlic together in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over all to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss everything together until evenly coated and spread on baking sheet. Tuck thyme sprigs in between, and roast until vegetables are soft. Serve with crusty bread and a wedge of cheese. Squeeze soft garlic from cloves and spread on the bread.
Three days after Tess was born, I brought her home from the hospital, a perfect, round, pink baby, with a tuft of orange chick fluff on her head. It had never occurred to me that I could create something so perfect, so beautiful, a being filled with sunshine and light from the moment she came into this world. I thought it would take me time to love her, to know her, but there she was from the very beginning. She lay sleeping in my grandfather’s wooden crib next to my bed and I sat for hours looking at her clear brow, her sweetly balled up fists, her perfect little mouth. Suddenly I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. A voice of darkness whispered in my ear, “Someday, she’s going to leave.” What a dirty, dirty trick. I am a planner, an organizer, a strategist, and I had not accounted for this, this giant love that was bigger than me, that would forever be beyond my control. I would love her so much my heart ached with joy, and if I did everything right, she would leave me. To stop the panic I convinced myself in that moment that it would be a really long time before that happened–ages, really. Yet here I am, almost twelve years later, and all I did was blink.
In that moment looking down upon my sleeping baby, the strategist in me wondered what I could do to forever tie us together without binding too tightly. What would we do to weave the too-short years into a tapestry of love and warmth and light and connection? Food would work that magic, just as it had for me and my parents and their parents and their parents. Together we have laughed and cried and yelled and wondered and shared over plates of pasta, warm bowls of soup, stacks of pancakes, and the scents and tastes have become us, our family, our memories. And when we do the practice leaving that all good parents must, it is food that sees us through it. What did we talk about at dinner the night before we dropped baby girl at camp for two weeks? What we would have the night she got back, of course. ”But I don’t want to go out to dinner. I want you to cook,” she said. ”Promise?” Yes, I promise.
Grilled Stuffed Sweet Peppers
adapted from The Homesick Texan via Robb Walsh
1/2 pound breakfast sausage meat
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
3 small sweet peppers
Yield: 6 small pepper halves
Combine the sausage, ground beef, rice, eggs, parsley and spices together in a bowl. Cut the peppers in half through the stem and removed seeds and membranes. Fill each half pepper with meat mixture. Mound the meat no more than a 1⁄2 inch over the top edge of each pepper. The stuffed peppers can be made in advance to this point and stored covered in the refrigerator for several days.
Build a medium hot fire off to one side in the grill. Cook pepper side down over the cooler side for 10 to 12 minutes, until the pepper is charred and soft. Turn the stuffed peppers over and cook on the hotter side of the grill for about 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Test for doneness and serve.
Late-summer crops are always full of memories. Perhaps because I spent so much of my childhood summers in Louisiana with my grandparents, or perhaps just because summer cooking took over my grandmother’s life and filled her house with the steamy scents of roasting okra and frying catfish, or perhaps because summer afternoons were spent among endless jars of pickled okra, tomatoes, and peach preserves. These are the taste memories that are strongest for me, and summer is the time I most often remember that I am a Southern girl, one who grew up on the sandy soil of Southwest Louisiana.
Not long ago, I discovered the lush and deeply evocative writing of Edna Lewis. Her classic, The Taste of Country Cooking, is a gorgeously written history (in the guise of a cookbook) of a vanished time and place. Lewis, the granddaughter of freed slaves who went on to become a hugely successful New York city chef, recounts growing up in Freetown, Virginia—a place and time captured for us in the gorgeous prose and dreamy amber of her memory. Her recipes and stories are divided into seasons, and she recounts the joys of the first asparagus in spring—the taste must have been so alive, so green after months of winter when the ground yielded nothing fresh to eat. She talks about catching shad—fish that came from the ocean to the inland waterways to spawn in the spring. That was the only fish they ever had, and it only appeared in the spring. It was such a treat that it was served for breakfast. Summer brought watermelon cooled in the spring, and hand-churned ice cream. Fall brought earthy root vegetables and game, while winter meant long evenings near the fire and long-simmered holiday dinners. Each season had its rhythms, its joys, its celebrations, and its inevitable losses as one season waned to make room for the joys of another, the pain of loss forever salved by the glorious recompense of nature.
Read Edna Lewis and remember that summer is a season to be celebrated too. As enchanted as I often am with the cuisines and dishes of far-off places, and while many writers assert that the United States has no food traditions or culture of its own, I am truly grateful to Miss Lewis for reminding me that I am from a place that has deep roots and taste memories, a place I am forever glad to call home.
Eggplant Gratin with Herbs and Creme Fraiche
2 medium to large eggplant, sliced 1/2″ thick
salt & pepper
1 quart simple tomato sauce
3 Tbs. minced chives
3 Tbs. minced parsley
1 Tbs. thyme leaves
12 oz. creme fraiche or heavy cream
4 oz parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375. Season eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with olive oil. Heat a large skillet or griddle pan over med-high heat and fry eggplant slices in batches until golden on both sides. Set aside while you prepare the creme fraiche. Place creme fraiche or cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to about 1 cup, then stir in half of the grated parmesan and all of the chopped herbs. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside. Oil a 9″ casserole or gratin pan and place eggplant inside in a single layer. Cover with a thin layer of simple tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan. Make two more layers of eggplant and sauce, covering the top with tomato sauce. Ladle over the reduced creme fraiche or cream and sprinkle on a final layer of parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered until browned and bubbling, about 25-30 minutes. Let rest briefly before serving. Also delicious at room temperature.
Eating is a moral act. Eating is a political act. Eating can be an act of delicious rebellion, joyful defiance in the face of corporatism and greed. For this holiday celebrating our freedom, let us not forget to celebrate our most fundamental rights as eaters, for what we eat determines who we are. We all eat together, every day, as one great nation. Let us pause for a moment today and consider what we bring to the table.
Eaters’ Bill of Rights:
- Eaters have a right to food.
- Eaters have a right to safe food.
- Eaters have a right to nutritious food.
- Eaters have a right to food with country of origin labels.
- Eaters have a right to food with labels for genetic modification.
- Eaters have a right to know whether food has been genetically modified.
- Eaters have a right to food produced without harming air, water or land.
- Eaters have a right to food produced under socially just circumstances.
- Eaters have a right to know the conditions of their food production:
- Is the environment harmed?
- Is the food safe?
- Are the animals treated with dignity and respect?
- Is the food produced on farms by family farmers?
- Is the food produced by factories?
- Are the farmers paid a just wage?
- Do farm workers have safe and healthy working conditions?
- Are production contracts fair or one-sided?
- Are processing plant and warehouse workers paid just wages?
- Are processing plant workers given reasonable work schedules?
- Is the food produced locally or transported for thousands of miles?
- Is the food system controlled by a few agribusiness cartels?
- Eaters around the world have a right to a secure food system.
- Eaters have a right to good food at a fair price.
Thai Pork Omelette with Heirloom Tomatoes & Fresh Herbs
1 Tbs. grapeseed oil (or other flavorless oil)
1 medium-hot pepper, diced
2 small spring onions or 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1/3 pound ground pork
3 eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
1 medium heirloom tomato (or 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half), diced
small head of butter lettuce
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 c. fish sauce
3 Tbs cool water
1 dried red chile, crumbled
Mix together ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Separate lettuce into leaves, wash, dry, and set aside. Pick herb leaves, wash, dry, and set aside. Chop a few basil and cilantro leaves and hold separately. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Coat skillet with oil, swirling to cover bottom and sides. Saute onions, garlic, chile pepper and ginger. After about 30-45 seconds, add pork and stir-fry until cooked through. Spread contents of skillet in even layer and add beaten eggs, tilting skillet to distribute evenly. Distribute chopped tomato over omelette as it cooks and sprinkle with reserved chopped basil and cilantro. Pull sides of omelette towards center of skillet as it cooks, letting uncooked egg run underneath. When it is almost cooked, use a spatula to turn omelette over and quickly brown the other side. When cooked, serve wrapped in lettuce leaves, with dipping sauce, showered with fresh herbs.
I am un-American. At least that is what people tell me when they discover that we don’t have a television. ”Do you mean you don’t have cable?” they will sometimes ask, hopefully, thinking we might be a little pitiful, but not completely crazy. No–I mean we don’t have a tv. At all. The last time I had a television was 1997. After my last 90210 dinner party in 1993, I had moved it from apartment to apartment without ever turning it on, so I just got rid of it. I have always hated the constant noise and chatter of tv, the commercials, the empty and unsatisfied feeling I had inside after watching for several hours. I know that I can be rather extreme at times, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel, so I made it go away. Simple as that. Now, I can’t imagine which hours of the day I’d give up to fill with television–the time I lie sleepily in bed with my children at the end of the day? The stolen moments I spend reading books? The time I unwind cooking dinner, enjoying the soothing, repetitive satisfaction of chopping, slicing, stirring, meditating on the scents and textures that have nothing to do with spreadsheets, social media, or workaday minutia? I know if we kept a tv around, it would work its insidious way into our lives, for what is it for if not to be turned on? It has been lovely to raise children without a tv–when they were very little, they rode along in the grocery cart without ever whining or asking for sugary cereal, packages bedecked with cartoon characters. I never had to watch them become sharp and bitter with desire instilled by corporate advertising. I am not alone. I have a friend who also does not have a television. When people make tv references (which happens all the time in casual conversation), we just look at each other and shrug. We don’t get it. But that’s ok, because I don’t want it. I know that my choices are not for everyone. But I do believe it is possible to curate our own experience, to pick and chose what we want in our lives. I find this gloriously freeing . . . and pretty American after all.
Stuffed & Grilled Tomatoes with Garlic Ciabatta
More a method than a recipe, this is one of my favorite rituals of summer. Allow about 3-4 toasts per person. The quantities below make about 12 toasts.
2 c. fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large handful itlalian parsley, chopped
chopped basil & chives
1/4 c. olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
6 tomatoes, cut in half, seeds scooped out
1 loaf ciabatta, cut into 12 slices
olive oil for brushing toasts
whole coves garlic, cut in half
Build a medium hot fire in grill. Toss ingredients for stuffing together in a medium bowl and mix until olive oil is evenly distributed. Pack stuffing fairly tightly into tomato seed cavities. Brush ciabatta slices on both sides with olive oil. Grill bread until golden. While still slightly warm from grill, rub toasts with cut side of garlic clove on one side. Place on platter in single layer and set aside. Place tomatoes on grill, skin side down. Grill until they are softened and bottoms are charred and blackened. Remove from grill, placing on toasts skin side up. When they are cool enough to handle, peel away charred skins and discard. Use a fork to mash tomato into garlic toasts. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if desired and devour.