Posts categorized as Recipes

When A Brunette Tries Blondies: A Baking Saga

Birthday Cake Blondies ny times

The saying goes “You win some, you lose some.” right? Welp, this one I lost. My baking saga last week reminded me that most often, failing teaches us more than when we succeed. Embracing defeat as a learning opportunity is a fundamental aspect of personal growth. It’s through setbacks that we gain insights and refine our strategies to move forward. And so, while this is embarrassing, I decided to publish my baking failure instead of scratching the column. Also, I couldn’t think of anything else to write about. Just in […]

tagged in baking, dessert, recipe, recipes

Kaori’s Caramelized Fennel

Caramelized Fennel

I’ve written about fennel on several occasions. It’s an Italian thing – the native Mediterranean vegetable is put on the table after dinner and before dessert…  It’s good for digestion. But really, it’s just a segway to more eating, making it easier to justify indulging in the next course of sweet treats. Italians like eating it raw and dipping it in a mix of high-quality olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a dash of salt,  ground pepper, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. But you want to know something… I’ve never […]

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Beets – Love Them Or Hate Them?

beet salad

For the majority of my life, I associated beets as the giggly mass with ringed lines that only appeared once a year on the Thanksgiving table. And the taste of the gelatinous red form wasn’t appealing – sweetness doesn’t always equate to palatability. As I evolved as a home cook, I felt compelled to explore foods that challenged me. Ahem, beets. I’ve tried incorporating the root vegetable in many meals over the years learning the flavor of fresh-cooked beets is quite good. In contrast to their canned counterpart, fresh beets […]

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Stuffed Pumpkin with Alpine Cheese and Bread


This recipe popped up on my Instagram feed and I wanted to share it with you. The stuffed Pumpkin is delicious and will be perfect on your Thanksgiving table next week! The rich, nutty cheese flavor infuses with the sweet pumpkin. The cheese melts into the tender pumpkin and forms a creamy texture. I added a hint of hot pepper for a jolt. The result: a warm, tasty comfort food that will serve as an impressive appetizer for your family and friends. A stunning centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table, the […]

Get Weird In The Kitchen With Ghoulish Quesadilla Pumpkins

Ghoulish Quesadilla Pumpkins2

If you’re a regular reader of The Tomato, you know by now that I enjoy taking on creative food projects. And Halloween is a fine time to get weird in the kitchen. Last year I made funny little Frankenstein Avocado Toasts (recipe here). This meal is a cute activity for the kiddos and they get the enjoyment of eating their monster creatures for breakfast. This Halloween weekend I challenge you to create Gooslish Quesadilla Pumpkins! I had a blast with this. Get wild with the Jack-o’-lantern expressions. The more cheese […]

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Fall Garden Observations and Homemade Echinacea Tea

Homemade Echinacea Tea

Sip echinacea tea on a chilly fall evening, taking a pause to enjoy a quiet moment. I’ve been puttering around the garden. There’s so much to do, see, smell and enjoy in the fall. I’ve discovered a landscape of mushrooms under the oak hydrangea and other mushroom villages nestled below the brush. They indicate a healthy garden because mushrooms thrive in rich, organic soil. I’m not a mushroom expert but I take pleasure in investigating the funny little things. With the cool autumn season and consistent rain, the fungi appear […]

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Light and Fresh Eggplant-Tomato Gratin

breadcrumb mixture

Everyone is wondering what to make with their homegrown garden eggplants… besides heavy eggplant parm. My long-time paisan Rob Di Rico saw a post of mine on Instagram relating to this conundrum. He messaged me, “Paula, I have eggplants too. I made an eggplant-tomato gratin. It was delicious. It’s very fresh and light. People think gratin, they think heavy cream. Not always!” Gratin is a French culinary technique. Ingredients are topped with breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg, butter or oil to create a browned crust by baking. The term is used […]

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Kaori’s Iced Espresso Tonic

The heat is on and caffeinated icy-cold coffee drinks have been the topic of conversation in my circle on the sand.  My friend Keith said in Key Food the Manhattan Special now has a little pop-up stand! I’d like to think my column on the vintage coffee soda a few weeks ago resulted in an up-tick in sales!  I’m on the beach last weekend with a bunch of friends. We were enjoying the entertainment of a very crowded foamy lineup on a knee high afternoon. “I think I have to […]

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Practicing For Pie Season

In total, I’ve made three pies in my whole life! Guess what? I’ll be practicing my pie-making skills through the end of September because the Beach 91st Street Community Garden will be hosting a fall Pie Party! I’m organizing the event and we’ll be selling sweet and savory pies. Part of the funds raised will be used to give back to our community by gardening an unkept area in Rockaway – guerilla gardening style. If you’re interested in donating a homemade pie or purchasing a pie from one of our […]

Creamy Homemade Oat Milk

  My friend Magara invited a few of us over for dinner and served homemade oat milk shots for dessert. How creative, right? I couldn’t believe the warm, oat-y taste! The oat milk was rich and creamy with the perfect balance of sweetness. I enjoyed it so much (and can’t stop talking about it) that Magara gifted me a nut milk bag so I can start making my own oat milk. One challenge with oat milk is a potentially gluey texture. It’s the starch in oats that can cause this […]

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