I have been lazy in the kitchen because we went to so many barbecues this weekend. I love this season, love the "I provide the meat if you bring a side" parties and personally feel as though barbecue season is much more my downfall than the holiday season.
Speaking of being lazy, a couple weeks ago my girl Ashley and I went grocery shopping together on an overcast day. Ashley and I have started grocery shopping together every week. She tells me what is in her pantry and I come up with 5 meals that she can make with those pantry items and her grocery list. I think that being her personal menu planner and grocery shopper is a small price to pay for how encouraging she is to me, how much she smooches on my son and for how many freebies she gives me [it pays to have a bestie who works with vintage clothes and housewares. Check her out: www.DingalingVintage.com].
We knew that our men would be joining us for dinner and that we really had no excuse not to have something nice cooked for them, since the cupboards would be full and we would have been home for a few hours...but the idea of watching/ criticizing ignorant home buyers on a few home and DIY shows seemed way more interesting than making a big dinner.
Did we toil away making delicious things for our men? No. Did they get a fresh, flavorful, thoughtful meal? Yes! Did we get to rip apart people on "our stories" for not wanting to buy a home because they didn't like the wall colors in certain rooms? Yes!
Enter one of my summer staples: Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with Herb Aioli, this time with the addition of fabulous oven dried tomatoes that my friends Chris and Scott told me about.
We will start with the oven dried tomatoes, they take the most amount of time but only require about 5-10 minutes of prep work. Also, they turn any roma tomato...even the grossest, pale pinkish fleshed, middle of winter tomatoes into amazing pseudo-sundried tomatoes.
Oven Dried Tomatoes
8 roma tomatoes
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsps olive oil
Preheat your oven to 285 degrees. While preheating, quarter your tomatoes lengthwise and remove the seeds.
Spread your tomatoes, skin-side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar, salt and pepper over tomato slices [not olive oil, it won't stick yet].
Let cook for an hour and a half. Remove from oven, sprinkle tomato slices with olive oil and return to oven for an additional hour and a half.
Once done, these tomatoes are unbelievable. This time, we piled them on top of grilled veggie sandwiches. The best thing that I have ever done with them is to put the entire tray into a blender with 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and 1 cup of milk [obviously fresh basil would be phenomenal too]...voila, you get unbelievable tomato alfredo sauce. Toss with pasta and slurp it up!!
That night, about 30 minutes before Brian, Ashley's boo, came over from his barber shop, we threw a bag of frozen french fries into the oven [normally, I would make awesome oven fries but, again, was slightly distracted by HGTV], toasted some bread, sauteed thinly sliced zucchini, button mushrooms and onion slices [on less lazy days, I have fired up the grill for the veggies], and made a quick herb aioli to top the sandwiches.
The Phantom Yank [the anonymous reader, who may or may not be closely related to me] emailed about not knowing what to do with rarely used mayo. The aioli is a wonderful use for mayo. That night, all I did was take about a 1/3 of a cup of mayo and mix it with a couple teaspoons of lemon juice, a 1/4 tsp of black pepper and a 1/4 of a cup of chopped green onions. Aioli is a great pantry buster. Mix whatever leftover herbs you have on hand, fresh is best but dried is fine, into the mayo and you get a great dip for oven fries, or lazy frozen french fries and a great condiment for burgers, veggie burgers or grilled veggie sandwiches.
This sandwich is also one of my summer staples because it is a great "veggie-buster." I have made this sandwich with practically any veggie that is left in my veggie drawer [well, broccoli might be a stretch]. As long as you saute, grill or broil at a high enough heat to make a good char on the veggies, it is delicious!!
P.S. If you are wondering why the pictures in this post are way nicer than in my previous posts, it is because Ashley is a photographer and documented my cooking.