Friday, February 18, 2011

Lucky Tomatoes

Is it a fruit? Maybe a vegetable? The truth is- it doesn’t matter to me! This lucky item is a SUPER-food! And it’s also how a special someone won me over. Those who know me would surely agree that the way into my heart is definitely a home-cooked meal. So, how did he win me over? Bruscetta! It’s delicious, and jam-packed with health-promoting nutrients, too!

Why have you done a good thing?

Tomatoes are:

· A great low-calorie snack that are high in fiber

· Filled with phytonutrients, specifically lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in red, dark yellow, and dark green vegetables. In many studies, people who consumed more lycopene from foods had fewer incidences of certain cancers (such as breast and prostate) and heart disease.

· Good sources of vitamins A (helps vision), vitamin C (antioxidant), folate (promotes healthy fetal growth), and potassium (helps with blood pressure)

· Better when heated (in terms of the lycopene- it is easier for the body to absorb when heated)

· Best in the summer months (here in NY). Nothing better than farmer’s market tomatoes, or better yet, tomatoes from your own garden!

What to do with tomatoes:

· Sautee some onions, cherry tomatoes, and olives- great topping for fish.

· In the summer, you can throw them on the Barbie with a little vinaigrette

· Make a homemade tomato sauce

· Use that tomato sauce and mix it into a big pot with some onion, peppers, and cubed chicken- easy meal!

· Throw them in a salad (regular, cherry, or sun-dried)

· Eat them whole, as a snack (slice in half and add some salt- I know, I’m a dietitian, but it tastes good! Just a tiny pinch, though, ok?)

And now presenting, the BRUSCETTA that won my heart (I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing!)


2-3 Tomatoes, whole

1 handful Basil, chopped

Garlic (4-8 cloves), finely diced

3-4 T Olive oil

Salt and pepper

  1. Boil water. Add tomatoes and cook for 90 seconds.
  2. Remove from pot and peel of skins. Chop tomatoes into 1-inch pieces and put all juice/seeds in a separate bowl.
  3. In a bowl, combine garlic, basil, and enough olive oil to cover the mixture. Use the back of a fork to mash into a paste.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes (NO juice/seeds) to the mixtures. Mash only slightly with the back of a fork and then mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To make the toasts:

Slice a French baguette into 1-inch pieces. Mix some of the reserved tomato juice with olive oil and drizzle over the sliced bread. Take a peeled clove of garlic and rub it on each slice. Bake in the over at 425 degrees for 10-14 minutes

Spoon bruscetta onto toast and serve.

You can impress them with your chef abilities first, and then let them know why they are doing a good thing!

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

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