About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Tomato Steaks

These were inspired by a dish that I had years ago at Oliveto restaurant in Oakland when Paul Bertolli was in charge of the kitchen there. He served something similar to this at one of the tomato dinners that we enjoyed there. I've taken the dish in my own direction.

2 large beefsteak tomatoes
8 thin slices prosciutto
butter and/or olive oil
balsamic vinegar
fresh ground black pepper
slivered fresh basil leaves

Remove the stems from the tomatoes and core them if desired. Cut the shoulders and the bottoms off of the tomatoes and then cut the tomatoes in half horizontally into two thick slices each. Lay a slice of prosciutto out on a work surface and top it with a tomato slice and pull the ends of the prosciutto slice over the top of the tomato slice. Lay out another slice of prosciutto and flip the half wrapped tomato slice over onto the second slice of prosciutto and pull the ends of the second prosciutto slice over the top of the tomato so that the tomato is completely encased in prosciutto. Set the slice aside and wrap the rest of the tomato slices in the remaining prosciutto in the same way.

Warm 2 plates in a 200ºF oven.

Heat a skillet that is large enough to hold all four tomato slices over medium high heat with a 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter and/or olive oil. When the pan is quite hot but before the butter burns, add the tomato slices to the pan and quickly sear them on both sides. Remove the tomato slices to the hot plates before the tomatoes get soft. Turn the heat off and deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar and pour the hot juices over the warm tomatoes. Grind some fresh black pepper over all and sprinkle with the slivered basil leaves. I don't season this dish with salt because the prosciutto is already quite salty. Serve immediately.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer.

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