This Dame Cooks A Collection of Recipes from Alaska to the South Pacific and Caribbean

Homemade V-8 Juice and Other Preserved Tomatoes

V-8 juicecanned tomatoesTomatoes are abundant now and inexpensive especially if purchased in quantity.  Unlike hot-house tomatoes that the supermarkets carry in the winter,  fresh summer tomatoes are full of flavor that you can smell.   They’re a good source of vitamins A and C, and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.   Cooked tomatoes actually have more antioxidants than fresh tomatoes, the exact opposite of other antioxidant rich foods which lose their potency when cooked.  Researchers believe a person who drinks one glass of tomato juice everyday will live a very long healthy life.

Tomato pulp with milk powder makes a wonderful facial mask that will actually help heal acne and defoliate skin.  Idea of Beauty claims vitamin C and potassium found in tomatoes help heal the skin.  We know the vitamins and minerals in tomatoes are internally good for our bodies so if you’d rather absorb  those nutrients in a pampered facial mask than eat them, so be it.  Certainly anything good to eat will not harm your skin unless you’re allergic to it.

There are dozens of varieties of tomatoes.  Beef steak tomatoes are good for salads, sandwiches, salsas, and stuffed with chicken salad, tuna salad, herbed cottage cheese, tabbouleh or couscous.

Roma tomatoes are more fleshy and make excellent Italian sauces, canned whole tomatoes, or dried tomatoes.  Even the sauce can be dehydrated for tomato paste.

Cherry tomatoes and salad tomatoes on the vine are wonderful roasted and preserved with olive oil for antipasto, meze plates, and everything in between.

There has got to be at least one new dish created everyday that uses tomatoes.  Try a few of the recipes given here.  Add your own herbs and spices, make them your own.  And while tomatoes are at their peak, preserve some for winter.

Homemade V-8 Juice:

  • 2 lb tomatoes, washed, cored, and chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, washed and chopped with leaves
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small red beet, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, washed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  •  2 tsp of Old Bay Spice
  • 1 Tbsp horseradish


  1. In a stainless steel pan, cook vegetables about 20 minutes or until they are tender.
  2. Puree in a food processor.
  3. Add sea salt and sugar to taste.  Chill.
  4. Follow the method for Canned Tomato Juice for larger quantities.

Here are a few ways to preserve them:

  1. Frozen Tomatoes:  Wash and core, place in freezer bags whole and freeze.  They thaw out in a flash and are excellent in bolognese sauce and stews or soups.
  2. Canned Tomato Juice:  Wash, core, quarter and cook (without added water) over medium heat in a stainless steel pan just until tender and juicy.  Run through a food mill or press through a fine mesh sieve (chinoise) to remove skins and seeds.  Add salt to taste and 1/2 tsp of citric acid to sterilized jars.  Pour tomato juice into hot jars up to 1/2 inch from the rims, seal and process in a pressure cooker for 35 minutes.  (see video below)
  3. Canned Whole or Diced Tomatoes:  Wash and core tomatoes, slice an X into bottom of each tomato, dip into boiling water for 2 minutes then remove the skins.  Pack whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes into sterilized jars with salt to taste and 1/2 tsp citric acid.  Pour hot tomato juice into jar up to 1/2 inch from rim of jar, seal, and process in pressure cooker for 35 minutes.
  4. Dried Tomatoes:  Use Roma or cherry tomatoes.  Wash and slice in half.  Place on trays in an electric dehydrator and dry per manufacturer’s instructions.  Or, place on racks over cookie sheets and dry in a 250° F. oven, turning ocassionally, until tomatoes are leathery.  Place dried tomatoes in sterile jars and store in a cool, dark pantry.  Or, add basil leaves, garlic, salt, and pour in hot olive oil up to 1/2 inch from the rims.  Seal immediately and place in a cool, dark  pantry for 1 week before using.  Refrigerate, after opening, up to 6 weeks.
  5. Tomato Paste:  Use Roma or beef stake tomatoes.  Dry the tomatoes in a dehydrator until they are crisp (see video below), grind to a powder in a food processor or coffee mill and reconstitute with just enough water to make a paste.  To make a sauce, add a bit more water to the paste along with herbs, spices (salt, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, cloves etc.), onions, garlic, or mushrooms.
  6. Tomato Caper Tapenade:  3/4 cup of dried tomatoes in oil, 1/4 cup drained capers, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves.  Process all ingredients until smooth.  Spoon into an 8 oz hot-sterilized- jar, top with 1/4 cup hot olive oil, seal immediately.  Refrigerate, after opening, up to 6 weeks.

Dehydrating tomatoes video


Canning tomatoes video

Sun-dried Cherry Tomatoes in Basil Oil

dried-tomatoesDrying tomatoes in the dessert sun is super economical and far more comfortable than turning on the oven in the kitchen when it’s 108° F. outside.  The process is simple and safe…the results are as good as store-bought and you know who, in what, and where they came from.  Sun-dried fruits and vegetables are intensely flavorful and healthy so long as they’re not treated with chemical preservatives.  The only thing drying does is evaporate the water content…the vitamins and flavors are still there and undiluted.

Cherry tomatoes are perfect for drying in the sun.  A solar-dehydrator works perfectly and can be made with a box painted black and piece of window glass to cover the top.  Cut a 2-inch hole in the bottom of the box and the top of  one side.  Cover holes with mesh or screen to keep the insects out.  This will allow air to flow in and out.  Place on a table or chair in the yard where direct sun will hit it throughout the day.

When the tomatoes are dry but still rubbery they’re ready to dress and preserve in oil.  You can add whatever herbs you’re fond of and olive oil or a combination of canola oil and olive oil.  If you add salt, dissolve it in a little lemon juice first or crush it with cloves of garlic before adding to the jar.

For best storage, pack in 8 oz. sterilized jars, pour hot oil up 1/2-inch from rim and immediately seal.  Store in a cool dry pantry for 1 week before using.  Refrigerate when opened and use within 6 weeks.  Bring to room temperature before using.  Use sun-dried tomatoes in salads, soups, sandwiches, hors d’eouvres and antipasto.


  • 12 oz fresh ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 6 or 7 dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt in 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic bruised
  • 1/4 tsp dried pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil


  1. Wash tomatoes and slice in half.  Place on a icing screen or cake rack.  Make sure air can flow under the rack.
  2. Cover tomatoes with a single layer of cheesecloth and place in direct sunlight for the day.
  3. If tomatoes are not dry and rubbery by night-fall, remove tomatoes to indoors overnight.
  4. Turn each tomato half over and place back in the sun the following day.
  5. Pack dried, rubbery tomatoes in a sterile 8 oz. jar.  Add crushed garlic, salt, basil and pepper flakes.
  6. Heat oil to hot but not smoking and pour into jar up to 1/2 inch from top rim.  With a skewer or knife move the contents around a bit to release any air bubbles.  Wipe the rim and seal immediately.



Easy Paella for Two

04.03.2014 · Posted in Main Dishes, Recipes

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Running late today, no time to shop, driving home and thinking… dinner at 7:00…what do I have that’s fast and delicious.  Still have mixed seafood, 1 chicken breast, kielbasa, rice, canned tomatoes…hmmm…paella.  I have garlic, onions, saffron, cilantro, wine, stock.  Yes, paella it is…on the stove top…too hot to turn on the oven!   I made lavender lemonade Monday.  Add a little bubbly (or a lot of bubbly) to that and make a salad.  Enough!!!  Voila, romantic dinner for 2.  You’ve got to give this a try.


  •  4 inches of kielbasa sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1/2 chicken breast, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • pinch of saffron (or 1/2 tsp each turmeric and paprika)
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley flakes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 dashes Tabasco sauce (or pinch cayenne pepper)
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mixed seafood (or 8 prawns)


  1. In a 2-quart sauce pan over medium heat, fry sausage until fat is released.
  2. Add chicken pieces and fry for 5 or 6 minutes until they brown a little
  3. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper.  Cook until wilted and fragrant.
  4. Add wine and stir to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add rice, stock, tomatoes, saffron, cilantro, bay leaf, Tabasco, salt and pepper.  Stir.
  6. Cover pan and simmer for 14-15 minutes.
  7. Add seafood, continue simmering until rice is done and seafood is pink (about 5 minutes).


  1. If you haven’t got saffron, use annatto oil or turmeric and paprika.
  2. Use sweet Italian sausage or pieces of leftover pork chops instead of kielbasa.
  3. You can add peas, green beans, artichokes, or broccoli florets.
  4. Make this dish with just chicken or pork.

Mediterranean Black Bean Salad

03.27.2014 · Posted in Appetizers, Salads & Dressings

black bean saladYou can never have too many salad/salsa dishes in your culinary repertoire. This recipe is from my Jordanian friends in Seattle. It is a marinated bean salad that just gets better and better the longer it marinates. It has all the essential flavors of the Mediterranean with lemon, olive oil, cumin, cilantro and mint. The addition of chipotle chilies, capers, olives, artichokes or sun-dried tomatoes would give this dish a whole new dimension. Whatever you add to make this your own, it will be well received.

Serve it as part of your party hors d’oeuvres in baby hearts of romaine or endive. Or, serve it with tortilla chips like salsa, add it to tacos or enchiladas. Stuff it in hollowed out crusty rolls with deli meats and cheeses like a muffalatta. Its a great side dish for a dinner with roasted lamb, chicken or fish. Its also a light accompaniment to a vegetarian sandwich.


  • 3 1/2 cups cooked black turtle beans (or 2 cans 15oz each)
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped mint (1 tsp dried mint)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 or 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. Rince black beans in a collander. Place in a bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and fold to combine.
  3. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator overnight or at least 1 hour before serving in order to develop flavors.

Sumac Chicken & Cabbage Bake

03.27.2014 · Posted in Main Dishes

sumac-chicken1Sumac is available in Middle Eastern markets, Asian markets, and your better culinary shops.  Do not use sumac berries from native American bushes, they are poisonous.  Edible sumac closely resembles paprika and adds a decidely lemon flavor to most dishes.   This recipe is adapted from one given to me by a Jordanian friend in Seattle.  This would also work well on a bed of onions or bake it without the bed of cabbage and serve it over steamed spaghetti squash, pasta or rice.

  • 6 chicken thighs, skinless, boneless
  • 1 cup homemade yogurt
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 small head of cabbage, shredded coursely
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine, divided
  • 1 Tbsp sumac

Generously salt and pepper chicken thighs, place in a zip-lock bag.  Stir sumac and cayenne  into yogurt and pour half of it on top of chicken, seal bag and massage.  Set in refrigerator to marinate for 40 minutes.  Sauté garlic, onion, red and green peppers, and 1/2 the cilantro in olive oil until wilted, remove from pan and set aside.  Place shredded cabbage in an oven-proof casserole dish.   Remove chicken from marinade, discard marinade, roll chicken in Panko bread crumbs and fry just until lightly browned on both sides.  Place on top of cabbage in casserole.  Heat the remaining half of the yogurt marinade in the same skillet over medium heat, whisking to blend with pan drippings.  Add the sauteed vegetables and simmer for 2 minutes then pour over chicken and cabbage. Sprinkle remaining sumac over top.  Cover and bake at 350° F. for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and continuing baking for 10 minutes more.   Top with remaining cilantro, serve with a black bean salad and warm lavash or pita bread.