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Abundant in the summer in all shapes and colors, tomatoes contain a red pigment called lycopene. Studies show this pigment is a potent cancer fighter and regular consumption of tomatoes and products such as tomato sauce may help lower prostate cancer risk.

Basil and Pink Sea Salt
Crusted Bread

Special thanks to our Facebook fan Antoinette O'Neill for this recipe!

You will need:
5X9 loaf pans (4 of them)
Cutting board (or pastry board)
Measuring cups & spoons
Plastic wrap

1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
¼ cup olive oil
5-6 cups bread flour
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 tbsp. white salt
3 tbsp. flake pink sea salt (or other gourmet salt)
1 bunch fresh basil
4 tsp. instant yeast

Mix together water, buttermilk and oil. Add 1 ½ cups of flour and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add sugar and eggs; stir together until smooth. Mix in the white salt and yeast. Allow to sit uncovered for 15 minutes.

Add the flour ½ cup at a time, stirring slowly until the dough becomes hard to mix. Turn out on a floured board (or put in mixer with bread hook) and knead for 10 more minutes, adding small amounts of flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Pick the leaves off of the basil and give them a rough chop (or cut them with herb snips.) Knead the basil into the dough. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot for 1 hour.

Place dough out onto a lightly floured board and cut into 4 loaves. Shape dough into greased 5x9 loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the tops of the loaves with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with pink sea salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes (when you tap on the bottom of the pan it should sound hollow. Remove from pans and let cool. Freeze any loaves you won’t be eating right away for later!

Serves 6

Alice Waters

Shaved Fennel, Artichoke, and Parmesan Salad

From Chez Panisse Vegetables
by Alice Waters

2 large Artichokes
2 Lemons
2 large Fennel bulbs
1/4 cup extra-virgin Olive oil
1-2 tablespoons white truffle oil
Salt and pepper
1 piece Reggiano Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
About 1/2 cup Italian Parsley leaves

Pare the artichokes down to their hearts and scoop out the chokes with a spoon, dropping them into water acidulated with the juice of 1 of the lemons.

Cut off the feathery tops of the fennel at the base of their stalks and remove the outer layer of the bulbs. Slice the bulbs very thin with a mandolin or a very sharp knife. Remove the artichoke hearts from the water and slice them very thin the same way.

Assemble the salad in layers on a large platter or on individual serving plates. First make a layer of the fennel slices. Squeeze lemon juice evenly over the fennel and drizzle with about one third of the olive oil and white truffle oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then make a layer of the artichoke hearts, also sliced very thin. Squeeze more lemon juice over them, drizzle evenly with another third of the oils, and season with salt and pepper. Cut thin shavings of the Parmesan with a cheese slicer or a vegetable peeler and arrange them on top of the artichoke slices. Scatter the parsley leaves over the cheese, season with salt and pepper, squeeze more lemon juice over, and drizzle evenly with the rest of the oils. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Georgeanne Brennan

Braised Pork Shoulder with Mustard and Capers

Porc a l'ancienne avec moutarde et capres
From Georgeanne Brennan author of A Pig in Provence

2 1/2 to 3-pound piece of pork shoulder, also called a picnic ham
Course sea salt and freshly ground pepper
One thick slice of lard
1 to 2 handfuls of chopped onions
1 to 2 handfuls of chopped leeks, including both green and white parts
2 carrots cut into 3 or 4 pieces
1/3 bottle of dry red wine
1 teaspoon minced rosemary, plus some for garnishing
1 heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 heaping tablespoon of capers

Preheat oven to 325 F. Cut pork shoulder into large pieces about 2-inches thick. Dry the pieces well and season with a good amount of coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place lard in a Dutch oven and render it over low heat. You should have enough fat to cover the bottom of the pot about 1/4-inch deep. If you do not have lard, use a combination of extra-virgin olive oil and butter.

When the fat has melted, increase the heat and brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, on all sides. As they brown to your satisfaction, remove them to a bowl and continue until all the meat is browned.

To the fat in the pan, add onions, leeks, and carrots. Sauté for a few minutes until the edges of the onion start to brown.

Pour in red wine- I like to use an inexpensive one from the Rhone or elsewhere in southern France-and scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Return the meat and the juices that have collected in the bowl to the pan, then stir in the rosemary.

Cover the pan and put it in the oven. Cook the pork, stirring from time to time, until it is tender enough to cut with a spoon and some of the pieces are slightly ragged. This will take about 3 hours.

To finish, remove the carrots and discard them, because they have given up their flavor to the sauce. Stir in Dijon mustard, a fines herbes version is especially good in this dish, finish with capers and a little more fresh rosemary. Serve the pork very hot. Leftovers make a sumptuous sauce for pasta.

Serves 4 to 6

Creamy Gratin of Chard

by Georgeanne Brennan

A vegetable gratin is a common side dish in a Provencal meal, and might be with tomatoes, asparagus, cauliflower, summer squash, etc., depending upon the season. Sometimes the vegetables are mixed with a sauce, as they are here, but they can also simply be drizzled with olive oil and butter and topped with buttered bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.

3 bunches Chard, trimmed
2 sprigs Rosemary
3 tablespoons butter plus 2 teaspoons
3 tablespoons flour
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Bend the chard to fit into a large pot. Add about 5 inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rosemary sprig. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer until the stalks of the chard are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove, rinse and drain. Discard the rosemary. Coarsely chop and squeeze out the water. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. Return to the heat and pour in the cream and the milk in a thin, steady stream, whisking all the time. Add the cayenne. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently, until a thick sauce has formed, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in all but a tablespoon of the Gruyere, and remove from the heat. Do not overcook.

Butter a baking dish and spread the chard in it. Drizzle with the hot sauce, gently lifting and stirring the chard to coat it with the sauce. Continue adding the sauce until the mixture is creamy, but not swimming. Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, the Parmesan, and dot with the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter.

Bake until bubbling and the topping golden, about 15 minutes. If necessary, place under the broiler for a minute or two. Serve hot, scooped from the baking dish.

Serves 6

Mario Batalis

Olive Oil and Fresh Rosemary Cake

From Mario Batalis Babbo Cookbook,
Recipe by Gina DePalma (Random House, 2002) Photo by Melanie Dunea

4 Eggs
3/4 cup Sugar
2/3 cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Rosemary leaves
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray 10-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the whip attachment to beat the eggs for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is very foamy and pale in color. With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Using a spatula, gently fold the rosemary into the batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for even color. The cake is done when it is golden brown, springs back when touched, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool briefly in the pan, then tip out onto a cake rack to continue cooling.

Serves 8 to 10