One of my most notable hobbies includes testing recipes in the middle of the night. With four other people living in my house, it’s rare for there to be a quiet moment. But during those early hours of the day, there is peace. Peace, at least, in the house. In my mind… well, that’s a different story. My mind wanders at any point of the day, but at night it picks up into a sprint. There are a few ways to ease my thoughts at night, but cooking stands above the rest.
There’s something empowering about entering the kitchen with no idea what you’ll create. As a perfectionist, it can also be a bit daunting. You have to tap into resourcefulness and make the most of ingredients already available. Failure is completely possible, but I think it should be welcomed. It’s a simple exercise to embrace imperfection and the unknown.
Clearly it’s a popular idea, since there are multiple food network shows dedicated to that exact concept. So, you’re in your own personal episode of Chopped. What’s next?
I present to you, a caprese-style fried tomato stack.
I decided not to write this as a formal recipe, simply because my process was very informal. I just threw some ingredients together, and the product turned out pretty well.
It begins with a slightly underripe tomato. I sliced a thin layer off the bottom just so it would stand up straight. Then I sliced the tomato into 1/2 inch thick slices, leaving the top and stem intact. In a bowl, I mixed together unseasoned gluten-free breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt. I placed each slice into the breadcrumbs, making sure it’s fully coated. I then heated vegetable oil 1/4 inch high in a nonstick skillet. I cooked each tomato slice for 2 minutes on each side. I removed them from the oil and let them drain on a paper towel-lined plate. I then mashed together half an avocado, 2 tbsp of minced red onion, 2 tbsp of chopped fresh basil, and a pinch of salt.
To assemble, I layered a fried tomato slice, about 1 tsp of the avocado mixture, and vegan parmesan, then repeated the layers until the stack was complete. I made the vegan parmesan from sliced almonds, nutritional yeast, salt, and olive oil, then baked it in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 minutes. After eating it, i realized a crucial piece missing: balsamic vinegar. If I were to try this a again, I would add a balsamic drizzle and serve it as an appetizer. I think this recipe has a lot of potential, and it’s definitely not the last tomato stack I’ll be making.