Sun-dried Tomatoes Make Omelet A Real Eye-opener

FASTLANE FEAST

September 26, 1990|By Charlyne Varkonyi

Sun-dried tomatoes, a darling of trend-crazed foodies in the 1980s, have entered the supermarket in the 1990s.

They aren't quite a staple yet, but these days it's becoming easier to find low-fat, sun-dried tomato products that can be reconstituted in only 2 minutes -- a convenience that opens up endless fast-cooking possibilities from omelets to pasta sauces.

For this Fastlane Feast, I have used Sonoma Tomatoes -- an organically grown product that typically sells for $1.75 on the West Coast to $2.25 on the East Coast for a 3-ounce package.

The tomatoes are ripened in the field to obtain optimal flavor and are prepared without any salt or fumigants, says Ruth Waltenspiel, who runs Timber Crest Farms with her husband Ronald in Healdsburg, Calif.

The Waltenspiels have been producing the sun-dried product for a decade, but distribution to supermarkets nationwide has just taken off during the past six months. The plain sun-dried halves continue to outsell the dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil in keeping with America's cut-the-fat mania. One ounce of the sun-dried tomatoes marinated in oil has 3.8 grams of fat compared with a mere .1 gram of fat in the plain sun-dried product.

No matter which brand you use, the sun-dried halves add a distinctive flavor in this California sunrise omelet, which also depends on shallots and good quality Cheddar cheese. Serve it with whole-wheat toast, broccoli with pecans, pound cake with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Start by preparing the broccoli. Then toast the bread and make the omelet.

While the omelet is cooking, whip the cream for the dessert.

Items you should have in your pantry include: butter, shallots, eggs, salt and white pepper, pecans, whole wheat bread and confectioner's sugar.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list should include:

*1 package (3 ounces) sun-dried tomatoes

*1 package Cheddar cheese

*1 small package (2 ounces) chopped pecans

*1 bunch fresh broccoli

*1 pound cake

*fresh fruit (such as strawberries, blueberries, peaches)

, *1 pint heavy whipping cream

California sunrise omelet

Makes 2 servings

1 cup hot water

6 sun-dried tomato halves

1 tablespoon butter

1 large shallot, minced fine

5 eggs beaten

salt and white pepper, to taste

tTC 1 chunk Cheddar cheese, about 3 ounces, cut into small chunks

Put cup of hot water in the microwave and heat for 1 1/2 minutes on HIGH or bring to boil in a small saucepan on the top of the stove. Cut sun-dried tomato halves into quarters and add to water, soaking for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Melt butter in a large, non-stick frying pan. Saute shallot and sun-dried tomatoes for about 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve.

Mix eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium high heat, shaking the pan occasionally and using the tines of a fork to stir the egg mixture on the top. When the bottom is set and the top is still somewhat liquid, add the reserved shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and slices of cheese to the center.

When the inside is cooked, using a spatula take each side and fold inward like you would a crepe. Cut in half and serve.

Broccoli with

roasted pecans

Makes 2 servings

1 tablespoon butter

1 small package pecans

1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into florets

Put butter and pecans into a microwave and cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir with a wooden spoon and repeat two more times. Reserve pecans.

Put broccoli and 1/4 cup water in a covered microwave-safe dish and cook on high for 4 minutes. Drain and serve topped with nuts.

Pound cake and fruit

with whipped cream

Makes 2 servings

2 slices pound cake

1/2 cup fresh fruit per serving

1 pint whipping cream

1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar

Put slices of pound cake on two flat serving dishes. Wash berries and pour on top. Put whipping cream in the bowl of a food processor and process for about 1 minute. Add confectioner's ++ sugar. Process again for about 1 minute until the cream is fluffy. Serve over the berries and pound cake.

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