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Delicious Easy Tomato Recipes

This is the end of the summer tomato season and if you are like us, you have many more tomatoes than you can possibly eat fresh. We use our tomatoes in a number of ways, we pickle them, make sauce out of them and dry them in the oven to produce sundried tomatoes.

Tomatoes are full of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has many health benefits. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K. When combined with olive oil the vitamins and lycopene are more readily available to the body. Not to mention, there are antioxidants and vitamins K and E in the olive oil. The benefits from both are even more pronounced when the tomatoes are cooked. How can such a healthy combination be so delicious?

Quarter medium and large tomatoes, or use cherry tomatoes whole. Place in a glass baking dish in a single layer. Add fresh basil, if you have it available, and 6 cloves of garlic. Drizzle with a generous amount of Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Top with sea salt and pepper.
Bake at 300 for about 2 – 3 hours or until the ingredients look well roasted. The tomatoes on the plate in the picture above are how they look roasted. Transfer the ingredients to a blender and process until it forms a sauce like the one in the bowl in the picture. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. This sauce is a delicious basis for many Italian dishes.
An interesting variation is to cook two pans of tomatoes in the oven. Use one for the sauce and the other tomatoes as garnish for your sauce.

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes (about 8 ounces) Try using the small yellow, green, orange and red tomatoes.
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, or 2 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
The pickling brine is prepared by placing the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (if using) into a small saucepan over a high heat. Bring the brine to a rolling boil, stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  • Wash and dry the tomatoes. Poke a hole through each tomato with a skewer.
  • Place the salt, peppercorns and garlic in the jar
  • Pack the tomatoes into the jar, leaving about ½ inch head space.
  • Pour the brine over the tomatoes. Fill the jar to within ½ inch of the top. Be sure to cover the tomatoes with the brine.
  • Remove the air bubbles by gently tapping the jar against the counter a few times until all the bubbles are popped.
  • Tighten the lid on the jar until the ring on the lid is tight.
  • Let the jar cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The flavor of the pickles will in prove with age so try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.
Caution: These pickles are not canned so they are safe to store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. If you can the jars in a hot bath, they can be stored at room temperature before opening. Once opened they must be refrigerated. In my opinion, they are so delicious, they will not last for 2 months in the refrigerator.

I love Pesto! This is a variation on the usual herbal pesto. It is delicious served on crostini, as a spread for your favorite panini, in a cold pasta salad or as a sauce for warm pasta. Let your imagination go wild. Any way you would use an herbal pasta, use Sun-dried Tomato Pesto.
  • 1 Cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil. (Learn how to make your own sun-dried tomatoes in the oven) Chop them into small pieces, about ½ inch.
  • ½ cup roasted pecans (In Texas we use pecans whenever possible). Other nuts can be substituted such as roasted almonds, pine nuts or walnuts. Each adds its own flavor to the mix.
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon each of Sandy Oaks Mediterranean Sea Salt, cracked pepper and red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¾ to 1 cup Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil or until the ingredients blend smoothly.
  • ¼ cup of Romano Cheese (optional)
  • Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until the ingredients are finally chopped. Do not puree them but rather leave the texture a bit chunky.
  • Store in the refrigerator. It will keep for about 1 week. Always bring to room temperature before serving.
How to Make Oven Dried Sun-dried tomatoes
Wash and dry tomatoes, cut them into half pieces. Place one layer deep in a glass roasting pan. Turn the oven to the lowest temperature possible, less than 200 degrees. Leave in the oven, this may take hours, until they are dry. Cover with Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil and store in a jar. Safest to store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

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Brining Olives

Congratulations, you have olives! Now what to do?

Please don’t try to eat them fresh from the tree; they are really, really bitter.

  • One option is to cure them by brining them; a simple process outlined below.
  • Select only olives free of flaws. To paraphrase an old adage, “one spoiled olive ruins the batch”.
  • Make a solution by mixing 1.5 cups of Kosher or sea salt (without iodine) to one gallon of water. The old fashioned method is to put a raw egg in the shell, in the bottom of a container of water.
  • Pour in salt until the egg floats to the top.
  • Place the olives in a glass or ceramic container. Cover the olives with the above mixture.
  • Weight the olives down with one-gallon Ziploc bags filled with the same brine solution to keep them submerged in the brining solution.
  • Store the olives in a cool place, about 65-72 degrees.
  • In approximately 6 weeks, test the olives by tasting one. The olives should no longer taste bitter. If they do, keep them in the brine a few weeks longer. For the more technically inclined, when the PH meter reads 4.6, the olives are ready.
  • If you think the olives are too salty, pour off the brine, then cover them with cool water and soak for several hours. Drain, cover with fresh water. Store in the refrigerator. Your olives are now ready to eat.

Serving suggestions

Place the cured olives in a bowl of olive oil (Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a good choice). Add peppercorns, garlic cloves, fresh herbs, or any citrus peel. Let olives marinate for a few hours to infuse them with these flavors.

Download The Recipe

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Orange & Black Olive Salad on a Bed of Arugula


  • 5 oranges (four for the salad and one for the dressing)
  • Arugula
  • 1 cup salt cured olives
  • 1 cup Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. dried mint leaves or several sprigs of fresh mint leaves

For The Dressing

Mix together 1 cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar and the juice of 1 orange. Add the ¼ cup of raisins, 1 tsp. of orange zest, 1 tsp. of salt, and either a couple of sprigs of mint leaves or ½ tsp. of dried mint leaves. Whisk until blended.

Two hours or so before serving the salad peel the remaining four oranges and slice them. Put them in a dish and pour part of the dressing over them.

For The Salad

When ready to put the salad together arrange the arugula in a shallow serving dish. Arrange the orange slices over the arugula. Scatter the olives on top and add the rest of the salad dressing to the salad.


Thinly slice purple onions can also be used in the salad.
Sliced pickled beets can also be layered between the slices of oranges.
Ruby red grapefruit can be used instead of the oranges, substituting grapefruit juice for orange juice in the salad dressing. When arranging the salad use Roquefort cheese along with the black olives to garnish.

Download The Recipe

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Olive Oil Ice Cream

This is Sandy Oaks Orchard signature olive oil ice cream. You will need an ice-cream maker.


  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions – Download The Recipe

Whisk egg yolks with honey in a bowl.

Simmer the milk and cream mixture to a boil in a small pot.

Poor milk and cream mixture slowly into the yolk mixture.

Pour mixture back into the pot and heat over medium heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon without running off.

Strain mixture and chill for at least four hours.

Whisk in Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil and churn in ice cream maker according to instructions.

Yields 8 quarts.

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Mediterranean Potato Salad

This is a wonderful, easy salad. The main ingredients are Olive Oil, Garlic and Potato so use a really fine Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Boil potatoes with skin on in water with a bit of olive oil and salt. Remove from heat, drain and peel the potatoes. Figure one potato per person. Cut into chunks and place in a bowl.

Mince garlic cloves depending on the number of potatoes, or about 3 potatoes to one clove. Use a bit of seasoned sea salt, either Sandy Oaks Mediterranean Sea Salt or Sandy Oaks Olive Sea Salt to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Add enough Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil so that the salad holds together. The potatoes will soak up a lot of oil, so you will need to use a lot of oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

You can garnish with parsley and if you are a real olive lover you can add chopped olives to the salad.

You will be amazed by the flavor of this salad.

Download The Recipe

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Lemon Olive Oil Cake


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • lemon zest
  • 1 cup Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 tbs. lemoncello

Directions – Download The Recipe

Beat eggs, mix in oil and sugar, add milk and limoncello. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to wet and incorporate until blended.

In a greased 9×13 pan, add mixture and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serves 10-12

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Grilled Shrimp and Mediterranean White Bean Salad


For The Marinade

  • 6  long stems fresh rosemary, soaked in water for an hour
  • 18  10 -15 count fresh gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail left on
  • 2  lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2  tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano
  • (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2  tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2  cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1  pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4  cup Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper

For The Salad

  • 8  ounces dried cannellini beans (canned are an acceptable substitute), cooked and drained (chick peas can be substituted)
  • 1/2  small red onion, finely diced
  • 1  small red pepper, roasted, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely slivered
  • 1  cup mixed cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1  small radicchio, thinly sliced
  • 4  ounces arugula, washed and dried

For The Vinaigrette

  • 2  cloves garlic
  • 1/3  cup red wine vinegar
  • 1  cup Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions – Download The Recipe

Prepare the marinade:

In a medium bowl whisk together the lemon juice and zest, herbs, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and let them marinate for 15 – 30 minutes. Don’t let them remain in the marinade too long or it will start to “cook” the shrimp.

Prepare the vinaigrette:

This can be done by hand with a whisk or in a blender or food processor. Finely mince the garlic and the  anchovies with a sprinkling of salt, then with the flat of the knife smear them together to make a paste. Place this mixture in a medium bowl with the red wine vinegar,  some freshly ground pepper and whisk well. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify the ingredients and create a creamy sauce. Set aside. The vinaigrette can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.  It may separate but can be re-whisked to a creamy consistency.

Cook the shrimp:

Skewer the shrimp onto the rosemary. Grill them on the barbecue or use a grill pan on the stove. Shrimp do not take long to cook. They are done when they are opaque. Set aside.

Finish the salad:   

Place the cooked cannellini beans in a large bowl and toss with some of the vinaigrette. Add the red onion, roasted red pepper, kalamata olives and half of the basil being careful not to smash everything together. Taste. Add more vinaigrette if desired and season with salt and pepper. This part of the salad can be done ahead and refrigerated. Remove the salad at least an hour ahead, it is best served at room temperature. Before serving taste again and adjust the vinaigrette and seasonings, the beans tend to absorb the sauce.

To serve:

Toss the arugula and the radicchio with some of the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the greens

on individual dinner plates or a serving platter.  Top with the bean salad. Toss the tomatoes with a bit more of the vinaigrette. Arrange on the plate. Place the skewered shrimp on the beans. Sprinkle with the remaining basil.

Serving Size: 6

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Fennel, Arugula and Green Apple Salad

For The Dressing

  • 1 cup Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 oranges, juiced, one zested
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbs. Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

For The Salad

  • 1 fennel bulb, shaved. Yields about 2 cups.
  • 1 granny smith apple, – 1/2 diced, 1/2 julienne
  • 1 cup arugula

Directions – Download The Recipe

Combine all dressing ingredients and wisk to emulsify.
Combine fennel and julienne apples and mix with dressing. Place over arugula and toss in dressing as well. Garnish with apple slices.
Serves 10-12

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Crostini With Figs & Honey

Submitted by Ralph Copeland. Ralph is from Crane, Texas. He is Sandy’s cousin and frequent travel partner.


  • Loaf or baguette of French or Italian bread
  • 5 teaspoons Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Six ounces mild or “sweet” Gorgonzola cheese
  • Eight dried figs, cut in half; or 16 dried figs, depending upon their size and the size of the croutons. If in season, use fresh figs.
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon Herbs de Province
  • 2 teaspoons mignonette pepper, with allspice
  • 8 sprits of fresh opal basil, or fresh mint.

Directions – Download The Recipe

Cut eight one inch thick croutons, on the bias, from the loaf or baguette; it’s best if the bread is slightly stale. Toast each crouton on one side only. Place two of the croutons, toasted side up, on each dessert dish or bread plate.

Brush each crouton generously with a fragrant olive oil (a garlic-infused oil is especially suitable). Rub each of the toasted oil-coated croutons vigorously with the cut end of a garlic clove halved cross ways.

Parboil the figs in a small pan of boiling water briefly-perhaps 30 seconds, more or less, depending on the texture of the figs. Dunk the figs in ice water briefly to stop the cooking, and drain on paper towels. (Alternately plump the figs in ice water for a couple of hours.) Pinch off the stems. Place two figs-or two fig halves-side by side on the croutons, which-oiled and garliced-are now crostinis.

Sprinkle each crostini with a generous tablespoon of mild, or “sweet” Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled into pea-sized pieces. (Or try a good chevre cheese, or even Roquefort.) Drizzle each crostini, and the plate surrounding it, with a teaspoon of honey, preferably a strong dark honey like tupelo or buckwheat, though orange-blossom or wild flower honey “is also nice and will suffice.”

Drizzle the edge of each plate with 1/4 tsp of plain olive oil.

Sprinkle a pinch of Herbs de Province (includes savory, rosemary, and lavender, among other things) on each crostini, and grind a little mignonette pepper (50/50 white and black peppercorns, plus a pinch of coriander seeds) mixed with a few whole allspice berries, over each plate. (A few pink peppercorns in your mill made for eye appeal.)

Garnish the place with a couple of sprigs of fresh opal basil if it’s available; fresh mint sprigs work well, too.

Fresh figs, “just as they are” or halved, work well when you can find them. Some people “gild the lily” with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar, pressed through a fine sieve. (Herbs de Province and mignonette pepper by mail from Penzey’s Spices, Milwaukee, WI.;

Serving Size: 4

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Chorizo and Chicken In A Sherry Cider Vinaigrette

This flavorful dish is a perfect addition to a spread of tapas or mezze served with Sangria.  Serve this dish with slices of French bread, pita bread or Spanish breads. Accompany it, if you like, with a variety of olives, hummus, fresh fruit or other Mediterranean influenced snacks.

Download The Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 package Aurelia’s Spanish Chorizo, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (more if needed to balance the flavors)
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups yellow raisins, washed and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped


  • Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then place it in the hot pan. Sauté the chicken until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate.
  • In the same pan, wilt the shallots and garlic, and then add the chorizo and sauté until it also nicely browned.
  • Remove to the plate with the chicken.
  • Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Next add the apple cider, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan and heat through to meld all the flavors. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more sherry vinegar if necessary to balance the flavors. Set aside to cool (to room temperature). Just before serving stir in the grapes, chopped red pepper and parsley.

Serving Size: 4