One of the best aspects about food blogging is that I’m introduced to all different kinds of foods that I normally wouldn’t just pick up in the grocery store. Companies will occasionally send me their product to try and review here. It’s a great perk, but obviously I only choose products to review that are relevant to this blog – and I will ALWAYS give my honest opinion on the product.
So when another fellow blogger and friend, Katie from Healthy Happy Hour referred me to the folks at Muir Glen and I did a little bit of research on their organic canned tomato products, I was more than happy to do some recipe testing with some of the items they sent me. I received the package a few months back and had every intention of cooking with them right away, but I was in the midst of final wedding plans and it just slipped through my fingers – along with cooking in general.
Last month, when I got back into blogging and cooking consistently (no more wedding diet for this girl!) I set out to use the Muir Glen tomatoes in a few different ways.
Now, before I get into the recipe and how I liked the tomatoes, (I loved them!) let me give you a little bit of background information on the company and their process. All of their products are purely organic – there are no pesticides or chemical fertilizers used in the growing or canning process of the tomatoes. All of the little tomato gems are grown by real farmers in the San Joaquin Valley of California, are picked in late summer when they’re at the ripest, and then sent along on their merry way to be canned.
Since I’ve been back in the kitchen, ferociously cooking away, I’ve had the opportunity to try some of these babies out. I wanted to make sure I used the tomatoes in a way that would really let their flavor shine through, so first up was a raw salsa where I used the fire-roasted diced tomatoes. I just tossed the can of tomatoes in the food processor, along with 1/8 cup onion diced, 1 small garlic clove, 1 small jalapeno (I like it hot), a big pinch of salt and about 1/8 cup cilantro; (I also like a heavy hand on the cilantro) turned the food processor on, and done! Kev and I LOVED this salsa; honestly it was one of the freshest, most delicious salsas I’ve made to date.
Next up, pasta sauce. Penne alla vodka is one of my favorite pasta dishes of all time, (second of course to fettuccine alfredo) but I’ve been totally swooning over sweet vermouth lately, plus I have a HUGE bottle left over from this Fettuccine with Sweet Vermouth. I thought it’d be interesting to do a spin on the vodka sauce and use sweet vermouth instead, and swap out the cream for a little bit of tangy goat cheese and mascarpone cheese. OMG. So delicious. And so easy – perfect for a weeknight dinner.
For this dish, I went with one can of the reduced-sodium diced tomatoes and one can of original tomatoes, but the basil and garlic, garlic and onion or Italian herb tomatoes would also work wonderfully.
All in all I was extremely happy with taste of all the tomato products I tried; and I think I’m going to go out on a limb here and say they’re my favorite brand to date – and I’ve tried A LOT of different brands, from the cheapies to the most expensive imported from Italy. Not only are they delicious, but it also just makes me feel better knowing that I’m putting something into my body that’s actually good for me.
If your local grocery store or specialty store doesn’t sell these guys, you can buy them here. Thanks all, and have a happy Friday!
- 2- 14.5 ounce cans Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sweet vermouth
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- 2 ounces mascarpone cheese
- Pinch of red pepper flake
- 10 ounces angel hair or thin spaghetti
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season liberally with salt. Add pasta, cook until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, make sauce.
- In a large skillet, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil over a medium flame. Add onion and garlic; sauté until soft, about three to four minutes. Add in sweet vermouth; simmer until reduced by half.
- Add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low and stir in goat cheese and mascarpone. When the pasta is ready, add to sauce. Reserve cooking liquid. Toss pasta with sauce, if necessary add a little bit of pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.