Can I please? Can I, can I??? Especially when my room is the kitchen and my new toy is this gorgeous Cuisinart BRK-200 Brick Oven Deluxe toaster oven. "Toaster oven"...it seems kind of demeaning to call this a mere toaster oven. Before this when I thought of toaster ovens I pictured those grimy little Oster numbers that litter garage sales across America. No, the BRK-200 is a serious piece of kitchen fun. Lined on the inside with pizza stone, equipped with a convection setting, heating to 500*. It kicks ass! How did I come to posses this stainless clad bit of inspiration? I have to thank Eric Ripert.
Most of you foodie types have hard of chef Eric Ripert. 4-star Chef at NYC's Le Bernardin. An incredible cooking talent who also happens to be tall, good looking, and with that damn charming French accent. Like the British accent that always has this innate authority (those BBC radio guys could say "The interior ministry has decreed that everyone should eat more dirt" and I'd probably be out in the garden shoveling handfuls in my mouth), the French accent has this lilting, sing-song, je ne sais quoi quality that makes everything sound romantically fabulous, including my new BRK-200. See, I just found Ripert's blog "Avec Eric" and he's had a series of posts about cooking things in his Cuisinart oven (they are also one of the sponsors of his blog). Avec Eric is a really great site, where Ripert posts recipes and videos of simple, delicious (so far) recipes that everyone can make. After seeing him whipping fish, tomatoes, and other delectable looking edibles in and out of his own countertop oven, I, being weak of mind, just HAD TO HAVE AN OVEN OF MY OWN. I'm like that junkie who needs the quick hookup. So w, in her great understanding of my kitchen gadget fetish, acquiesced to my desire to use our leftover credit from our recent wedding at PDX cookware store Kitchen Kaboodle. So the next day off I went, and home I came with my new toy, and it has been a blast! We've done fish, toasted bread for garden fresh tomato BLT's, and last night replicated ER's recipe for Tomatoes Provençal, which were an awesome pre-dinner treat. Sure, you could do these under the broiler in your regular oven, but don't you NEED one of these too? Yeah, I thought so. Happy shopping!!
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Eric Ripert's Tomatoes Provençal
2 tomatoes, sliced into thirds
1 ½ teaspoons herbes de Provence
¼ cup olive oil
1 small clove garlic, sliced thin
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat toaster oven to broil.
2. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a toaster oven tray, season with herbes de Provence, salt, pepper, and olive oil and garlic
3. Broil for about 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and a little caramelized.
4. Serve with fresh basil, making sure to pour the excess oil from the tray over the top.