Lately I've found that this recipe for roasted tomatoes is a reliable way to tie these kinds of meals together. The best part is you don't even need to wait for tomato season -- the long, slow cooking plus the steep with herbs and garlic at the end mean that even canned tomatoes will become plenty flavorful. This is such a versatile and easy recipe that I've added a 28-oz. can of good-quality whole peeled tomatoes (I buy the San Marzano brand, because if you're going to do something you might as well do it right) to the short list of items I keep in my lean pantry.
Here are some meals we've had featuring these tomatoes recently, plus a few other ways we've been enjoying leftovers.
First, as a side dish with a big kale-and-romaine Caesar salad for a light meal:
The Seattle restaurant that is the original source of the roasted tomatoes recipe serves them with toasted bread and a bit of chèvre, and I recommend not deviating from that -- we've tried other cheeses but the goat cheese is really the best partner for the tomatoes for some reason.
Here are the tomatoes again, alongside roasted asparagus with a poached egg, and a little pile of potatoes gribiche:
More tomatoes, hard boiled egg, oil-cured olives, and a lentil-barley salad that I made by tweaking this simple, simple recipe:
Using up a different kind of leftovers here in the next two photos. We had accumulated several loaves of slightly stale pita bread, so I brushed them with oil, sprinkled them with a little salt, and put them in a low oven until they were golden brown, then crumbled them up into smaller pieces. First I used the pita to make fatteh with chickpeas and braised carrots:
The next night, I made a classic fattoush salad, and served it with more lentils (same recipe as above, but this time just lentils, and I added a bit of Dijon mustard and chopped parsley) and more hard-boiled egg:
You can see that a clutch of hard-boiled eggs is also a very useful thing to have on hand for these sorts of meals.
When I snapped the first few photos for this post, some weeks ago, I was thinking of this paean to leftovers that I had recently read in Slate; Sara Dickerman's description of the joys of repurposing somehow reminded me of my new dish towels. Now, of course, looking at these plates with their common elements remixed in different ways reminds me of a capsule wardrobe!
What dishes show up again and again on your table at this time of year?