Thursday, September 25, 2008

slow roasted tomatoes and life metaphors

What do you do with two quarts of baby tomatoes delivered to your door? That was the situation I found myself in two weeks ago when I let some of the vegetables we had been receiving pile up in our fridge.

So, to be honest, I had previously been drooling over images of slow-roasted tomatoes, and I was purposely trying to hang on to the tomatoes so I would have enough to fill a cookie sheet or two. It was a lot easier than saving the blueberries, go figure.

Did I mention I'm in the middle of a career change? No, probably not because I don't blog about much here except food and my kids. Anyway, I have two kids in daycare/preschool and time on my hands to cook and blog look for my next big project.

Roasting these tomatoes became my first project of the morning (I aim high).

Figuring out what I want to do next is a little like choosing to slow roast tomatoes instead of eating them some other way. Instead of rushing to find the fastest way to get back to a regular salary, I'm taking the time to really figure out what I would be happiest doing.

But slow-roasted tomatoes. I took my two favourite recipes from Bon Appetit and Smitten Kitchen and combined them. I liked the ingredients from the Orangette's recipe but the hands-on work involved with the Smitten Kitchen was far easier (put them in the oven for three hours and forget about them). (I like a quality end-result, but not without too much fussing)

At about the 1.5 hour mark, I started to smell the sweet smells of the olive oil and tomato juices. My stomach growled. Visions of tomatoes with goat cheese, tomatoes in pasta, danced in my head. But I had another hour and a half left to wait.

I ate lunch. I waited (patience-I have a lot).

And then..they were done. I scooped them into a bowl, drizzled more olive oil on, grated some fresh garlic and topped it with chopped parsley. Then, into the fridge to let the flavours meld.

When they came out --and I did serve them with dinner to my family-- they were delicious. We ate them on their own. No cheese, no bread.

If only tomato season weren't almost over...

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
I took the elements I liked from the recipes posted at Smitten Kitchen and Bon Appetit. Slow-roasting tomatoes is easy --real easy, no matter which recipe you choose. And in my opinion, pretty hard to mess up. And it made me feel like anything I served with it would be that much fancier.

1 cups (or more) olive oil
2 quarts of cherry, grape or small Roma tomatoes, halved
dried oregano
dried thyme
dried rosemary
1 3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, minced

My preparation
Preheat oven to 225°F.
1. I cut each tomato in half--crosswise and arranged them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side up.
2. I drizzled olive oil over each tomato, just enough to make them glisten.
3. I sprinkled the oregano, thyme and rosemary, sugar, salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Like Smitten Kitchen, I went easy on the herbs, which let the tomato taste come through. The sugar, from the BA recipe, was just for kicks.
4. The tomatoes went in the oven for about three hours. I could should have left mine longer than 3 hours. They were supposed to be shriveled and dry, but with a little juice left inside– I think mine were more on the juicy side.

This is where I reverted to following Bon Appetit:
5. I let them cool, then layered them in a bowl and sprinkled garlic and parsley over each layer, then added more olive oil.
6. I put them in the fridge, I let the ones I hadn't eaten sit for a few days and then took them out to serve at room temperature, as recommended (and I forgot the baguette, AGAIN)

No comments: