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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Monday, September 7, 2015

Putting Up With: Tomatoes Two Ways

My "Putting Up With" series is a play on the phrase 'putting up' as a colloquialism for canning.  But in this case, it's particularly apt, because the only way I can put up with (tolerate) tomatoes is when they're canned, cooked or preserved in some way.  

I was a very picky eater when I was younger, but I've learned to tolerate, and even enjoy, some of the things that horrified me as a child.  I now cook with all types of peppers and mushrooms and even occasionally use mayonnaise and beans, all things I couldn't stand a few years ago.  But I've never grown to love raw tomatoes. Both the texture and taste are repulsive to me.  These recipes have helped me use up all the tomatoes I get every week from our garden and my CSA box.  

Fresh Summer Salsa

The first recipe used up the field tomatoes I received in my CSA box.  This salsa recipe comes from Chatelaine magazine. Follow the link to the full recipe.  

This salsa combined peeled, fresh tomatoes, fresh jalapenos from my garden, green peppers, onions and corn into a mildly spicy, fresh-tasting salsa.  

Diced veggies are simmered with the tomatoes to make the salsa.  This is a small-batch recipe, so it's easy to make on a weeknight. 

The recipe makes 4 jars of salsa, with a bit left over for snacking.  

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

The second way we preserved fresh tomatoes is to slice cherry tomatoes in half and roast them slowly in a low oven for a few hours.  

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and slice a pint (or more) of cherry tomatoes in half and arrange on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. 

Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and some fresh or dried rosemary and thyme if you like. Drizzle with olive oil.  You can also roast some garlic cloves along with the tomatoes. 

Roast the tomatoes in the low oven for 3 hours until they've shriveled and dried out, but are still soft. 

The tomatoes can be stored in a jar in the fridge, drizzled with a little more oil to keep them moist. 

They're delicious as a snack or diced with pasta or salad. I made a teriffic sun-dried tomato pesto by mixing a cup of these tomatoes, a handful of fresh basil, 1/4 cup of olive oil 1/2 a cup of parmesan and some pine nuts.  I tossed it with cheese tortellini and it was delicious for dinner and cold for lunch the next day.

We're also canning tomato sauce today, using this recipe.

So, whether you like raw tomatoes or not, there are great ways to keep fresh tomato flavour all year long. 

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