What’s Tomater with You?

I suppose there are jobs where tomato growing prowess is prized. I’m not sure what they are. Perhaps in a greenhouse or at a restaurant with a good farm to table chef or as a farm worker. Unfortunately, I don’t have this skill or at least I haven’t yet developed it. So, it’s a good thing that it isn’t a job requirement where I work. In fact, in all my years of hiring, I’ve never asked about one’s ability to grow tomatoes. Despite this void in my work life, I was completely delighted when someone in our office asked me this question:

Do you grow tomatoes and other important interview questions

Do you grow tomatoes and other important interview questions

“Would you like some homegrown tomatoes?”Last Friday I was gifted with a lovely bag of bright scarlet jewels. They were so ripe and ready that at least one couldn’t make it past my lips on its way to a recipe. The second gift was that of a cool weather weekend which now, only 7 days later seems a distant memory. But cool tempatures allow us to fire up the oven which isn’t possible when we’re topping 105 degrees fahrenheit. And it allowed me to test out one of David Lebovitz’s fabulous tomato recipes.

First the low down on tomatoes. They are part of the nightshade family which also includes eggplant and chili peppers. Food history tells us that they are a gift from Mexico originally grown by the Aztecs and then transferred the world over by the Spaniards. They are considered a fruit which you’ll quickly concur with once we get to the cooking and like many fruits are dense with vitamins and low in calories. Of particular intensity are vitamins A and C and a phytonutrient unique to tomatoes called lycopene.ย Red tomato varieties are especially concentrated in this antioxidant and it is said to intensify when cooked. Studies have shown thatย lycopene may assist in numerous health benefits from skin cancer protection to reduced osteoporosis risk in post menopausal women.

It’s a good thing that my son aren’t likely to face post menopausal osteoporosis risk because two of the three have a terrible time warming up to tomatoes. And unfortunately, the youngest who does enjoy them, did not jump at the opportunity of this recipe.

This is incredibly simple and so worthwhile that I can’t believe that I haven’t been doing it for years. Roast the tomatoes. I sliced them in half, covered them with a handful of chopped garden herbs including rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley. I also slivered a few garlic cloves and mixed them in. Drizzled with 2 Tbs olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, place them in a 325 degree oven for a couple of hours. Because I was firing up the oven, I threw in other vegetables in on separate racks.

Flip to cut side down for roasting

I left them in my oven for a bit too long but truly it doesn’t take away from the amazing fragrance or taste.

Ready to eat

The possibilities are endless. This morning, I slathered these on a savory waffle and the same can be done on crusty bread with a sprinkling of feta. Tossed in pasta, arranged on a sandwich or scrambled in eggs, these flavorful gems easily find purpose in the kitchen. Now thank God for the persons with the skills to grow them.

Store in the refrigerator or freeze for future use

To those of you in the UK, Happy Jubilee.

Leave a comment

80 Comments

  1. My all-time favorite way to treat a tomato! Love this post, AG! I can almost smell your kitchen… mmmmm ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  2. Brian

     /  June 3, 2012

    Tammy,

    I’m high jacking your blog! All bloggers check out the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the UK on your TV, top stuff!!

    cheers

    Brian

    Reply
  3. wow! Those look amazing! Can’t wait to try this recipe out once I start getting some tomatoes in my box!

    Reply
  4. Mmm… I LOVE tomato season! it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I just made tomato confit last night with basil and onions (looks similar to yours, but more olive oil). I was so excited to see the first tomatoes in our CSA box this week!

    Reply
  5. I oven roast tomatoes ALL the time! Our favorites ones are the sweet grape tomatoes…just slice in half, lay out cut side up on a broiler pan, sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt and place in a 225 degree oven until they shrink and concentrate their flavors (a few hours or so). The house smells heavenly and we can then eat them like candy! I store them in containers in the fridge and use them in salads, on pizza, in sandwiches, in omelettes and more. They are similar to sun-dried tomatoes in texture. I’ve even dropped them in olive oil to make roasted tomato oil. Yum! If I don’t let them go as far as the sun-dried texture, then they are fantastic chopped up as a quick sauce for pasta or slathered on grilled bread. Oh, tomatoes! Can’t wait to harvest the ones in the garden!

    Tips on growing tomatoes…bury plants deeply to promote root growth, mulch with cocoa shell mulch to prevent weeds, use strong supports (I like the tall, square tomato cages from Gardener’s Supply) and use Jobe’s Organics Tomato and Vegetable granular fertilizer for a GREAT harvest! We already have flowers and fruit on our 3-foot tall plants and it is only just JUNE! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Yes, I love those sweet grape tomatoes. You’ve done them at a much lower temperature than I did and perhaps should have.

      Reply
      • The temperature you use depends upon what you want the results to be. Roasting tomatoes at a high temp will produce more juice and therefore, is good for a quick pasta sauce. At a lower temp, it is probably considered less “roasting” and more akin to “drying”, but I find the results to be fantastic and you can store the tomatoes in containers in the fridge for later use. I have to do pounds and pounds of them since when they are oven dried, and they first come out, you can eat an entire tray without even thinking! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
  6. Delicious. Every vegetable benefits from roasting, IMHO. Mmmm, caramelization.

    Reply
  7. These look wonderful. Although we typically eat TONS of tomates I have never roasted them. I must do so this season!

    Reply
  8. Delicious…can’t wait for my first ripe tomatoes (probably another six weeks, at least). Like you, though, ripe tomato season is almost always too-hot-for-ovens-season here, so I forget how yummy roasted tomatoes are. I’ve heard that roasting and freezing is a good way to save a bountiful harvest. Maybe this year I’ll get one or two cool nights to give it a try. Thanks, Tammy!
    Eleanor

    Reply
    • I have canned tomatoes before and I think I really prefer this as a preservation method.

      Reply
  9. You have made me soooo hungry for them. I will try this with my harvest when it finally comes, if the hail doesn’t get it this year.

    Reply
  10. Looks wonderful!

    Reply
  11. Lisa H

     /  June 3, 2012

    Yay, it’s the beginning of tomato season! We just picked two huge tomatoes from our garden. They are baking right now with spaghetti squash, julienned zucchini and fresh herbs from the garden. Your roasted tomatoes would be fantastic on homemade pizza!

    Reply
  12. Kathy McNamara

     /  June 3, 2012

    Can’t wait to try your recipe! I love tomatoes & I too only have 1 of 3 that like tomatoes. I am blessed to have a sister in law that can grow them well. We eat them like apples!

    Reply
  13. I am kind of like the 2 of your boys, not a good tomato eater. But, my hubby is and I try to grow them now and then. Thank you for sharing the roasting recipe! You always bless me and help me in the kitchen!

    Reply
  14. Yum!! I’ll have to try that! We don’t get our tomsties til August. It there’s always lots then. Of course store bought the rest of the year.

    Reply
  15. I love tomatoes . . . one of my favorite ways to use them is Tomato Basil Pie.
    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/tomato-pie/

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  16. Now I can hardly wait for our tomatoes to grow. We have about a dozen plants in our little green house and they are my favorite summer treats.

    Reply
  17. I am a tomato devotee and so are my children: I love this simple recipe which shows them off to their advantage ๐Ÿ™‚ Favourite tom recipes: the way the Greeks stuff them with mint, rice and feta…my tummy rumbles at the very thought….and something I had just yesterday billed as a vege burger: a bap; a slice of huge steak tomato; a round generous segment of aubergine; all topped with a round piece of breaded goats cheese. It was just divine!

    Reply
  18. I can’t tell you how the very look of it got me all salivating. This is a winner and I’m so doing it. Feta and crusty bread sounds really yummy with this. By the way, even I think I will never really grow my own tomatoes. Because I know for sure that if my garden gives me the best looking tomatoes, I’ll while away in photography and never eat them.

    Reply
  19. I’m a big fan of the tomato. and my mother has just discovered she has osteoporosis so I’ll be stepping up my tomato intake even further now

    I make my own pesto and use it to stuff hollowed out cherry tomatoes. Great tasty and easy dish to take to a party.

    Reply
  20. The taste of summer!

    Reply
  21. I loves tomato ๐Ÿ™‚ And I have to try that recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  22. Sally Mom

     /  June 4, 2012

    OH Yum! What a wonderful history and information. I also love roasting tomatos and have not for a while. It is about 4:30 am and mine are roasting right now because you made me so hungary and I will have them with spinach and scrambeled eggs. Thanks for waking us up to this good aroma.
    It is cool, 51 degrees in the N.W. and a long ways from tomatos in the garden but the markets are bursting with Florida and California toms.
    Thanks Tammy!

    Reply
  23. Yum, I just love tomatoes ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  24. Meg Smeck

     /  June 4, 2012

    Do you have a favorite gazpacho recipe now that it is so hot and the tomatoes are so delicious? I too am resisting my oven…

    Reply
  25. Yummy! We bought a gorgeous bunch of tomatoes at the farmers market this weekend, and ate half of them in a salad. I will try your recipe for roasting them tonight!

    Reply
  26. Yummy yummu yummy! It is a very versatile dish! I grow my own cherry tomatoes this year!

    Reply
  27. I love tomatoes. Homegrown tomatoes are my favorite food. I like to slice and eat them, sometimes with salt, sometimes without. I liked tomatoes sliced between two slices of good bread.

    I like to roast tomatoes with herbs and olive oil, like you described.

    I like to slice the little cherry or grape tomatoes, toss them with red onions and feta cheese and a bit of balsamic vinegar.

    I like sundried tomatoes on pizza.

    I like fried green tomatoes, with a crusty coating of buttermilk and cornmeal and a dash of Louisiana Hot Sauce.

    I like tomatoes stewed with okra.

    I like tomatoes simmered forever with oregano and served over pasta.

    In the winter, I like to open a jar of canned tomatoes and make a soup or stew.

    I love tomatoes.

    I have 28 tomato plants (heirloom varieties) growing in my backyard. My parents have nearly a hundred plants this year (the seeds were prolific). Mine are just beginning to ripen.

    If you’ve never eaten a homegrown tomato, you’re really missing out. Those red things you buy at the grocery store or get on a salad bar taste nothing like real tomatoes.

    Reply
  28. I completely agree that roasting tomatoes is a great idea. I like to roast them with red bell peppers and garlic, then puree into a simple but delicious soup which I talked about here: http://artofnaturalliving.com/2010/09/08/slow-roasting-tomato-days/

    Reply
  29. Those photos! How delicious. My mother and more recently my brother grow tomatoes that are absolutely amazing. And yes, definitely thankful to those who have the special ability to help the earth grow!

    Reply
  30. hmmm… a savory waffle, sounds great. Mischa came home from Tennessee this year to make chicken and waffles! YOur post offers neat asides from farm to table on tomatoes… thank you. Will have to check out Liebowitz’s recipe! – Best, Renee

    Reply
  31. First of all, I LOVE tomatoes! They’re wonderful in salads (freshness!) or a stir fry / stew (comfort!). I’ve never baked them, though, but I suppose it must be wonderful! ๐Ÿ˜€

    My dad really has a green thumb when it comes to gardening. There’s not much space – my parents’ garden is quite shadowy, and then there’s a *tiny* roof garden, but he makes the most of it. Every summer and early autumn, I’m surprises *how much* produce this little space yields! My dad’s gardening has encouraged me to try my own (pot garden), and last year, I’ve been quite successful growing my own tomatoes. Sunlight and water are key! I just planted this year’s tomato plants today. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  32. Yummmmmmm!!! Roasted tomatoes!!! Thank you for bringing sunshine to my week! I have nominated your blog for the Sunshine Blogger’s Award. See my site for more information at http://yearofhealthierliving.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/day-158-peach-balsamic-vinaigrette-and-an-award/

    Reply
  33. I grow them! Now I want to roast them! I have 14 plants just starting out, some cherry, some roma’s for sauce, a yellow one, a purple one, etc. This is just my second year growing them, and I enjoy checking their progress day by day… Tomato and herbs are just the best. Mnnnnmmmn.

    Reply
    • Good to see you Sherry. I was out at your blog earlier today but didn’t see activity. The good news is that you’re busy with the tomatoes!

      Reply
  34. How lucky are you?! Those are gorgeous tomatoes!
    anne

    Reply
  35. Great post and photos!
    The recipe looks delicious.
    Tomatoes are one of my favorite fruits ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  36. rickbraveheart

     /  July 5, 2012

    Your photos and cooking ideas always have me drooling and looking forward to your next post. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thank you Rick. Your photos always have me looking forward to my next trip! Wish I had your talent.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: