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Recipe x3
Nov 16th, 2005

Do you ever have recipes that create satellite recipes? Their very own entourage? Sometimes I'll make a dish and then the leftovers will get morphed into another dish the next night. Well this weekend I made a recipe that let to three very different dishes and I thought I'd post the whole evolution here.

I set out to make Oven-Dried Tomatoes. My mom's birthday is coming up and since she's retired and cooking these days, I thought I'd make her a little collection of interesting condiments she can use. I decided on Rosemary Vinegar, Preserved Lemons, and Oven-Dried Tomatoes. The tomatoes are a twist on the once ubiquitous sun-dried variety. You roast them in the oven for hours at a very low heat and then pack them in jars with olive oil. They keep in the fridge for about 3 months that way.

This particular recipe comes from a fabulous book by Sally Pasley Vargas called Food for Friends: homemade gifts for every season and the unique thing about it is the extremely aromatic mixture of spices that you roast along with the tomatoes. It's quite an easy recipe, the only things to keep in mind are that you'll need a long stretch of time where you'll be there to mind the oven and that the spice and tomato mixture smells so good during those long hours of cooking time that it just might drive you to distraction. Or to dreaming up new recipes... tune in tomorrow to see where my dreaming took me.


Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Three half-pint jars

4 pounds plum tomatoes
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 225F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut the tomatoes in half and gently sqeeze out the seeds and liquid using your finger to assist the seeds on their way. Lay them close together on the baking sheet cut side up. Combine all the herbs and spices except for the orange zest and bash them in a mortar or lay them between two sheets of saran wrap and crush them with a rolling pin or heavy frying pan. When they are coarsely crushed mix in the orange zest and crumble the spices evenly over the tomatoes.

Roast in the oven until dried (but still bendy), approximately 4 to 6 hours. They'll look a bit like dried peaches or apricots when they're done. Check them around the 3 1/2 hour mark and take out any that are done while the rest continue to cook.

Pack the tomatoes into sterilized jars and pour over enough olive oil to cover. The recipe calls for half pint jars and should make enough for 3 jars. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 months. The oil will become seasoned as it sits and can be used itself to lend an interesting touch to different dishes. The oil may congeal, if so just let the jar come to room temperature before using. If you're not making this as a gift you could store it in tupperware, it will just need to be used up a bit sooner.

-Sally Pasley Vargas, Food for Friends: homemade gifts for every season
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Comments

A few weeks ago I was telling Kymm that I like making curries. And Phil and I enjoy eating them, but not in the quantities which a recipe makes. The leftovers are now occupying too much space in the freezer - where is the ice cream going to fit?

Also I have been learning to make pizza exactly the way I like it. It took some playing around and advice from She-who-cooks-all (Kymm)to finally get the conditions favorable for rising dough. However, I have now made some truly delicious pizza. The thing is, there is always much more dough than Phil and I should eat. So, I used the excess dough to make calzones and used the curry as filling. The result far exceed my expectations. Furthermore, these are great for dinner when we get home late and are hungry, but not in the mood to cook.

-posted by Stephanie on Nov 16th, 2005
That's great Steph, I do love it when you combine things in a new way that ends up tasting great. In my opinion that's one of the big payoffs of getting comfortable in the kitchen. What kind of curry did you use for the filling?

-posted by Kymm on Nov 17th, 2005
The oven-dried tomatoes are really yummy. They add a lot of zing to what might otherwise be pretty bland. The other night I had some leftover spaghetti squash (all hail this low-carb substitute for pasta!). I sauteed some shrimp in butter with some mild green chiles, lots of garlic, and some of the oven-dried tomatoes. I threw in a little white wine. Served over the squash this was darn tasty. Be sure not to wipe any of the yummy oil and stuff off the tomatoes before throwing them in the saute. That's part of what makes this dish so flavorful.

-posted by Mom on Mar 8th, 2006
© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com