Thursday, July 18, 2013

What to do with a LOT of fresh tomatoes.

I work for (and matriculated from) a large public university in the Midwest. It's very proud of the THE in its name and worships a poisonous nut. But is also large enough (both in terms of geographical acreage and students/employees) that is does a great job of leveraging its size for the good of its students and employees. 

One of the many benefits available to me as a staff member is easy access to a Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) program. There are actually three CSAs to choose from: fruits and veggies, meats and/or dairy. At this point, I participate in just the fruit and veggie program, which is once a week delivery for 24 weeks, basically from May to October. 

Since my household is just me and The Spouse, I get the small bag which generally has about 5-6 types of items - but no choice as to what. That's cool - so far it's all been stuff I know. Just one week we got a kohlrabi. That was interesting. 

Anyway, I digress. Tomatoes. Every week there has been a package of delightful cherry tomatoes (most weeks three different colors!) plus at least two beefsteak variety. In short, that's a lotta tomatoes. 

If you've read my earlier post on Spouse's Breakfast Burritos in which I shared our general eating schedule, you may understand why I consider this a lotta tomatoes. Additionally, I really like tomatoes but I'm - let's say - weird when it comes to them. I didn't really like them fresh until I was 19 years old (they just seemed too squishy) and while I like them in salads, sometimes I just.don't. So I tend to just use them for pasta sauce and stuff like that. 

I have a decent amount of pasta sauce in my freezer already so here I am with a lotta tomatoes and I don't want them to go bad. It's wasteful and come February, I'm going to knock my forehead V-8 style that I let these tasty morsels go to waste. So what to do.......

Ah HA! Roasted Tomatoes! Which I can add to my pasta sauce for extra tomatoey goodness! WOOT!

Here's why I'm a sucky blogger though. I have the recipe but I literally cannot find my source at this point. So I'm going to give apologies to the universe and when I do find the source, I'll add it, I promise.

I love this recipe because it sounds really complicated and gourmand but in reality it's disturbingly easy and incredibly flavorful. And while, it's best to start with fresh, just ripe tomatoes, you can also take your not-so-fresh, kinda wrinkly, gonna turn in two days tomatoes and turn them into something fantastic. 

Roasted Grape Tomatoes
Just realized these are roasted beefsteaks in the photos. Owel. You get it, right?

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved - I've also taken beefsteaks, de-pulped them, cut into bite-sized bites. Same dealio. 
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano - I'm more of an and/or person, so I used thyme, basil and oregano for mine. Plus I have fresh of each in my own garden so why not use it all?
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil - as if I actually measured.  
  • 1 garlic clove (optional), smashed - as if one clove was sufficient and I just diced the cloves. 
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatoes with thyme or oregano, olive oil, and garlic, if using; season with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are very soft and skins have split, 8 to 10 minutes. Or if your oven is crappy like mine, more like 15-20 minutes. Serve with crackers or crostini.

What I've been doing is actually letting the tasty concoction cool until it's mostly cool, then putting the entire tray (tomatoes, herbs, juices - everything!) into a container and then freezing it., leaving an inch or so of headroom of course. I can't wait for the winter so that I can unfreeze it all and add it to pasta sauce or heck, just toss it with some pasta or other grain and go. 

Side benefit, while this whole shebang is roasting, your house smells delicious. Good luck roasting!

Do you have a tried and true method to keep your yummy maters for later in the year? Do you share your extras? Love to hear what you do!
Smell ya later, peeps.

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