Someone leaked to Mr. Picky that in one of my recent posts I was guessing that he wouldn’t be showering regularly at camp. It wasn’t a judgment on my part, just an observation from past history. However, it seems as though Mr. Picky interpreted that as a challenge. What you might not know about Mr. Picky is that he is competitive to a fault. He also loves statistics and keeps track of everything, especially when he’s first in something. But believe me, his “firsts” are not what you might expect. “Hey, Mom. Did you know I was the first one down for breakfast 8 days in a row?” Or not firsts. “Mom, guess what? Guess what, Mom? I was the second youngest at camp. By 20 days.” So I wasn’t entirely shocked when Mr. Picky said to me the other day that he’s on a showering streak. Huh? “Mom, guess what? I have showered 37 days in a row! For real. I’m not even joking.” I need to blog more about him not eating cooked vegetables.
Well, Mr. Picky had to come from somewhere. Guess what, friends? I’ve eaten a tomato in some way, shape or form every day for the last 24 days and I’m not even joking. Whereas I fear Mr. Picky is on a quest to find his way into some imaginary record book for showering, my daily tomato indulgence is for pure pleasure. Furthermore, I know my streak will come to a sad end in a few months when tomato season is over.
I have a total obsession with summer tomatoes. I always have. When I was little, I would take a salt shaker into my father’s garden and have a tomato party. First, I would pluck a nice ripe tomato off the vine. For the first bite, I always had to shake a tiny bit of salt in my mouth and then take a bite of tomato. Salt doesn’t stick to a whole tomato. After that bite, I would shake the salt on the cut part of the tomato and eat away. My mother told me a few times I even ate several green (underripe) tomatoes and made myself a bit sick to my stomach.
But I am only interested in local, summer tomatoes. Nothing else compares and I wouldn’t even waste your time on tomatoes before June or after October, and even that is pushing it. So right now, I’m in my glory and I am snatching up different varieties every week. So happy! And tomatoes are amazing for you – I just posted something on my facebook page yesterday about all their health benefits.
Something I just started making the last few years are slow roasted tomatoes in the oven. Damn! Have you ever tried these? I’m not talking about sundried tomatoes, which for some reason I don’t like. Slow roasted tomatoes are super-sweet and moist. You can cook them as long or as little as you like, but I prefer to bake them until their texture is like moist, dried apricots. So darn good and soooooooo easy! It’s barely cooking, people. And you can use them in a million ways. Delicious on an antipasto platter, with crusty bread, eggs/frittatas, sandwiches, salads, in pasta, etc. How could I forget straight-off-the-pan? Such deliciousness if you have patience to slow cook them. I figure since I waited all winter and spring for tomatoes, what’s a few hours?
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- 12 plum tomatoes*, halved lengthwise
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly slices
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- unrefined olive oil for drizzling
- sea salt
- Preheat oven to 275 F degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or use a 13 x 9 baking dish. If you want to make more tomatoes, use a large baking sheet.
- Arrange the tomato halves, cut side up, in one layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Place a sliver of garlic on top of each tomato and scatter the thyme sprigs over. Drizzle a little oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake until desired texture is reached. I like to go 3 hours. More time will result in drier tomatoes. Less time will result in juicier tomatoes. Ovens also vary, so check tomatoes periodically.
- Store in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to a week. Covered in oil, the tomatoes will last a few weeks. You can also freeze them right on the sheet pan and when the tomatoes are frozen, transfer them to a covered container to freeze (ideally a freezer bag that is as small as will fit the tomatoes.)