Monday, September 22, 2008
That'll Cure What Ails You ... Oven Cure That Is!
Aaaah, oven cured tomatoes. Close your eyes for a moment and take one deep, lung filling breath, and slowly let it out. Now imagine your senses filled with the wonderful aroma of seasoned tomatoes tossed with olive oil slowing curing in a warm, toasty oven. As the tomatoes cure ever so slowly, the scent of roasting garlic tickles your nose, and yes there's the tiniest whiff of sweet onion, basil, and oregano, too. Your kitchen transforms into that of one found in an Italian villa, and you can just imagine looking out your window and seeing the Mediterranean Sea. Or, as in my case, the backyard that needs weeding. Oh well, nothing like a little reality to bump aside a little daydream!
Actually, the first half was reality! My garden roma tomatoes have come into their bounty, and I was faced with figuring out what to do with mounds of the red beauties. I could make a sauce (yawn), I could slice them up into a nice tom salad (ehh), or I could slice and season them, and cure them in my oven (ding, ding, ding!!!). It would only take about 4 hours or so, and I was going to be home anyway. Oh, the wonderful things I could make with them! Risotto with oven cured tomatoes, chicken with cured tomato cream sauce, cured tomato laced frittata, savory tomato and artichoke tapenade, and loads more recipes, too!
Curing roma tomatoes is the easiest thing ever, and they taste loads better than the store bought sun dried tomatoes. I don't even bother to peel them. I simply wash and dry them, slice in half, scoop out the seeds (I'm not meticulous about it), season with olive oil, garlic salt, onion powder, a tiny bit of basil and oregano, and place cut side UP (do not crowd them) on a foil lined baking sheet, and pop into a 250 degree oven. Bake SLOW for 4 hours (cooking times vary, could take 3 hours or 5 hours). Here they are at the half way mark! Let cool on the baking sheet, and store drizzled with olive oil in a glass container in the fridge.
See how rich and chewy and gorgeous they are? They are irresistible!
Um. Well. Uh. Here's the thing. Here's where things went off plan. I sliced, seasoned, and oven cured them to perfection. Two large trays, in fact. But, um, then I did something that changed the course of all of my plans. I TASTED one. Big mistake.Oh the flavor was supreme ... sweet, savory, and 100% delicious. I proceeded to snag one here, one there. I couldn't help myself. It would seem that I have a THING for these, too! *sigh* Then hubbyman came home and he ate some off the tray, and then one of my kids discovered them, and well, let's just say that I managed to capture the last *6* halves and put them in the fridge. There would be no risotto, polenta, frittata, tapenade, or other culinary goodies. My head is hung in shame. *heavy sigh*
To distract you from my folly, I do have a question on a totally unrelated subject. I rarely watch TV. Not because I'm against it, but more because I don't have time to. The other night, I decided to rest my tootsies and collapse in my recliner for a night of my favorite English comedies and mysteries. It wasn't meant to be ... it's pledge week. So, I switched to other channels, those with commercials, and kind of coasted in and out of watching it. Here's where the weird thing happened, I kept seeing variations of "high fructose corn syrup" commercials. At first, I thought it was a Saturday Night Live episode or something. But nope, these were real commercials. There were two people, one who's commenting on not eating a popsicle or drinking juice because it contains high fructose corn syrup, and then the other person talking about how it's from CORN so it's ok, blah, blah. Yeah, that's right. Their message is that it's okay to ingest high fructose corn syrup ... in moderation.
Has anyone else seen these commericials? Does anyone else find this kind of, well, creepy? Am I over sensitive to avoiding foods that are, you know, chemically changed or altered or over processed? Of course, seeing these commercials did come on the heels of hearing another mom I know praise the glories of those pre-packaged lunchable meals. Blech. And, yes, I could eat better than I do, after all, remember all the tomatoes I ate, but I really do try to create a healthy grazing field for my family, and insinuating it's okay to feed kids juice with high fructose corn syrup instead of, you know, 100% juice, kind of crosses a line with me. And, fyi, I grew up in corn growing country with corn growing relatives and still find this icky. Anyone else kind of feel icky about these commercials?