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?

22 comments:

Esi said...

Ok, first of all I am sooo obsessed with oven roasted tomatoes. I did a batch last week and I just did another batch last night to this morning. Oil, seasonings and in the oven at 200 for 12 hrs. This time I turned the oven off at hour 11 and left them in all day when I was at work. I had at least 5 when I got home. Second, I have seen those commercials and it's not just you. They are so weird and the fact that they are trying to make people look stupid for refusing HFCS is infuriating. Anyway, hope you have a great week :)

Pam said...

The tomatoes look wonderful... I have never tried oven curing them. I hope my neighbor Jack gives me more tomatoes from his garden so I can try this recipe.

I haven't seen those commercials and I am glad. YUCK. I try so hard not to fill my house or children with overly processed food.

Jan said...

Love that post! Funny about the tomatoes all being eaten!!
I LOVE tomatoes - yours look extra lovely and red, so no wonder they got eaten up so quick! I wish our garden was big enough to grow some.
I haven't seen those commercials - thankfully!

The Blonde Duck said...

Those commercials reminded me of all the PR work in WW2 convincing women to have meatless Fridays and Victory gardens....total brainwashing to suit a economy, not health.

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

i too have a tomato obsession - i must try this method of preserving tomatos, another one to add to my list

Marjie said...

Your tomatoes were indeed beautiful, but remember, "The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." You are not exempt! Thankfully! I'd hate to be the only one! I am really irked by all those type commercials, pushing processed foods. In my Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago, I saw a Walmart ad exhorting you to feed your kid breakfast for a buck, consisting of OJ, a store bought bakery thing and yogurt. Excuse Me? Has no one heard of eggs, waffles, toast? I heard 2 eggs and 2 toast could be made for, like, 50 cents! Although Prudence Pennywise might argue with me on that point. I so hate it when they push this kind of crud on us.

I hate the fundraiser weeks too. And I love those British mysteries, comedies, etc. Too bad both the houses next to me sold; we'd have been such BFFs!

Deborah said...

These look wonderful! I have a question, though. If I wanted to do a lot of these, would they freeze well? We still have tomatoes coming out of our ears, and I'm trying not to let any of them go to waste!

Cheryl said...

First off I love curing tomatoes, never exactlly heard of it before, but i am doin it tomorrow! yep we have those same commercials, and it is creepy as heck! I dont care what they say I am avoiding it as much as I can!

Lo said...

The tomatoes look great. I might have to try this method myself!

I've seen the commercials -- and they creep me out too. I'm appalled at the lengths some people will go to justify ingesting products that feed the pocketbook rather than the body. What's wrong with sticking to the basics?

Grace said...

these have recently surpassed sun-dried tomatoes as my favorite form of tomatoes. they look lovely. :)

Bridgett said...

Those commercials annoy me basically because it seems like they justify another crap product making it like it is all healthy since they mention corn.
Those tomatoes look fantastic and I hear they are fantastic in salad and pastas. I have yet to make them but now I should definitely since I know hubby would love them. You have great ideas, Paula!

OhioMom said...

I have tons (well maybe not tons) of oven-roasted maters that I have put up in the freezer, will be doing another bushel this weekend. One of the local farmers has promised me a bushel of Romas!

I don't buy anything with HFCS in it, which requires me wearing my reading glasses when I grocery shop :)

noble pig said...

Ugh, my comment disappeared...anyway those commericials are ludicrous aren't they? I laughed out loud when I saw the first one...beyond ridiculous!

Linda said...

I have hundreds (yes) of Romas this year. I'll have to try this. I oven roasted my peppers this year in a similar manner and loved them.

Pam said...

I never, never, never taste my tomatoes, they go straight in a jar and into the freezer to be opened in the dead of winter. I can't believe the audacity of those commercials. What a joke!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Paula, Ok, You're gonna have to make more so we can see all those good things you had planned to do with them. I did a huge batch of these and individually bagged them and stuck them in my freezer. The other day I made a pizza and took one bag out, and they tasted just like they came fresh out of the oven. It was the first time I froze them, I read it from another blogger who did it. Sorry I can't remember who it was. But anyway, freezings another option!

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Paula, those toms are beautiful! I can almost smell them.

I haven't seen the HFCS commercials, but the one that always get me is the one for Splenda, "oh no I have a sugar problem here" I always think they mean everyone in the family is eating too much sugar...

The other bad one is the woman who doesn't have time to peel potatoes for mashed potatoes for dinner - of course she can just pull out a bag of Ore-Ida prepeeled and cooked spuds and microwave them!

It's no wonder people are chronically ill, there is hardly anything in the stores resembling food anymore.

Aggie said...

I saw that commercial! I couldn't believe my ears!!!

These tomatoes look perfect. I've never done this with tomatoes, I really should while there are so many at the market!

MrOrph said...

Great tomatoes. My wife and I just LOL'd at the fact they were eaten before being "used". This happens to bacon in our house.

I haven't seen those commercials. My thing is, if I want to eat something, or I don't want to eat something, leave me the fark alone! Like in California, I believe San Fran, they wanted to extra tax soda to deter you from drinking it. Puhleeeze!

Jan said...

I'm not surprised these disappeared quick time, they sound yummy.

Like you, I don't watch TV much, but when I do, and the commercials come on I mute the sound. I can't stand advertising.

Dee said...

I have a jar of sundried tomatoes in the fridge and now I don't want them. I really like how simple you make everything sound. I'm definitely going to give this a go.

dp said...

I thought I was all done with tomatoes this season. The last two weeks have been canning of tomatoes and tomato-based products, but I will probably have to pick up some tomatoes at the farmer's market just to make these!

This commercial you are talking about sounds disturbing! Now I'm going to look for it just to witness it for myself.