Tuesday, April 2, 2013

One Ton Tomato...I Have a One Ton Tomato

Does anyone else remember this parody of "Guantanamera"? On the rare occasion that I hear this song, I always belt out the parody version of the chorus. And now I'm going to be humming this tune for the rest of the day.

Anyway, it's taken a bit of time for our veggie garden to mature, but in just the last couple few weeks, things started growing like crazy.

Our sweet corn has tripled in size, and we can't wait until the ears appear. The great thing is that we can grow corn all year round, providing you remember to water it.

And our tomatoes? Well, they're starting to ripen at a furious rate. You can see Olivia is doing her part to check that all is in order.

Unlike growing veggies in the States, you have to pretty much start everything from seed. I tried and tried doing this for tomatoes, but none of my seeds would sprout. Fernando and his brother, Raphino, took pity on me and delivered about 10 starter plants. While we lost a few, the rest are doing just fine.

Matter of fact, I've been busy making all kinds of tomato-based recipes to stay on top of our crop.

In addition to making batches of roasted tomato sauce and containers of salsa, I tried out a new technique -- oven roasted tomato slices.
You guys, it really doesn't get much easier than this.
Start out with some ripe tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and the herbs of your choice. In this case, I used fresh parsley, oregano, and basil.  You can also used dried herbs.
Core and thinly slice the tomatoes and put into a bowl. Finely chop the garlic and herbs, then toss them in with the tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt and drizzle with olive oil. Gently toss everything together until the tomatoes are well coated.
Then all you do is place the tomato slices on a rack that's on top of a baking sheet.
For easy clean up, put some foil or parchment paper on the the bottom of the baking sheet.
Pop into a pre-heated 275-degree oven for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

They should still be slightly brown around the edges, but still pliable. The pop of flavor from the tomatoes will make your taste buds do a little happy dance. We use them on all kinds of things -- sandwiches, pizza topping, pasta, even with some sliced French bread and cheese for a bit of a nosh.

This is a great alternative to completely dehydrating the tomatoes. It takes way less time, which means I'm not having the oven going for a good eight hours or burning through butane. Pop the finished tomatoes into a zip-lock bag, and throw 'em the fridge. They'll easily keep for a week, if you don't polish them off before that.

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