This is the end of the summer tomato season and if you are like us, you have many more tomatoes than you can possibly eat fresh. We use our tomatoes in a number of ways, we pickle them, make sauce out of them and dry them in the oven to produce sundried tomatoes.
Tomatoes are full of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has many health benefits. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K. When combined with olive oil the vitamins and lycopene are more readily available to the body. Not to mention, there are antioxidants and vitamins K and E in the olive oil. The benefits from both are even more pronounced when the tomatoes are cooked. How can such a healthy combination be so delicious?
Quarter medium and large tomatoes, or use cherry tomatoes whole. Place in a glass baking dish in a single layer. Add fresh basil, if you have it available, and 6 cloves of garlic. Drizzle with a generous amount of Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Top with sea salt and pepper.
Bake at 300 for about 2 – 3 hours or until the ingredients look well roasted. The tomatoes on the plate in the picture above are how they look roasted. Transfer the ingredients to a blender and process until it forms a sauce like the one in the bowl in the picture. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. This sauce is a delicious basis for many Italian dishes.
An interesting variation is to cook two pans of tomatoes in the oven. Use one for the sauce and the other tomatoes as garnish for your sauce.
1 pint of cherry tomatoes (about 8 ounces) Try using the small yellow, green, orange and red tomatoes.
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sea salt, or 2 teaspoons pickling salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
The pickling brine is prepared by placing the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (if using) into a small saucepan over a high heat. Bring the brine to a rolling boil, stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Wash and dry the tomatoes. Poke a hole through each tomato with a skewer.
Place the salt, peppercorns and garlic in the jar
Pack the tomatoes into the jar, leaving about ½ inch head space.
Pour the brine over the tomatoes. Fill the jar to within ½ inch of the top. Be sure to cover the tomatoes with the brine.
Remove the air bubbles by gently tapping the jar against the counter a few times until all the bubbles are popped.
Tighten the lid on the jar until the ring on the lid is tight.
Let the jar cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The flavor of the pickles will in prove with age so try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.
Caution: These pickles are not canned so they are safe to store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. If you can the jars in a hot bath, they can be stored at room temperature before opening. Once opened they must be refrigerated. In my opinion, they are so delicious, they will not last for 2 months in the refrigerator.
I love Pesto! This is a variation on the usual herbal pesto. It is delicious served on crostini, as a spread for your favorite panini, in a cold pasta salad or as a sauce for warm pasta. Let your imagination go wild. Any way you would use an herbal pasta, use Sun-dried Tomato Pesto.
1 Cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil. (Learn how to make your own sun-dried tomatoes in the oven) Chop them into small pieces, about ½ inch.
½ cup roasted pecans (In Texas we use pecans whenever possible). Other nuts can be substituted such as roasted almonds, pine nuts or walnuts. Each adds its own flavor to the mix.
2-3 cloves garlic
½ cup fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon each of Sandy Oaks Mediterranean Sea Salt, cracked pepper and red pepper flakes (optional)
¾ to 1 cup Sandy Oaks Extra Virgin Olive Oil or until the ingredients blend smoothly.
¼ cup of Romano Cheese (optional)
Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until the ingredients are finally chopped. Do not puree them but rather leave the texture a bit chunky.
Store in the refrigerator. It will keep for about 1 week. Always bring to room temperature before serving.