Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cherry Tomato Heaven

Seduced by pretty pictures in the spring White Flower Farm catalogue, this over-zealous gardening girl planted 27 tomato plants. Softball-sized tomatoes... marble-sized tomatoes... I wanted them all.

And now I have them.

After giving scads away, freezing a good many others, making tomato sauce and salsa and curried ketchup with still others, I eyed my heavy-vined, organic cherry tomato plants with a sigh. What in the world will I do with all these? I wondered. I can only eat so many in salads. So this week has become a quest: find three delicious things to do with cherry tomatoes. Stat.

I spent a good deal of time on Google the other night. Gardeners and foodies alike had a hundred suggestions: Roast them! Chop and freeze them! Stuff them! Peel them! Blanch them! Grill them! There are thousands of methods for dealing with these abundant beauties. Fortunately for me, I only needed three. So. Method number one? Slice off their little tops and stuff them with pesto or squares of mozzarella for appetizers or snacks. Done.

Method number two? Cook them to death.

And finally, method number three: roast them.

Here's how: line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Slice tomatoes in half, scooping out seeds, and place cut-side up on pan. (Or leave them whole, as I did here. They'll burst easily and quickly in the oven.) Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, and fresh rosemary. (I added basil and 2 garlic cloves, as well.) Bake at 225 F for.. um... ever. About six to seven hours or until caramelized and dehydrated-looking.


Now what, you ask, do you do with a cherry tomato once it's roasted? Glad you asked. Keep them in a covered container to toss into omelets, bread dough, couscous, pasta, tacos, and salads. Mix them up with fresh cheese (stilton, mozzarella, etc.) and basil for a cool summery dish. Use them for toppings on bruschetta or pizza. Or whip this up: Epicurious' Penne with Chicken and Roasted Tomatoes. Yum.

Or, do as I did and float them in olive oil and herbs in pretty jars, stash in the refrigerator, and wait until further inspirations/cravings strike.

Gardening is a joy. Hauling in gallons of homegrown, organic, drop-of-sun cherry tomatoes is too. But next year, I'm planting ONE cherry tomato plant. Maybe even a yellow one. Remind me of this in February when the White Flower Farm catalogue arrives. (Cough) Please remind me. -Brin

(In case anyone should wonder, here's the Curried Ketchup recipe, courtesy of Food Network: 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, pinch ground cloves. Directions: Put the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, curry powder, salt, pepper and cloves into a saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and the mixture is slightly thick, about 10 minutes. Pour the mix into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Yield: 1 cup.)


Terri Steffes said...

Mmm. Summer tomatoes are my all time favorite food. If I ever have to have a "last meal" I want garden fresh tomatoes and baby mozzarella!

Corey Davis said...

I love eating cherry tomatoes when I can get my hands on 'em. My mom use to cut up tomatoes into slices and sprinkle pepper and salt (probably the iodized kind) on them for me to eat. I generally get most of my veggies from french fries and potato chips, sometimes tomatoes when I open up a can of sauce to pour over pasta. Is that your old Suburban?

Mama said...

Oh, how I wish I lived next door to you today. I would help you out with those tomatoes. I don't think mine are ever going to make this year! I have six scraggly little vines with no fruit yet. sigh

If you really, really have too many (can that be possible?)keep the food bank in mind -- or any church or feeding organization.

I enjoy your blog!

Kathleen Grace said...

What a wonderful bounty! Stop by my blog for an easy summer salad that those little beauties would taste fntastic in! Thanks for your recipes:>)

Vee said...

They look beautiful to me, Brin, but then I haven't been trying to figure out what to do with them all. How I'd love a good tomato fresh from the vine; we're still coping with cardboard ones until the tomatoes are ready here.

Whizbee77 said...

I love cooked tomatoes. Thank you for this post. I'm still waiting for my tomatoes to pop, but we did plant them late.

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

This is my first year that I haven't planted a cherry tomato, I love them and eat them like candy...kicking myself hard now! Nummo! I'm always looking for a good cherry tomato salad type recipe, do you have anything by chance?

Brambleberry said...

Those look amazing.

My tomatoes are still working their way to ripeness. I'm going to remember this post when I've got a surplus.

Thanks for the recipes!!

Anonymous said...


Thank you very much for telling us about the plants you purchased from White Flower Farm. May we have your permission to use your photographs or comments in printed material and on our Web site?
When we use them, we will also give your name as well as the town and state where you live--for example, "Michelle Tranquillo, Barkhamsted, CT" --so please include that information with your permission.
We appreciate your support and look forward to hearing from you again.
Customer Service

Gina said...

Thank you for your writings, I really enjoy them. Wish my tomatoes were producing already. Oh! Thank you, too, for having The Blue Castle as a recommendation for a good book--I took it along up here to Maine; snickered through it and analyzed myself, my fear and pleasing people rather than just God. Neat story-line.
Get well soon!

Anonymous said...

I don't know what it is about summer (maybe all that free time, since I'm a teacher) but I love cooking and baking, even with the heat. I've been into pies lately, but your pictures of the tomatoes have me craving veggies. I've been reading your blog for a few months now, and I am always encouraged by your fresh responses to life. God has really blessed you, and it's fun to watch how you're using all of it (I have to admit, I'm a little jealous!).

Tara said...

Only one cherry tomato plant! Oh no! I plant four and my garden is the size of well, a pillowcase, practically.

Here is one of my favorite things to do with them:


I cannot wait to make this!

Anonymous said...

My dad used to have such an overflow of cherry tomatoes - I love the tomato chutney than he would preserve and serve with vegetables and meat.
This is not his recipe but try working with this one that is similar: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-and-Tomato-Chutney/Detail.aspx
~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

Betty said...

I will be roasting tomatoes once I have some fresh ones from my garden! Love your post on 'how to' Brin!

Tara said...

Hi Brin,

Books and Cooks is me! Thanks for stopping by my blog. There was another recipe I posted last summer - I just diced up a bunch of the cherry/grape/pear tomatoes, added minced shallot, olive oil, basil, s/p, and fresh balls of mozzarella and tossed that with cooked papardelle. Delicious!

I just want you to know I enjoy your blog and your journey so much.

Take care,

Julie said...

I've never had roasted tomatoes!
Those look delicious!
There's just really nothing better than home-grown tomatoes. I haven't had one since my grandfather passed away a few years ago.
I hope to plant some next spring. Any tips? I'm learning from scratch, here....


P.S. Is there a food bank in your area that might could take some of those tomatoes off your hands?
Or Farmer's Market?

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Hello Brin,

I just wanted to drop by and tell you to have a...."Wonderful Wednesday".

MN Kathi :D

Unknown said...

Gee, I miss gardening! With a move last month we won't be able to plant a thing this year, but look out next year! I too plant way too many, I figure I'd share with the wild life some! lol Summer tomatoes are priceless this year and what a pretty bunch you have! You must be feeling better if your cooking up a storm, so glad! I"m gonna try that curry ketchup, sounds yummy!

Harbor Hon said...

Glad you're feeling better my sweet girl. Yummy! Gotta make some roasted cherry tomatoes as soon as possible or I'm going to wither away. Love them! xxoo

Anonymous said...

I made some of the curried catsup. Yummy. Hope you are back blogging soon.