You wake up. Head pounding. Mouth dry. All you want to do is scrub out your insides with soap and water. You “had too much fun” the night before (read: drank too much). What do you do? Eat a giant burrito, brew some coffee, and watch a True Life marathon. Now you know what your body is craving? VEGETABLES. Suddenly the idea of shot-gunning a cucumber doesn’t seem so strange, does it? Well thank goodness I have a basket overflowing with vegetables from the farmer’s market and my mom’s garden (…and possibly some stolen vegetables in there from someone who never harvests their goods, I’M DOING YOU A FLAVOR).
What’s on the docket? Alice Water’s Ratatouille from Food52.com and some oven roasted tomatoes. We’re in that magical time where tomatoes are plentiful and are like GOLD. For those of you who say “I don’t really like tomatoes” and order sandwiches without the tomato, and complain about them and yadda yadda, well you can go suck an egg (a term which is not nearly used enough anymore). Tomatoes are one of god’s natural gifts to man. They’re tangy, acidic, full of antioxidants, and are shaped like a heart (with chambers and everything). Yes, a tomato bought at a non-organic store in the middle of Winter is not good. An heirloom tomato bought at a Farmer’s Market in late Summer, however, will make you cry. Still not convinced? Try some oven roasted tomatoes. The slow roasting at a low-ish temperature brings out the natural sweetness in these red gems, and plus, they’re topped with garlic and olive oil, what’s not to like?? It’s ridiculously easy.
- Heat oven to 325 F
- Cover sheet pan with olive oil or parchment paper (I like parchment paper since it makes thing 1000% easier to clean)
- Take some tomatoes.
- Cut them into quarters/halves/eighths depending on size.
- Put them skin-side down on baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil. Top with salt and pepper.
- Chop up some garlic. Sprinkle on top of the tomatoes.
- Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.
- Enjoy with everything (put these in grilled cheese, it’s like a swanky new way to enjoy grilled cheese and tomato soup, except the tomato is IN the sandwich…so meta…).
Don’t be afraid if they look burned, that is just the sweet caramel-y essence of the tomato coming out. The juices in the tomatoes are being cooked down, so what is left over is a concentrated version of…well, everything I’ve been going on and on about.
While these are cooking down, I start’a the Ratatouille (Italian hand gesture). I made this dish earlier this week because I went overboard at the Farmer’s Market and bought tons and tons of vegetables. And this recipe happens to use EVERYTHING I bought. I’ve had some terrible Ratatouille in the past, yet I’ve always heard how great it can be. So after years of not caring enough to do anything about it, here I am, with a story to tell.
Look at that color! Holy crap! It’s just beautiful, I took probably 50 pictures of this set up because I just wanted to make sure I could fully capture the beauty of it all. I added red onion and tomatillos to this, which is different from the recipe.
Sidenote: Tomatillos. My mom brought me a bunch of tomatillos this weekend, and I plan to make some salsa verde soon, but I thought I’d pop these in because hey, why not. I know nothing about these guys, and the paper exterior puzzles me, frankly. When I peeled them the skin under the paper was…sticky. WHY WOULD IT BE STICKY.
But they broke down nicely in the stew (it’s easier than typing Ratatouille) and I think gave gave it a nice new dimension. Hey, onto some veggie pictures:
And then you add the other veggies slowly and…..
So now that I have roasted tomatoes and veggie “stew” what do I do now? I pair them with some delicious toasted Zingerman’s Detroit St. Sourdough bread (it’s topped with fennel, poppy, and sesame seeds, goes well with EVERYTHING), and cheeses. Now, these vegetables would stand up on their own, but what’s a little cheese and tasty bread? The “stew” I paired with some fresh mozzarella (now I’m talking rich and creamy mozzarella ball, freshly sliced, not flaky pre-grated kraft stuff) and placed under the broiler for a bit. The tomatoes I paired with some fresh goat cheese and basil leaves. Are you jealous? I’m jealous just thinking about it. Why am I not always eating this meal??