Category Archives: vegetables

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

There’s nothing like cranking your oven up to 400 degrees when it’s over 100 degrees outside – nothing better! Yea, I’m totally joking. Does 225 degrees sound a little better? I think so too. So that’s just what I did Saturday afternoon.

I had a few vine-ripened tomatoes sitting around and didn’t really feel like making pasta sauce, and I don’t like tomatoes UNLESS they’re cooked. They can be made into sauce, soup, sauteed, whatever – but they MUST be cooked. It’s a very weird relationship we have, the tomatoes and I. What I did feel like doing was making sun-dried tomatoes (because I LOVE them), but could not find my cheesecloth (hopefully, I can try out this experiment soon). I stumbled upon some recipes, okay, more like guidelines, for slow roasting tomatoes. (Thank you, smitten kitchen, for being a constant inspiration) I thought to myself  “close enough,” and began the 3 hour journey of the slow-roasted tomatoes.

This was one of the easiest things to do with the best results ever! I am so sad that I’ve never done it before. Everyone loves tomatoes, everyone but me! I think this delicious & simple “recipe” has brought me one step closer to a friendship with tomatoes. Let me share with you how we bonded.

What you need:

-your vine-ripened tomatoes, or whatever kind you have
-cloves of unpeeled garlic, as many as you want to roast alongside your tomatoes (tomorrow, I’ll share with you what I did with the delicious roasted garlic)
-good quality olive oil (the only kind you should have in your pantry)
-fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil (these are optional)
-salt & pepper to taste

Next, preheat your oven to 225°F. Cut your tomatoes into quarters. (If you have a smaller tomato such as a cherry or grape, halve those.) Arrange your tomatoes and garlic on a baking pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Not too much, but just enough (you’ll know). Sprinkle lightly with your herbs, salt, and pepper. Place your pan in your oven and leave them alone for 3 hours. Of course, check on them periodically! You want them to be a little dry on the outside, but to remain a bit juicy on the inside. Experiment with the time to get your tomatoes just right – you might like them a little more juicy while I like them a bit more dry.

Eat these delicious little buggers warm, on a salad or as a side to a sauce-less pizza. It’s a light and refreshing accompaniment to any summer meal & is sure to please most anyone who loves delicious things.

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Morel Mushrooms

One of the best foods to come out of spring has to be morel mushrooms. I love mushrooms in general, but morels have this delicious taste & texture that really can’t be compared. Going hunting for morels makes them taste even better! (I plan on trying to do some hunting this week) I found some at my local natural foods store – so that will do for now!

I know many people are used to fried morels; while tasty, it’s an unfortunate waste of their uniqueness. Often times the thick breading and heavy flavor take a lot away from the morel itself. A fellow foodie suggested cooking my morels in butter and dry white wine with garlic, red onion, spinach, red peppers, plus some salt and pepper. While his idea sounded delightful, I had to alter the idea a bit to use what I had (saving money and whatnot).

So, what was in the kitchen? Garlic (as always), Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, and Cabernet Sauvignon – that’s as close as I could get! Two tablespoons of vegan butter melted in a medium-hot pan, followed by 3 chopped cloves of garlic. After sauteing for a minute, I added the morels (after soaking them in icy water for a minute) and allowed them to cook for a few minutes. Then added a couple glugs of the wine, a little sugar – allowing the flavors to soak in for a few more minutes. A shake of salt and pepper – and they were done! Delicious! This preparation would probably by ideal for a steak side/topping – as red wine stuff tends to be. Fortunately, I don’t eat meat. So I paired this with roasted asparagus & onions. Yum!

So, go out on an adventure! Check out your woods and railroad tracks! Find some morels! When you bring them home to cook, share your secret recipes with me!

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Asparagus

Asparagus season begins mid-April. And would you look at that? It’s mid-April! I was lucky to pick up two bunches of asparagus for the price of one at a local natural foods shop this week. Asparagus is one of those food items that you don’t want to add too much to – it’s flavor is so delicate and should really be allowed to shine on it’s own. Here’s a lovely little asparagus recipe I came up with:

Fresh Asparagus w/Sunflower Seeds & Garlic

 

  • 1 bunch of fresh Asparagus
  • 4 clove garlic, sliced
  • about 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • fresh lemon juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt
  • olive oil

1. Start by boiling a large pot of water. Enough that there is room for your asparagus.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Prepare your ingredients. Wash asparagus and cut off the tough, white ends. Cut asparagus diagonally into 1″ – 2″ pieces. Then you can slice your garlic cloves into thin slices, or dice.

4. Mix sunflower seeds, garlic and just a dash of olive oil onto small baking sheet (or pie pan) and put in oven to begin roasting. Allow to roast anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes, it all really depends on your oven (mine is a little funny and takes much less time than normal folks’ ovens.) When nicely browned, take out of oven and let cool off just a bit.

5. When water comes to rolling boil, add Asparagus. Only let asparagus cook for 3 to 4 minutes! This is crucial, you do not want your asparagus to come out too mushy! Drain water off asparagus, and put into mixing bowl.

6. Add garlic & sunflower seeds to warm asparagus, drizzle with olive oil and add salt (to taste). Squeeze fresh lemon and add zest to bowl. Mix well! Enjoy lots!

I served this with a side of locally made kraut and croissants spread with a herbed & spiced vegan cream cheese. An absolutely perfect spring meal! Too bad the weather outside isn’t reflecting the season!

If you’d like to do a search for what produce is seasonal in your area, try a search like this one over at simplesteps.org where you can find what is in season for your are, and local farmers’ markets. Real Simple offers a seasonal fruit & vegetable tool that allows you to choose your food and then will tell you when it is in season, how to store it, it’s shelf life, and uses. Eat fresh, eat local! You’ll feel better, wallet included!

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