Posted by: Stephlechef | September 25, 2011

Glut busters and resolutions – sun-dried tomatoes

Firstly, resolutions. Because it’s… autumn? No, but seriously. As I am not working and for various ridiculous personal reasons it doesn’t look as though I will be on the job hunt for a couple of months yet, I decided I need a proper project. Ya know, actually “achieve” something, and all that. So I decided I shall attempt to do my blog a bit more seriously. As in, do more cooking, present it better, stop rushing the posts and being impatient with the photos and essentially posting a half-arsed attempt. And hopefully this shall make my cooking better too 🙂 So there’s the resolution.

And now onto today’s adventure. Oven-dried tomatoes!

Firstly, I must admit I have never liked sun-dried tomatoes in anything, I’ve always found the taste really overpowering and just not that nice. So why make them?! you may cry. Well, I’ve always liked the idea of them, you know, like an aspirational thing, in the same way I always used to wish I liked houmous (as an aside, I now love houmous, so aspire away!)

Secondly, my nan gave me a big old bag of tomatoes the other week in return for me inviting her round for dinner (my whole family is like a grow-your-own swap shop. I don’t grow my own anything, being sans garden and all, but luckily I have chutney as collateral (see previous posts!)). My nan always seems to have tomatoes. I don’t know whether her greenhouse has special powers, but she always seems to have more tomatoes than anyone else, and a ton more to give away. It’s a ramshackle old thing (the greenhouse, not my nan, har har) and it always smells of what I think is a parrafin heater. Also ancient. But it seems to work as she has the best tomatoes going.

Anyway, I made up tons of tomato soup with that batch, and then when I went round the week after that, made the mistake of mentioning that I had run out. And home I come with another bag full. Now, normally this wouldn’t be a problem. Even though William is insane and doesn’t like tomatoes in their fruity form, I would normally manage to polish them off in sandwiches and the like. However, they were very, very ripe, practically leaking seeds the second you picked them up, and aside from not eating very much lately, my mouth also decided to spring up the largest and most painful ulcer known to humanity. Ok, I exaggerate, and the ulcer was more the cause of an unfortunate accident with a chewed pen lid, but OW. And so tomatoes have been a definite no-go for a week. So, when I saw a recipe on my not-very-regular reviews of my bookmarked internet pages for sun-dried tomatoes, they were the solution for my tomato-ey overload. Weyyy.

Oven-dried tomatoes

Recipe is a combination of lots of internet ones!

You need:

Tomatoes (as few or as many as you have, you could make up a whole ton of these, as long as you’ve got enough jars to put them in, as I imagine they’re going to last a good long time)

Garlic (I can’t be specific on amounts, as it obviously depends how many tomatoes you have :))

Salt and pepper

Oregano or basil (or both, why not?)

Firstly, cut the tomatoes and, if you don’t like seeds or don’t want hard bits in the dried ones, scoop out the seeds. Salt the wet side of the tomatoes and lay that side down on kitchen roll. Leave for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to very low, I had mine, which is a fan oven, on about 80 degrees celsius.

Make a tasty spread for your tomatoes. I crushed up some garlic, then mixed it in with the oregano and some salt and pepper pinch salt (I just want to show off my new “pinch salt” collection for a second, I bought them in Lidl the other day and they are so cool)

Phew, that’s that off my chest. Right, so. Some of that. Then I mixed in a bit of oil for easy spread-ability.

Lay the tomatoes in a little bit of oil on a baking tray, like this:

Then spread the lovely garlicky topping on them, like this (I’m loving this step-by-step thing)

And then bung them in the oven. For three hours. Oh yes, I should mention, make these when you don’t need the oven for anything else. They really do need three hours, and I’m still not entirely convinced mine are completely done. They do make your house smell quite beautifully like a frenchman’s armpit, though (you know, garlicky…)

And then when they come out of the oven they should look like this!

Then when they’re cool, bung them in a [sterilised] jar with olive oil and attempt to take an artistic photo of them eat them.

And there you have it. Way to use up a glut. This month is a bit like squirrel month, isn’t it, storing all the nice summer food away in jars and in the freezer for the chilly willy times ahead.

As it wasn’t chilly willy at all yesterday, I had a little wander into the next town along (it’s pretty small here), and picked up this ever-so-cute platter thing in a charity shop. I’m thinking tapas again? Or maybe like a mezze thing? eeeeeeeeeeeeeek


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