Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And then there was rain

On Sunday it was in the upper 90s. Today, not even 48 hours later, and we are in the 70s. I am so much more comfortable. The breeze blows through my bedroom and I sleep blissfully. I listen to the rain fall outside and marvel at how nice the clean air smells. I can think and move without feeling as if my brain and body is being compressed by a thick wave of heat. And I can turn the oven on.

Tomatoes are at their height of beauty and passion and there are so many ways to prepare them. Caramelized Roasted Tomatoes are a recent favorite. I think I've made them three times in only two weeks! I know, there are loads of things to do with fresh tomatoes besides stick them in the oven. But imagine tuna on crackers with sweet sour roasted tomatoes while sitting by the side of a beautiful, quiet river. Imagine eating pesto on crackers and roasted tomatoes, cold and saucy from the fridge when it is too hot to cook. The tomatoes seemed to compliment everything I love right now, and so I make them, again and again. You should too.

Caramelized Roasted Tomatoes
16 small (roma or salad sized) tomatoes, or a basket of baby or cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
fresh torn basil
Preheat oven to 400
Cut the tops off of the tomatoes, or make a slit in the baby tomatoes
Put the tomatoes in a ovenproof skillet that has been brushed with olive oil. Tomatoes should fill the pan -- it is ok if they are close together.
Evenly sprinkle the oil, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes.
Bake for about an hour, checking every 15 minutes after the first 45 until the tomatoes have broken down, there is a lot of juice in the pan, and the tomatoes are browned and caramelized.
Remove the pan from the oven and place on stove top. Cook on medium-high heat to reduce the accumulated liquid until reduces and forms a glaze. Sprinkle tomatoes with torn fresh basil leaves.
Serve or store.

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