Things are changing way too quickly around me. I swear my teenage son is growing an inch a day this summer, and all this is happening in the dark as he incubates in his room listening to music, texting, and video gaming. So when my dad brings me a basket of tomatoes from his garden, I welcome this summer tradition with wide open arms. I can’t remember a time when Dad hadn’t grown beautifully plump ruby tomatoes. All my neighbors in Queens grew them up against cucumbers that trailed down chain link fences. When he and my step-mom eventually followed me out to California, the first thing they did was terrace their sloped backyard for the tomatoes. And the peppers, lettuce, eggplants, and so on.(Except cucumbers which don’t do well in drier climates.) Without fail, I can stock my freezer with tomato sauce every summer, and this year I’m going to do something new for me; I’m going to roast a bunch. A little change is a good thing.
This summer I also opted to grow Holy Basil over the common Sweet Basil(large leaf variety), and I dry a bunch upside down dangling from an orchid plant on my window sill. As the leaves dry, I just take what I need for dishes. Because of their small size, you don’t even have to slice them.
- 12 tomatoes sliced in half and seeded(squeezed or spooned out)
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs dried basil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- Place halved and seeded tomatoes onto a baking sheet.
- Drizzle 1 tbs oil onto tomatoes.
- Sprinkle salt and dried basil onto tomatoes.
- Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 2 hours. (Tomatoes should be dehydrated and caramelized but not burnt.)
- Saute 1/2 onion in 1 tbs olive oil. Add minced garlic after 5 minutes and sauté for another minute.
- Add onion mixture to roasted tomatoes.
- Blender or food processor should be used to puree tomatoes until creamy.
- Add 1 tbs olive oil to pureed tomatoes.
- Serve with pasta(thinned out with pasta water) or as a sauce with grilled anything.