I love making gifts. Christmas, obviously, is when my crafting/cooking inner demon really comes alive and wants to make everything for everyone. If I was more organized I would start this process in July. Maybe that will be one of my New Year's resolutions? It is just hard for me to start thinking about twinkling lights and christmas ribbon in July when the sun is shining, the air is warm and thick and all I want to do is grill and eat hot dogs. Hot dogs. Yum.
I have been making most of my gifts from an early age. I have always loved to make something rather than buy it, if possible. I have dabbled in flavored oils, had success with caramel sauces and even went so far as a faux-fur cape for my niece. Note to anyone who will listen: three year old little girls really only care about dolls/toys/anything-Princess-related on Christmas morning. A cape that their aunt spent WEEKS making? Not so much.
This year, due to my normal time crunch, my husband and I decided on roasted tomatoes. It sounded pretty easy, and I could get cute jars to put them in! Double score! But these were not just roasted tomatoes, they were s-s-l-l-o-o-o-w-w-w roasted tomatoes. How slow? 10-12 hours.
The first batch we did overnight. We took 5 pounds of Romas, sliced them in half, drizzled a little olive oil, salt and pepper and then we all went to bed — the tomatoes were tucked into a 180 degree oven. The next morning they looked pretty good. Not exactly what I wanted but still tasty. Our first batch went to our second-family-of-sorts. The entire jar was gone before we left their house Christmas Eve.
The second batch, we tried a different approach. We started the the same way, 5-6 pounds of Romas, but this time, half the amount cut in half, the rest quartered. We added unpeeled garlic cloves, a smidgen of sugar, and a much heavier pour of olive oil. After an hour at 350 degrees, we took a look. Not yet there, more steamed and soft, than the roasted we were hoping for. We left them in the warm (turned off!) oven while we were out eating and drinking merrily for a few hours Monday night. When we got home, we turned the oven back on to 170 degrees, and then we (or I) passed out. Others, the tomatoes and my husband, just went to bed.
The next morning, the smell was amazing. Even at eight in the morning! The photo above is them straight out of the oven. They tasted as good as they looked, they were bursting with flavor. These were packed in the remaining jars and taken to my family's house for distribution. They were a hit! My dad made us stop eating his jar so he could use them for pasta tonight.
For those attempting to make these, I am not sure if our technique of an hour of intense heat followed by hours of slow heat was what achieved what we wanted. Regardless, if I am to make them again, and indeed I will, I will do the same thing. We also found that the quarters tasted better than the halves, but you decide :) It really doesn't need a recipe, but here it is:
Slow Oven Roasted Tomatoes
adapted from this recipe, and this recipe
5-6 pound rinsed tomatoes, quartered (we used Romas, but I think any would work)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (don't be shy)
1 head of unpeeled garlic cloves
2 teaspoon of sugar (ratio is about 1 teaspoon per kilo of tomatoes)
- Arrange tomatoes on baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with salt, olive oil, and garlic cloves.
- Place in 350 oven for 1 hour
- Turn down heat to 170 and cook for about 10-12 hours.
- Remove from oven and cool. Place in air-tight container. Keeps for about a week in fridge.
You can add herbs if you want, we didn't have any on hand, so we didn't. You can eat these with bread and fresh goat cheese, pizza, pasta or just straight from the jar to your mouth. Like I did :)