- Date: Thursday, January 22, 2009 -- 7:30pm
- Location: Bloomington, IN
- Kitchen: My Apartment
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Dining Companions: Tom M, Chuck, Ayelet, Paul K, Beth, Kent, Sue, Allan, Ann E, Jim, Vladimir, Muriel, Chris C, Prudence, Kate, Marlies, and John B
- Recipe Rating: B+
I made this hors d'oeuvre for a party we had a few weeks back. The idea was simple: roast some tomatoes in the oven, toast some baguette slices, put tomatoes on top of baguette. In slightly more detail: I cut plum tomatoes in half, put them on a baking sheet, and spooned a mixture of garlic and extra-virgin olive oil over them. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and roasted them in a 200 degree oven for 6 hours. Yup, 6 hours. The Book said the tomatoes could be roasted a couple days ahead and refrigerated until serving, so I did just that. Now, I usually go to bed around midnight, so I was careful to come home from work a bit early the night I made these, and I put them in the oven at 5:30pm. I figured they would roast for 6 hours, they could cool for 30 minutes, and I could put them in the fridge and go to sleep. Well, at 11:30pm it was clear that they were hardly roasted. In fact, they looked shockingly similar to the way they looked when I put them in the oven. So I turned the oven up to 300 degrees and let them cook for another 45 minutes. At 12:15pm I checked them again -- still not particularly well roasted. But I was tired. My special gentleman stays up later than me so I asked him to watch them, cranked the oven up to 325 and told him I thought they would be done within a half an hour or so, given how much I had increased the temperature of the oven.
As I soundly slept, my special gentleman checked these tomatoes at 12:45am. Not done. He checked them again at 1:15am. And 1:45am. And 2:15am. Finally around 2:30am he got tired. He took them out, let them cool, then threw them in the fridge. The next day I was shocked to find that they had taken so long: 9 hours total! But they weren't overcooked at all. In fact, they were perfectly roasted. So is the recipe wrong about how long it takes to achieve a perfect oven-roasted tomato? Well, perhaps not. Ovens have a very hard time maintaining low temperatures. So my 200 degree oven may not have really been 200 degrees. Or maybe it was. I don't know and I don't have an oven thermometer with which to check. But my advice to you: plan in some extra time to roast these tomatoes.
The day of the party I sliced up some baguette, brushed it with oil, sprinkled with salt and toasted them until crisp and golden (which also took longer than The Book said it would). To serve, I topped each toast with one tomato half. These bruschetta were quite tasty. For so few ingredients they had an amazing amount of flavor. The slow-roasted tomatoes were delicious, and the toasted baguette provided a nice vehicle for them. I can only imagine that these would have been even better at a time of year when you can find really good tomatoes, but even with tomatoes from the grocery store in the winter this was tasty. I was quite happy with our end result, but if I had stopped roasting when The Book indicated, this dish would have been not nearly as good.
Here is the roasted tomato part of the bruschetta recipe.
My apologies for the long blog silence. I was away most of this week on a very important trip which required a lot of preparation (a.k.a. an interview). So blogging had to sit on the back burner for a few days while I focused on things that were a little more important! But I am back now and feeling way more relaxed than I have in the last few weeks! Aside from being stressful, my trip was quite fun. I met a whole bunch of new people, all of whom were tremendously friendly. And, in talking to said people, I really learned a lot. Overall I think it went pretty well, but it will probably be a few weeks before I will know if anything will come of it.
In the meantime, it is back to teaching, working, cooking, and blogging (and running, if it would warm up a little bit more!). I didn't really realize just how stressed out I have been feeling in the last few weeks until this afternoon, when I was suddenly not stressed at all. That no-stress feeling was so unfamiliar I almost couldn't place it. And then I thought: "Ah, I am relaxed!" And you know what, it felt good!