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Tried & Tested: Dried Tomatoes

October 8, 2009

One of our hopes in quitting work and moving here was that we would be able to live a simpler life. In financial terms we certainly needed to live more frugally, but we also wanted to shift down a gear or ten and live a quieter life.  Not so much “The Good Life” but with a healthy nod towards the mindful philosophy of the “Slow Food” movement.

With that in mind one of the things that we have enjoyed since we arrived is having the time to research and investigate and experiment some of the things that previously we could only say “Oh, that’s a great idea. I wonder if it actually works?”

Three years in we’ve been able to do some of that so we thought we’d share some of the things that have worked well. Some are money saving tips, some are time saving, some are using resources differently, some crafty, and so on.

To kick off, a foodie Tried & Tested.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

From time to time (ok, a couple of times a month) we end up with a small bowl of sad and tired tomatoes languishing in the cupboard. Grocery shopping is approaching, it’d be a shame to waste the tomatoes but they’re, well, a little past their best.

And yet, it’s possible to not just refresh them but make them into something that can be used in any of half a dozen dishes. Their flavour concentrates, their texture changes entirely.  When Ian sees these being prepared he smiles. A suspicious soul would suggest that he over-buys tomatoes to make sure this happens regularly :-)

So;

  • Cut the tomatoes in half, or quarters if they are absolutely huge
  • Place them cut-side up in an oven proof dish (in this case, the lid of a pyrex dish bought for Mands by her grandmother as a housewarming present many year ago. Pyrex goes on forever!)
  • Drizzle over a little olive oil, sprinkle a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Add some herbs if there are any hanging about … in this case some thyme straight from the freezer
  • Put the dish in the oven on a very low heat for an hour, or two or even three, and allow the tomatoes to dry out
  • Once they are cooked put them in a tupperware, cover them completely with oil and pop them in the fridge, or even the freezer. They’ll keep happily in the fridge for a couple of weeks, though they tend not to last that long in this house.

Slightly tired tomatoes, pre-cooking

Slightly tired tomatoes, pre-cooking

To use them;

  • Toss them through pasta or add them to an existing pasta sauce
  • Add them to salads, using some of the oil to make the salad dressing
  • Stand at the fridge door and eat them direct from the tupperware, remembering to mop up the telltale oil dribbles before anyone notices
  • Drain them and pile them, with some parmesan or olives or herbs, onto lightly toasted bread to make bruschetta
  • Add them to homemade pizzas, or to shop-bought to make them a little more interesting

Things worth noting;

  • When the tomatoes are all gone the oil is great for adding a tomatoey flavour to other dishes
  • If the oven temperature is low enough they can be cooking along with something else. If the oven is on but the temperature is a little high they’ll probably be ok but do keep a close eye on them
  • They can be made in huge batches which is useful when the summer tomato glut comes
  • They cook really well in a halogen oven, particularly if there are round containers to hand
  • They are fairly robust in terms of the flavours they’ll accept. Thyme, oregano, garlic, chilli, balsamic vinegar (but skip the drizzle of oil) all work well
  • They are a great fridge standy-by for when folks drop by unexpectedly … a little like biscotti
Post-cooking

Post-cooking

Bruschetta with oven-dried tomatoes, smoked turkey & parmesan

Bruschetta with oven-dried tomatoes, smoked turkey & parmesan

Happy cooking!

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One comment

  1. […] thin puff pastry topped with oven dried tomatoes and goat’s cheese. Not worth the effort to dry the tomatoes, might as well have just use thinly sliced fresh cherry toms. The goat’s cheese didn’t […]



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