Monday, October 12, 2009

Roasted Tomatoes






I have never been a huge tomato fan, unless of course, it is in lomi salmon. And God forbid you try to feed me beef tomato. I like to eat everything but that would be at the bottom of my list, right above store bought half ripe rock hard tomatoes.
I never knew what a real tomato should taste like until I grew my own cherry tomatoes in Mākaha and then subsequently moved to the big island and had easy and affordable access to Kamuela Tomatoes and now Mauna Kea Tomatoes. Seriously, here in Hawaiʻi we pay a fortune to buy inferior tomatoes that are grown in who knows what faraway country and shipped all the way here. I think it probably costs more in fuel than in growing.
But now I cannot pass up a few tomatoes from any of our local farmers here on Hawaiʻi Island. And most recently I bought a box of Mauna Kea Tomatoes from Costco.
Kikaʻs birthday was approaching and she loves caprese. So what the heck, with Kaipo here to just cut up a tomato and eat it straight off of the cutting board (with sprinkles of salt, pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic) and my plans to roast some for a pasta meal, it seemed like a good deal to me. Less than $7 for at least a dozen big red ripe tomatoes seemed like a steal!
Caprese. Check.
Tomatoes for Kaipo. Check.
Roasted tomatoes - Okay, here goes:

1. Get your tomatoes. Romas are best. But I wouldnʻt let that stop me. Heck, if I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes I might even try that! Remove the stems and wash (I read that tomatoes are one of the three top veggies that need good cleaning to prevent E. Coli and the like.)
2.  Cut in half. I had big tomatoes so I cut them into thirds. Straight down the top. Kamuela tomatoes are a bit smaller so those I just cut in half.
3. Put in a large bowl and toss with a variety of herbs, if you have them on hand. Sprinkles of dried basil, marjoram, thyme, any kind of italian seasonings would work. I used some fresh pesto, thyme, dried chopped onion.
4. Add some salt (I always use Hawaiian salt) and fresh ground pepper (is best but if you donʻt have fresh ground then so be it. I just bought a fresh ground pepper shaker thing from Costco filled with peppercorns so Iʻm getting fancy).
5. Chop up a few cloves of garlic (I used about 4). Big chops. Add to bowl.
6. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
7. Mix with your hand
8. On a cookie sheet (with rim) lined with parchment paper or foil, place tomatoes (cut side down at first).
9. Slow roast at 250-275 degrees for about 4 hours or so. Depends on how you like it. After an hour or two turn the tomatoes.

If you start off with big tomatoes it takes a while for the moisture to bake out of them. And when you turn them (I used tongs) they might be kind of squishy so you have to be gentle. Just kind of play it by "eye". By the time I considered mine done, some were very well done and some were still a tad squishy. But thatʻs okay. I plan to have them cut up and tossed with some pasta and olive oil so it doesnʻt seem like a big deal that they be totally dried out.

If you need more directions go here! Itʻs a wonderful food blog site called Kalynʻs Kitchen. This is how I first got going on roasting tomatoes.

I took them out of the oven as the ʻohana and guests were making their plates for lunch (corned beef and cabbage thanks to Mom!) and I said, specifically, "Donʻt touch the tomatoes! They arenʻt for todayʻs meal!" Next thing you know, there it is, tomatoes on the bread, on the rice, or just in hand. I barely have enough left for the pasta. If you like tomatoes, and most definitely, if you LOVE tomatoes, you are going to love your very own roasted tomatoes. It isnʻt quite like sun dried tomatoes. Itʻs better. More flavorful. Easier to bite into. D E L I C I O U S .