Thursday, March 1, 2012

Healthy Habits: Roasted Garlic & Tomatoes

If you haven't tried a tomato plant in your container garden because you don't know what to do with that many tomatoes, here ya go. If you have an opportunity to purchase a case inexpensively from a local Farmers Market or they go on sale at the grocery store...stock up! Roasting them is easy, and fresh roasted tomatoes add incredible flavor to everything. A case of tomatoes does not last very long if you take a few to make fun, personal caprese salad, a few for homemade stewed tomatoes, a sheet of roasted tomato halves with basil and mozzarella cheese, and a sheet of roasted tomatoes for homemade pasta sauce. Oh yeah, don't forget to hold out a few for a couple different homemade salsas.

How to roast tomatoes...
What you need:
Olive Oil

Core the tomatoes with a paring knife
Set them on baking tray (it's ok if they're touching)
If any is so lopsided that it won't sit straight, cut a very thin slice off the bottom (I rarely have to do this)
Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes (it's ok if it collects in the holes)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Place in 400 degree (F) oven for 30-45 min. (depending on size of tomatoes and intensity of your oven)
Tomatoes will be very soft, slightly wilted and slightly browned on top when done.
Now, you're ready to cook with roasted tomatoes. Check back for homemade pasta sauce with your roasted tomatoes.

Many savory recipes start with garlic and onions. Using roasted garlic adds the kick of flavor that you can't put your finger on. It is the difference in taste of a typical homemade recipe and the same thing from a gourmet restaurant. And if you like garlic bread, you will flip when you have it homemade with your own roasted garlic.

Roasted Garlic...
What you need:
Whole Garlic Heads
Oilve Oil
Aluminum Foil

With a sharp knife, cut the top off each head of garlic, leaving it sitting on the root end.
Set the garlic on a piece of foil. (I usually roast 4-6 at a time)
Drizzle a little olive oil over the garlic.
Wrap foil up around garlic, pinching tightly at the top.
Put it in a 400* (F) oven for 30-45 minutes. (You can set it on the tray with tomatoes if you are doing them at the same time. 
This is what it looks like after roasting it...soft and smelling like garlic heaven!
Pick up a whole head. Grab it at the base and gently (but firmly) squeeze the cloves out.
Keep squeezing until you get all the garlic out. Oh, it smells so good!!
It is now ready to use.
For Homemade Garlic Bread, just mush this up with a fork and then spread with a knife on your french bread (over the butter you have spread on the bread first).
For cooking, just add it to your recipe just like you would raw garlic.
I typically roast 4-6 heads at a time, depending on what I plan to cook over the next week. If I use one head that day, I wrap the rest of them back into the foil and just keep it in the fridge to use each day.

What recipe have you tried that you just can't seem to get to taste the same as it does at the restaurant?

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