In the 60’s, I grew up in a household which thought Chef Boyardee was exotic. I didn’t taste my first pizza until I was in high school and I can track my first encounter with antipasta. I was 33 years old and eating for the first time at Granos Restaurant in Toronto. On display at their counter were beautiful jars filled with olive oil and vegetables: bright peppers, tomatoes and herbs. They were like rich jewels. A symbol of another world, someone else’s life. Until now….. oh ya.
This morning all of that changed. I am now the exotic exciting one.
It all started with a blog from Heidi. http://lightlycrunchy.wordpress.com Today she was writing about what to do with an over abundance of cherry tomatoes. Her solution was to dry them in the oven. Inspired, I tried it.
For the most part I followed her advice. I started with a baking pan covered in parchment paper. I cut my cherry tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Added salt, pepper, fresh chopped basil and a branch or two of fresh french tarragon.
(This is where I veered off) I added slices of garlic and drizzled olive oil and some balsamic vinegar lightly over the tray. They were baking in a low oven set at 150 degrees for six hours. NOTE – even if this recipe does not appeal to you, you must try it because your house will smell simply wonderful when it is cooking.
Six hours later…. they had dried up into candy. Tiny, chewy, warm and packed with intense flavour. Zowy. I forced myself to stop popping them back into my mouth – Must – save – some…. ummmm.
But I’m not finished yet.
Off I went to my Home Hardware store and I bought more canning supplies: wide mason jars, lids, a cool magnetic wan for pulling the lids out of boiling water and a lifter.
After sterilizing a jar, I filled it with the garlic, herb/tomato mixture and then filled the jar to the brim with more olive oil. Company is coming for the weekend, so this will be a very tasty addition to my sandwiches. Damn. I’m good.
This was definitely not something I learned from my mother. Isn’t it beautiful?
Oh, by the way. Warren has his own little science experiment on the go. He is pickling corn.
Your oil packed tomatoes look absolutely beautiful. I love the changes you made – will try them out myself next time. I have tarragon and rosemary growing back in the garden, so will give them a try. I knew these ones wouldn’t last long enough to pack in oil, but next time..
Thank you for inspiring me to try this, Heidi. I recommend your blog http://lightlycrunchy.wordpress.com Lovely photos
Your tomatoes look beautiful – my tomatoes didn’t flourish this year but I have enjoyed them one by one right off the vine.
Won’t they be a wonderful treat come mid-winter.
How beautifully creative! Simply lovely. So colourful and delicious looking. Yummy. The corn – I’ll wait to hear the verdict on it.
Warren’s corn in a jar reminds me of a biology product involving formaldehyde. just gross!
Just made more of these today – this time we picked an entire bucket of grape and cherry tomatoes. They are now nicely packed in oil in an old canning jar. They look so pretty that I want to leave them out to look at them. Are you keeping yours in the fridge or on the countertop?
I have company over the weekend, so I chose to keep my jars on top of the kitchen counter – on display. On Friday I prepared more jars. This time I put fresh herbs and fresh hot pepper seeds in the bottom of the jar before filling them with the dried tomatoes and oil. I intend to try and use it up over the next week. For instance, as a side dish on Saturday night, I mixed a 1/4 cup of the jar oil, with its contents – the tomotoes and hot pepper seeds with my cooked linguine. Great flavour. It rocked! I hate to put the jars in the frig because the olive oil will get thick and cloudy.
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