Thursday, August 26, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soul

I found a recipe out here a couple of years ago by Kalyn, a friend and food blogger. Slow Roasted Tomatoes .

I made it and loved it. I put up a half bushel of tomatoes this way. I got several of my friends to try them. They are now making them every year. Anyone who tastes them makes them. We all joke about whether or not a half bushel is too little.

I love to put them in at night when I go to sleep and have them roast while I am dreaming. I found out that another of my friends likes to do it that way as she enjoys waking to the scent that is so deep it is almost a flavor.

Our homes are full of the deep, tomato-rich scent of roasting. It invades our sleep, glides us into tomato-rich dreams of fields that spread on in limitless horizons. These fields make us hope. They send a feeling that he Earth itself is reaching up to offer us a treasure, an offering in the leafy palm of Mother Nature of sweet, juicy globes. The Summer Tomato. Nothing compares. It reduces the cellophane wrapped store tomatoes to cringing in the corners. For they are not tomatoes at all in comparison to the wonders of The Summer Tomato.

Here in New England, we love the Tomato Sandwich. Bread, tomatoes, salt, pepper, mayo. Or butter instead of mayo. It is a treat that is not at all appetizing with store-bought-hot-house tomatoes. They have to be local. And fresh.

Or, we love the simple Tomato with Salt.

But the pinnacle of all tomatoes, the zenith, is the Slow Roasted Plum Tomato. It takes 10 hours or so to cook. So it teases us, tempts us, with its scent of summer and summery herbs. We can almost feel the olive oil on our tongues supporting the deep tomato goodness. But we have to wait. We peek in every now and again and sneak a tomato half out, but we know that is just a preview of the greater glory to come.

When they are done, they get frozen, and re-appear during the cold months as a reminder of sunwarmth past. They appear in salads, tossed in pasta with oil and maybe anchovies or spinach, in sauce, on a cracker with goat cheese, cold with salami, in brown rice with assorted veggies, in white rice with scallions, on home made pizza. There are very few places where they cannot make a stellar appearance.

They are meted out slowly through the winter months, so that they end when new tomatoes arrive. This is not easy. But it is worth it to know that hidden in the depth of winter's freezer -- in small plastic bags -- is the taste of summer, waiting to open in our mouths.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Oh Abbey, how we will miss you!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Zoe, the Bichon, Freaks Out Children

Zoe went to the vet last week or her annual "wellness exam". My dog gets better health care than I do. She also needed booster shots for rabies, and a host of other doggie things.

She is a doggie drama queen.

When I rescued her, I got her fitted with microchip. As the vet held her, crooning comforting words to her, Zoe howled and shrieked like a banshee on amphetamines. I was panic stricken. "What are you doing to her???" I cried.

The vet laughed. "Look at the needle. It is 10 inches away from her. And I haven't even touched her with it yet. And her tail is wagging like crazy. You have a drama dog on your hands."

And so it goes at the vet every time. She wags her way in, greeting everyone, like the Queen of the May. "Oh yes, I am beautiful," she seems to say. "And I am loved and happy. Would you like to admire me? I'll let you."

Then we go into the examining room. Oh yes, weighing is lovely. Teeth exams are great. But take out a needle and my dog starts yelling. She doesn't tremble. She is not frightened in any obvious way. She doesn't squirm to be released. She just makes a hellova noise. She weighs 18.3 pounds and sounds like a hyena giving birth to a hippo.

As we walked out the door of the tiny office, Zoe grinning, holding her tail at a jaunty angle, a mother and her two small children were waiting to go in.

"Was that your doggie singing in there?" she asked.

"Singing? My dog was yelling bloody murder in there," I laughed.

"Oh," said the mother, giving me a stern look, "are you sure she wasn't SINGING? That's what I told my kids -- that she was singing" By this point she was almost hissing the last word at me.

Ohhhhhhh. I get it. The kids had freaked out anticipating agony for their own puppy, and Mommy was trying to bluff them, telling them my dog was singing.

"No. Zoe was not singing. She was trying to fake us out because she doesn't like shots. She yelled because she wanted us to stop, not because she was in pain. In fact we waited until she was quiet to giver her the shots, and then she didn't even yelp. Zoe is a great actress."

The mother glared at me.

"Sorry," I said, "my dog is complicated."
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