Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Murder in the 250th Degree; or, How to Kill a Perfectly Good Tomato

It started with a pile of tomatoes on the counter. I'd been happily eating them fresh every day, but all that acid and vitamin C was beginning to take a toll on the Micawber intestinal tract. What to do?

A brainwave. Oven-dried tomatoes! I envisioned quantities of brightly-coloured tomato nuggets, tenderly packed in jars of herbed oil, or, possibly, stored in freezer bags for winter-long enjoyment.

The Internet was full of good advice. I chose Martha Stewart's recipe - surely someone so acquainted with Good Things would know best how to roast a tomato. (Of course she writes all those recipes herself, as surely as the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch on Hallowe'en.)

Martha's technique couldn't be simpler: slice tomatoes into 1/4" slices; sprinkle with sugar, herbs, salt and pepper, and bake at 250┬║ "until juices have stopped running, edges are shriveled, and pieces have shrunken slightly", anywhere from 1 1/2 to 6 hours. (I simplified the recipe still further by using only salt.)

Here are the tomatoes on the cutting board, succulent and delicious:

Here are the tomatoes on the baking sheet, salted and glistening in scarlet glory:

Into the oven they went. The house soon filled with the rich smell of cooking tomatoes.

But wait - I forgot to mention the secret ingredient. In order to properly murder a tomato, one must crochet whilst the vermilion fruit bakes. And not only crochet, but set oneself a particularly knotty design problem which will absorb all one's mental energy until suddenly one realizes one has not checked the tomatoes in the last hour or so.

Here are the tomatoes on the rack, crispy beyond recognition:

I killed them.

The few that weren't burnt to a cinder were so salty as to be nearly inedible.

Next time I'll just make some sauce.

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  1. Oh no, bless you heart, Sue. ;-). That crocheting will distract you everytime! Can't wait to see what you have been crocheting, though.

  2. You cracked me up with that ending! Wasn't expecting that at all!

    Minestrone. Works even with murdered tomatoes!

    You made me hungry with your description of the aroma that filled your house. I have a food dryer, and I can leave it on all day and come home to a marvelously scented home. Ginger peaches... mmmmm, think you've talked me into a trip to the grocery store tonight!

  3. that was a bright spot to a cloudy and rainy cloudy day! :)

  4. How to kill a tomatoe. I'm still laughing! :-)

    I once forgot that I had root beet in the oven (wood heating). I was watching a movie that evening and even thought what a good movie it was because I could smell what I saw on tv. Two days (two days, imagine) I found the root beet shrinked to the sice of a walnut, completely black.

  5. Oh dear! When do we get to see the crocheted cause?

  6. I always set a timer, turn it off when it rings and continue whatever I was doing and let whatever I was cooking burn.

  7. What a sad ending to your tomatoes. Perhaps you should invest in a dehydrator?


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