I feel like I've been waiting for this moment all summer! The moment when your tomatoes are starting to turn red and are almost ready to be picked. It’s probably one of the best times of the summer for me. Here in New York tomato season starts in July and ends in September. So generally the first harvest will happen around the end of July or beginning of August. Some of mine have already been picked or are close to being picked. So, I really wanted to get a couple of tomato recipes out for you guys to have on hand while your tomatoes are still partially green. Nevertheless, you can still find tons of tomatoes ready to go at your local farmers market! The three recipes I choose to do are homemade oven dried tomatoes, a slow roasted tomato sauce, and congee topped with fish, beans and tomatoes!
Homemade Oven Dried Tomatoes
There are so many ways to dry out tomatoes. You can use a dehydrator, an oven, or just leave your tomatoes out to dry out when it's super sunny. I'm pretty sure you can even leave them in your car and they will dehydrate too! No matter how you dehydrate your tomatoes I know you’ll love adding them to your dishes. Don't even think about throwing out that oil! Use it to slow cook other things, use it in a dressing, or just pour it over some freshly baked sourdough!
12 - 16 ounces of grape tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 sprig of basil or oregano
Sprinkle of salt
Jar to keep everything
Start by rinsing and drying your tomatoes off really well. Preheat your oven anywhere from 170 - 185 degrees fahrenheit.
Cut them in half and lay them down on a baking tray and leave them in the oven for about 8 - 12 hours. You can check on them every couple of hours but your end goal is really to have dried out tomatoes that have a chewy jammy like inside.
Take all your oven dried tomatoes and place them into a jar along with 1 clove of garlic, 1 sprig of oregano and/or basil, and a sprinkle of salt. Pour enough olive oil to cover all the sun dried tomatoes and keep in the fridge! Use liberally on anything you want!
Slow Cooked Rustic Tomato Sauce
Making slow roasted anything is so satisfying. The flavor that develops is undeniably good and when your produce is at the peak of its season you know it going beyond amazing. The tomatoes slow cook with whole garlic cloves and olive oil for 3 hours to really get those sugars nice and sweet. I’ve made this sauce with all the tomatoes I've gotten from my garden so far and I plan on making a big pot of it to store for a couple of months.
2 -3 pounds of tomatoes, preferably roma or big boy tomatoes
¼ cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of onion powder
2 large sprigs of fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a dutch oven, add in the olive oil, whole garlic, and diced tomatoes. Cook on medium low for 3 hours with the lid on. For the first two hours, check on the tomatoes every hour and then for the last hour check on it every 20 minutes. Give it a stir every time you check on it.
After the three hour have gone, shut the stove off and give it a taste. Add garlic powder, fresh basil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything in and cover the pot to have the residual heat wilt the basil. Serve with pasta, jar it up for another day, or serve with some congee!
Black Standard Congee (Fish, Tomatoes, & Pigeon Peas)
Congee is literally a blank canvas that you can really add in any leftovers you have and somehow it will taste good. You can top it with sauce or leave it plain. It's totally up to you. Normally, I've always had congee that has stuff like chopped up pork, chicken, squid, scallions, and peanuts. It's like the golden standards of congee. But today I didn't feel like the golden standard. Today I felt like the golden standards’ black sheep's cousin. Which is why I call this the black standard congee. It’s completely different but tastes just as good.
1/2 cup of rice
5 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon of salt
1 fillet of white fish (tilapia, cod, or your favorite white fish)
drizzle of oil
sprinkle of salt & pepper
¾ cup of slow roasted tomatoes
1 can of gandules aka pigeon peas, drained
In a large pot combine the rice, water, chinese five spice, and salt and bring to a boil.
Let this boil for about 20 - 30 minutes. Then once it starts thickening, lower the heat to a medium low. Stir every 10 minutes and leave the lid open.
After another 30 minutes have passed, it should have thickened nicely. If you like it thicker, continue cooking and check on it every 5 minutes.
While the congee is cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place your white fish in a baking dish along with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
Once everything has come together, grab a bowl, spoon some congee in, add in the slow roasted tomato sauce, a piece of fish, and top it with some guandules aka pigeon peas. Serve while hot!