Saturday, July 23, 2011


Generally, these days, there's a pile on the counter that looks a little something like this:

This is due to the tomato plants in the garden looking a little something like this:

It's a full time job to keep the garden and the kitchen tomato pile manageable. I've mostly given up on the garden, but I'm wholeheartedly trying to keep the number of countertop-tomatoes-to-be-eaten-as-soon-as-possible down. I've been trying variety of techniques - one is eating a lot of dinners that look like this:

I've also been regularly roasting sungolds on big baking sheets, cut in half with olive oil and salt and pepper and salt and sugar, and throwing them in everything from grits to salad to pasta:

Last week, I made a Tomato Tarte Tatin from Bon Appetit. I'd been told it was incredible; the recipe describes it as "a revelation."

First, you blanch, peel, seed, and slice a bunch of tomatoes. I used a mix of Romas and an heirloom called Jaune Flame, purchased from Rob at the market.

Then you cook the tomatoes in a mix of butter and sugar (secrets of deliciousness revealed) in a skillet.

Then you top the skillet with puff pastry and put it in the oven.

Then you turn it upside-down onto a plate and swoon at how beautiful it is.

Then you put ice cream on top and drool and take a bite and then take another and then cut yourself another piece and put ice cream on that and eat it all up because how could anyone ever stop eating caramelized tomatoes cooked as a dessert item?

  • 1 3/4 pounds plum tomatoes (8 large)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed, corners cut off to make very rough 9- to 10-inch round

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Cut shallow X in bottom of each tomato. Add 4 tomatoes to boiling water. Blanch tomatoes just until skins at X begin to peel back, 15 to 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer blanched tomatoes to bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. Peel tomatoes. Cut out cores, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds.

    Spread butter over bottom of 91/2-inch-diameter, 2- to 3-inch-deep ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron). Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar over butter. Arrange tomato halves, rounded side down and close together, in concentric circles in skillet to fill completely.

    Place skillet over medium heat. Cook until sugar and butter are reduced to thickly bubbling, deep amber syrup (about 1/4 inch deep in bottom of skillet), moving tomatoes occasionally to prevent burning, about 25 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Immediately drizzle vanilla over tomatoes. Top with pastry round. Using knife, tuck in edges of pastry. Cut 2 or 3 small slits in pastry. Place skillet in oven and bake tart until pastry is deep golden brown, about 24 minutes.

    Cool tart in skillet 10 minutes. Cut around sides of skillet to loosen pastry. Place large platter over skillet. Using oven mitts as aid, hold skillet and platter firmly together and invert, allowing tart to settle onto platter. Carefully lift off skillet. Rearrange any tomato halves that may have become dislodged.

    I've also been keeping busy with plenty of other kitchen projects. Today I baked oatmeal sandwhich bread out of Baker's Illustrated:

    We had a ton of peaches sitting on the counter and threatening to go bad, as well as pitted cherries from my birthday present to myself in the freezer. Since the oven was already on for the bread and to roast tomatoes, I threw together a peach-cherry crumble based on my favorite strawberry rhubarb recipe:

    Last weekend I spent one day experimenting with various bread recipes in the cobb oven out at Duck Run Farm with Keenan and Elizabeth. We made soft pretzels, two kinds of focaccia, and some incredible cinnamon rolls. Keenan also made us a beer can chicken. It was all real damn good.


    1. Dude. WTF. That tomato thing looks amaaazing.

    2. I have a great recipe from Weaver Street Market with sungold tomatoes, basil and shrimp in a cream sauce over pasta. One of my favorite ways to use sungolds - besides just eating them plain of course!