Pig hiatus + out-of-bloffice protocol

Bloffice. Blog-office, get it? It’s not great, but I know you got it the first time.

Just a quick update — I’ve not gone anywhere. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been in Las Vegas for a trade show since Sunday, but I’ve not abandoned ship here at the Pig & Quill just yet. In fact, now that I’m back, I’ve got a couple of recipes on deck to post — plus I broke the cardinal rule of Vegas and documented a good amount of my gastronomic experiences there for detailed retelling later, so keep an eye out this week.

In the meantime, if there are other bloggers reading this, please tell me: when you’re on the road, how much time do you spend prepping queued posts or queuing guest posts to fill the void? It’s something I’ve hardly considered (proof again that I’m really only so-so at this whole thing) so please share tips!

Recipe: Spicy garlic noodles (with peas)

Spicy Garlic Noodles with PeasWow, sorry it’s been a while. I seem to have stumbled upon a series of social opportunities this week that took my usual routine of EatCleanBlogBed and chucked it out the window. Happy news is that, while absent, I was off lunching at one of my favorite spots in Sacramento, Magpie (home of the carrot cake cookie!); enjoying course after course of handmade Italian fare at Osteria Coppa with some of my favorite ladies; and enjoying the original jazz tunes of the smokin’ hot Adam Walter Band at the aptly named The Cats tavern in Los Gatos. Who knew there was more to life than sweatpants and Netflix? Ah, the little things.

The sad news, unfortunately, is that while this return post is a recipe for, hands down, one of the most adored and frequently enjoyed meals in our house, it’s disappointingly simple. You won’t find any truffle oil, pools of glossy browned butter or fatty pork side here. But oh, this dish brings the flavor. Have you ever heard of the famed Garlic Noodles at the popular restaurant Crustacean (San Francisco/LA)? I won’t use the words dead ringer, but this pasta comes satisfyingly close. This is everyone’s favorite aglio, olio e peperoncino — with a little sumthin’ extra. It’s salty. It’s garlicky. It’s got all that savory brown-food flavor you crave, slathered on al dente pasta. And it starts with just a handful of simple ingredients that you probably have on hand right now.

How else to communicate the exponential deliciousness of this pasta? Ah. You know that special meal you want to make for yourself every time your spouse is on a business trip so you can guiltlessly eat the whole pan yourself? This. Is that meal.

Spicy Garlic Noodles (with Peas)
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking Time: 15 mins | Serves: 2

Note: ‘Fraid anchovies are too fishy? Fear not. Here, the anchovy paste (or fillets) gradually melts into salty, nutty goodness in the garlicky oil. You’ll be a convert after just one taste. Of course, if you’re shooting to make this a vegetarian recipe, you can omit the anchovy all together. I might just bump up the soy a smidge. The peas are also optional. I love peas, but I also love this meal without. Depends how much green you’re feeling, I suppose. (If you’re pro-pea, a quick shortcut is to throw them in with the pasta during the last minute of cooking — voila, hot, peas and pasta in one step!) And lastly, though I suggested above that there’s no pig in this recipe, an excellent variation would be to render 4 strips, diced, of thick cut bacon in the skillet before adding the oil. In this instance, retain the bacon grease and reduce the oil by half. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti or shaped pasta
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp anchovy paste or 2-3 anchovy fillets (or more, to taste)
  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Instructions

Cook pasta al dente (follow package directions) in plenty of boiling salted water. Meanwhile, add olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and anchovy paste to a deep skillet or pot. Bring to a medium heat, using a wooden spoon to help dissolve anchovy paste into oil. Cook until garlic is tender, about 1-2 minutes, careful not to let garlic burn (lower heat if necessary). Add soy sauce and stir to combine. Using a spider or tongs, remove pasta from water and add to oil mixture. Add peas and toss to combine/heat through. Devour!

My running story

Nike FreeHi friends. This Sunday, having completed one of the longest (if not the fastest) runs in my short career as a wannabe jogger, I thought I’d take a break from food for a moment to talk about something that is so closely associated with food, sad as it may be: fitness. More specifically, I know there are thousands of foodies out there (granted, they probably don’t read The Pig & Quill!) who swear just as much by their fitness regimen as they do their vast culinary prowess — and the thing is, I am not one of them. Or at least not really.

But I always like to hear how fitness factors into the lives of these follow porkers (pet name, not an insult), so I thought I would take a not-so-quick stab at doing the same. Here goes: my running story.

By now you may have gathered that I like to eat. A LOT. What I’m not so keen on doing, either a lot or even a little, is exercising. I get a little cardio in here and there walking back and forth from my desk to the kitchen at work. And we have a bouldering wall in our office warehouse that I probably burn 25 cals or so a week floundering around on. And occasionally Emily and I (BTW, she’s a friend, not my same-named alter-ego; that would be alter-egotistical) will hop on a couple of cruisers to make a lunchtime trek to the library. But other than that — and maybe a home fitness DVD or an easy, 10-mile loop bike ride with the hubs once a week — I’m not great with regular exercise.

And the thing I really blow at doing regularly, or well, for that matter: running.

Wow, if there is one thing I am clearly not designed to do with any grace, style or modicum of efficiency, it is running. I get red in the face like I just chased a shot of tequila with a handstand. I wheeze. My legs grow heavy and I fall down. I get all sausagey in my fingers and I don’t know what to do with my arms. I’m dreadfully slow. It is, in fact, such a train wreck it’s a wonder I don’t take the rest of the running world down with me when I set out for a Sunday jog. I am possibly the world’s worst runner. So why do I do it?

It’s not a totally unique story. Until a couple of years ago, me running would had to have involved an armed attacker, or maybe a slow-moving food truck slinging elephant ears. (Why are those things so effing good!?) And then this little thing called a wedding got slapped on the calendar, and Chris moved 2,000 miles away to get our post-wedding life pulled together back home in CA, and I found myself waking up alone, attempting to sell our house and pursuing a bridal figure all at the same time — and running just kind of happened. It was free, something to do when I was bored, and because Chris had started running in CA, it was something we could do together apart. Was it fun? Not really. Did it feel good? Let me tell you, in 90 degrees and 80% humidity, nothing feels good. Did it kickstart me into the best shape of my life? Nope. It was just something to pass the time, and no matter how poorly I ran, the adrenaline helped stave off the afternoon mopes most of the time. So that’s how I used running: as a sweat-soaked, crappy distraction that somehow curbed that urge you get to cry when you know everyone you love is in your corner but you still feel like you’re on that fair ride where you’re strapped to the inside of a round, spinning cage and the bottom drops out.

If that’s not some kind of screwed up therapy, I don’t know what is, but it worked.

Fast forward two years to reunited, married life in temperate CA and running still sucks. But I still do it. I don’t do it regularly; sometimes it’s a few runs a week, sometimes it’s a few runs a month — and then there are weeks and months where I don’t run at all. But I do it enough to appreciate the good runs (believe it or not, some of them actually feel good at the end!) and to acknowledge that at least I get through the bad ones without quitting. It’s still painful, I’m still slow, and I still feel a little angry when I’m lacing up my shoes, as if I have someone to blame other than myself for the run that is about to take place. And while the humidity is absolutely manageable, there are new things to hate here, like the fresh-faced twenty-somethings that stride past me like it ain’t no thing, all glowing cheeks and swishy ponies and perfect little Lululemon butts. They, alone, torment me perhaps more than any other aspect of running.

But they also kinda of fuel the fire.

I’m not saying I’ll ever be that twenty-something — and not just because the age descriptor, alone, is falling further out of reach. I’m not even saying that I will ever like running as much as most people who make habit of the sport tend to. But I’ll tell you what: there will always be a reason for this girl to benefit from a little good ol’ fashioned therapy. And if that therapy doesn’t take the form of something truly old fashioned (donut and/or cocktail, your choice), running might just be the next best thing.

So runners or athletes of any sort out there, tell me: what is your running story? How do you do it?

Recipe: Restaurant-style, oven-baked potato rounds

Restaurant-Style Oven-Baked Potato RoundsDo you ever have one of those nights when the only thing you can possibly fathom for dinner is a life raft of french fries, preferably with a bucket of bloomin’ onion sauce on the side? I’ll pretend you said Yes so we can close the chapter on commiserating and get on with the good stuff: these de-fricking-licious potato rounds. Ok, so they’re not fries, but they ARE a very close, crispy, seasoned approximation, eerily similar to the thick-cut potato wedges you see at fine dining establishments across America. You know the ones — red and white awnings, 2-for-1 Double Downs, the uuje. But are you ready for the kicker? The bonus factor that made me feel completely justified in eating, oh, a whole crap-ton of these things? They’re virtually FAT-FREE. Uh, boom?

Restaurant-Style Oven-Baked Potato Rounds
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking time: 35 minutes | Serves: uhhh, lets go with 2?

Notes: Despite what might seem like a boatload of spices, the recipe below actually results in relatively lightly seasoned potato rounds. If you’re really feeling that fast food flavor, double the spices and skip the extra salt at the end. Bloomin’ onion sauce optional (although The Brown Eyed Baker offers a damn tasty version here).

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • even more salt
  • cooking spray

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450F. Scrub potatoes thoroughly and slice into 1/4-1/3″ rounds. Beat egg whites until frothy. Mix all measured spices in small bowl. Add potato slices to a freezer bag and pour over eggs. Shake. Add 1/3 spice mixture. Shake. Another 1/3. Shake. And again. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. Arrange seasoned potatoes in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake for 20 mins, flip potatoes, and bake 10 additional minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Top with additional salt.

Recipe: Soft-scrambled tofu with oyster sauce, Thai basil and egg

When Chris is out of the house for mealtime, a couple of things happen: 1) I catch up on DVR’d episodes of Real Housewives of ____________ and 2) I whip up a two big portions of a simple, unfussy meal full of comforting flavors — and then eat them both. Tonight was no exception. Tofu is one of those things I always have in the fridge. With sweet and salty oyster sauce and fresh, aromatic basil, this is tofu at its dressed-down best.

Soft-scrambled Tofu with Oyster Sauce, Thai Basil and Egg
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2

Note: While extra firm tofu is great for stir-frys, opt for firm (at the firmest) in this recipe. When warmed through, it becomes silky and smooth while still retaining a bit of structure.Scrambled Tofu with Oyster Sauce & Basil

Ingredients:

  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 container firm tofu, drained
  • 2 T oyster sauce, or more to taste
  • sriracha to taste
  • 1 small bunch Thai basil, torn or roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • hot cooked rice

Instructions

Heat oil in a med-high saute pan or wok until hot. Add diced onion and stir-fry until translucent and lusciously onion-smelling (that’s a technical term), about 1 minute. Add drained tofu and break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. (Tofu will become softer and silkier as it warms through.) Add oyster sauce, sriracha and basil and stir to combine. Push tofu mixture to far side of pan and crack egg into open space, scrambling until soft-set. Serve tofu scramble alongside egg scramble over hot rice. Top with additional oyster sauce and sriracha to taste. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

In the Pigpen No.2: Guest blogging, bronzer down! and Netflix

It’s Wednesday, and that can only mean one thing: hump puns. Lucky for you all, this Wednesday we’re also taking a trip to the Pigpen to explore some of the more miscellaneous ramblings of this P&Q author. Get humped up. Here we go:

Full Circle Farms Delivery

1) I got my first Guest Blog gig! I didn’t want to steal any thunder from Full Circle when this went live last week, but this past weekend my (first-ever) guest posts for The Good Food Life went live. If you’re not yet savvy (thanks to Captain Jack Sparrow for bringing that one back a few years ago), The Good Food Life is Full Circle Farm’s blog, and it delivers an almost daily (sometimes more than daily) dose of everything from original recipes and fresh produce facts to nutrition tips and organic industry articles. For my guest post, I was asked to put together three weekday dinner recipes, one being my Garlic Chicken and Plums, which featured fresh produce from my first Full Circle delivery — plus two new recipes for Roasted Kale Pesto and a Weekday Wedding Soup that I’ll be posting here later this week for archiving purposes. (For a sneak peek, check out all my guest posts here, here and here.) Huge thanks go out to Full Circle for trusting in my quill skillery. Be sure to check out The Good Food Life (they also post to their Facebook page), and if you’re within the Full Circle delivery area, their weekly produce program is a fairly priced option considering the quality offerings and the included door-to-door delivery.

2) Mineral makeup meltdown. Do you wear mineral makeup? I do. And now, so does my bathroom floor. Because, Holy Helga, I dropped my bronzer this morning, and then, in a move that was so artfully choreographed it couldn’t have been choreographed, (shut up, whatever), it fell from my hand, to my counter, to my raised-in-an-attempt-to-catch-it thigh, to the floor — where it rolled in one large circle behind my toilet and back around to my sink before settling face down in a depressing puff of faux tan ashes. I really wish I had taken a picture so you could see the carnage, which was made all the worse by a wet Clorox wipe. Honestly, I can only imagine this is what the backstage of a Victoria’s Secret fashion show looks like when they hose all those spray-tanned beauties down after curtains close. Wait, does that not happen? Huh, my guy roommates from college will be so disappointed.

But seriously you guys, it was so sad.

Parenthood3) I am thoroughly obsessed with Parenthood, the TV series. Undoubtedly, this is encouraged in no small part by recently re-upping our Netflix subscription. (Here’s how that one went: Netflix = awesome. Quickster = ridonkulous. New release delays to Netflix = lame. HBO+ Game of Thrones > Netflix. Netflix = peace out. Cable + DVR + HD + HBO = my first born child. Comcast = Lucifer. Netflix = awesome. Rather harmonious in its circularness, no?) If you’ve never seen Parenthood, it’s like Brothers & Sisters — but set in slightly less-pretentious Berkeley instead of Pasadena — right down to the cheating father/grandfather. There’s the corporatized older brother with the nuclear family; the scattered older sister escaping a failed marriage with her bratty emo kids; the wayward, sarcastic little bro (think long hair, houseboat, studio gig); and the wish-you-could-hate-her hot-shot lawyer little sis whose super charming stay-at-home husband and precocious daughter are cute enough to eat (sure, both of them). I may or may not have dedicated 11 hours of my Saturday to getting caught up on Season One while the hubs was off doing manly bonding things like shucking oysters and driving fast. WHAT.

Recipe: Zucchini “fritters” with chard and poached eggs

This afternoon at about 5:45, I called my husband at work. It was the usual: how are things going, when are you headed home, and then — in simulcast — what do you want to do for dinner? My answer: Jinx, you owe me a Coke! His answer: Should we do something with all those veggies in the fridge?

You mean, besides just letting them decorate the crisper drawer? Like, yeah, I guesso.

So that’s what I did. On the drive home, I mentally inventoried our booty of garden fare and tried to think of a way to cram as much veg as possible into a dish that was slightly more exciting than a wok full of stir-fry. My first thought was a savory zucchini bread, inspired by this griddled gem that has been taunting me ever since I saw it on Food Gal a few days ago. But I wanted to challenge myself to use not just a scant cup or so of zucchini but ALL my zucchini, in one dish that would be consumed in one sitting — without becoming a squash version of Violet Beauregarde in the process.

Waffle maker to the rescue. I don’t know if all y’all follow Pinterest at all, but if you’re short on ideas for how to put a Costco brick of cheddar, a stack of Oreos or a waffle iron to use, check it out. It’s the Mother Lode. Ironically, it’s also the place to go if you want to look at pictures of women with eight-packs and perky rears encouraging you to “run for your dreams, not from your dreams” or “trim these three foods from your diet to shrink belly fat!” (Which three were those, again? Oh, Cheese, Oreos and Waffles? Oh, okay, cool.)

ANYWAY. Waffle irons are kind of making a comeback, and it was the first thing that came to mind when I began brainstorming a meal with a high veg-to-stuff ratio. And that’s why I let myself call these babies fritters and not waffles: because zucchini waffles makes you think waffles with zucchini, but zucchini fritters makes you think frittered zucchini, and that is a much more apt description — albeit these are more healthful, and a whole lot easier, than a fritter suggests. It just doesn’t get much simpler, or much more delicious. Zucchini. Cheese. A couple of eggs, some flour and a heap of savory spices to bring it all home. PLUS a topping of can’t-go-wrong Swiss chard and everyone’s favorite: a softly poached egg full of golden, oozing yolk?

This is veggielicious, kid-friendly money intha bank, my friends. And it’ll put that drawer full of late-harvest summer squash out of its misery, I promise.

Zucchini “Fritters” with Chard and Poached Eggs
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking time: 25 minutes | Serves: 2

Note: I won’t pretend that I’m an expert on poaching eggs. In fact, I’m something of a horrible egg poacher, so I’ll leave the instructions to someone who knows what they’re doing and will instead provide the recipe for the more interesting stuff: the fritter!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (that’s about 3 whole zucchini, oh-hey!)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 T olive oil + extra for sauteing the chard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 bunch chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, poached just before serving (see note)

Preheat waffle iron. In large bowl, mix together zucchini, eggs, flour, olive oil, all spices and cheese. Stir thoroughly to combine and let sit for 5 minutes (in this time, the salt will draw liquid out of zucchini to thin the batter some). Batter should be thicker than pancake batter but not doughy. Mound 1/3 of the mixture onto waffle iron, using a spoon to spread it to within about 1″ of edges. Close iron and cook on high setting or about 5-6 minutes, until cheese is browned and crisped, zucchini is tender and batter is set. (How do you know this, you ask? Eat a little piece! Careful as it’s likely hot as a mother hen.) Repeat twice more or until all batter is used. If necessary, keep fritters warm in a low oven.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add swiss chard and salt and pepper to taste and saute until chard is wilted and bright green, about 2-3 minutes.

Pile chard atop hot fritters and top with an egg poached to your liking. I like mine with a drippy, liquidy yolk and plenty of salt and pepper.

Recipe: Rosemary sugar prune crisp

I know, I know, the first thing that comes to mind when you think prunes isn’t dessert. If you’re anything like me, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t even positive (it’s Barbara Mandrell, if we’re being honest). But last weekend, while having brunch at my grandparents house, my cousin Kyle asked me if I had tried the sugar prunes from their tree. I was shocked. Prunes? From a tree? I thought prunes were only prunes after they were dried, with the fresh version being a plum.

Alas, turns out a dried prune is just a dried fresh prune, much like a dried apricot is just a dried fresh apricot  — but then why is a dried grape a raisin? SO CONFUSING. But I digress. A dried prune is a dried fresh prune, which yes, implies that there is such a thing as a fresh prune, and *gasp!* they are quite delicious. Smaller and more oblong than what we might think of as a conventional plum, the prunes that my grandparents grow have an almost candy-like sweetness and a firm but yielding flesh. What’s interesting about their prunes, in particular, is that the tree on which they grow has been grafted onto the base of an almond tree. Grafting isn’t all that uncommon in the agricultural world, so this isn’t unheard of, but my grandma swears that sugar prunes usually split down the middle when they’re ripe — and these don’t. So whether it’s the almond tree base or my 80-something year old Grandpa’s secret mojo, something makes these prunes both particularly sweet and pretty to look at. Atta boy, Gramps!

So, after trying (read: inhaling) 3 or 4 of these fresh prunes in my grandma’s kitchen, the next natural step was to amble my way down their gravel drive to the tree, pluck 60 little sugar bombs from the heavy, low-hanging boughs…and stash them in my purse for the drive home. (Duh, where do you keep your prunes? It’s a big bag. Don’t judge.)

And now here we are. Eating sugar prunes for breakfast. Sugar prunes for lunch. Cutting up platters of sugar prunes and sharing them with coworkers. Daily. And finally, sugar prunes for dessert, coaxed into sweet, jammy harmony with a little extra sugar, a savory hit of rosemary and olive oil, and a fragrant, nutty crumb topping. Enjoy!

Rosemary Sugar Prune Crisp
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking time: 40 minutes | Serves: 4

Notes: Knowing that sugar prunes aren’t just anywhere, this dessert would work out just as well with any farmer’s market plum — just be sure to choose fruit that is still a bit firm to the touch. As for the topping, while I usually add rolled oats for texture, the cornmeal here works particularly well with the savory herbs.

Ingredients:

  • 20-25 small sugar prunes, halved and pitted (apologies I didn’t weigh them first!)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt/pepper
  • 4 T (heaping) whole wheat flour + 1 T
  • 2 T (heaping) cornmeal
  • 2 T sugar + 1 T
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 4 T cold butter, cubed

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, toss halved prunes with olive oil, 1T flour, 1T sugar, rosemary, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Pour into generously buttered skillet or baking dish. In same bowl, mix together remaining flour, remaining sugar, cornmeal, almonds and cubed butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour and nuts until mixture resembles wet sand (some larger pieces of butter should still remain). Loosely sprinkle topping over plums; place skillet on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbling, topping is golden and nuts are toasted. Serve warm with ice cream

Recipe: Eggs marinara on crostini

This recipe goes out to my dear friend Emily, who, in addition to having an excellent name, has an excellent palate and is one of my most frequent dining companions. At Emily’s request, we made up some of these eggs for a quick breakfast before heading into the office yesterday, but they’re just as much of a treat for dinner or brunch. I believe Rachael Ray would, in fact, call this a BLAD recipe, which is supposed to stand for “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” but instead seems like onomatopoeia for a plain ol’ BAD recipe, so I’ll scrap the acronym and call this dish what it really is: fast, cheap and damn tasty.

(I do feel I should make the quick disclaimer that this recipe is hardly original. Eggs marinara are (is?) nothing new, and there are countless ways to dress them (it?) up with cheeses, truffle oil, fresh herbs and inventive, homemade sauces. So view this as a method, more than anything. Ok? Ok.)

Eggs Marinara on Crostini
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2

Notes: I like to keep things moving along quickly by toasting my two lil’ slices of bread in a toaster oven. If you’d like to double, triple or quadruple this recipe for a group — for Sunday Brunch, let’s say (Oh, yes, I’d love to! Your place?) — it may be worth it to crank the oven and toast up a whole sheet pan of crostini at once.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices good, crusty bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (or so) prepared marinara sauce
  • olive oil
  • crushed red chili flakes
  • salt/pepper

Instructions

Drizzle bread with olive oil and bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown and toasted (see note). Meanwhile, heat olive oil and chili flakes over medium heat in a small sauce or saute pan until chili just begins to sizzle. Add sauce, bring to a light bubble, and then carefully cracks eggs into the hot marinara. (I like to nestle the just-cracked egg into the sauce and then release the egg into the resulting indentation, if that makes sense.) Cover, reduce to low and simmer until whites are set or to your liking. A runny, slurpy yolk will serve you very well here — just saying. Plate eggs on crostini; top with remaining warmed sauce and plenty of salt and pepper.

Recipe: Oven-roasted tomatoes, aka tomato candy

‘Allo readers. While I realize I’m several days’ overdue for a post with substance, I’m also a bit preoccupied with a Top Gear marathon at the moment, so I thought I’d take just a quick break to bring you this non-recipe for one of my utterly private obsessions: tomato candy. Why private, you ask? Well first: as previously mentioned, Chris, whom I love with all my being, does not love tomatoes with any of his being, which makes this an Emily-exclusive treat in my kitchen. And second: there’s something just a little sinful about plucking these buggers hot off the pan with your fingers, mopping them around in the oily, dirty bits left clinging to the tray and delivering them straight to your mouth where the crackle of caramelized skin and the burst of still-tender fruit meet in textural harmony.

If that’s not kitchen raunch, I don’t know what is.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes (Tomato Candy)
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking time: 1.5+ hours (though prep time is about 5 minutes)

Note: These are best when served simply: accompanied by good olive oil and freshly torn basil over pasta; mashed with a modest nub of goat cheese and spooned onto crostini; mixed with a drizzle of honey and black pepper and served over vanilla bean ice cream (it’s less adventurous than you might think), you get the gist. As for tomato variety, nearly any will do, so long as the size is somewhat uniform. Roast grape tomatoes whole; cherry tomatoes should be halved; larger tomatoes chopped into 1″ chunks. When scraping the pan, be sure to accumulate at least some of the blackened bits, as well. Christian Grey who?

Ingredients:

  • A heap of tomatoes, stems removed and chopped, if applicable (see note)
  • A generous glug (or two) of olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300. Toss tomatoes generously with olive oil, tip onto a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 60 minutes. Increase heat to 400 and roast an additional 30-40 minutes, or until tomatoes are shrunken and blistered to your liking.