How you get back on when you’ve fallen off the wagon (of anything you’ve resolved to do or not do) and you want to get back on?
How do you attack that stack in your inbox? Those ever-loving receipts & invoices? The tree debris in your yard? Your bucket list?
How do you resolve to take it one baby step at a time but in your heart you believe it’s better to leap?
So all you want to do is read your backlog of New Yorkers–or catch up with Top Chef, all the way back to season 3–just give up or check out?
When you believe that now, with the kids in school, you’ll get so much more done, but don’t?
When self-acceptance and guilt are in a silent power struggle?
All the while, those tomatoes are waiting ever so patiently on your counter. But they will not last much longer.
Transition into Fall with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
This is the part that will ease you into all the rest: Turn on the oven to 400 degrees F. Plop those tomatoes (stems and rotten parts cut out) into your largest roasting pan and pour over 3 glugs of olive oil with a generous sprinkling of your favorite salt.
Tuck in a few sprigs of thyme and whole garlic cloves.
Put them in the oven. Do not set the timer. Select one of your tasks or resolutions and begin it in any way you can.
While the tomatoes roast in the oven, your future begins.
When you smell the tomatoes wafting from the oven, take a peek. They’re doing just fine bubbling in the oil and their own liquid. Let them be until their skins begin to blacken.
It is only time to take them out when all of them are as wrinkled as your hands will be when you are old. When you don’t have as many choices or opportunities as you do in this very moment.
There, that job is done. Everything is possible.
How to Freeze Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
If you have more than you can use within the next few days, do this:
- Cool the tomatoes in the pans until they’re cool enough to handle. Leave them whole or puree them–as you like.
- Portion the tomatoes with the cooking liquid into freezer bags, squeeze out all the air, seal well and label.
- Lay the bag(s) flat on a sheet pan and place in the freezer until solid, then remove the sheet pan and store the bags upright or flat to save freezer space.
I consider having roasted tomatoes in my freezer like a savings account for all types of winter meals, from soups and stews to pasta dishes and pizza sauce.
10 Ways to Use Your Tomatoes
You can use whole roasted tomatoes for any recipe that calls for canned whole peeled or tomato puree tomatoes.
Here are my favorite recipes that put them to best use:
- Quickest Tomato Soup
- Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
- Simple Tomato Sauce
- 20-Minute Garbanzo-Tomato Stew
- One Pot Eggplant Pasta Puttanesca
- Baby Meatballs in Roasted Tomato Sauce
- American Chop Suey
- Slow Cooker Lamb Stew
- Sriracha Sloppy Joe
- Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
This technique is my favorite short-cut method for preserving tomatoes for the freezer. It makes the best tomato soups, tomato sauce, ratatouille and meat and vegetable braises, so it's worth having lots on hand.
- 4-5 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes, washed and cored organic
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the middle position.
Crowd the tomatoes in a shallow baking dish so they are in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, add the garlic, sprinkle with salt and tuck in the thyme sprigs.
Roast the tomatoes, rotating them once, for 40 to 45 minutes until they are shrunken and blistered in spots.
Cool completely before storing along with all of the cooking liquids. Or, turn them directly into a pot of soup, tomato sauce or other preparation your heart desires.