Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

We have a longer growing season for tomatoes here than most other areas of the USA.  According to the National Gardening Association chart, the plant Hardiness Zone is for this area is 8.  That is fortunate for us budding gardeners.  However, there are some things that are not within our control.  In the spring of 2011, we planted a lovely garden.  Unfortunately, the drought  burned up the tomatoes and everything else we'd planted - except the onions.

What a pleasant surprise it was to get a small box full of green tomatoes from PRINCESS.  They came from her boss's garden.  Green tomatoes in December in Texas?  You bet.

They'd been picked just before the first hard freeze. She was so nice to offer them to her Dad and I.  Yes, please!  Green tomatoes smell wonderful.  I don't know what it is, but it was like having a little bit of springtime in a box in our kitchen.  What were we going to do with those tomatoes?  The first thing that popped into my head was, of course, the movie Fried Green Tomatoes . I pondered actually finding a recipe and frying the tomatoes.  That sounded like way too much work.  Hey, what about finding a recipe for a green tomato relish? Great idea, but I was out of time.  Nanny wasn't here to give me her green tomato relish recipe, and my two youngest grandbabies were lonesome for their Nanny (me) and Papa (my darling hubby).

GERONIMO's first Christmas.  Look at him reaching for that candy cane.  I love seeing the wonder of Christmas in the eyes of a little child, don't you?
 The holidays were upon us and we were off to spend Christmas with our daughter PEPSI and her family down south. We'd been missing them so much! Those fragrant green tomatoes would just have to wait.  They'd been occupying a spot in the kitchen window to help with ripening, but many were still quite green.  I relocated the ripest ones to the refrigerator, moved the tomatoes that remained in the box to the counter top, and hoped for the best.

TINKERBELL sitting on Daddy's new cooler playing with her Leap Frog Leap Pad.   She loves electronic gadgetry.  Do we have another geek in the family?  Can a girl be pretty and smart?  Yep, yep, yep.

We returned home from our celebration the day after Christmas.  Guess what?  The green tomatoes had ripened beautifully.   I remembered something I'd found recently on Pinterest. It was a great tutorial and recipe by Delish for making and canning Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes.  Why not tweak it a little and try it out?

We try to garden organically and don't normally use chemicals on the garden. But these lovely tomatoes were a gift.  We had no idea of the gardening practices of the grower.  Obviously she had a big heart.  First I washed the tomatoes really well with water and few drops of mild dish detergent to try and remove as much dirt, herbicides, and pesticides as possible.

Then, I removed the stems and imperfections and cut them into nice thick slices. Tomatoes are naturally acidic.  I remembered that when I felt my winter-dry skin start to burn a little.  If your skin is sensitive - wear gloves.   Next I strayed from the original recipe a bit and soaked them in red cooking wine and olive oil.  I used about 5 parts cooking wine to one part olive oil.

The broiler was preheated to 500 degrees Farenheit. Food will catch fire, especially if it is soaked in oil.  As a precaution, I lowered the upper oven rack to where it was about 7 inches below the heating element.  I covered a flat baking pan with foil, spread out a single layer of tomatoes  on the foil-covered pan, and  placed it on the oven rack under the broiler.

The first batch rendered the bowl half full of beautiful, red and black, fire-roasted tomatoes.  The smell was tantalizing.

There is no specific time to keep them under the broiler.  I kept the oven door open and stayed in the kitchen to watch them roast.  It didn't happen quite as fast as I thought it would.

The baking pan stayed clean because it was protected by the foil.  For the second batch, I removed the old foil and replaced it with new. 

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.  I'll let you know what I made with these tomatoes in a future post.  

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Sincerely, Paula: NO RULES Weekend Blog Party #48


  1. Wonderful idea for a journal... might use it to get started for a late new years resolution...

  2. I'd love to see it if you post:)

  3. Those look amazing. Thanks for posting. I'm going to have to try this once we have our own tomatoes again.


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