Fire Roasted Tomatoes

“Fire Roasted Tomatoes”  the title sounds ominous and maybe it is:  hot, sweet, delicious. “Fire Roasted Tomatoes”…  easy as pie, (which despite our propensity to declare something so easy, pie certainly isn’t), versatile and a must-have in the fridge.  These tomatoes are great in a winter chili, a spring soup, a summer dressing or a fall sauce – year round goodness.  Any recipe that calls for a tomato of any sort can immediately elevate its status with the addition of a bit of a fire roasted tomato.  Honest.  And making them is easy.  You can do this over a grill, but doing so in unnecessarily difficult and if you are using a gas grill, there is no benefit.  Of course if you are cooking over wood or charcoal, you are officially “da (wo)man” and you know what to do from here.  For those working in their kitchen, this is for you:

Start with Roma tomatoes.  They are meaty enough to withstand the heat.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Slice your tomatoes from end to end and place center down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that has been brushed with olive oil.  Brush the skins with olive oil.  Leave enough space between each tomato to allow the heat to flow around the fruit freely.

Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.  When done, the skins should all be blackened.  There is a lot – A LOT – of room for error at this point, do not fear, errors will not ruin this recipe.

When the skins are nice and black, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once cool, put the tomatoes in a glass container, add a topping of olive oil and store in the refrigerator for deliciousness in your recipes.  I told you it was easy!  And once you are used to having these delicious sweet beauties on hand, you will find an endless number of uses for them. Within a few months, you will wonder how you ever got along without them.  Honestly, you will.

Summer Corn Salad – gf

As the days grow warmer, longer and sunnier, the excitement of summer consumes us. We change our wardrobes, our hair styles, and our habits. We ride a bike instead of driving, we exercise more, or we at least consider the possibility, school ends, vacation plans are realized and….our gardens grow. We plant, harvest, and enjoy, or we visit a farmers market. If no other options are open to us, we at least buy fresh vegetables from the market.

Being honest, I must admit it more work and more costly to buy fresh veggies, but aren’t we worth it? The corn is crisp and sweet, the cucumbers cool and firm. The fruit so fragrant I’m never sure whether I want to bite into it or dab it on my neck like a sweet Channel. (Okay, that might be a bit too far.)

Fresh is best.

So, the other night we had a deck picnic of spiced chicken with white bar-b-que sauce, baked potato skins and corn on the cob. A few ears of corn were left over, so the following day we had this Summer Corn Salad. This is my recipe, but really it can be considered an opinion and modified as you like to suit your meal and tastes. It is better if the flavors can melt for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving, but if you don’t have the time, it is still tasty.

Summer Corn Salad
Summer Corn Salad

Ingredients:

3 Ears, cooked Corn on the Cob, kernels shaved from the cob (to cook, add the shucked cobs to boiling salted water about 7-8 minutes, or until you begin to smell the corn.)
1 can of black beans, drained and well-rinsed. Allow to drain.
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
4 scallions, sliced up to the dark green part of the stem
1/4 c. safflower oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3 Tbstp. fresh chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper (dustless)

**Optional: Chopped jalepeno to add heat.

1. Chop and mix together the vegetables and beans.
2. In a measuring cup, whisk together the oil, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, sugar, oregano salt and pepper.
Taste the dressing. At this point you may want to make adjustments. Our family enjoys the bite of vinegar, but if you prefer a milder dressing, add a bit of water and/or sugar until you find a flavor you enjoy. Remember, the vegetables will reduce the height of the flavor by imparting their own.

Mix the dressing into the vegetables and beans. Once fully coated, mix in the chopped cilantro and chill for at least 2 hours.