Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Is this even a recipe as much as an idea? In any event, there hasn’t been too much of what passes for cooking around here these days, and this is the best I’ve got. One of the many hats I wear is landlady, and I’ve been quite busy lately with my landladying business. Sadly, it is not as fun as being a Parisian food critic, my real calling, but a girl’s gotta make a buck sometimes. Between that and back to school preparations, my meals have suffered.

I do love summer tomato season, even if it is sometimes overwhelming. We had a pretty decent crop this year, despite our rocky start. I usually make a batch or two of slow roasted tomatoes every year, and I usually consume the first batch entirely by myself. I don’t suggest doing this for a variety of reasons, mainly digestive. Or that “gluttony is a sin” idea, if you’re religious. But they are that good!

Dawn’s Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Cherry, Grape, or other small tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
one clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of vinegar (balsamic, red wine, or sherry)
fresh herbs of choice (thyme, basil, rosemary and/or oregano)
pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

1. Measure about 1/4 cup olive oil in a cup. Add minced garlic, vinegar, herbs, pinch of salt. Mix well with a fork and set aside. Let this sit at least 30 minutes before using.

2. Cut tomatoes in half and place on rimmed baking sheet or 13 x 9 glass pan.

3. Drizzle olive oil mixture over tomatoes.

4. Put them in the oven and go on with your life. They should be ready in about three hours.

5. Don’t eat all of them by yourself! It’s fun to share.

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Orzo with Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

It was yet another, “Oh, lord, I have to feed these people AGAIN?” kind of day, and this recipe came across my Facebook feed just in time to save dinner. Thank you, Fine Cooking, for the inspiration. Their original recipe, the foundation for my creation, can be found here.

If you’re not a fan of strong cheese such as Gorgonzola, move along…this recipe will not be for you. And don’t even THINK of substituting it with any other cheese! I highly recommend splurging on some sherry vinegar, which my newly appointed cooking guru David Lebovitz favors over balsamic. But I do think for this recipe, any old red wine vinegar will do if you don’t feel like running out to buy a sherry vinegar, which is not always available in every store. Aside from the dressing and the cheese, this recipe is very open to improvisation. The combination of sweet cherry tomatoes and strong Gorgonzola is just perfect.

Orzo with Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

Kosher salt
2-1/4 cups orzo
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/3 cup sherry vinegar, more as needed
freshly ground pepper
3 cups halved cherry tomatoes (preferably a mix of colors and shapes)
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1 to 2 cups cooked cubed chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 thick slices of red onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
olives (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook per package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss it immediately with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Let the pasta cool completely in the refrigerator.

Put the sherry vinegar in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and additional sherry vinegar or olive oil as needed.

Put the cooked, cooled orzo in a large serving bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, Gorgonzola, chicken, onions, olives and the vinaigrette and toss. Taste and season as needed with more salt and pepper. Serve within an hour or two of making.