Monday, October 15, 2007

Food and Cooking

I have a lot of cookbooks, probably enough that I could make a new recipe a day for the next 20 years. Out of most of them I've made perhaps just one recipe or maybe two. I've decided I need to do something about that! In my quest to lose weight, I've been trying to eat well and eat interesting meals. Tonight I pulled out a few of the cookbooks off my shelf to get new ideas for some healthy meals. All I want to do right now is cook!

Here's the thing: some of the things I want to cook are decidedly out of season. There's a recipe I would really like to make right now for asparagus soup with a morel custard from Tom Colicchio's book Think Like A Chef. It sounds AMAZING, but clearly that's something for spring, and I suspect I'll forget about it by the time spring rolls around again. But that's where this blog's going to be of service to me. When I come across a great recipe, but one that's definitely tied to a specific season, I'm going to put it in here and label it so I can have them all organized and at my finger tips.

Having read a bit in this book, I regret I didn't pick it up earlier this summer when tomatoes were plentiful. Check out this recipe for stocking up the flavors of summer in the freezer:

Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

20 ripe tomatoes, stems and cores removed
2 large heads of garlic divided into unpeeled cloves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 sprigs of fresh thyme

1. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise (through the equator), then place the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix gently. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the tomato halves on the baking sheets, cut-side down, and then pour any olive oil left in the bowl over them. Divide the garlic and thyme between the baking sheets and bake until the tomato skins loosen, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove and discard the tomato skins. Pour any juices that have accumulated into a bowl and reserve. Return the tomatoes to the oven and reduce the temperature to 275ºF. Continue roasting, periodically pouring off and reserving the juices, until the tomatoes are slightly shrunken and appear cooked and concentrated but not yet dry, 3 to 4 hours more. Remove the tomatoes form the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets. Discard the thyme and transfer the tomatoes and garlic to separate containers. Store the tomatoes, garlic, and reserved tomato juices in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

He then gives a slew of recipes that either feature all three of these ingredients or just one. I think the possibilities are endless! Popping that garlic into anything can only make whatever better, and with the roasted tomatoes, he does all kinds of things with them, from lasagna, to risotto, to stuffing a sea bass with it. I wish I had a ton of that stuff in my freezer right now!

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