Land of Leftovers

Every once in a while, my husband gets this twinkle in his eye and he starts hinting that it's time for me to roast some tomatoes again. In the late summer and early autumn months, this is a regular occurance. Since my garden is producing tomatoes faster than we can eat them, roasting the plum tomatoes in large batches and freezing half the batch for retrival in the middle of winter only makes sense.

Of course, that's not the only way we use tomatoes. That's what this month's column is about ... using tomatoes. There are many more uses than I'm sharing here, of course, but the three recipes offered are some of my favorites. Feel free to try them as is or add some touches of your own. I also encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens their flavor and adds an extra sweetness that's hard to describe. Toss them with cooked pasta for a meal that's almost too easy to make or pulse them in a food processor and spread on toasted bread for an easy appetizer.
  • Ripe plum tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Cut the plum tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place the tomatoes into a resealable plastic bag. Add enough olive oil to just coat the tomatoes. Seal the bag and turn to coat the tomatoes well.

Arrange the tomatoes with the skin side down on a baking sheet, allowing at least 1/4-inch between the tomatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until the tomatoes bubble and darken slightly. The tomatoes will still be moist. Cool slightly before transferring to a storage container or use immediately over hot pasta.

  • Yields: Depends on how many tomatoes you use
  • Preparation Time: about an hour

Garden Fresh Salsa

While this mild salsa uses bell peppers, you can add extra kick by using hot peppers or adding a dash or two of hot sauce.
  • 6 c. chopped tomatoes
  • 1 c. chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1 c. chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 c. chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 - 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • hot sauce (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and allow to rest 15 minutes before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.

  • Yields: about 10 cups
  • Preparation Time: about 10 minutes

Tuna Tomatoes

Serving creamy tuna salad in hollowed-out tomatoes makes it an elegant lunch that's easy to serve.
  • 1 can tuna, in water, drained
  • 1 c. fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped red onions
  • 1/4 c. frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 hollowed-out tomatoes (reserve the insides for making soup)
  • Several dashes of paprika

In a medium bowl, mix the tuna, mayonnaise, onions, peas, celery, salt and pepper. Chill for 10 minutes while you hollow-out the tomatoes. Carefully scoop one quarter of the tuna salad into each of the four hollowed-out tomatoes. Sprinkle the top of each tomato with paprika before serving.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes