Tag Archives: cape cod

Oven Roasted Tomatoes | Versatile & Easy!

28 Apr
tomatoes, olive oil and S&P waiting to be roasted

tomatoes, olive oil and S&P waiting to be roasted

The warmer New England weather is starting to remind me of the summer foods I’ve missed all winter. Top of my list? Fresh tomatoes!

Grocery stores have been taunting me with tomato sales but I know they’re not yet in season. There is nothing quite like a just-picked tomato at the height of its season (or any produce, for that matter). My dad grew them nearly every summer in the garden when we were kids. He’d have competitions with a fellow gardner friend and I have vivid memories of secret tricks and strange apparatuses surrounding the tomato plants in the garden. My mom would make tomato and cheese sandwiches for us to enjoy at the peak of tomato season — hearty white bread spread with Miracle Whip then stacked with layers of sliced tomatoes and cheddar cheese & a little sprinkle of S&P. Yum…summer in sandwich!

So back to my point….since cherry tomatoes have been on sale quite a bit, Jess has been buying them. They were fine tossed into my lunch salads but I wanted a way to make them more delicious. Flour Bakery (a Boston area delight) is smart — and their BLT is the best BLT I’ve ever had in my life. I dream about it.  One of their secrets? They roast the tomatoes when they’re not in season in order to bring out their yumminess. Roasting also rids them of that gross mealy texture that often plagues out-of-season tomatoes. The recipe I used as a guide states, “roasting concentrates their flavor, turning the tomatoes into savory, tender little umami bombs”. Genius, right? It’s very easy & roasted tomatoes are a perfect addition to any recipe, sandwich, salad, pizza, pasta/rice salad, etc. — the possibilities are endless. We added them to a homemade pizza with oven roasted rosemary lemon turkey breast and banana pepper rings.

fresh_to_roasted

top: before roasting, middle: after first 20 minutes, last: after roasting

Oven Roasted Tomatoes (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen: DIY Cookbook, Oven Dried Tomatoes)

Ingredients

12 ounces – 1 pint of cherry tomatoes (grape tomatoes would work fine, too)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rinse the tomatoes and lightly pat dry with a clean dish towel.
  3. Cut each tomato in 1/2 lengthwise & toss into a small bowl (with enough room for tossing later).
  4. Add olive oil, salt & pepper to the bowl and toss to evenly coat the tomatoes.
  5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum foil) for easy clean-up. Place a wire rack on top of the prepared baking sheet and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Place the seasoned tomatoes on the rack cut side down (not all of mine were facing down & they turned out fine).
  7. Place tomatoes into the oven for  20 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 300 degrees.
  9. Use a fork to carefully flip the tomato halves cut side up and remove any tomato skin that has fallen off. If all of your tomatoes still have the skin on them, there’s no need to remove it since cherry tomatoes have such tender skin.
  10. Place them back in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven & allow to cool to room temperature before enjoying.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

roasted tomatoes standing by to be the next pizza topping

roasted tomatoes standing by to be the next pizza topping

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Making & Baking Our Way into Fall | Pics & Links

3 Sep

Oh hi! Here’s what we’ve been up to (a meaty post with pictures & links!)…

Savoring summer, time with Kate’s dad & the best lobstah roll ever (PJ’s Family Restaurant in Wellfleet).

Making pickles! Refrigerator style using this recipe and farm fresh pickling cukes from a farm near Jess’s home town. We added cloves of garlic & black whole peppercorns to each jar. We also made a spicy batch for our neighbor by tossing in a sliced jalapeno from our container garden (YAY!). We’ve been eating them on EVERYTHING (pictured below on turkey sandwiches).

Salivating over a new issue of Bon Appetit and celebrating awesome neighbors with this delightful coffee cake. Toss blueberries in panko breadcrumbs? SURE!

Here’s what the blueberry coffee cake looked like sliced (just before it got hand delivered to our favorite neighbors). This Instagram filter makes it look straight out of my mom’s 1970 Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.

Catching up on crafty gifts, part I! Long overdue wedding card/art piece for friends Emily & Chris. Those are heart shaped bits I cut out of their save-the-date & invitations. I love sewing paper.

Catching up on crafty gifts, part II! Finally getting around to finishing this advent calendar project for 2 very special little boys (yes, that’s 48 little fabric bags). Promised last year that I’d make these & we’d fill them with goodies each year…literally the gift that keeps on giving! The first time I stumbled across this project on Lansdowne Life, I obsessed over the adorable vintage looking fabric…to die for, right?!? Can’t wait to fill the bags with goodies & send them off. Oh & those pinking shears were an amazing vintage find at a little consignment shop on the Cape. 

Officially launching Opal & Ollie on Etsy. YAY! A selection of my etched glass mason jars are also available at Magpie in Davis Square & On Centre in Jamaica Plain.

Sunday Scones | Fresh Cranberry Orange Cream Scones

18 Mar

Last weekend, we needed to come up with a sweet baked brunch treat to bring to our friends’ house for a long awaited get together. Little did we know, whatever we brought had to compliment yummy savory quiches (2 types!), a fresh fruit salad & perfectly slow brewed coffee (Stumptown in a Chemex…more on that in a future post). We made scones & it was, after all, a delicious & adorable visit (complete with a baby AND a pup!).

I don’t make scones often but know that they’re best when baked & enjoyed the same day. That said, I couldn’t imagine getting up at 5:00 AM on a Sunday to bake two batches of scones. Yes, that’s right, TWO batches. (We couldn’t decide on which recipe to bake so I took a quick poll at work one afternoon. The response was split down the middle. That was it, my mind was made up — I’d definitely make both.)

I searched the interwebs & our library of baking/cook books for information about making the dough in advance and found tips for freezing unbaked scones but very little information about refrigeration. Now that I’m thinking of it – I should have consulted our dear friend, Cobrina – pastry chef extraordinaire. Silly me! Note to self for next time…

Ok, so here are a couple of helpful tips I found in my scone research:

  • As with most pastry recipes, very very cold butter yields the best results
  • Brown sugar is a nice substitute for granulated
  • The brand of all purpose flour matters (really! some are higher in protein than others which can affect the end consistency of the scones)

What did we do?

Well, since we’ve had good luck refrigerating similar types of dough, we figured that refrigerating the cut & prepared scones overnight couldn’t hurt.  So…we made the dough for the two recipes, cut the scones & put them on cookie sheets, covered them & popped them in the refrigerator (precariously balanced on containers of milk and pickles and stacked Chobani yogurt). We tossed them in a preheated oven the next morning. They took a little bit longer to bake (just a few minutes) but it worked out perfectly in the end.

Today, I’ll share our favorite of the two recipes with you.

(Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Fresh Cranberry Cream Scones with Candied Ginger)

Recipe makes 6 scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup light brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold & cut into cubes (I froze it for a couple of hours first)

1 large egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup heavy cream, cold

1 heaping cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries (I had some in the freezer from our late fall trip to Cape Cod to visit my dad – I defrosted them & then cut them each in half)

1 tsp orange zest

1-2 TBS cream (for brushing scones)

For the glaze

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approximately 1 medium orange)

1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

1 TBS honey

Steps

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.

2. In a food processor, add flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Give a quick pulse to mix the dry ingredients. Add the cold butter & process until the butter is well incorporated in the flour mixture. Some butter bits will be the size of peas & some will be as small as oat flakes. Don’t panic, this is exactly how it should be. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract and heavy cream. Add the cream mixture all at once to the flour mixture in the food processor and process until everything comes together & forms a ball. Do not over mix! It will be very obvious when it happens — the ingredients suddenly combine to form a ball – it’s a little magical & less messy (no kneading required…yay!).

4. On a floured work surface, divide the dough in half and press each into a roundish disk.

5. In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with orange zest. 

6. Press the zesty cranberries onto one half of the dough & then place the other half of dough on top. Congrats! You’ve made a zesty cranberry filled dough sandwich…mmm!  Fold the stacked cranberry dough in half a couple of times to combine the cranberries. It will seem like there are a lot of cranberries poking out. It’s okay. You don’t want to over knead the dough.

7. Pat the dough into a 1 ½ inch thick disk.

8. Cut the disk into 6 wedges.

9. Place the wedges 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and brush tops with a little cream. (If you aren’t going to bake them until the next day, skip the cream for now, cover with plastic wrap & toss them in the refrigerator. Brush the tops with cream right before putting them in the oven & note that they might have to bake a few minutes longer because they’ll be really cold.)

10. Bake for 15 minutes until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a cooling rack.

11. As the scones are cooling, in a small bowl, combine the O.J., confectioner’s sugar and honey with a fork or whisk.

12. Once the scones are cool, place a baking sheet under the cooling rack (for easy clean up!). Use a tablespoon to drizzle a little glaze on top of each scone. Let the glaze set before placing the scones on a plate or wrapping them up (this will take about 10-15 minutes).

 Serve at room temperature or warm them slightly in the oven before serving. Scones are best when served the day they are made, but these will last well wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 The result: A tasty scone with really great texture (not too dry & not fluffy or biscuit-like). The tart cranberries & bright orange zest perfectly balance the sweetness of the sugary glaze. We only wish the recipe made more! 

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