With my one year blogaversary coming up I should be thinking about how I can celebrate one year of blogging but instead I’ve turned my attention to Ed Charles, and his sixth blogging anniversary for tomatom.com. Tomatom.com has a few more readers than me and Ed is looking for a way to celebrate six years of blogging and over one million page views. So Ed, this is what I suggest and I’ve even done a trial run for you, I think you should do a Tomatathon.
I was perusing the pages of tomatom.com for inspiration and I noticed that there aren’t as many references to it’s namesake as I had expected so I thought I’d give it a helping hand – twenty four hours dedicated to the humble fruit that is the tomato (and no, I’m not going to enter the fruit versus vegetable debate, it’s a fruit). So Ed, here it is, the day I dedicated to cooking tomatoes.
What better way to start the day than baked eggs? “But that’s not tomato” I hear you cry, but you can’t bake an egg without the thick, sweet, tomato sauce underneath. Now I’m not talking ketchup, and as it’s breakfast I’m not talking the Italian, garlic and basil type of sauce either. I’m talking a humble can of tomatoes, reduced with a little finely diced, fried onions, placed in the bottom of a ramekin, with an egg still warm from the chicken, cracked on top and baked in the oven until set but still oozing (this can be achieved by cooking at 180°c for 12 minutes). This was then served with a slice or two or crusty, buttered bread to dunk in the yolk and soak up the juices.
On to morning tea. Crostini with slow roast tomatoes and bite sized cherry tomato and bocconcini bites. The slow roast tomatoes take a little preparation, they were halved then studded with slivers of garlic and dusted with salt, pepper and dried oregano. They were then roasted in a low oven (120°c) for around two to three hours until the tomato is almost dried and the flavours have concentrated.
Saturday lunch is often homemade pasta in our house. If there’s a little time to spend making lunch, then pasta is the deserving winner. I’ve experimented with flavoured pasta before using herbs, spinach and beetroot, so why not tomato? A tablespoon of tomato paste and a little extra flour in the mix creates an orange looking pasta. I was hoping for red, but with the intense yellow yolks from the chickens currently residing in our garden I got orange. It made a nice looking change though, and a bit easier to handle than the garish red you get from beetroot. For the filling I mixed ricotta, sun dried tomato, pine nuts, Parmesan, basil and oregano. I shaped the pasta dough into tortellini, cooked in salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes and served drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan.
Afternoon tea. After extensive Googling I couldn’t really find anything that was an acceptable tomato sweet treat. There’s carrot cake and beetroot brownies but not really anything tomato, so I cheated a little and went for tomato inspired afternoon tea. Red macarons look a little tomatoish and make for awesome afternoon tea. I opted for a chocolate ganache filling as the red and black combination works a treat.
And then there was dinner. Dinner deserves at least three courses so we started with an amuse bouche of tomato soup (that’s just something to amuse the mouth so doesn’t really count as a course). Followed by an entree of stuffed tomato. This involved slicing the top off a tomato and scooping out the flesh, this was then added to a simple risotto with some feta, and roasted in the oven. When you put the top back on it looks pretty cool too.
It feels a bit retro when it comes to the life of Niccooks, but the main course was chicken breast stuffed with sundried tomato, basil and mozzarella. This was the kind of dish that made it to the table of a fancy meal when I first started cooking back in the early naughties, so it felt a little bit like a trip down memory lane. To complete the nostalgia it had to be wrapped in prosciutto and baked in the oven. Served with the classic Patatas Bravas, it was the perfect tomato themed main.
Transitioning smoothly from mains onto dessert was the tomato sorbet palate cleanser. Not quite a dessert but not quite a savoury dish it’s the bridge between the two and the way one discriminates between your average restaurant and one that holds the coveted chef’s hats.
And that brings us round to another tomato based dessert. I’m not a baker. This may be a good time to admit that I have never made a cake before, probably because I’m not a huge fan of eating them, but as I was browsing the shelves of my local book shop the other day I noticed a book in the baking section called cake pops. It caught my attention because of the brightly coloured decoration and the fact that they were bite sized, so even if I’m not a huge fan of cake, there’s not enough of them to dis-like. So even if you cannot make dessert out of tomatoes, you can make a tomato indpired dessert. May I present my cake pop; my tomato shaped cake pop.
So that rounds up my tomatothon, a day dedicated to tomato cooking. It was actually easier than I thought, I had a long list of stand by dishes, as there are many amazing dishes out there using tomatoes as the main ingredient. So Ed, I dare you, celebrate your sixth anniversary with a tomatothon!
Posted: May 29th, 2011 under Uncategorized.